Sunday, October 27

Good marks would not help in the rain!

Anti PS: you know it is a little pointless if you've not read the first part?

This is a story of two people; a man and a woman. They are both grownups.

                                                                     Love Code Trilogy Part II

“I told you to tell him in the morning, why did you not?” his voice had risen above the levels of what we believe constructs a normal conversation. He was screaming. What else would you expect a man, a forty five year old, short overweight man with a short neck and weak back. His spinal cord has had its share of problems over the years, which his father had as well. The connection was enough to make them believe it was hereditary and so the doctors would not help. Now, what else would you expect this man to be, if not angry, who is to helplessly stand on the street waving at every car that went by him for a lift. ‘Bhai, Abhinav would drop you if you want, you won’t get a cab in this area this late!’ He had refused the idea, his trust in Kolkata cabs and the idea that Abhinav had more important work than dropping them made his decision, a decision he was regretting now, as was made perfectly clear from his scream.

“I forgot, how many time do I tell you? I am sorry but it slipped off my mind. He would have been here if I had told him” she told her husband, genuinely scared of him, more so because she knew she was lying. Rain was falling heavily now and the street was deserted, apart from a few cars that passed by, without stopping or even slowing. Why do people driving do not realize that the walker-by do not really enjoy any of the mud shower, their tires generate due to high speeds. Why can’t they go slow?

kolkata in night, kolkata during rain

Rameshwar was a good man, all his acquaintance would certify to that. Having lived his life in dire poverty, he had made sure, his wife and children see money and good life. He came to the city of Kolkata after two years of his marriage with this hope. He had his own small business which he set up with the help of his cousin, Abhinav’s father. Only in the records on Income Tax department was it small though. His wife, Namrata, disagreed to endorse the pretense and boasted about her jewelry whenever she could.

‘Namrata Ben, the ring ceremony is getting closer. We need to shop for the ring and other ornaments for our bahu. Well, the problem is I don’t know anyone else who has much knowledge about what is in these days. Would it be any trouble if you could accompany me to the Hiraalal Jewelers?’

‘Na na, Shakuntala, it is no trouble at all. I only recently paid a visit to Hiraalal, only a few weeks ago, they had a nice set of rings. We can go there.’

So, as I was saying Rameshwar was a good man and there’s always a doubt in my head when I say he screamed at his wife because of anger, I believe it was because of the ruckus the heavy rain was creating that he decided to scream.

Let us move back to the present situation, to the rain and an almost empty street if not for two people, who were struggling to find a cab.

“Try calling him again, maybe he has switched on his phone now…’ Rameshwar’s further dib saying ‘ irresponsible your son is, cut my call in the afternoon and switched the phone off’ never reached his wife’s ears because she was intently making out what the girl on the other line meant when she said, ‘aapni jo numbare call karte chaai, eta ee samay switched off aache!’ She heard some English terms and she realized the phone was still off. All her married life she spent in Kolkata, and she still had no trace of Bengali in her, though her Gujrati, still intact.

‘It is switched off, I am starting to worry about him. What if something is wrong?’ If you want to see love, watch a mother, here she was getting soaked in water with her husband screaming at her from the side, with the cold wind blaring, making them shiver, and here she was thinking about her son who had put his phone on Airplane mode because he was too busy snogging his girlfriend in the theater. ‘He’s a big boy, I’m sure he’s fine. If he’s not, then it’s his entire fault! Didn’t he cut my call in the afternoon? He’s probably enjoying with his friends somewhere while we are drenched in the rain.’ While you can see a mother’s love clearly, fathers all over the world practice the art of subtle love which to the on-looker most of the times seems like genuine attempts of loathing. Father’s love-code, I suppose.

After thirty minutes of struggle, Rameshwar finally called his cousin from whose home they were returning and asked him if Abhinav was free, as they had no other way to go. His voice sounded more like a desperate pleading. Within minutes, help arrived in the form of car and in another half hour Rameshwar was getting out of it, still shivering a little. ‘thanks beta, we don’t know what we’d do without you today…’ his wife’s voice had cut him in between, ‘beta, Swapnil, would have come, but he’s stuck in some work, tell Ram he’s sorry’ clearly defending her son’s act, when she heard the guy say in a cool and composed voice, ‘it’s okay Uncle, the ceremony was getting boring anyway and Aunty, Swapnil told me in the afternoon, he had some work, so it’s okay’. All of them smiled and before Abhinav left, Rameshwar said, ‘tell your Bhaiya we are sorry we couldn’t stay a little longer, your cousin took the car and switched off his phone, tell him we are really happy he got engaged.’

As Rameshwar was unlocking the door to their apartment, Namrata pointed out, ‘our Swapnil is so much better than him. He always gets better marks in class and he never drives this slowly. We could have reached twenty minutes early’. She’d have said this even if she was alone, she had to say it to someone or something. ‘When would you realize that Swapnil’s marks would not have helped us today in the rain?’ Namrata nodded half listening. Her mind was thinking, ‘my Swapnil never roams around with girls like him.’ She clearly didn’t know where her son's hands were roaming at this precise moment.

A car stopped in the driveway forty minutes after Rameshwar had changed into fresh clothes and thirty minutes after Swapnil had kissed Maaya goodnight, without a trace of the gentleman that his mother thought he was. Swapnil reached for the doorbell.  

To be continued... (concluding part, to be posted on Sunday at 10 PM)

It is fiction, Dilip. :D

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