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Michael.



  He was the quintessential roadside Romeo. Or, that's how he presented himself to the world, and to the girls. Flirting with the girls,  impressing them with his Bollywood-y histrionics! Alas, for all the acts he tried pulling off, not one girl gave him  a second look! For, he was just another beggar, who didn't even own a hut! What good would he be to them?

  He barely owned a few rags, most of which he had rummaged through the roadside garbage bins. But, he wore those with an elan that could put the hoity-toity super-rich kids to shame. And, the chutzpah that he wrapped around himself, well, not one person had the audacity to snigger at him when he walked the streets!

  A cracked pocket mirror was his constant companion and he would pleasure himself by peeping into it all day long, styling his  dirty, long hair, or, beaming at the mole he had under his left eye, and in general, preening like a peacock. That was all he did all day long. He didn't have anything better to do with his time, now, did he? I mean, he was just another beggar, roaming the streets of Mumbai. And, we know, how the city people know better than to throw a look of pity at those asking for alms!

 He called himself Michael, after, of course,  THE Michael Jackson, the  "guy who danced on the moon," or so he boasted to the other beggar boys. He had gaped at the singer's poster once, outside a hair-cutting salon, and instantly placed him on a pedestal. And, the pose...how he rehearsed for hours to get that pose of Michael J. on tiptoes with his designer hat in his hands as he froze at the end of his performance!

 That pose had become our Michael's trademark, and every time he received a few coins from some kindhearted passersby, he would thank them thus: he would let out a squeaky , "Oww!" and pose on his toes, his ragged hat in his hand and a mischievous glint in his eyes. The entire act would leave his audience first stunned and then guffawing, leaving Michael  with a complacent look in his happy, brown eyes, and his chest all puffed up with pride!

 But, that was then - almost twenty years ago. Now, Michael was older, mellower and in a condition worst than he ever had been in. Of course, how worse can a beggar's life get with time?! But, he definitely was in a bad shape. A bad road accident had left him limping and unable to roam the streets, which left him feeling miserable. Sigh. What could he possibly do? All he did, was sit on the footpath by the traffic signal, and beg for alms from the hurrying passersby.

  Even then, despite being ravaged by life's tribulations and losing the charisma he owned back then, he hadn't completely lost his spark. He still tried his best at mimicking his idol. He still managed to lay his hands on the discards he found in the overflowing bins (most of which he managed to gather from the rich neighbourhoods) and he still had that glint in the eyes that smiled when he got the attention he craved for.

  He would leave home everyday, dressed in his finest designer discards, drag himself to his favourite spot on his favourite footpath and cajole the public to drop a coin or two in his bowl. And, the moment some one did pay heed and give in to his sweet talk, he would hold onto the nearby pole, haul himself up on his good leg and manage to stand painstakingly on his toes. Then, holding his hat in his hand, he would smile his mischievous smile and give out a squeaky, "Owww!", a la MJ, and receive the heartening applause that he had survived on for all these years.


The above fictional piece has been written for Wordy Wednesday.

This week's prompt: Picture Prompt.






Comments

  1. Aha! Simply loved your interpretation of this unique picture, Shilpa. Very creative story and so apt too!

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  2. Wow! Such a lovely tale weaved from the prompt Shilpa. Loved it.

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    1. Thank you Reema! Thank you for stopping by!

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  3. This made me a little sad yet I loved Michael's spirit.

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    1. Isn't it what we all ought to emulate, Tulika? The never-say-die spirit!

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  4. This reminded me of Dev Anand look alike in my neighborhood when I was growing up. From his clothing to the way he spoke and walked...it was perfect imitation. Although he wasn't a better but not a rich person either. Beautifully written Shilpa.

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    1. There are a countless clones out there, Raj! We just need to look carefully and we will come across some impersonator! :)

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  5. Such a beautiful post Shilpa. Could see the images unfold in front of my eyes.

    The impact some people create in our lives... Long live the King of Pop!

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    1. Yes, Vishal...long live the King of Pop! :)

      Thank you for stopping by!

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  6. Awesome......the guy who danced on the moon and the guy who has no roof.....a glaring gap bridged so remarkably.....very well done....!

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    1. That's an angle I failed to look at, Sunaina! I just thought about the kind of miserable life the man on the streets leads and yet aims for the stars! :)
      Thank you!

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  7. Such a beautifully penned tale, Shipla!! A lovely take on the prompt.

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  8. Hey Shilpa, that was fantastic story-telling! I could clearly visualize the young ragamuffin Michael doing his trademark Ooww!! So sad for him. A brilliant take on the prompt!

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    1. Thank you Kala! It was an attempt at fiction I had been putting off for quite a while! Glad it came out pretty okay! :P

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  9. I am a big fan of MJ. I like the phrase "designer discards" In Mumbai, MJ is Maai-ka-laal Jaikishan no? Hehehe. Well written Ships!

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    1. Hehe..yes, Vids, he is Mai-ka-laal Jaikisen....
      Thank you, sweetie!

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  10. Michael sure takes every day as it comes.... touch life indeed but appreciate that he does have that glint each day.... Lovely interpretation shilpa.

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    1. Thank you, Ramya!
      It's just something I wanted to learn to do - live life in spite of it all...and with a glint of mischief in my eyes instead of sorrow and worries!

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  11. Wow! Kudos to you for such an accurate ketch of the beggar - I could see him while reading this and his quirks and behaviour are also very well etched. Very creative take on the prompt for sure.

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