Amma, ” Mani has come”. I called out. Mani gave a broad smile. I was reading the newspaper.
Mani was a regular visitor to our house . Amma came out and asked Mani whether he would like to have break fast. ” I just had my fill “.  That was  a typical answer he would give but when my mother insisted, he ate, that too frugally.  Starvation and his ego made his stomach lose its elasticity.

He also shared the local gossip along with his breakfast. So he was our ‘breakfast news’.

Mani had a scrawny look, he was very handsome , his hair had some silver strands. No one knew about his family. But a very good person at heart, ran errands for my father and for other business people in the town.They tipped him well and Mani was happy. Some days Mani will not enter our house , we could see him running up and down the road with urgency. Those were the days Mani was off his mind.Yes, at times he had problems,those days his mood would swing and it would be days before he entered our house again. He always claimed, he had an aristocratic lineage and always told, his father has left a legacy and he is a shipping magnate.His daily routine included visiting the nearby port and returning with more stories to share about shipment. Heard on the grape vine, that Mani was ditched by his lover and since then he lost his mental balance. Poor Mani, a young energetic fellow whose life came to a naught by some unpleasant incident in his life.

I was of marriageable age, He knew about the match making that were going on.
“I am going present a diamond necklace”, his eyes twinkled.
“C’mon Mani. Where do you have money? I teased. His face became serious.
“I have crores tucked away in bank”.
For him I was like a sister, may be a solace for him to fill in his lonely and solitary life.
“Believe me” . I would bring it for your wedding.
Then on wards when ever he came he would make a gesture showing his hand around the neck and he would softly say about the diamond necklace. This was a routine and I was amused.

My wedding was fixed and Mani was happy.We were busy with wedding preparations. Mani chipped in with his help and a few days before the wedding as we woke  up early morning ,we could see people talking in hushed tones. I sharpened my ears and heard that Mani had woken up early morning and had got in the temple pond for his bath as was his routine but that day as fate would have it, his leg got entangled in the mud and he died . He could not attend my wedding. We were all sad and what a farewell he got for his last journey . Hundreds joined the funeral procession even though he had no kith and kin ,that was Mani, a simple man with a Golden heart who won the heart of others through his innocence.  I remember him still.It is difficult to erase him from my mind. Many in my home town would have forgotten him but I cannot. Let his soul rest in peace. I was the only one who was lucky enough to get an offer from him for a diamond necklace.

A true life incident.