He sat alone on the edge of the water tank, with his hazelnut coloured walking stick in his hand, gazing towards the gate of the building. Where he sat, the porch was created on top of the underground water tank, and a few other people probably younger than him sat along at some distance. That face of his, with sagging lips pressing against each other that almost told the world that the showroom inside was empty, was constant. Occasionally he would turn his head around to see the kids playing cricket on the other side of the compound. He had a striking personality – his bent body did not rise beyond four and a half feet, and an almost hairless head shone in the slanting rays of the evening sun. He would be the best dressed person around, almost always, till the office goers would return back home. In a loose full sleeve shirt and comfortable trouser belted to stay in place, he must surely have been attractive to females his age.
After 5 pm, kids of almost all ages would be playing in the compound, and games could be anything from hide and seek to cricket. Outside the compound, a few street kids would often play marbles, or just make a lot of noise beating sticks on to empty cardboard boxes. Today there weren’t many. He had a few toffies in the pocket of his shirt, that he had got to give to the little ones playing around. Today, they stayed in his pocket, oblivious to the few kids running around. Ankit, on his way back from school, peeped from the entrance archway of the building and saw him sitting on the porch. He walked gracefully all the way with his heavy school bag hanging down his shoulders, and with a little smile on this face.
“Hello Dadaji, how are you”, he greeted with a larger smile, which was striking against his un-tucked shirt, and open shoe laces. He had probably rolled down a muddy football field in school, and that made his cream coloured shirt look caramel flavoured.
“Shall we go?”, saying that with widened eyes Dadaji got his back erect with stick ready to walk. That day Ankit was late in coming back from school, he perhaps had an extra hour of sports. It was already getting dark with the sun having gone below the visible horizon.
“Ankit, will you come down to play?”, one of the smart chaps swinging a cricket bat asked him as they were about to go upstairs.
“Lets play on the floor in half an hour”, saying this he slowly escorted Dadaji to the elevators.
Please note: This story is part 2.1 in continuation of Melody of Life