Two years ago, I remembered scribbling this sketch in an hour, freezing and battling inner turmoil. As it is said, every drawing has a story behind it; the saying stands true.
It was January 2020. The dark and gloomy night surrounded me as a gusty wind at -2 degrees slapped me hard on the chin. “It was supposed to be a typical day,” I thought out aloud, yet here I was, fighting off a sense of drowsiness. Looking at my phone in disbelief. After all, I was left broke in the city of London!
It had been 11 days since a bank fraud wiped out a hefty sum from my bank account, leaving me broke within the third month of my UK visit. I had been surviving a meal a day while having no option but to walk to the college in all weather and fill my stomach with gallons of water between the lectures. Continuing with my stubborn traits, I patiently waited for things to resolve without intimating anyone about it.
Being emotionally lost on the 12th day (midnight), I prepared a litre of hot chocolate, walked up to the tower bridge, and scribbled through the sketchbook. Although it was freezing like every other day, London was positive so were the vibes. One thing I learned from it, no matter the situation, strengthened mettle survives you through everything.
But such is human emotion that you take food away, and you are full of negative thoughts. As it is said “gurbad mein geyan nahi hoti”, to translate poverty does not necessitate philosophy, but, it is human history that the best of philosophies were derived out of poverty and impoverishment.
On the 14th day, I was sitting at King’s College London, Somerset House, listening to a lecture as my stomach growled louder than British thunder. It was a confusing situation surviving on an empty stomach as my pockets could only muster a drop of water. At that moment my mind reminded me of my homeland- India, and the realization of how much we take our comfort for granted.
That night, I decided to apply for a part time position as a waiter at Strand Palace.
On 15th day, a qualified lawyer with 5 years of practice was served drinks to people and witnessed them celebrating Brexit. Still acting rigid and running on a few litres of water, I was finally paid GBP 150/- after 10 hours of service and offered free food. The first proper dinner I have had in 15 days without any worry. My mind was empty by then, and so was my appetite, but I was smiling gleefully, ear to ear.
Such is this incident etched in my memory. A valuable lesson taught on the value of life- “teeth do not know poverty.”
*Ping Ping* the message on my mobile read, “your account dispute is resolved, and the amount has been recredited.”
You should have seen a grown man cry that day!
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