One look at Surya and you will find a decent looking, small stature person, wearing rimmed spectacles, Square face, with a resolute chin. His hair is all dishevelled after a 15 mile ride in an Auto Rickshaw from Atapur to Punjagutta Chowk. So, rather than a professional , he looks more like a guy who has been fired ,he has a small bulge in his belly, not uncommon for professionals in his company, with all those daily allowances.
He looks likes the hundreds other backpack carrying, formal wearing professionals roaming here and there hailing autos, running after buses and cabs, calling an end to another miserable day at work.
It’s all new for him, because at his previous location he was the only guy in the above mentioned attire.
Initially he was not very happy with the transfer, but it took only one Veg-Biryani at the Paradise to convince him otherwise, apart from the politeness and cooperative nature of the people (except the Auto –Rickshaw Walla’s).
Surprising , well yes, attribute it to the one odd stroke of luck in this life or his own accurate self –assessment, he has chosen for himself quite a less trodden path for Engineers.
Not that he had planned for this.
His work if we start to explain going by his own admission has no end or start.
One day you may find him inspecting the toilets for cleanliness like a Municipal Inspector, the next preparing joint inspection reports with some hot shot technical guy. He is also required to resolve the Disputes between the customer and the car dealer as if he some ombudsman .Even after this much of process and paper work he is expected to have astute diagnostic skills so that he should be able to identify the vehicle trouble by just hearing its noise.
Other than this he has to resolve the HR problems of the workshop employees. He for them is a star , a standard against which they measure everything. But in reality he is just a half baked engineer, who has just learned to survive the college life with a sharp tongue and XEROX notes.
Out of the blue, his face begins to lose colour, as if something had stung him and he was trying to brave it.
But the pain was too obvious; the hardening of jaw muscles were the indicators of the effort it was taking him not scream his heart out.
Then he decided to do what he has been too afraid to do from the last 3 months.
One ring, two rings, third ring…..and it begins
“Hi, how are you?”
“I am good. But I can’t hear you properly. Where are you, there is so much noise in the background, are you outside?”
“Yes, I am waiting for an Auto near a crossing”
“Firstly you never call for like ages and when you call it’s always from these crowded places only? We can talk when you reach home”
“No, wait.(He takes a deep breath)It’s like when I am surrounded by a sea of people , my heart starts to ache for one person I want to see more than anyone on this earth.”
“Thanks. I could never figure you out completely”.
“So, how’s life?”
“Hey don’t say like that, I told you na, no one dies for anyone, life goes on”
Well mine’s stalled, “When is the D-DAY?”
Silence for 3 minutes
He grinds his teeth, breathes fire…..
Even in this din and noise this sentence of her puts a vacuum in between Surya and world, for a second he is unable to even feel anything .His body goes numb. He mentally curses himself for calling her. He always gets these anxiety attacks by calling her. You never learn son of a bitch.
There is a surge of anger inside him, a feeling he never experienced before, its like the rage the Lord Shiva must have felt when Sati had jumped in the fire before opening that 3rd eye.
“Are you there?”, she asks.
“Yes, I am good, take care, and got to go”
On the Brink of tears “Ok bye, I will call you later”
“Bye”. Just in time so that he doesn’t hear her crying
She immediately rushes towards the bathroom, with her hand on her mouth to muffle the sobs, she wails and cries. Those muffled cries which nobody but he can understand, why this had to happen?? Why?
Why God gives you such blessings and then takes them away as quickly as they come?
But then she stands up, looks up in the mirror;the red eyes, the swollen lips. She washes her face again and again. Takes a deep breath and tries to relax. Her cousins are waiting outside for her to select the saris and jewellery for them. She puts on a fake smile and rushes outside.
Surya is 1500 KMs away from her in an unknown city.
He just stares in to the gravel beneath his feet and thinks, what would it take to get her back in my life?
He is brought back to this world by the shouts of an auto Walla.
Auto wallah is a lanky man in his early twenties, wearing a cap; with as much of holes as the cheese in Tom n jerry. His longish face which ends in a small extended chin like the beard of Pharohs that could have been considered handsome had he dressed a bit better, not that striking, but enough to get yourself a GF.
“Aein bhaiyaan kaha ko jayenga??”
“East Maredpally, near Chenoy nursing home” but hell will do okay.
“100 rupayian lagenga”
Surya, who was too tired to haggle, got in without a word of protest.
He always enjoyed travelling alone; he could just stare at the moving mass of men and vehicles
And let his mind think about the questions which are eating him up from inside.
What he wants? Why is he always unhappy? Why? Why??
It was raining and traffic was as usual moving like an overfed serpent
“Aye bhaiyan, Mai iddrech hun,English me kaisa bolna ka” in typical Hyderabadi style.
“I am here” ,smiles.
“I am here in Begumpet.”
“Theek theek(okay,okay) Aye aam heer,acha”
“Tumhari girl friend puchti h kya?” Chuckling (Does your girl-friend asks this from you?)
“Han Bhaiyan,bahut hi-fi h wo, saali pata nai kiddreech se padi h”
It brought back happy memories of the time he was trying to teach the nuances of Kashmiri language to Nanu in the college park, ….aaah that park…..that park had a small dirty pond at the centre, full of toads and every time they walked around that pond a toad would jump in front of them and Nanu used to cling to him, her eyes shut and shrieking, and for that moment he used to feel gratitude not only the toads but their whole phylum.
For that touch used to make his day.
He never knew it, but Nanu used to dissect toads by a single slash of her blade in her Under-grad lab, she was braver than he was in all respects. But then she just never bothered to tell him.
But the honking of an over eager biker brought him out of his reverie back to this cruel, wet and static reality that he is not going to spend the rest of life with her, that he will not be able to even see her for the rest of her life after D- DAY, that he has to learn to live without her, day after day after day.
This thought shook him from the core and he sulked back in his seat, looking like a man who has weathered too many storms.
From a small drizzle it has begun raining, which makes traffic even more difficult to move. So, the bored Auto walla again prods him into a conversation.
AW: So, what do you sir? In typical Hyderabadi.
Surya: I am the guy who comes to your rescue when you get cheated at a car workshop.
AW: Oh, I thought you are a computer person…
To be continued….some later day………….
PS: Go ahead and make that “call”.
It’s a piece of fiction.