The dawn

Essay by ashmaton December 2006

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The time, passed midnight on a wintry December night. The place, a desolate "ghat" on the banks of Ganges. The place was absolutely quiet except the sound of the ripples striking the cobbled steps and almost imperceptible rustle of the night air. A few dogs could be spotted curling up beside the ash still warm although the fire had long extinguished. If you pan your vision you could see nobody but your eyes would suddenly get stuck on a desolate lonely figure stretching on the cast iron bench. He was a man probably in his mid twenties, a dilapidated frame with disheveled hair and uncut beard. His eyes were fixed with a meaningless stare on the ever rolling waters. Suddenly with almost a lunge forward he stood up as if he was in blind haste to do a job very urgently. He took his first step but was startled to feel the hand of somebody on his shoulder.

He looked over his shoulder. In the oblique light of the street lamp he picked up a senile figure with snow white flowing beards and hair. His perched half lit face showed all the signs of virtue. On his pursed lips he picked up an assuring smile as if he was his acquaintance. "Why have you taken such a desperate decision to suicide?" he asked straight away without any circumlocution. This made the young man almost petrified with amazement. "Wh...Who are you?" he stammered, "and why have you come to bother me?" he pronounced with a weak note of defiance. With a very gentle pull the old man made the young man retrace his steps and coaxed him to sit on the bench.

Paritosh, the young man, felt himself almost in a state of trance. Quite abruptly he allowed his long...