There was an old man, about a century old, at our main gate . He looked sickly and for a six year old child maybe, scary too. His skin was dark and it seemed as if his face would disappear any moment inside the folds of his wrinkles. My gaze dropped because I was scared to meet his gaze. Maybe, I was also scared of exposing my repulsion on my face. I nodded without looking at him. I nodded till I knew that I had communicated that father was home and then without daring to look up to him I ran inside to my father. He was sitting with my mother in our courtyard with his cup of tea in one hand and a pen in another. He was speaking something about the various angles in the triangle. I could understand because I had heard him often enough. I sat on the floor beside him staring at his face and leaned towards him hugging his legs. Once he had finished explaining my brother I told him about the visitor. He glanced at me top to bottom of my face questioningly as he kept the cup on the table and stood to leave. On his way to the main gate he put on his shirt.
He was a tall man with really long legs and no matter how much I tried I could never keep up with his pace. I hid behind his dhoti when he opened the main gate for the visitor. The old man was wearing torn slippers and his foot was cracked from all angles. I kept my eyes lowered thinking daddy would not entertain him for too long. There was no reason to. But instead, he invited him in and offered him to sit in our drawing room before he could start his talking. It is then that I decide to look at him on his face. I though I should and I could because now he was in my territory and I was with my father. He couldn’t harm me. I was too safe for his sick intentions. He seemed too reluctant to sit on the chair. He went to sit on the floor at the entrance. I liked the distance he maintained from me and my dad. But quite surprisingly, daddy walked to him and held him by the arm and made him sit beside him. He sat shrunken on the sofa as if trying to accommodate himself in the least possible area. Papa asked me to go and fetch some tea and snacks for the guest.
Before this, my world was divided into two parts- rich and poor. The rich were always good-looking, refined, desirable and cultured while the poor were villainous, vile, ugly, harmful and potential criminals. I learnt my lesson from my dad and it was a lesson he practiced all his life. Poor depraved people needed more care and love because they were little less lucky unlike their rich counterparts. But, they were grateful people who were capable of feeling gratitude and never hesitated to show it.