While it was early morning for some people in Chennai, Ganesh was in full swing getting ready to office. He stuffed his office files and tablet into his shoulder bag, and then his Tiffin box. He made sure Mom had her medicines in the table near her bed and went to check his inverter. The power cut is very bad these days, close to at least 12 hours daily. He doesn’t want his mom to suffer in that.
The news headlines in Tamil channel started. It is his alarm to start to work. He lived 22 km away from Chennai. He had to catch the train by its time. Not that trains are on time everyday. But missing the train may delay him badly. Already he has gained this bad reputation of taking so many leaves and being late to office. He cannot afford to brand himself as a late comer.
About the leaves he cannot do anything much. His mother needs his attention now more than ever. The visits to doctor, tests and the smell of disinfectants nauseate him. But still it is Mom. He made sure, Snowy, his pet dog’s plat is full. He recently bought this flat and large part of his salary goes to EMI. In the evening with power cuts, snowy is his playmate and companion.
He cycled to the railway station and surprisingly the train was on time. Sometimes a good start of the day makes you feel good. The train was full of college students and office goers. Some railway employees had already started their card game. A group of students were playing Antakshari. Ganesh joined in till they got down at Avadi. A child got his attention. He always attracts children. He don’t have to play tricks or give chocolates to them. Just his calm demeanor will make them feel peace with him. Once he took his mom to hospital and a couple came with their two year old. It was crying nonstop. Ganesh took the child and within minutes she was sleeping peacefully.
Recent days had been hectic. Shuttling between hospital, office and home was not easy. And his house is connected to the city only by train. And he could not control the signals and sudden track changes. Though he stays late and completes his project well before deadline, his attendance and punctuality was always an issue. His manager is always happy about finishing the project before deadline, but brings up his shortcoming only during appraisal time.
The peak hours had started when he alighted in Central station. He had to catch another train. He saw a Marwari couple walking hand in hand. Newly married it seems. Sometimes he imagines himself in that position. His lady is also fair, cheerful but he cannot bring himself up to proposing her. He will do soon, but at the mean time his poetry and blogs will be enough for him.
Office was hectic as usual, he was not able to have his lunch on time. It was half past four when he opened his box. The meal which is cooked in the morning went stale by then. Nothing can irritate anyone more than stale food when you are hungry. He rarely eats out as he had to think about every penny spent. Mom’s diagnosis just started. Nobody can say the healthcare costs now a day. His manager also pointed out he is being late for the third time this month. He could not muster the courage to walk up to him and ask for one day leave when his mom’s tests were scheduled.
While returning home, the train was late by an hour. He was watching the city pass by when he heard some lewd remarks. At first he thought it was some gang chit chatting but when he noticed few north eastern girls standing near the door, these guys were passing comments which they didnt even understand. Ganesh asked politely to stop them first. As usual one of the gang members mouthed a bad word and asked him to keep quiet. After three minutes the guy who mouthed the bad word was left with a black eye and Ganesh was left with a wrist pain. The others in the gang was nowhere to be seen. What started as a good day is spiraling down to a different lane.
He came to house at 10 PM. He made himself some maggi noodles and heated the milk for mom. He can also cook well. Last week he made carrot and capsicum oothappam for Mom. She loved it. Cooking for him is one way of showing his love. He cannot wait to learn to make chapathis for his special lady. After 15 minutes of chat with mom he went to have his dinner with some TV. The power went off without a warning. A lonely dinner again. He got accustomed to this. For the past one year he had been eating at his house, in candle light alone. Snowy knows that she cannot disturb her master now. He wrote down poetry in his journal and bookmarked it to finish the poetry in the morning.
It was 3 AM when snowy licked his ears. Only by 5 AM she will wake him up for the morning walk. The subsequent cooking and cleaning the house will keep him occupied till he leaves home by 7 AM. He knew the current cut is due next hour so he didn’t want to go for a walk. He took snowy to terrace and for a while they both were looking at the stars.
Snowy opened her mouth to bark. Ganesh started howling at the stars for a good three mins. Snowy was surprised. They sat again quietly for another hour. The joy of having an understanding friend.