Source: Mostafa Mahmoudi on Unsplash

It’s 8 am now, the hustling and bustling of the busy city of Calcutta had just begun. With the reopening of a couple of shops, vendors busy in their own stuff, and office seekers and school children on their way, there stands an early morning picturesque as usual. But, in the midst of the busy morning street, there stands a man; with white painted designed mask being worn on his face, something like a round red coloured ball placed on his nose, green and purple coloured hair and wearing multi-coloured yet dirty costume; he stands and entertains all. He is a joker. For a straight couple of minutes now, I have been watching him from the other side of the street. He’s trying hard to entertain everyone to earn a few pennies. But hardly anyone cares to see his performance. Everybody is busy with their own stuff.

It's one hour now. And in due course, a handful of sympathetic people gave him a penny or two. As the hours passed by, he got exhausted and stopped. Now he’s heading towards that old man’s eatery, hoping to get something for lunch. Alas! He ended up in receiving gruesome behaviour and digested innumerable filthy words being blabbed out by the commuters and also the shop owner itself before giving him two stale rotis and tarka. But he didn’t speak anything and gobbled his food by sitting at the corner of the street. That was only for lunch!

As the dusk fell, he again performed at the same place for an hour or two before ending up for getting himself freed for the day’s long hectic work. He headed on towards a small narrow lane and turned left towards the field. I followed him back and stopped him near the field. “Excuse me Sir!”, I asked. He turned and looked back slowly, but made no eye contact, he was bowing down his head. I approached and asked, “What’s your name Sir?... You look extremely tired! How long have you been doing this work?...Okay, May I help you?....And also Can I see your face, Sir?”. He slowly raised his face with utter force, and remaining silent, he removed his mask. Oh God!, he seemed to be a very old man, with dark patched bruises at the right of his face. Then, with all his strength, he spoke a few words, very slowly, pausing between words; he said “My name is Joker. My real name has been dissolved with the accident of my family, which killed all except me. I used to work as a servant at a landowner’s farmland. But one day, when I argued to raise my salary and to provide a better shelter for living, he got infuriated and mercilessly splashed the warm tea on my face and beat me badly to such an extent till I started to bleed profusely. In due course, I received this bruise and lost one eye. But now I’m 85 and want to die. I can’t stand more, cause it’s the fifth day and my fever got worsened, please let me free.” I stood stumbled, bewildered to horror at his wretched and pitiable conditions. I immediately brought him medicines and due to no availability of doctors, I thought to call the next morning. But, sadly at the next morning, people gathered beside his tiny little tent, only to be found that he was no more.

I know he will be burned; with no one to weep upon. People will forget the strenuous and hectic deed that he carried out daily only in the hope of earning a few more pennies but to avail. But the question is, “Isn’t it really worth to lend a helping hand and to help this man out there? “Isn’t it worth spending a few more money to provide a better shelter and arrange at least the basic necessities for his living?

Perhaps we the human society are drowned under our own grudge, envy, and pseudo-proud, that keeps us blindfolded from the stark reality around us. His real harsh life lay behind the mask; unknown to everyone except me. While the people only kept judging by his outlook. If they had only seen the Joker’s real struggling life behind his mask, then he could probably be staying with us in a better way.

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