On the dry scorcher of a Sunday afternoon, I came across Aslan near Udyog Bhawan Metro Station.
Dusty July roads were yet to be dampened by the scanty rains that the Capital earned and stray leaves flitted around in an occasional dry breeze. Metro and its surroundings were devoid of commuters with all offices closed shut. Green sentry boxes by bungalow gates were empty, their dopey occupants lying in front of the whizzing large coolers inside. Monkeys dozed away on the trees, waiting for the sun to go down.
Standing outside the metro waiting for a rickshaw on that desolate day, I found him walking across with none of the grace that his picture in my mind carried. Apart from that, he was still the same Aslan, huge with the gilded skin.
“Afternoon,” he said with a frigid sadness, the voice still sinewy. “I wish it had been a good one,” he added and licked few tiny blobs of blood on his legs. “Dogs...” he paused and continued after cleaning the bare wounds for a while that looked like ugly tattoo patches on his perfect skin, “those infernal street dogs.”
He curled himself down on the exit of the Metro where the excess treated cold air from down below bunked out. When the silence started getting a bit awkward, I asked, “Don’t they get scared?” He looked at me for a while and replied, “No. They probably think I’m a plump calf.” Raising himself up, he said, maybe to himself, “got to leave before the monkeys get down”.
He walked away in the evening sun, the leaves and the dust.
Image courtesy: www.randyelrod.com