Samad is an old man who is lame in one leg. He would limp to the market every morning with the help of one crutch. Since Sammad and I have been in the same neighbourhood for years, we have had numerous occasions to catch up with each other and exchange information. We love such coffeeshop chatter because it brightens our day to listen to some juicy
gossip about neighbours and about life.
He told me that he got his limp from a motorcycle accident twelve years ago. At that time, he was a delivery man for a small newspaper vendor along Old Bedok Road. It was early in the morning, about 5.30am, when he was doing his rounds in the neighbourhood on his motorcycle. The accident happened at the cross-roads when a van tried to beat the red light on the road that was going in the opposite direction. They collided and Samad was flung from his motorcycle. Till today, it hurts him to know that his lame leg was the price he had to pay for someone else's mistake.
I know Samad as a very independent person. He never married because he already had too many family commitments at hand. He grew up helping his parents to support his thirteen sisters and brothers. As his parents grew older, Samad made it his duty to look after their failing health. Now, at his old age, he says he has more time to relax because his sisters and brothers have their own lives.
I asked him if he ever felt sad being alone. He laughed most heartily and told me that he was contended with his life living from day to day.