Tuesday, June 24, 2003


He looked dashing in his "army uniform". Standing on the other side of the street with the palm of his left hand resting on his hips, he inspected every single inch of the nearby area. A serious and responsible expression for the well being of his surrounding was painted on his face. Then he moved sturdily and crossed the street. He turned his head to the right side and inspected this part as well; every single dust on the street could not escape from his suspicious eyes.

Close to where he stood, a crowd of children were playing "kasti". The crowd of children had been playing since two o'clock when the sun was right at the top of the world. They occupied almost a third of the length of the street for the game. Every now and then they had to stop for a while to avail the streets for the traffic. As they screamed and yelled, the sound penetrated the houses and creeping into every bedroom, disturbing the afternoon naps of the neighbourhood. The odour of their sweat, the excitement, the noise and the dusty street gave its own characteristic flavour to the street.

Another two houses further up from where the game was held, standing a group of men and women at the curb of the street. A visitor might be amazed to find out that the crowd gather for nothing, but to socialize, a sort of an afternoon teatime in England. Most of them were still in their office uniform. They watched the children playing while title tattling about their neighbours, politics, love, or any topics that come across their crowded mind. Once in a while when the game was reaching the peak of its excitement they stopped and supported their favourite team or criticized any player that failed to contribute points to the team.

Nobody paid much attention to the army man. However, they were aware that he was around, considering that they made a lot of attempts to block the ball from flying to his direction. The army man once again turned his head to the right side. This time his gaze was glued to this side. He must have spotted something. Slowly he slid out from the bench and stood, he gave a precautious look as he watched an ice peddler pushing his cart forward through the crowd of kids.

The iceman finally managed to break through the crowd and passed in front of the army man. He waved his hand to the iceman and requested a chocolate flavoured ice. He got back to his bench with the chocolate ice in his hand. His eyes turned big and wide every time he slurped the ice slowly and passionately. He was enjoying every single drop of the ice that went down through his throat. As he arrived to the very best part of the ice, the part covered by frozen fudge, all of a sudden, a wild ball flew into his direction and hit the ice in his hand. The ice splattered into his face. His thunderous loud cry broke the afternoon air. The crowd was startled and remained frozen for seconds. Everyone automatically turned his or her head toward him. A lady bursted out of the crowd on the spur of the moment and ran to her 4-year-old kid in his army uniform. He was crying loudly with melted chocolate ice covering his face.

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