My balcony (in Calcutta) gives a terrific view of the outside world. Few months back I covered the balcony with glass so that I can keep the doors open. I can view the welcome shower and how the water transform a sweat dripping depressed face to a wet happy one.
I also see how a father protects his infant under his jacket, how the kids jump on the flooded streets. I also see an ice-cream wallah (ice cream seller) trying to push his three wheeled (two large in front and one small at the back) trolley against the watery streets.
Back then when I was in school the ice-cream wallah brought smile in our faces. School used to get over around noontime and with those few coins saved from pocket money, we bought our fortunes, an orange ice cream candy or a choco bar. Upon enquiring on my sore throat if I had ice cream the answer would always be negative.
We all lied to protect our sense of freedom, a self indulged reward for a “hard day” in school. And under the shade of the ice cream trolley we learnt to share. There were some who could not afford and we would gladly share.
Today the ice-cream wallah is an old man. He was pushing hard towards a primary school, which is due to get over in noon. He does not understand why the kids don’t come to him anymore. Yesterdays kids are today’s parents. When a loving father asked his daughter, “ Want an ice cream?” The answer was swift and prompts, “I would rather have a Baskin Robbins.”