They found him, a bundle of rags covering his impoverished body, lying on the pavement. Flies buzzed around his filthy body but did not seem to bother him. They shook him from his drunken stupor and lifted him to his feet. He said something but his drunken slur made it inaudible. He reeked of alcohol and human filth. They tried to pry away the bottle of cheap alcohol that was clutched to his chest but he wouldn’t let go. His wife held him by the waist as he propped his arm over her shoulder. The twelve year old girl looked up at the poverty stricken alcoholic who was her father and clutched at his shirt sleeve. Together they led him towards the slum where they lived.
On the way they had to cross a busy road. It was not as if the road was narrow but simply crowded. There was a constant stream of traffic coming from either way. Today it was more crowded than usual. There was a cow standing in the middle of the road that was refusing to budge. This did not help the temper of the people who were travelling. In one such car was a little boy riding shotgun beside his father. His unwary eyes followed the progress of the trio as they navigated their way through the stream of traffic.
When the trio was two steps away from the pavement, an impatient driver almost ran them over but hit the breaks just in time. The drunk man tried to kick the car but his wife held him firmly by the waist. His daughter once again pulled at his sleeve.
The little boy watched as a man got out of the car. He caught hold of the drunk man’s collar and slapped him so hard that he fell to the pavement. A crowd had gathered around them by now. The man quickly got back into the car. The crowd pulled the drunk man to his feet while his wife banged at the car s window with her fists.
The cow had left the road by then and the road ahead was clear. The man drove off before the crowd had time to mobilize and direct their anger towards him. The crowd was already beginning to disperse. The last thing the little boy saw was the image of the little girl hugging her father and sobbing while the wife once again tried to lead the way home. Home was a little thatched hut nestled among hundreds of other little thatched huts.