Thursday, October 31, 2013
Friday, August 2, 2013
Mrs. Saan closed the files, fetched the keys from the handbag. Locked and put them back in and walked towards the washroom. On her way checked her staff and noticed all left.
She checked standing before the mirror it, reflected her five six frame from the waist to head. She watched her physique and was proud of it; despite fifty plus age there was no sign of aging, and fortunately she had no aging ailments and considered beautiful. She straightened some folds of the sari, pulled and adjusted the blouse on her back and returned.
The security was locking some sections, watched him approaching; took her belongings and walked towards the elevator.
Saan unlocked the car and tossed her handbag on the next seat. She took her mobile and called home, after five rings her son answered
‘Ahin, you are early son? Have an apple, I am on the way.’
‘Mama Dad asked me to wait, and he want me to drive him to the party, and he asked not to prepare dinner for us.’ Call disconnected abruptly.
Saan threw the mobile on the dashboard and the clock showed 06:33 p.m. The parties celebrated twice or thrice a week and she got used to dine alone at home.
Juar closed the files and stretched his arms, inhaled and breathed out twice. Turned head sideways, placed arms in his lap and closed his eyes. Juar was awake by the phone ring, it was dark expect the two lights overhead; the time was fifteen minutes past seven. He slept for fifteen minutes. He answered the call.
‘Am I talking to my man?’
‘No, He-man here’ he corrected
‘You do have a family, He-man, remember?’ She sighed
‘Yeah, sure, want me to get something?’
‘Yes, get some snacks and soft drink for your daughter’s class tour.’
‘OK done, anything else’
‘Come early man, bye’ was a command, he smiled
‘Do I get anything in return?’
‘Let me think it over after you come.’
Shut the pc, called the security to lock the office. On the way switched off the light and walked down the stairs. He regularly takes the stairs, as a part of exercise to cut the fat on his five seven figure.
Mr. Juar was at the supermarket parking lot; smoked and relaxed. Glancing at the new cars and saw his boss’s car. She left the office long back, had a doubt. Was her car stolen or some trouble or deliberately parked to avoid parking ticket or she might have come for the shopping leisurely. He thought of searching her but, as it was none of his business; threw the butt and started.
Saan came out of the supermarket with two carry bags, adjusted bags in her left hand and took the keys and unlocked. Placed the grocery bags carefully on the rear seat and moved out with the usual traffic.
She was alone at evenings after Ahin joined the engineering college. Earlier, her son would wait till her return, they would have tea snacks and play chess, sang songs or watch TV. Later, she prepares the dinner. Meanwhile, Ahin would finish studies and they used to wait for Ahahr’s return. After dinner, she’s busy with next day’s menu.
Saan was feeling lonely sitting in the hanging chair in the balcony. After, reading the report of the murder of an old man for wealth. She thought, ‘Why were these events occurring in the society? Was it just for Money?’ She put herself in old man’s state and calculated a rough figure came out. She drew her legs up, locked knees with her hands and tilted head on the knees; a few minutes passed. She knew father and son wouldn’t be returning home tonight. If they returned they would be a battle for tasty food or new dress, money or pride. She felt cold, went inside and locked all the doors and windows, prepared some bread sandwiches and milk for her dinner.
She called her son, he answered
‘Ahin, it's half past one and what is your dad doing still?’
‘Maa, I had finished my dinner and dad’s with his friends.’
‘Ahin you should take your father and start immediately or, he would spoil the fun’ she was angry.
‘I can’t Maa, he and few of his friends are inside the guesthouse’
She understood; a betting game.
‘Son, you come home now and safely, hello, got it’ confirmed
‘Maa, Maa I cannot drive now, I’d better sleep here and return early morning.’ He admitted
She was angry ‘Ahin if you don’t listen to me now, you would repent later, keep this in mind.’
‘Maa, Hello, you there. Hello,’ she disconnected.
Switched off the lights and lay on the bed. Sometimes freedom and individualism are double-edged swords she thought. She gave her child good education in reputed institutions and never made him feel unaffordable or unhappy.
Saan was unhappy thinking about Ahahr, his addition to alcohol and aggressive nature. Nowadays, she doubted his behaviour and his new acquaintances. It made sense, blamed self-for not spending intimate life together as earlier days. She hardly finds the love and care for each other and could not point how and where they were wrong. Despite sound financial support and affordability, she felt something was missing. A dislike had been piling up inside him against her from the moment he lost his job. His bank account was nil; helpless and depend even for the pack of cigarette. She pities him besides angry for his laziness and for not taking up a job. As he said, now it was her turn to earn and manage the family, she agreed.
The stock markets all over the world were sinking; Saan thought it was the right time to off-load some shares of her portfolio. Checked the prices of the shares and decided to sell some, as she had been holding for long time. Noticed the markets diving all over the world and thought markets were overbought and needed a correction. She knew it was the right time to get her returns appreciated. She has various accounts with famed stock dealers. She dialled a brokering house.
‘Hello’ receptionist answered
‘Hi this is Saan, would you please connect me to . . . ‘
‘Yes madam, would you please hold for . . . ‘
‘Good morning Mrs. Saan’
‘Good morning, how do you see the international markets?’
‘Not good madam, want to place an order?’
‘Yeah, please’ and she gave a list of shares without stop loss and disconnected. Assuming, it would be a good return on her investment. She sold thirty percent of her holding; she placed the piece of paper in her bag.
She heard a knock on the door and saw Juar standing; she always liked and loved his style, he never enters without a knock or a smile, showed him a chair.
‘Good morning Juar’
‘Good morning Saan’
‘Where are these markets up to Juar?’ She asked him
‘Shangai, India and Singapore are moving parallel and Wall Street on the move now.’
‘Did you get the tip’ she enquired
‘Yes, but? I don’t think it's reliable’ he said
‘You guessed the correction?
‘Can’t say? Still have to wait and watch, Dow-Jones, CAC, DAX, and FTSE are gaining while the Nikki, Shanghai and Nifty stocks are sliding.
‘OK, what’s up?’
‘Saan, figures didn’t tally, I need you to check, please.’
The figures, sheets and calculations had taken more than forty minutes. Saan received a call and, she left the office.
Ahahr was sleeping in his room when Saan came home early. She prepared tea and came into the living room, checked the messages and walked up to her room. He was snoring loud; she changed her clothes and went to the bathroom.
Ahin returned from college, threw his bag on the sofa and searched for snacks. Saw a used empty cup and knew his mother was home, went into parent’s room. He saw his mother’s sari hanging on the chair. Came into the living room and switched the TV, settled for music channel and increased the volume. He lies on the sofa and adjusted a cushion as a pillow.
Saan dabbed her face with a towel, applied the moisturiser and went down.
‘Mama, give me something to eat’ pulled his mother’s hand and made her sit on the sofa. He adjusted and placed his head in her lap.
‘Ahin, you are grown but, still you behave as a child, my sweet baby’. She said and stroked his long hair. She sat for two minutes, later slowly she placed her sons head on the cushion and went into the kitchen.
She returned with a plate full fries, bread sandwiches and sauce.
Ahahr woke, dressed and came down, saw the mother and son. The cruel look, in his eyes was of neglected and ignored. Saan saw him and said ‘Aha, have some; I’ll get the coffee and sandwiches for you.’
He came to his son took the plate and threw it. The contents scattered over the floor and the plate rolled and settled after few rounds; the sound echoed the ache of an ill heart in the room.
Mother and son were astonished and Saan was the first to react
‘What the hell is this? Are you insane, your behaviour has become intolerable? Are you in your senses?’ We are vexed with you day by day’. She said. Ahahr was coming closer to her, she pushed him away.
‘Day by day’, ah ‘day by day . . . My existence and behaviour is intolerable, useless lady did you ever do anything I asked for, cook any dish, bother for my needs, clothes or shoes and I asked for. . .’
‘Shut up Ahahr, So for all these years who had cooked and fed you?, you eat the damn shit out on the roads all-day, come home late at nights and force me to cook your choice. Cooked and packed for your damn friends too. Don’t you remember?
‘Mama, Maa . . . You don’t prolong and you know what the scene could be now?’ He Said and took her away into his room on the other side of the kitchen.
‘Mother and son are alike and you always want to cause pain and hurt me and I had been watching you both are trying to plan something against me.’
Ahahr walked to his son’s room and kicked on the door, it was locked. Went into kitchen, took a bottle of water, drank half and pushed the refrigerator’s door hard and the contents rattled and spilled.
Ahin’s room door opened and Saan came out to face him as her nerves were to break by this daily torture. Ahahr was looking at her in the eyes and she knew at any moment he would hit her.
‘Do you think it as favour what you do? Then, what about the time when I earned and fed you gluttons, and now, cooking had become a great task to you ha. And how dare you talk about my friends. Useless bitch, you save all my money and even for a damn pack of cigarettes you want me to beg and is this the way a wife takes care of her husband.’ He was coming closer to her.
‘Maintaining a family, isn’t it a man’s responsibility? Did you ever think how hard it is to manage the house and your never ending wishes and sky-high need?’ She was sarcastic.
‘Mama, mama why don’t you keep quiet, you know this had been going for years. Leave this matter, please ma . . . ‘Ahin came and stood by his mother blocking her
‘Dad, please, it's not fair what you do and it hurts me and mama as well, at least for the sake of my examinations’.
‘You and your damn study, you talk about fair? And what’s fair about that bitch, the way she behaves don’t you think it's unfair, who the hell are you?’ Ahahr came to his son and raised his right hand. Immediately, Saan came forward from behind her son, caught his hand and pushed.
Ahahr lost balance and fell on the sofa. He got up and caught Saan by her neck and tried to punch her on the face. Meanwhile, Ahin held his hand and yelled at him.
‘Will you stop this or want me to leave this house. It had become a menace daily. What’s your problem, don’t you feel ashamed begging for money, if you didn’t save for you, it’s a pity. Why don’t you earn at least for your drink?’
‘You are preaching me the lessons of the life. Get out, take your belongings and leave this house and right now. And if I see you again, I’d would kill you and take care that bitch later’ Ahahr said and went upstairs to his room, took the money from Saan’s purse and left the house. Ahin was staring at her mother, she was weeping. He pitied his mother and thought how she was tolerating him for all these years. He couldn’t understand at the moment ‘was she a dependent on him? Or he’s dependent on her.
He thought why can’t she leave him? Saan wiped her eyes with her sari and said
‘Ahin, you forget all this son, prepare for your examination I’ll get some coffee’
‘No ma, I don’t feel like staying here anymore and, also I am scared to leave you alone in this house, why don’t you leave him to hell?’
‘Ahin’ it was a roar, both were silent for a while. After a while she said
‘You get into your room and concentrate on your study, I’ll get some coffee. Forget this mess it’s nothing new now.’ She went inside her kitchen. Ahin came and stood in the kitchen doorway and said
‘Its nothing and old to you but, it gives a squeeze on my nerves ma. I’d better stay at my friend’s place till I finished my examinations and daily I’d come and see you in your husband’s absence OK.’
‘I don’t know what to do? I feel like killing myself. I am tired of this life and only it’s you that I am alive’ she said and was looking at the bubbling hot water.
‘Ahin’, she was to say something but he interrupted her
‘Ma, I’d be studying at nights with my friend OK and stay till you comeback from the office and leave before that man’s bark.’
His words surprised her; she stared him. She was seeing a grown-up man, a man capable to taking a decision for his future, a man who loves his mother, a man fit to earn and live for himself. She was in a whirlpool of thoughts. A few minutes later, Ahin appeared with backpack and a few books in his hand, hugged her and left the house. She saw him leaving and either blessed him or wished good luck for his examinations. Quickly, she ran outside and stood watching him go. His gait showed his confidence; he turned around and waved and she too waved him back.
Ahahr had been waiting for the last fifteen minutes and was restless. With frustration, he tried to enter the conference room. He was stopped by one of the staff; asked him to wait for few more minutes, and Ahahr abused and pushed him. He fell on the floor, other staff noticed and argued. Juar sent the file into the conference room and heard the voices behind his cubicle. Stood and saw, some of his colleagues were arguing with Ahahr. He rushed and took him to the visitors lounge. Juar asked him to wait. He settled on a couch with a cigarette.
After five minutes, Saan with the directors came out. She saw her husband and went to her cabin took some money from her handbag and returned to the visitors lounge.
‘Juar, please get these, two copies each’ she said, he nodded and took the papers. As, he was leaving the lounge he heard.
‘You bitch you want me to beg always? Did this wilfully, why didn’t you leave the money at home? I had been waiting here past half an hour, what were you doing? Got fucked.’
‘Ahahr please stop . . . Ahahr listen to me.’
Juar heard a splash like sound behind. He turned around and saw Ahahr caught the braid and was trying to hit her again. Juar immediately, ran towards him and held his right hand
‘Sir, Sir, please Mr. Ahahr leave her, please leave her’ he said.
A heavy blow landed on the Juar’s jaw and heard ‘mind your business.’ He could not bear it any longer, he caught of Ahahr throat with left hand punched him once on the face and twice in the stomach. Ahahr left Saan and was trying to defend himself.
‘No Juar, No’ Saan said but, Juar was choking Ahahr and his right fist rose. Ahahr struggled for breath. Saan was scared and was asking him to leave her husband; she was pulling Juar’s hand. But he was applying full strength of his left hand on the throat and his right fist still aimed and positioned at the face.
‘Juar leave him . . . He is my husband Juar . . . Juar’ she was trying to loosen Juar’s grip. With the look on Ahahr’s face, she understood something was going to happen. She slapped Juar on left cheek and shouted at him. Juar pushed Ahahr away and, with the same left hand caught her by the throat and aimed his right fist directly on to her face. But quickly, realized and released her. She terrified at his look; his eyes were burning with the anger.
‘I am Sorry Saan’ Juar said and was leaving the lounge. Saan blocked his way and said ‘He kicks me for the money and now you want to hit me. You are no different and make me think that all men are alike in showing their power. Juar kill me and here ends everybody’s problem.’ She took Juar both hands to her throat and said.
Juar saw Ahahr getting up slowly wiping the blood off his mouth. Ahahr said with anger ‘I’ll kill you bastard. You hit me in your office. Come out and you are dead, son of a bitch.’ He took a deep breath and said
‘So, you have been screwing her at the office and that’s the reason she’s against me and dares to challenge’ and continued ‘next time, if I see you both I’ll kill you . . . Kill you both.’
Juar turned back and was staring at him. Meanwhile, Mrs. Ann Fairen walked to him leaving Saan, held his shoulders with both her hands and said
‘Juar have control on yourself son, don’t push this further, its their family matter understand, don’t mess up. Please leave and calm yourself.’
Juar looked at Ahahr and his wife; came out and made his way through amid the staff. Went to his table, took the pack of cigarettes and returned to the lounge but, other staff stopped him. He said ‘Hey, It's all right. I want to apologize, let me.’ Someone said ‘Don’t fuel it up Juar. Let the matter cool.’
Juar agreed and left the office, walked down, lit a cigarette and went to the cafeteria.
Juar could felt a mild pain and on his cheek. He placed the hot coffee mug to his cheek for some relief; repeated the warming until the mug was half. Thought he made a mistake interfering between their personal matters. However he could not tolerate Ahahr hitting her and her slapping him. Some enjoyed the show. While, few were happy as the incident took place before them. Some always spoke the trash, enjoyed the most.
Ahahr gave a clear picture of their family today, Saan’s miserable, desperate and pitiable life with an alcoholic husband. He husband was a good man; hardworking type, what made him turn his life to alcoholic? Juar met him only once, at an official family day few years ago. By his talk, Juar calculated him to be a cool and sensible man. After his retirement, he met him twice and found a change in his behaviour. His dependent nature was obvious; which made him addict and forget for a while himself. After all, ‘a man must respect his wife, understand and love’, it was the only philosophy Juar learned and understood well.
Saan nowadays seemed worried, especially on the payday. He noticed the moment the salary credited at bank; immediately, she transfers the money to other accounts. Her husband might have had her cards or cheque’s. If she delayed, she could be with no money. Juar guessed it and his guess was the fact.
Saan spent most of her time alone in her cabin. Earlier, after the lunch she’d talk about the dress with the other women and enjoyed the time spent. For the past few months, her behaviour was adamant and sometimes intolerant. She even, started mumbling at him often, but never said anything in particular. Work wise she is capable as an executive: by his help of the analysis of the market depths and with some fluke predictions she gained good profits in stocks. She trusted him more than any of her other staff. Sometimes felt proud but today; he was in the trash when it came to family matter. Even he could have reacted the same way as she did, if it happened with him. He was hurt and ashamed the moment he remembered the incident and his blood rushed twice the speed. He calmed himself thinking not push further.
After twenty minutes, Juar saw Ahahr and Saan coming towards the parking lot. She gave him something while he was talking. Later, her car was driven away rashly.
Juar’s anger made him feel weak and hungry. He ordered some snacks and another coffee. He returned to his table, took the copies and buzzed for the boy, no one attended him; there was no one to send them to his boss. All were at lunchroom except them.
Saan was in her cabin with her head facing down and resting on her both palms. He walked to her cabin, she didn’t notice him. Knocked twice on the glass door and walked in. She raised her head, wiped her tears with her hankie. He threw the papers before her and returned to his place. She was watching him in regretting silence. His table was first in the row. He could see her through the glass door and she too has a view the staff. Juar received a call and was speaking, and revolved his chair around to avoid her sight.
The staff had lunch with serious discussions and all satisfied with their conclusions and judgements, an echo filled the lunchroom. Some finished their lunch earlier to know the status of post lunch of their boss and Juar.
Mrs. Ann Fairen disliked the talk, finished before others and came to Saan’s cabin. Saan was staring at something and the look gave a sad feeling to Mrs. Ann Fairen. She approached and pulled a chair and occupied beside her.
She turned her chair. Mrs. Ann Fairen noticed her swollen face and said in cool and low voice ‘If you don’t mind, allow me to say . . .’
‘It's alright, you can Ann’
‘Dear, I feel sorry, about the incident this morning. Either mend yourself, or try to mend his behaviour and never let these issues pop up at office.’ Ann placed her right hand on Saan’s shoulder and said
‘I can understand, and take liberty to speak. Don’t let him come to the office and in that state. And I knew well about these men when they are drunk.’ Saan was listening quietly.
‘I think you are getting at what I am saying. Drunken mind utter all nonsense and trash, we know and everybody knew it. But, everyone gets a voice for a gossip, useless talk and that made me pity you. I know you for many years and can shut the stinking mouths but, for how long?’ She took Saan’s hand into her hand.
Saan’s eyes filled with tears; she bent on Mrs. Ann Fairen shoulder and was weeping. She did not stop her, knew the plight of a woman now. A few seconds passed with tears for both.
‘Dear you give him what he wants and leave him for himself, don’t talk or argue for anything, its for him to decide, OK. Now, you have had enough heartbreak, leave him to his fate, we can’t change them or turn back the time. Don’t feel bad for what I said. I faced similar in my life too and can understand it to its depth.’ She said, and saw the staff returning to their seats.
‘As, you have a grown-up son, make yourself strong and don’t let these incidents shadow him anytime. You can rely on me for any help. I will pray you dear, God bless you, child.’ Mrs. Ann Fairen wiped her tears and left the cabin.
At 04:45 p.m., Juar compiled the figures and sent it to Saan’s cabin. She wasn’t there. As, he was not feeling like staying in the office and left for coffee. Saan was stepping out of the elevator; he saw her, his agony made him avoid eye contact. Stepped aside, walked away and took the stair. Saan was calling him; he heard her but pretended as though he didn’t. Turned left and took another flight of steps down. She watched him; she noticed the other staff coming towards the elevator; she walked to her cabin and was busy for the next hour.
The office was empty at 06:40 p.m. Except Saan and Juar. Saan thought of speaking to him and get excused but, didn’t dare. She was ashamed to face him for the words her husband. She cleared her desk, came out of her cabin and walked towards Juar.
Saan saw him busy talking over the phone and checking the papers. She didn’t dare to call him, came out of office and went to the parking lot, checked for the car keys and remembered, her husband took the car. Walked on the main road and decided to travel by the bus. Was not willing to reach home early, and strolled to the bus stop; stood there for twenty minutes and deliberately let few buses. She was afraid; not prepared to face her husband, and thought what the consequences could be at home. Her life was getting squeezed hard day after day with one issue or the other. Despite her happy corporate elite and financial position: she was tolerating the pain and grief in silence. A group of four women were laughing. She watched them and pitied herself.
Juar took his belongings and walked out to the bike. Lit a cigarette, morning incident rolled frame by frame but, he made up himself to remain cool. Started his bike and was waiting for the traffic to give way, as he was to take a turn. Meanwhile, he turned his head and saw Saan at the bus stop, she was watching him. He felt bad and sorry for the poor woman. She was still staring him. There was a gap in the flow of traffic. He speed up, took a right turn and drove away.