Sunday, May 15, 2016

Eyes ...they speak

"Hello... Anandashram" the lady on the other side responded as Kannan called
"Madam, Kannan here... day after is Diwali and I would like to come with some crackers and have dinner with the children"
Kannan could feel the smile on the face of the Matron as it was more of a regular affair whenever Kannan was in town.
"Sure... how many of you would be there"
"Three or four of us... and how about ice creams for the children... is it okay" replied Kannan
"Great... there would be around 40 of them" was the reply
Ok. then" Kannan smiled and hung up.

Be it birthdays or cultural or religious, Kannan had a special way of celebrating those special days. Festivals had a very special place in Kannan's heart. Apart from the celebrations with the family, Kannan found more happiness in donating blood for those who are in need, or celebrating it with those not so privileged, at Anandashram, to have a celebration. It was Diwali and Kannan's celebration would not be complete without celebrations at Anandasharam with the children there. It was not an orphanage but a home for the underprivileged. Many children there, had both their parents alive but the economic conditions would not let them live together. The trust was taking care of them with the help from the affluent in the society who would give donations or used clothes or any material  
needs of the home.  

Arrangements were made for the ice creams to be delivered in the evening, ensuring Diwali to be special again. Kannan reached the home for the children when the sun was setting and giving a amber hue to the skies...before it would turn dark to enjoy the spectacle of fire crackers. The whole city was still in the celebration of Diwali, crackers went off here and there giving the city a misty happiness with smoke and the smell of firecrackers and the sounds of the crackers, which was so very peculiar for Diwali. With eyes closed anyone could say that it was Diwali. 

But the doors of the Ashram lead to the silence, there were no celebrations inside the narrow corridors or the open area inside. The dim walkways had the benches ready for the dinner, where on the ring of the bell, children would come and sit as per the discipline of the ashram. The lights were on, but dim, hiding the excitement of Diwali. Kannan stood there with arms wide  open and two huge bags in his hands full of crackers for them. With his salt and pepper beard and long hair, the golden evening sky cast the golden yellow shade on him and he looked more like a Santa Claus who has come in  disguise to celebrate Diwali. He was a package of love in Long white kurta and Khakhi pants, soft canvas shoes and the smile on his face seeing the children washed with the fading sunlight. As soon as they saw Kannan, children of different ages ran to Kannan as they knew it’s time for celebrations. 

The children did not have new dresses, as the privileged would have. They did not have the best of the best looks. But they had one thing in common. Their smiles. Their love in their eyes. They rushed to Kannan like a swarm of bees towards a flower. They wanted just a hug and a smile. That was their celebration. The feeling of being wanted, the feeling of being able to celebrate in their own simple ways. Kannan joined the children as one of them. The middle aged man turned to be a kid with them, getting the crackers out of the bag, giving them boxes of sparkles to start off. Flower pots, rockets and all that could bring more smiles to the faces of the children came out of the bags as if it was a Pandora’s box. 

All but a little boy was standing away from the crowd. A light blue colored T shirt dulled and out of size, which would have been from the lot which people donate once they feel it is not fresh enough to be worn, torn blue shorts which looked neatly washed but spoke its age, tanned skin but still shiny bright face, which had eyes that kept looking at Kannan with the other kids. His hair was well oiled and parted well, combed to perfection. The eyes seemed to be moist with  tears but he was not crying. They had an element of sadness to them. The lips were wanting to say something but silent. Vishnu was standing near the benches in the corridor. The hands were holding the pillar of the verandah in a reverse hug, as if someone had tied him to the pillar. There was a mole on his cheek which  was more a beauty spot, for his charming young looks. He seemed to be better than the characters as in Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens.

"Come Vishnu... come" said Kannan

He ran towards Kannan as if he was waiting to hear those words from him. Over the years, every celebration at Anandashram, Vishnu and Kannan shared a special bond. A bond which has no name attached to it. Kannan took out a box of colored sparkles, took two and lit both. Handed one to Vishnu and lit the kept the other for himself.  They both smiled with one hand hugging each other and the other holding the sparkle. The smile on Vishnu's face was brighter than the burning sparkle. 

There was fun, dancing, singing and fireworks which changed the open spaces in the ashram to a festive ground. The sparkles had colors of joy bursting out with more life than it is when the same was at home. There was life inside the ashram with Diwali . The noise, smoke and the joyful screams of excitement settled in a while. It was dinner time and all sat down on the old wooden benches. Smiles added more flavor to the food. The sweets brought more smiles to the children. The ice-cream cups were cups of joy for them. The skies were being lit up by the crackers all around. Those were the colors of love as Kannan and Vishnu watched them together. Kannan was watching the skies when he felt a hand pat on his legs. Vishnu standing there, and it was his slender hands...

"Can I sing a song for you uncle" asked Vishnu
Kannan went on his knees to the young boy and hugged him and said
"Will you sing for me?"
He smiled and started singing a song from one of the recent movie...
"Kanneer poovinte kavilil thalodi ...."
As he sang the small face with a smile was at its best. Vishnu's eyes.... Kannan could not stop looking at those eyes. Bright and wide open, had a spark of  
happiness in it. 

"The best spectacle for Diwali..." Kannan thought for a second
Finishing the song Vishnu stopped for a moment before everyone around him, all the children, the matron and every single soul applauded to appreciate the singing. The claps sounded like the best crackers for Diwali ever. Kannan still on his knees couldn’t stop himself from hugging Vishnu. 

"Uncle..." Vishnu called as Kannan was getting up
"Yes Vishnu" Kannan leaned down to the little boy.
"I don’t want to go home for holiday... will you tell the matron aunty" pleaded Vishnu
"Why ... why don’t you want to go home" asked Kannan caringly.
"My acha (Malayalam for father) is bad... he beats my amma (Malayalam for mother)... He beats me too... he is bad..."
The words after that pierced Kannan's heart, Vishnu's prayer wishing his father dead. Too much for a child like Vishnu to say. 

The celebration was over and Kannan was leaving. He saw Vishnu stand away from everyone in a corner and smile at him. He waved with his hands but felt as if his heart was bidding farewell to Kannan. His drive back home was with only one sight in mind. The eyes. Vishnu's bright eyes. The eyes which spoke volumes than the words he spoke. The joy in simple things which gave a sparkle in the eyes. The eyes that spoke so much. Even after reaching home Kannan could only hear Vishnu singing and see only those eyes. Kannan could never feel that the incident haunts him, but it never went away from his heart. After dinner at home when everyone in the city was still celebrating Diwali with the fireworks that remained Kannan sat down on his desk with the table lamp on. He opened the diary where he used to jot down once in a while... a few lines that came from his heart.

"I saw the eyes that spoke more than the lips. I saw the eyes which had tears but never let them out. I saw the eyes and learned something new ... that I never gave a thought till date

Eyes... they are with us throughout our lives, the mothers eyes that fill with tears of joy seeing you smile, seeing you walk, seeing you grow, seeing you achieve, they speak without words, they make you think. The eyes of a father looking at what needs to be done for his children, the eyes that strain themselves to give the little happiness for his family, the eyes that look for the best for them. They communicate without languages, they love without saying. The eyes make us love, they express what is in the heart which the lips never reveal. The eyes of friends that always follow you to keep you safe. The eyes that never see what  
they don’t want to see....The eyes have been a part of the world we see.

The moments when I wake up to see Amma smiling with a coffee for me
The moments on Sunday when my eyes see Appa coming back from walk
The moments when Akka comes out of the airport and the eyes keep searching for me
The moments when Ammamma could see no more
The moments when her eyes went emotionless... leaving memories behind
The sparkle in the eyes of Thatha when he prays every morning and night
The moments of naughtiness in the eyes during childhood
The eyes that wait to see your loved ones
The moments of love in the eyes....

Thoughts kept taking Kannan to a different world, a world of vision with the eyes of the heart. 

"See more... till you see no more" thus finished Kannan. The drop of tear which was gifted by Vishnu still rested on the corner of the eye. Kannan wiped it and  
closed his eyes for the night... wishing to see happiness in the sad world the next morning.

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