Jingle

It was a pleasant evening and the town market was bursting with boisterous activity. The townsfolk were enjoying their evening in the market- shopping, chatting, and simply relishing the good weather. Amongst this hustle and bustle, a blind beggar made his way to the center of the market.

The aged-blind beggar navigated through the crowded streets using his stick as a guide. Reaching the market-center, he placed the sack he was carrying, on the ground. Feeling the knot, and opening it with his everyday experience, he withdrew a box and a flute from the worn-out sack. He placed the box on the ground and took his place behind it. Breathing in, he touched the old-wooden flute to his lips and began playing. He began playing a melodious tune, which targeted the attention of the townsfolk. As the music reached their ears, most people began noticing the tune and they quieted down to make sure they could listen to the tune well. Soon, a throng of people formed around the blind-man, listening to what his flute was saying. The old man continued playing to the best of his ability, after all his daily bread depended on this. People placed coins in the box, appreciating the tune that was being played. However, the jingle of coins soon stopped reaching the ears of blind beggar. Not being a professional musician, his knowledge regarding music and the tunes he could play, were limited. He hastily switched to another tune he knew, not wanting to lose his chance to have a hot meal.

Pablo neared the market-center. He had spotted a huge crowd of people gathered, and decided to check out what was happening. As he reached the center, a rustic tune hit his ears. He stood his ground and listened intently to it. He realized that the person playing the flute was a simple amateur. He thought this would be a good opportunity to showcase his skills to the townsfolk. He opened his violin case and withdrew his maple-made violin. The brown violin gleamed in the waning sunlight. Placing his case on the ground, he positioned his violin on his shoulder. He exhaled letting the tension from his shoulders slide. Gripping the bow with his slender fingers, he began moving it across the violin’s strings. The mellifluous sounds that were produced were a testimony to Pablo’s skills. The haunting tune coming from the violin soon drowned out the flute’s desperate consonance. The crowd started moving towards Pablo, their ears seduced by him.

The blind beggar stopped playing. He focused on the sweet- sounds coming from across him. After listening for a couple of minutes, he knew he was thoroughly outclassed, and there was no chance of competing with a person of this caliber. His hands dropped in disappointment and head drooped, he allowed the stream of tears that had been swelling inside him to burst out. He sobbed uncontrollably. It was to be yet another hungry night, he thought to himself. As he listened to the steadily increasing tempo of the violin’s tune, he felt anger and sorrow increasing within him. He gripped his flute tightly as he allowed his mind to drift into its memories. The fondest memories of learning to play the flute as a child, laughing gleefully at every little sound that he managed to produce. His mind drifted farther into the darker side – the tumble he had taken from the roof as a young man, landing face first on the ground. He rued that wretched incident that had taken his eyesight away. The blind man stood all alone, surrounded by despair.

Pablo was enjoying the attention from the crowd around him. The crowd had shown great appreciation for the music-maestro as well, filling up his violin case with coins. Pablo decided to finish of his performance with finesse. Steadily increasing the tempo of his tune, he suddenly dropped it to a soft and soothing tune, marking the end of his musical performance. He was greeted with a thunderous applause. Pablo bowed, grinning from ear-to-ear. He loved it when his music was thoroughly enjoyed by the people. After the people had finished clapping and congratulating him, the crowd started clearing up. It was early-night now, and supper time was upon the townsfolk. As the crowd thinned, Pablo noticed a lonesome figure standing still across him, flute-in-hand.

The blind-beggar had noticed the music stopping and had heard the applause and cheers coming from the crowd. He agreed that the brilliant piece of music deserved all of that, but at the same time it dejected him knowing that he was clearly no match. The violin player had come out of nowhere and had stolen the crowd. The old man felt contempt towards him, a pure hatred. Wiping the dampness from his face, the beggar bent down and felt the coins that were present in his box. Seven coins, he counted. That was enough for one bowl of hot soup. He knew that one bowl had to suffice, his cold body needed it. He put his flute away and bent down to lift the box. Just as he had bent, a sudden jingle of coins reached his ears. He traced them to his box. The blind man stood bewildered. As soon as the jingling stopped, a steady tune was heard by the beggar, a violin’s tune. Tears began rolling down the cheeks of the old man as the tune grew softer and softer, trailing into the moonlit town.

Image source –  http://archive.thedailystar.net/beta2/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/COUNTRY-61.jpg

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