Tuesday, April 22, 2014

                             THE OLD MAN AND HIS OLDER REMINGTON

 The other day I was at Tees Hazari , Delhi in connection with some legal matter and was required to submit  an application post haste.

Bereft of the support of a Computer /Printer I looked around, searching for some one free and unoccupied   from among  those busy   in the innumerable,   miniscule open cubicals   displaying Court Marriage, Affidavit and such sundry jobs  on small  boards, lining the  narrow road.

The  heavy traffic plying  in both directions, making walking  across  on my wobbly legs a dangerous proposition, still I make  slow haste towards one, who appears to be free and without business, hoping to get the job completed quickly.

 Next to his seat, under the same shed, a Court Marriage was being solemnised. The  young couple, the bride in her finery, possibly, self made-up and dressed, as there was no one accompanying  them,  were  setting up   on a journey,  with hope and love ,  in un-chartered waters and  an uncertain future : what are their aspirations and worries, forgetting my on immediate concern for  a moment , I wonder. I did congratulate her as they rushed past, possibly too involved in her own thoughts, to be aware of the surroundings, thee was no response.

He  happens to be an old man with an even older Remington typewriter, possibly a family heirloom handed down  from generation to generation,  on rickety table, next to it  is   a stack of files, possibly containing templates  of the various  legal documents in demand for typing.  Both are an aberration, in the company of young operators, with computer/printers, around and stand like a sore thumb.

 Distracted briefly, by the happenings nearby, I quickly draft the required matter, in my nearly illegible hand and  not only    have to dictate but, due to his rudimentary knowledge of English, also spell most of the words.

 Despite his age, his typing skills appear to be that of a beginner, with no delete /insert facility and apparently no whitener available, I have to be content with what ever he could and did  produce.

A wise man nonetheless, with the going rate being per typed page, I notice, he has typed in double space, trying to stretch the matter on as many pages as possible.

 The typed page now in my hand I query

“How much”

“Rupees Twenty “he replies.

 With the business settled amicably I leave wondering as to how many such Rs 20 he will earn in the day to subsist upon


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