As soon as I was out of school I was expected to take care of…Read More →
I was staying up at a friend’s place for the first month in Delhi. Soon, we both decided to move to a bigger and spacious place (3 BHK flat). Well, excitement knew no limit as that was the only decent thing that was supposed to happen to me in this new city which I hated so much . The shifting was again according to the whims and fancies of the Tempo drivers who would be carrying the limited furniture of my friend and my luggage. The wrapping up actually went on for almost the whole day . Around 11 pm, items were brought down from second floor to ground floor. The broker of my friend’s flat who with his family stays on the ground floor of the building helped us in the process while his 4 year old son ran around the rooms we just cleared up. The kid wore a decent yellow t-shirt and red half pants and giggled as he went round and round running in the empty rooms till his head swirled every time. Our luggage was on the ground floor by then, we waited for our Tempo to take us to our new place.
As we stood in a dingy, dimly lit entryway with all the packed luggage on the ground floor, a woman peeped out of a door behind me. She was a young woman of mid 20s covering her head with a duppatta . She asked me to get in and sit inside. I blankly stared at her, not knowing who she is. When the broker too insisted the same, I realized she was his wife.
After initially refusing, I went inside eventually. I saw a whole new world behind that door. The door opened to a room, with red mat on the floor (cheap but tidy).
Just near the door, two steps to the north, was a nicely done bed, where she offered me to sit. The bed literally covered half of the room. When I had a good look on the other side I was amazed to see her kitchen is being set up there. A wall stretched kitchen slab where she kept her gas and under the slab are the baskets of vegetables on one side and utensils on the other. The only material possession in the room was an old colour TV on one corner of the room. Everything was tidy and properly arranged.
As I busily stared at her one-room flat, she asked me, if I would like to have tea. I couldn’t help it but exclaimed, “you have a really pretty house”. She smiled back, “really?” It was not said in a mocking way . I’m sure she saw the honesty in my eyes as I saw it in her. She said, “If not tea, you can have grapes”. She offered me a bowl of grapes and I asked her to have it as well. Soon, her 4 year old kid came running to the house asking for the house key for he would play with it. Her mom says, “Rats took it away. Only if you have these grapes, it will give it to you.” The kid was asking for the key again and again, to which her mother offered him to play a game where she would close her eyes taking a grape in her hand to see whether the rat eats that away or not. To this, the kid gives in and eats it every time her mother closes her eyes. I could not understand the game but I was enjoying the smiles on those unknown faces. This continued for four or five times and the kid went out of the room at last. His mother was overjoyed. She, with a broad smile on her face said, “you know, he never had grapes before. This is the first time”.
My heart sank. Outside was the world of iPhones and branded clothes. Everyone is on a look out for ‘happiness’ and here, they are living it. I was jealous of that happiness which I didn’t find it in my 3bhk flat, new job, first salary, new belongings or in anything. The never ending rush to be ‘happy’ is possibly a race on the wrong track.