Thursday, January 8, 2009

Shanthi Srikanth


I’d been lying there, somewhere in that  huge pile, with my pals – some like me, some better,more colourful, & some ….rather modest, just functional. I’d not stopped dreaming my favorite dream. I wanted to get out of the monstrous pile; it was stifling in there, with no identity of my own. How would it be, i always wondered, to occupy the pride of place, right at the main door, in some human being’s  house, may be an office, a hospital, … whatever. By the way, isn’t this the species that believes that cleanliness is next to godliness ? And , who better than me to help them take those first boots, ouchhhh, I mean, those first steps?
They say every dog has his day and something told me that today was going to be mine. You see, I have not only the five senses ( that of feel being the strongest) but  the so called sixth sense too.
Well, it was 10 in the morning , time for all of us to be piled up outside the store, almost on the footpath. I could feel people walking up and down , to and fro, but no one seemed to stop by. Was it going to be one of those normal days for me, I thought. A young lady walked past our pile, came back , made some conversation with my caretaker, and went away. Several more came to the store for reasons other than what i was waiting for.
It was late in the evening.
The sun was about to set, the lights had come on and a cool  breeze was blowing. My mind was anything but cool, what with the sixth sense turning out to be a non sense! And then , it happened. An old, grumpy lady walked into the store. She’ll pick up something else, I thought. But, even as I was giving up on myself, I found her  being led toward my pile. She sized us all up and down , up and down, ….And, I felt a tug. She was actually pulling me out.
Wow! What a breath of fresh, cool air. Why had i been denied this all these days.?.
Not fair , i  said to myself.
Anyway, she had a heated discussion with my caretaker after which the snooty creature, I mean my caretaker, parted with me. With a song on my lips, nay, permeating my whole being, i began my journey breezing  past other stores, meandering through the parking lot, to end up in the boot of an old, rickety car!
A long, bumpy ride and then the car screeched to a halt. I continued to dream and dream, but i was rudely woken up from my reverie when i was lifted off the boot and flung on to that pride of place, the main door of the lady’s home with such a thud that sent every speck of dust flying in all directions…..only to land pat on me a few seconds later. After all , these specks and  even mounds sometimes, were to be my companions, on and off. I had finally arrived. My new life, one that i’d been craving for, had begun.
Many people came and went, generously leaving bootfuls on me. The more they left the more i got beaten the next day- when the maid came in,… as if it was my fault. All i had asked for and dreamt was to remain in that all- important place, all by myself, away from the stifling pile. This beating was not something i’d bargained I was happiest when no one visited the old lady and was the most miserable when it rained. I was used everyday, almost…. But abused  every weekend, almost. Some admired me for all the drubbing i was capable of taking , some cursed me – they thought i was an eyesore. 
It’s been almost five years since I landed here at the kind old lady’s front door. Anyway, to cut the long story short, it’s been a huge, bootilicous experience. Some have been very gentle on me with their boots, some have been rather harsh on me- almost booted me with their dirty boots on; the naughty boys have ignored me only to be booted by the old lady, ( she sincerely believes that cleanliness thing ), the society ladies with nose up in the air have grilled their heeled boots, stilletoes into me …. By far, the grumpy old lady has been the best and the most gentle . Or, is it because she has  a plan up her boots, to save some rupees on another like me?. Whatever it is, people may kick me, shove me, abuse me, beat the life out of me ( oh! that cleanliness thing again) , stamp on me, but they can’t ignore me. For, I’m the one  and only one to welcome them in ,because I’m the dear old indispensable DOORMAT!!!!!!

(Next to a door, near a doormat)

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