The Waiting…

“Baba, have something. You are falling weak with each passing day.” He handed over some Prasad (packed food of the temple) while descending the last stair of the temple. It was Tuesday and as always, the temple was filled with devotees. The Shiva’s day and all the devotees had personal appointment with the deity sitting over the beautiful stone surrounded by marvellous structure, called Shiva’s temple.

Baba said nothing, just concentrated over the food. He was hungry. His torn cloths and long white hair were a daily sight for the person who used to visit this temple on regular basis. Although there were many others like him, sitting outside the temple but he was the only one who was regular. Even the idol sitting inside could recognize him but, never paid attention or else, why would he be sitting here daily, seeking for food packets from strangers.

“I… I see you here almost daily.” That man spoke while struggling to get his shoe back on his leg. Baba looked up, food stuffed in his mouth. He stared for a while and then back to eating. “You must be hungry. Do you need anything, I mean money or something?” Finally he was done with his shoe, took few steps to adjust and then waited for the answer with one hand over his pocket to pull the purse up.

“No!” Came the answer from Baba. It was shocking for the man. He almost pulled his hand out of his pocket. Generally, a person sitting outside a temple (won’t use the word beggar here, although he looked like one) never refuses the offer of having money. That stern ‘No’ from Baba made the man stop and sit in front of him.

“I have seen you almost every day since last a year or something. I don’t know whether you have noticed me or not but I did. I have seen you looking up at the idol for hours, without getting distracted. What are you seeking for?” That man looked serious now. He now had a tone that treats someone equal. He was, now, not talking to a beggar but a person with some ambition, a person from whom he needed answer.

Baba stayed quiet. They both stared at each other for minutes. Baba said nothing. People came and passed but here, between both of them, nothing moved. Just a straight look at each other’s eye.

This was not the first time someone has asked this question to Baba. He was used to have this conversation. Many times the priest inside had asked the question but left with no answer. To this question, Baba had just one answer, a stare. A continuous long stare. Even this time, the man who had asked the question was experiencing the same. But this time, something was different. The man had patience, a desire to know the answer. He waited for long. He could feel the depth in those eyes, which others escaped.

“I am waiting for him to answer.” Finally he spoke. After around long ten minutes that felt like a year, finally he broke his silence. “Just like you are waiting for me to speak, I am waiting for him to speak.” The man spoke nothing. He just heard that heavy, rough voice. It was as if, the man had spoken after a century. Baba felt difficulty in rolling his tongue, words were unclear but powerful. Impactful, to be precise. Baba’s eyes were about to shed drops of long waiting but his eyes were dry. Although they were twinkling. “I will wait, till he finally speaks.” Baba said and again started to look at the Shiva’s idol.

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