Life treats human beings in different ways. Some are rolling in wealth; for some life is struggle. Some are after fame and money; others strive for the world hereafter. The rich are proud and vain, the poor are simple and contented. Indeed life is full of ups and downs. those who were low, are high now, others had seen good days but now they are at the mercy others. “These were the philosophic words of an old beggar who was often seen on the Ravi Bridge.
I often used to go on long walks. One day I came across the familiar face with a shaggy, white beard and thoughtful eyes. He lived under the open sky at a corner of the bridge. Some torn clothes, rags and a massy earthern pot (Surai) and an old metal glass were his only possessions. The hot and cold weathers passed, but he was unconcerned. One day I stopped and paid a five-rupee note to him out of pity. He murmured some words of blessing and beckoned me to sit down. He gazed into my face, dropped some tears, and said, “I am reminded of my younger brother. He would have been like you if he were alive.” I had a strange feeling and prolonged the meeting.
I said, “Baba, I am sorry, will you tell me something about your past?” He spread a cardboard piece and asked me to sit down. Then he began to narrate the events. As if out of the reverie he began to recount his part thus: I was born in a respectable family of Dehli. Life smiled on us. My father was a prominent worker of Muslim League. When Pakistan came into being, we offered special prayer in Delhi Mosque. A week later Hindu Muslim roits broke out in the city. Innocent men, women and children were killed in cold blood by the Hindus. A good Hindu friend gave shelter to our family. He also arranged for our journey to Pakistan. We were very grateful to him. I was twelve. My younger brother Jamil was 10 and my dear Najma, Eight. He sighed.
We boarded the train in the dark of the night. The train was full of Muslim refugees. As we reached Jullundar Station, the train was attached by some masked persons. The firing continued for an hour. The train was red with blood my parents were killed. I was separated from my brother and sister. I saw them carried away before my eyes by the attackers. That a miraculous escape. I wept bitterly. A sikh passenger took pity on me and made me join a Caravan going to Pakistan. He wiped his eyes as narrated the sad tale.
I was weak and sick. After leaving in the camp. I roamed about in the streets of the city. No body had pity on me. I wanted to lead a respectable life. All doors were closed on me. I worked in an hotel and slept on the footpath. I become friend with another chap. He used to beg and make good money out of it. He asked me to join him. He pretended to be blind, and I, a lame boy. We changed our beat for police troubled us for money.
The boy was arrested for pickpocketing. I’was left alone and did not know the tact of the trade. So one day I joined a blind old beggar. As we were crossing the road one day, a speeding car hit us. My master died on the spot and I was admitted in a hospital for treatment of broken arm.
I came out from the hospital, but I was good for nothing. My hair has become grey due to sufferings and pains. Now I lost my right arm; I live on the crumbs of others. I hate it, but I am helpless. I asked him for his name. He said, “Beggars have no names, no homes. They call me Baba.” I have now begun to see comfort through the clouds”. Then he burst into tears saying, Oh! for my sister and mother. I was overwhelmed with pity and sympathy. I gave him a fifty rupee note and walked away with a heavy heart.