His razor-sharp eyes continued staring at the cage holding the chickens. There were 5 of them inside, cramped together in a small place, meant for just one.
The naturally conical shaped beard flowed freely on his bronze skinned face, his lips hidden by overgrown moustache and beard hairs, holding a bidi not yet flamed, the squinted eyes and sharp nose combining together to announce his visibly pronounced hilly features. The small wrinkles peeped out from the visible part of his face still uncovered by facial hairs.
A black coat well past its prime, gifted by one of his clients who summited with him 5 years back, adorned his lean body while he squatted on the ground a few feet above the road which people frequented to reach the market, their faint noise as they run down, indistinctly audible.
His fingers squirmed inside the coats front pocket to search for the matchbox as bidi glided from the left to the right inside his mouth. Fingers finally became still and warped while carrying the light to blow the stick waiting to turn to ashes, still held in his closed mouth.
Tilting himself a little without removing the bidi, he used both his hands to protect the flame and once lit up, his hands and mouth both met midway as he bent himself, to put to flame the bidi, still waiting on his tiring lips.
The first burst of smoke found its way out from his mouth, nose, ears and even eyes which suddenly turned red, it wasn’t only tobacco inside, his eyes closed on their own, for a while after the first puff.
‘Give me the one sitting quiet’ he asked the owner, gesturing with his index finger least he mix it up with some other one.
‘That would be 500’, the owner replied.
Clenching the beedi between his teeth, he put his hands in the pockets again, this time retrieving the currency, his eyes still staring at the chicken held with his legs as it continued crying loudly.
‘Is it for today’ the owner asked, the chicken trying in vain to break from the deadly grip of his hands.
He bobbed his head without uttering a word, got up and took hold of the other leg while slipping the Rs 500 note in his other hand.
‘It is for tomorrow’ he whispered, exhaling a large cloud of smoke, closing the eyes for a moment and running away, his shoulders tilted slightly forward on their own as he ran. The small unburnt leftover of the bidi, still lay where he was sitting, chickens suddenly turned silent as the owner looked around, waiting for another customer.