He was almost limping, leaving off a trail of blood. He trudged forward moving first his left foot and dragging the right one. His face was shrouded with the darkness of the unforgiving night. Ajeeho could smell sweat clinging to his scrawny beard.He had come to the crossing.The busy crossing was bare at this time and no street dog dare cross his path.Just a few steps across the road and he would find home.Mother would forgive him and bangdage his torn leg, give him love and make him warm.His mother had warned him that his eccentricity would cost him.She was forgiving unlike the city that did not care.
This day was a lifetime of achievement summed up in a package for Ajeeho. Ajeeho was a cleaning boy. He cleaned all filth with graceful strokes of his equipments.His hands moved swiftly to clean ugly stains off cursed toilets, but his mother warned him of his eccentricity.
Ajeeho liked shapes and his brain was flooded with artistic ingenuity.It all happened a year back when he was cleaning a public toilet in 5th avenue.He was sweeping the floor with brash strokes of his long wooden broom to whose end was the wet cloth clinging.The public toilet floors made eerie shapes with halogen effects filtered through the dingy window sills.He started making colours in the darkness. His colours being aided by nauseating stench which he would clean eventually once work was finished.Work had to be finished first.He had to see his painting first.It was then that he had the urge for red.Red mixed with light from the streets and the tinge of mossy green brought his paintings to life. And this red was his own.
This night he reached the zenith of his expertise.He got a magnificient shadow perking as a human face looking skywards.And his canvas was exquisite red yellow and halogen washed with the odour of poverty.He was doing himself, rising from filth to fame.He was painting his future.But it lacked something.He was weak with loss of blood so he lashed at his thigh and brought his leg to action.Every time he let go it inflicted terror and anguish in him.The pain made him alive and he had two brushes now, the leg and his broom, and he painted like fiery heaven.Who would have seen the glint of bone in the darkness.
"Ajeeho my boy!!! what have you done??"
"Mom I lived life today , I did my work well"
"Are you mad? You will die you son of a bitch.Who is there left for me, I shall now perish too"
"Mom I love to paint and my stinky job gave me allowance for this. I painted to keep my soul alive. I painted with the filth of people, and i achieved glory in my own sweet way mom. Be proud of me Mom"
He look a painful lingering step forward and his Mom shrieked death as loud as a blistering hurricane.
In the moonlight from the corner of his eyes Ajeeho could make out the shimmering glint of bone from thigh down.