We turned away. We turned away from each other. But I am changing my tone now. I am not you.
I am not part of this “we”. I am separate. I am removed. I am above. Remember.
I am Mahadeb.
What did you ever think of me? That I was a chaiwala? A chaiwala aspiring to be, someday, TheChaiwala? Just because I served you tea? Endless bhaanrs of them that you still miss and come looking for around that forlorn cart? But that was not the sum of who I am. Sums are wrong. Sums are what you choose to pick and add; the fallacy of sums of what you forsake or forget to add. Have you ever tried summing up raindrops? Try. Then tell me how you did at that arithmetic. Walk into the rain some fortunate day and bring me back the sum of raindrops, if only the raindrops that fell on you.
I am more than the sum of my uses to you, greater than the sum of my body parts, larger than the sum of my vocation, higher than the sum of my station. I am higher. How much, I would not know, because I am from before the imperial or the metric system of measuring these things, the feet or metres, or kilometres or miles. What can measure me and my nearness or distance you have yet to figure or discover or invent. I am not human. I can be that, at times and moments of my choosing, but I am human and not often that. I am not a subject of your sums or summations. Look at me and recognise me. I am Mahadeb. Beyond. Above.
And I am watching. And I am listening. And I am observing. And I am analysing. And I am reaching conclusions. I know. I know what all of this was going to end up in. I always did. But I needed you to give me evidence of it so you wouldn’t say I am rash and unkind and unreasoning in deciding what I decide to pronounce as the truth.
I am changing my tone here, yes. I will do so more and more henceforth. I am revealing more of myself, my cosmic, immeasurable self, because I do believe the time may have come. Or the time may be approaching. Know me. I am Mahadeb. Your chaiwala. I am Mahadeb, altogether your chaiwala and altogether something else at the same time. I am who you may have suspected me to be sometimes. Mahadeb. Got it? Get it. Now learn your lessons. Look at yourselves and what you did and how you behaved and learn your lessons. But you may not. That is fundamentally why you are you and me Myself. You are human. You err. Then you, sometimes, turn to me and I have to tell you who you are.
I knew for a while this was going to happen, it was coming, just down the road. But I allowed it to happen. Because you must learn. You must learn lessons. The lessons from what you do. The lessons that are the consequences of your actions. The lessons that you must now draw. You turned away from each other. You stopped to whisper. You stopped to talk. You began to scream. You began to scream at each other. And you stopped to understand what was right with the whisper and what is wrong with the screaming. Whisper. Screaming. Both are fundamentally the same act — of voice given voice. Of decibels released. But there are differences. When you whisper, it is a function of nearness, proximity, a certain closeness of aspect. You whisper to someone close. When you scream, it’s different. You whisper to someone. You scream AT someone. There is, already, a distance inscribed in that verb: scream, to scream. You scream at distances. Physical distances. Or other kinds of distances. Distances are of many kinds. Like distances of viewpoints. Or distances of stature and station. Those that sleep on the street this winter and those that sleep quilted in bedrooms — there are distances, distances that are not merely physical. Distances make you scream. Proximities can do with whispers. You lost your proximities. You stopped to whisper. Think what you lost.