Wearing a brown cap, green sweatshirt, and jeans he walks around tirelessly. The man is long-haired, bearded, and bleary, strolling across the community. The footpaths would have the imprints of his shoes which are almost torn out because of his incessant walking.
I usually see him for more than three or four times a day. He keeps walking and walking and like a magician he disappears into some building. I have often thought “isn’t he getting tired because of this constant walking?”
I saw him for the first time three-four months back. After repeatedly seeing him on the same day, I thought he would be doing his workout but as days passed, he on the same and tattered dress and on much colder weather I understood he wasn’t well. One day as I was coming out of the grocery store, as I was about to place the trolley back in its place, I heard someone shouting when I turned, I saw him sitting there on the floor. I understood that he was shouting at me but without showing many reactions I came to the car and loaded it with my purchase. On the way back home I thought of him, how he was sitting there, his torn-out dress. While I was thinking about him, my brain started associating him with similar cases which I had come across while I was working in the mental hospital and how much I missed those days. Days passed by, I kept seeing him walking around, shouting at, slapping, or hitting someone who was not actually there, might be he was hallucinating that someone was going to hurt him.
Recently, one of my friends drew his picture and posted on Facebook with a beautiful
narration of how people are reacting to this man’s presence in the community. Some
are agitated that the cops are not taking proper actions even after the complaint is
raised, some are disturbed and apprehensive about sending the kids outside that if he
might cause some danger to the little ones, while others being humane about his condition and feeling sorry for him. After reading his post, I commented on how I could relate to the moms in the group. It is not that I’m not compassionate enough to feel sorry for the man but at that moment it was the “mom” in me who was active.
It is interesting to see how people think differently about the same person. The Mom in me considered him as a potential threat to my kids when they go outside to play, the psychologist in me associated him with different clinical words that he would fit in considering the symptoms he is showing and the humane side of me felt sorry for the homeless guy and wondered why he is not taken to a shelter. Of the three sides, who dominates, depends on the circumstance I’d be in. If I’m with my kids, then the “mom” controls my thinking, or if I’m alone either of the other two takes control.
That is how the human mind works, it may look intricate but it is as simple as that. Depending on the situation we are in, everyone is right when looked from their side. All have an arrogant, suspicious, anxious side and a humane, compassionate side as well. The suspiciousness or arrogance in me doesn’t make me an inhumane or uncompassionate person. I would be right when you look from my perspective.
Despite all the chaos he created in our head, without knowing anything that is happening around him, a WhatsApp group actively discussing him, someone drawing his picture, someone writing this long article about him, poor thing he is still walking as if he is finishing a race. It was then from my writing desk, I saw him passing by, unconsciously bringing a smile on me asking him silently “hey, by the way, who are you” taking my this much time…..