Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Old Man in the Garage

A poor, old man sleeping in the car port under our kitchen.
About a year before I left India to return to the U.S. some creepy old guy started living in our building's garage.  I didn't know much about him, but Leena said she thought he was a servant of one of our neighbors, although he never seemed to do any work, just sit or lay in bed, half dressed, and stare at us when we came and went in our car.

This week, while visiting Leena here, he actually waved and smiled at me as we were getting into the car, the first time he's acknowledged my presence.  So I commented about him to Leena and she said that over the last year, while I've been in the U.S. she's talked to him a little, and related some of his story to me.

He's an old, uneducated man.  He worked almost his whole adult life at low paying, menial jobs, but spent almost every rupee he ever earned to send his sons to school and college so they'd get educated and live better lives than him.

Only now that they're grown up, better educated and far wealthier than he ever was, they don't want anything to do with him because they think he's too far "beneath" them, and don't want to be associated with an uneducated laborer.  They don't want their acquaintances to know where they came from.

So, now he's too poor to have his own home.  Somehow he knows our neighbor who was kind enough to let him live in his parking spot under our building (and that's directly under Leena's and my kitchen).  He works as a night watchman at a bank ATM somewhere nearby.

In her conversations with him she's found out his favorite food is fish, so when she has some extra, or left over fish dishes she shares them with him.

Sounds like he's a nice enough guy, but life has dealt him a less than ideal hand...

Another view of our garage, with the old man at the back...

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