The old grumpy man next door, picked up an ugly, shaggy dog from the street and raised him as his own. He walked the dog every evening. The creature seemed the only living thing, the old man was nice to.
The flat facing his is home to a noisy family that talks too much and laughs too loud and strangely forgets to buy sugar while shopping for their groceries. The woman knocks on the old man's door and asks for sugar every Friday.
Every Saturday, she writes him a note, "You're too sweet. Just like sugar." The note is left with a steel tiffin box that contains a homemade dessert he hasn't eaten before. On Sunday, he leaves the empty tiffin on her doorstep without any thank you note.
The man who lives just above the old man's home wears a crisp white shirt and black trousers to work every morning. He talks too little but has an impeccable taste in books. Every Sunday morning, he rings the old man's doorbell and lends him his latest read with his favorite pages bookmarked. Then, he leaves for his jog in his white t-shirt and black sweatpants.
One winter evening, when we didn't see the old man with his dog, we knew he was gone. That evening, I walked the dog.
The dead old man's dog and I visit his grave every weekend. We sit by his side and tell him stories of the world he left behind. The sugar woman and the book guy accompany us sometimes.
Strangely, that's the most any of us have talked to the old man except the dog.
The old man left a piece of him within each of us.
Now, when the sugar woman makes his favorite dessert, she brings me some in a steel tiffin box and leaves me a note saying, "That sweet old man once left me a thank you note when I made him this. Hope you like it too."
I read the note and smile.
By Janhavi Sonawane