There lived an old man above my floor. He was always banging on my door. He shouted, he screamed at the noise I made, he hated the loud music I played. The old man told me, “Son, don’t drink so much; you’ve completely ruined your life as such. Alcohol and cigarettes and drugs they’ll kill. They’re means of escape, your soul they won’t fill.” I told him, “Old man go about your work, my life already is a big knee jerk. I do what I do so I can cope. I can’t go through the day without my fix of dope.” He told me again, “Son, I too had a boy like you, with a smile bewitching and eyes ever so blue. Then he stuck a needle in his arm, and that was end of his baby charm. He took a swig from that glass, then last I saw my little boy, was under six feet of grass.”
I turned him away, with many a swear, with many a shout and cuss. The old man, he finally went away after having made quite a fuss!
I thought to myself what a silly old man, didn’t he have a job? What sort of a fool could come down to my door and tell me off like a snob. What made him better than me? I’m sure he had his own flaws. His teeth were stained in tobacco and his nails looked like claws. His beard smelled of smoke and he breathed whiskey. His hygiene had gone out of the door and his health bordered on risky. Maybe, I reasoned, it was his son, whose death had made him so. Maybe it was the sorrow and pain that I saw etched on his eyebrow. Every time he came to talk, I saw his eyes light up a bit. Maybe I’d been too rough on him, that old man who I’d almost hit. I went up and knocked on his door, the old man opened it and stood before. I apologised for shouting and told him sorry, he called me inside and told me his story.
We shared a few beers and had a good laugh, of the old man I couldn’t get enough. He was smart, he was witty and he knew lots, about history and films and failed assassination plots. The old man and I got along fine, over many a crate of beer and a full bottle of wine. I guess he really did miss his little boy, our talks did give him some joy.
One day I went to the old man’s door. To my display, I found him on the floor. My old man was dead, and he’d knock nevermore.
Sketch By: Aurnaub Bose