Hari was a humble rickshaw puller in the holy city of Puri. He had no idea about his origin. Some say that he was found abandoned in the Haridwar-Puri Kalinga Utkal Express. He used to ply people throughout the city from one part to other, station to the main temple, college to the beach, from bus stand to the nearest hotels etc. Daily office goers, college and school students, devotees etc. are his regular customers. He had listened to the chit chats of school students, the bhajans of devotees, film songs of college students etc. but whoever has traveled with Hari at least once, wished to travel with him always. It was the humble nature of the man which attracted everybody towards him. He never used to charge a single paisa more. Even if a customer is not able to pay full, he used to agree for whatever amount he can give.
Every morning he used to attend the long distance express trains reaching Puri at the station, and by noon he managed to shift his focus to the temple and during evenings it was the beach road. During weekends, holidays and special occasions he used to do good business, even managed to earn 500/- a day.
He had no regrets in life baring one. He was dark in complexion with a several marks of small pox on his face. Whenever he used to see mirror, he thought, I look like a dacoit as in movies, “may be in my last birth I was in the gang of Gabbar Singh”; he used to laugh at himself. Nobody will love such a person who has no charm in his face marred with marks.
But like everyman, he also dreamt that someday some angel will come to him and be his forever not for this life but for seven lives. And lo! His dream came true on the auspicious day of Magha Saptamai. This 7th day of the winter month is an auspicious day for Hindus and it is believed that, if somebody takes a holy dip in the Sea on this day, he gets the blessings of all the Gods. Lakhs and lakhs of people throng to the temple city on this day just to take a holy dip in the Bay of Bengal and get Darshan of the Lord Jagannath.
Hari was all geared up for this heavy rush and was at the station at 4.00am. He plied several people to the sea shore back that day and earned a handsome amount. While returning from the Gundicha Temple, he saw her. She was standing near the traffic post of Medical Square and selling Agarbatis. He just stared and stared her without blinking. The first thing Hari noticed about her was her eyes, large oval shaped eyes as if trying to speak in their own way. She was wearing a sandalwood colored sari with orange border that made her wheat colored body look more magnificent. She had a garland of jasmine flower in her hair which was radiating its fragrance everywhere as if telling everybody about her beauty. Hari got back to his sense on listening to the honking from his back. The traffic police was running towards him with red eyes and yelling at him to move aside let other vehicles pass.
Hari hurriedly got away from the road and parked his rickshaw. He tried to locate the girl he had just seen but could not. She was gone from that place. He went up to the nearby shops and asked her whereabouts giving descriptions of the girl he had just seen. But nobody was able to tell or know any such girl in that area. Hari was very sad. May be fait is playing games with him, he thought. Then he tried to console himself thinking that even if he had got her address, will she reciprocate the same feelings for him? Who will love such an ugly looking person?
Hari pulled his rickshaw and started slowly to go towards the main temple. Suddenly he saw the same girl walking near the vegetable market along with a small boy holding her hand.
He thought to himself, is this boy her child, is she married, no that can’t be, I don’t see a mangalsuthra on her, neither a bit of sindoor (obvious and traditional signs of a married woman) . Suddenly he realized she is blind. That is why the boy is leading her by holding her hand. Hari decided to follow her and reached in a by-lane where the girl entered into a small house. Hari was waiting outside the house pondering over God’s injustice.