They looked down upon him. All of them. His favourite time of the day was when the Sun
stood behind him. He looked down then, at the ground, to see an almighty long shadow of his
miniature self. Minutes of pure exhilaration. When they ended, he returned to the world that
didn’t care. Tiny feet too incapable to carry him anywhere without the hobbling and limping ,
gnarled fingers that could not promise grasping a spoon or a pen, or even steadying a pot
being shaped, the squint that ruined his vision, joints that ached timelessly. How old was he?
Nobody knew. First the astonishment, then the ridicule, then the nonchalance. As the town
went about its routine, they noticed him here and there. Mischievous street children and their
pebble-showering, the mindless guffawing of the men who smoked by the inn, or the shooing
away by terrified new mothers, lest he invite ill omen on their precious little ones – he took it
all. He walked on, morose and teary-eyed, sometimes brewing with violent rage. One day, in
the marketplace, his eyes found the strangest thing he had ever come across. “Dwarf-tree?”
he mumbled. “It’s a Bonsai! A beauty, isn’t it? This tree never grows here. From lands beyond
the great sea, i procured a seed. Just one! Pruned and stunted to perfection- behold its shiny
leaves and curvaceous branches and succulent fruit!” The trader coaxed him into buying it,
but he needn’t have, for the dwarf had found his companion. Emptying his life’s savings, he
grabbed the exhibit and skipped his way through the crowd, smiling and crying out “A bonsai!
A bonsai, just like me!” His tears blinded his eyes, for he did not see the sneering faces and
the raucous laughter that followed his path. “The old fool, he has completely lost it!”,they said.
He ran to the other end of the town, till he couldn’t catch air for breath, till his body could no
longer take it. The rag-pickers found his body, clutching the pot, with a benevolent smile on
his disproportionate face. They dug him a grave and buried him hastily. Nobody wrote him an
epitaph. But his tombstone is the tallest tree the town has ever seen. They look up at him
now. All of them.
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