The Common Man – 365 Flash Fiction #46

“Are you one…?” The question was to him… he looked around but could not see anyone…. he continued to walk…

“Are you a common man..?” The question was more clear this time… but still no sight of who has been asking it…. He turned around… the few people he saw near by did not even notice him and obviously were not owners of the question.. he continued to walk…

“Are you not a common man..?” The question seemed to come from more than one person this time… he looked at the guy who just went past him in his cycle…. he decided to sit on the nearby bench and watch the people around… may be he could find the person or people throwing this questions at him….

He looked at the street vendor selling vegetables and few people standing in the front examining, bargaining and purchasing…. as he was doing his work his little son stood next to him and helped him in getting stuffs in the small way he could…

He watched one of the guys from the looks appeared to a be a school teacher who bought some vegetables and walked ahead and stopped in front of a couple with their kid… probably his student and her parents….

He looked at a few parked auto rickshaws on the side road waiting for passengers and as the first auto left the next one is pushed ahead by the driver and he waited as his passenger arrives… he watched at the people getting in and moving.. He saw the cyclist had stopped by them and talking to the drivers… They seem to know each other very well…

As they spoke his eyes wandered to the bench adjacent his where a young couple were sitting and watching the sunset… the guy had his hand on the girl’s shoulders and the girl was taking peanuts from a bag and giving to him…. they seemed to be happy and in the sunset they seemed to see sunrise and a new beginning…

He smiled.. he too felt good.. his attention was immediately taken by a group of street kids who came running that way.. one kid eldest among them.. still too small to light a cigarette puffing away to glory as he spoke to his friends…. he could not clearly hear what they were saying… but they were laughing and in a merry mood…

In a far corner there was a blind man sitting on the foot path counting footsteps with a towel in the front… he has seen the man before…. but this is the first time he took the pains to notice….

he did not think if any of these folks had asked him the question… because they did not even notice him sitting there…. He turned and looked at the direction where the cyclist had gone… he was far but still visible…

He then saw a car speeding ahead and went past the cyclist leaving him off his balance and straight on to the ground…. he could hear the sound and then he could see all the people around him running towards the cyclist.. The street vendor, the people who were buying stuff from the vendor….. the kids, the young couple and many others whom he had failed to notice even during this time.. even the blind man got up and made his way in the direction of the sound…

He sat there looking at the crowd surrounding the cyclist…. he then looked around and found he was alone…. everyone around his vicinity had moved towards the cyclist…. There was no one next to him… he again heard the voice…

“Sorry sir…. I got my answer… you are not a common man…. you are a selfish man…. “ He looked all around into the vacuum around him… the voice continued “Look closely even the man in the car that sped stopped a few yards away and came back to check on the cyclist… and you remain where you are… indifferent… you cannot be a common man… because common man cannot be indifferent…. please carry on with your life… alone…”

He looked at the auto stand and all the auto rickshaws were vacant… as if life had stopped for some time in front of him…. He walked up to first auto rickshaw and looked into its rear view mirror….. He sat in the driver’s seat for some time trying to reconnect with his own voice and the voice came one last time and vanished with its last words
“the common man is a state of mind and you do not have it…”

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Categories: 365 Flash Fiction, Flash Fiction, Stories

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