As I said in the last post, There will be lot of people who would come and ask me to type a letter for their children living abroad. There will be some special cases as well. Like the one who wants to send email to the son who is studying in a different part of the state or country.
Jayabal was one of those guys. He was selling T shirt for living. I will never let him wait. In case if I make him wait, he will start selling T shirt and make the one or two customers who come into the center to run away. There was something about this guy which irritates us at the moment he steps in.
He will not be able to wait for five minutes. He will be bugging me like hell to finish his job as he has lot of things to do. He would proudly start most of his sentences with “When I was in Dubai..” He had let us know a thousand times that he was in Dubai and was doing a much better job. We never asked him why he came back.
I didn’t know typing. My typing speed was pathetic. And moreover with the advent of cell phones and the new addiction of messages, I could hardly spell a word in its natural form. For me “U” is perfectly OK for “you”. While typing his letters, he would sit next to me and will prompt me to correct such things then and there. May be, if it was another person, I would not have got irritated. But this man had the knack of getting us to the nerves. Nobody has ever seen him without his cap. Rain or shine, he would be walking with a suitcase full of T shirts and a bright red color cap in his head.
Because of the locality, most of the people who come to the browsing center are the students and retired people. The students will hardly have money to buy from him. He tried few times and gave up. He will go up the retirees and will try to sell his stuff. Some times the children of these people who visit also fall into his trap.
“Sir! This is the best piece of clothing you can ever find in Tirunelveli” he would start.
“I heard most of the T shirts come from Tiruppur. I am not interested thanks” will be the reply.
“I import it from Amsterdam and other European cities sir”
“Well I am from Amsterdam and I’ve never seen people wearing such things there”
Only then he will keep quite. And he was a staunch christian. The letter he would send to his son would be full of psalms and verses. I really had hard time typing them. But sometimes, I secretly enjoy the way he uses those things and imply what he wants to communicate. He has slowly become a laughing stock for us.
One day, when we were talking about him, my mother heard us.
“Are you talking about Jayabal?”
“Yes ma! How do you know him?”
“He comes to our office to sell T shirts”
“Oh that guy didn’t spare you guys also?”
After my friends were gone, mother talked to me. “He was earning well in Dubai Prasanna! He had to come back to India. He had a tough life. His wife was not at all happy with him or the earnings or her in laws. When things started to fall apart, he had no option but to leave the work there and come here.”
I never thought the Dubai story was true.
” Divorce can drain people financially as well as emotionally. Moreover, his wife got the custody of the children too. The son is too fond of him and asked him not to go away. His daughter is so close to her mother and hates him. He is one of those cursed ones.”
“Why not he leave all these things and go back?”
“Things are not so easy as they seam. He is here selling T shirts because he will get a chance to see his son. Though discreet, he will be happy for the entire month. The best of his T shirt will go to two people. One is his son.”
“And the other?”
“I tried to help him in many ways like setting up an agency or making him an insurance agent. Sometimes I helped him financially too. So he will give the best quality T shirts to me”
It dawned upon me then. At that point of time, I never thought about where my dresses are coming from. Mom always knows when I want a new dress. She will bring some best T shirts which I flaunt among my friends. But I hadn’t had the slightest idea of who sold it to her.
“Does he know me?”
“No! He never met you. He is always on the run, you see. He is still hoping of a life with his son, when his son finishes college. He wants to settle him in a good government job so he is always running for the money.”
The next time he came, I was wearing one of the T shirts which he sold to my Mom. He looked at me and then smiled understandingly and started to dictate the letter for his son and I began to type.
Image Courtesy : Internet