Chance Connection Poem by Alabh Raj Taru

Chance Connection

The Working Man and the Beggar saw each other every day. It was always around the cusp of the evening. The Beggar was always sitting at the edge of an alleyway. The Working Man always walked by the alleyway towards his home. Every day when the Working Man crossed the Beggar's sitting place, they would acknowledge each other. It could be anything. The slightest of nods or just a meeting of eyes. It was subtle and momentary, but it was there. The Beggar would notice the Working Man's tired eyes, slumped shoulders, sunken cheeks, and his wrinkled face. The Working Man would notice the rugged face of the Beggar, full of old and fresh cuts. And then the Working Man would continue on his path home.
The Working Man lived alone. His whole life he'd been just another guy. Another one amongst many whose existence didn't really matter. Every day he'd go to his workplace. He would do what work was assigned to him. He would eat his lunch alone. Get shouted upon by his seniors. He'd hear his colleagues snicker as it happened. They would make noise, talk amongst themselves, laugh about stuff while they'd work. It wasn't as if they bothered him. They couldn't care less about him. It was just, no matter how hard he tried, he couldn't block the cacophony. He'd wait for the work hours to get over. Then he'd drag his frame out of his workplace and walk past the Beggar with his shoulders slumped.
The Beggar would wake up every day to stray dogs licking and sniffing him. He was sure that they did that to check whether he was dead so that they could feast on him. Then he would roam around, looking for food in the bins and drinking water from water points in public parks. The cops would then throw him out of one of the parks. Some would beat him to make them feel good about themselves. Then the Beggar would sit at some public places with his hand out. Most days, the hands would remain empty. But somedays, he'd receive enough coins to buy himself a loaf of bread. Almost every day, on his way back to his sleeping place, some frustrated upstarts of a local gang would pester him for money or just because they had nothing else to do. They weren't the police. So, the Beggar hit back against them. They gave him cuts and bruises. But he made sure that he left marks on them too. Done with his daily tiring albeit necessary for survival routine, he'd sit at his sleeping place as the Working Man would walk past him every day.
The two men wonder why do they acknowledge each other. Why do they glance at each other's way when they are just another part of the masses. They don't even remember when this started. Maybe one day as the Working Man was walking past the Beggar their eyes had met. It was all about chance. Maybe at that moment, they didn't sense hostility from each other as they do from everyone they encounter. Maybe they felt sympathy from each other for each other. One moment. It was one moment when the Working Man didn't feel isolated and didn't hear the noise. One moment when the Beggar didn't feel pain and hunger. Just a chance glance of sympathy and kindness and they had connected. It became the only comfort moment of their day. They knew that they probably would never do more than their subtle gestures. And in all honesty, they didn't want more. Maybe they were scared that it would be ruined and their one moment of tranquility would be gone. Whatever it was, they were content.
That's all it takes right? One moment of serenity to keep yourself going. One look of sympathy to heal yourself. One gesture of acknowledgment to feel worthy. Their one moment prevented the Working Man from giving in. It made the Beggar wake up the next day and not become dog food. It made them work through the day, through the noise, through the beatings, and through the seclusion, towards survival. And it was all just a matter of chance in one split moment.

Error Success