BY AVTAR MOTA
After Mr Rangacharti left, Ramesh Kumar felt like going to sleep. He thought it better to bolt the main door of the flat from inside. While doing so, he also saw an envelope that had been thrown in from the door chink by some Courier company’s delivery boy.It was an invitation for some shareholders meeting by Tata Motors . The envelope was addressed to Rohit who had obviously made some investment in shares of Tata Motors .
He kept the envelope in Sweety’s bedroom and then Put the ceiling fan at full speed . Spreading a mat underneath the fan, he slept on the floor. When he got up it was about 6.30 PM. The hot August sun had mellowed down in Bangaluru. He had possibly slept at odd time of the day and as a result when he woke up, he felt a little moody and sullen. The day was on its last legs but life had set itself in motion below in the open space around the Flats. Opening the Lobby window, he looked at the Park Below and saw children playing Badminton , cricket with rubber balls or enjoying Bicycle rides on the track inside the park. He also saw groups of elderly people sitting on Benches in the park and busy talking to each other. Everybody looked happy and worriless at that moment. Even Birds returning to their nests looked joyous and cheerful while flying freely in the evening sky.
“Does the evening sun spread so much happiness? In Jammu, I have never noticed how and when this day light slips into darkness. My mother would sigh at daybreak and say “ O God ! Why did this dawn come again?” Now I understand that some people feel embarrassed at day break as well. Can evenings also be so cheerful? Does the mind start preparing itself for another dawn? Does human hope recreate itself every evening? Does a man feel the futility of the day at Dawn or sunrise? Very strange.” Ramesh Kumar said this to himself. He had turned philosophical and pensive.
Sometimes he would get these mood swings with his daytime sleep in Jammu also. In Jammu, he would go for his daytime sleep at 2 PM and get up at 3.30 PM. He had to be ready for PHE (Public Health Engineering) water supply in his area which would be turned on around 4 PM . That kept him busy till 5.30 PM. Every day he needed to switch on the electric motor and fill his rooftop water tank. Thereafter he would water the lawn and flower pots and finally fill up the underground water storage tank. Thereafter a shower followed by his evening Tea that Aasha Ji would bring him while he sat in a chair in the lawn.
“What is the use of this lawn I ask? You cannot sit for a minute over here. So many mosquitoes. They start attacking your feet and lower limbs or the exposed body parts. We spend so much in terms of the manure, insecticide Sprays, Gardener’s wages, electric bill for watering, repeated Turf mowing and buying all these ornamental plants but can’t sit for a minute over here. We better grow some vegetables over here “He would repeatedly tell Asha ji as and when he sat in his lawn.
It was Aasha ji who was against all this else he would have since started growing vegetables.
For a moment he forgot he was in Bangaluru. Shifting his thought back to Bengaluru, he went inside the kitchen and wanted to make a cup of Tea for himself. He also put two bread slices inside the Toaster lying on the Kitchen slab to make them hot and crispy. No butter as he had elevated Cholesterol levels and was advised caution. Thereafter went down to KFC store nearby that he had seen in the morning and bought some fried chicken leg pieces which he put inside the Refrigerator.
” Now I need to make some chutney from walnut kernel, Dhania , Ginger and curd for them the way Sweety’s mother makes it . How tasty she makes it? I need to prepare some fruit salad as well. They must be really tired and hungry on their return. let them enjoy this simple home food. I know sweety relishes that chutney with Rajmash and Basmati rice. I remember her school days. She would eat simple Rajma – Chawal in the school canteen and bring back her Lunch untouched quite often. How fast do these little girls grow and change? Strange and unbelievable. Cooking rice is a ten minute job. So easy with this rice cooker now. But it would have been too cheap of me if Rohit was not made to eat some Non vegetarian stuff. After all he is a son in law. He can’t be offered simple Rajmash. This time KFC chicken but surely next time I need to cook some tasty Mutton Rogan Josh . But surely this KFC chicken tastes like a fried fish and then it is neat and clean. Let me see what they like for tomorrow . “ Ramesh kumar felt happy at these thoughts . He now decided wash some fruits for preparing the Salad. He had just peeled one apple when his mobile bell rang .
“ O! It is sweety . She must be coming early today. That is like a good girl. I need to tell her to bring some Ice cream. How good to have some ice cream after the dinner. I must pay for that “
Surely it was sweety on the other side.
“ Hello! Hello! . Sweety Beta … Bring some ice cream with you. No problem , come at your convenience “
“Fine . Ice cream shall come. No worry. Papa listen. we are going to have our Dinner with my senior colleague Kalpana Kamath . She is going to South Korea on a project and she has invited some office colleagues for a dinner today. In fact she had told us at least one week before but the date was undecided as her husband had to come from Chennai. Now that her husband has come today, she has invited us tonight. Rohit is also joining me. We shall be going straight to Kalpana’s residence from our office. So please have your dinner and don’t wait for us. In case you feel like sleeping, do sleep . I have the additional door key with me. Good Night ”
“ But the Rajmash and KFC chicken ? And you know the maid had not come today “
“ What did you do then ?. Let me see what best I can do”
Ramesh Kumar was taken aback with this news.
“What to do now? Where to keep all this Rajmash and chicken? What to do with all this stuff that I brought from Jammu? What for did I clean all this and put myself to this strain?” He kept thinking all this and then thought it better to do some purposeful work.
He put the Rajmash inside the refrigerator and cursed himself and his wife first for having forced him to come to Bangaluru and then for suggesting to carry all that stuff, which according to him, would eventually go waste now.
Except sweets from Pahalwan’s Jammu shop lying in the refrigerator, everything else that he brought from Jammu was lying in a bag kept in Lobby. He opened this bag and found that the green Haak and Kadam ( Knol khol ) that was so fresh had dried up and turned yellow partly. He removed the yellow leaves and kept the remaining Haak and Kadam in a Polythene bag that he placed inside the refrigerator. He also broke the long Lotus stems ( Nadru ) to smaller pieces and put them in a plastic bowl half filled with fresh water . He then placed the bowl inside the refrigerator. He also kept the Walnut wood (carved) Houseboat and Papier Mache kangri inside Lobby show case. The remaining items he kept inside the bag only.
He felt like smoking and took out a cigarette from the pack that he had purchased from the market .
Opening the lobby window to allow smoke to escape out , he switched on the TV and heard about incessant rains in Jammu with River Tawi crossing its danger mark. That made him a little worried about Rinku and Aasha ji.
“The weather had been cloudy and it had been drizzling since last three days over there when I left but it has suddenly taken a worst turn . How would have Rinku gone for his tuitions in these rains? A motor bicycle is of no use in this weather. The forecast informs rains for 72 hours more in and around Jammu . This Bhagwati Nagar area is going to get flooded now. O God ! Save us from the floods. I should have bought a plot of land in Janipur side. It was very cheap that side in 1991. And see how fast it developed. But Here in Bhagwati Nagar, river Tawi is often frightening during rainy season. “
…to be continued
Avtar Mota is a blogger, writes for local and national papers and journals