Of Rain and Relief…

He disheveled everything she had neatly stacked up. He was running late for the office, yet again, and now searched for his ID card everywhere except where it actually was. He upended his backpack emptying all its contents atop the bed on her side. This sight filled inside of her with rage, more than the air that filled the chapatis in front of her. But this happened almost every morning now as if a routine. She was rolling the dough in an attempt to shape it into a circle but now she looked at him, reading his deeds, and wondering to herself, why did she ever marry this person? But was there ever a choice? In a family like theirs, she believes, there are no choices.

By the time he found the ID card hung around his neck and stuffed into the breast pocket, it was already late and so he didn’t even smile at her like an idiot as he usually did, and rushed out of their single room kitchen apartment. It was drizzling when he got down to the parking lot.
And before he could have sat astride his bicycle, his wife shouted from behind him, ‘Kuch yaad ni rehta na tujhe, teri galti nahiin hai, meri hi kismet aisi hai’, cursing her own fate in the local slang, her hand still damp with dough, and soon rushed back to attend to the lit gas stove after handing him the raincoat. The shabby raincoat seemed futile but he had heard that a man is often harmed more by ignoring his wife’s advice than by nature’s fury and so he accepted it with a smile and wrapped himself in it. By the time he reached the tech-park it was pouring, he silently thanked his wife and continued pedaling his bicycle casually.

The driveway inside the park divided into two, a vain attempt to ease the traffic by segregating the vehicles based on the number of wheels they possessed. He rang the rusted bell attached to his cycle, as if pronouncing himself to the world, marking his existence amidst all the rich people scattered around, and entered the pathway for the two-wheelers. His cycle now being the only vehicle in that lane. Shivering, he quaked his body, hoping that mechanical movements would ease him of this sudden chill. But nature is often not so kind on the poor. And before he could have a few moments of this misery to himself, a biker honked from behind. And kept on honking incessantly. He turned back, lipped a few words to the honker, and kept pedaling forward. But soon after he returned his gaze to the road ahead of him, the honking resumed forcing him to pedal even faster because overtaking on this lane didn’t seem possible especially when the surface was wet. This was how the day began for Suresh.

Once inside, he detached the damp raincoat off his body and stood for a few minutes in the basement. He stood there, not thinking about anything in particular. In a sense, this was his only true skill in life – his lone achievement – this capability to not think about anything at almost all the times. Soon after there was the attendance call and having shouted ‘Yes Sir’ against his own name he made his way to resume his job wherein the person sitting since the last night would be eased of his job. Nothing soothes a person than a sight of a person coming to relieve him of his duties. And so, the ardent person greeted Suresh with a grin. Suresh told him about the honker and the rain outside and asked him to go back home only when the rain dwindles.

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