If I had earned a little more, it would have been just perfect, though Sarfaraz as he drifted through his bank statement. Shekhar was buying a house, almost everyone else was too. The loan rates offered were high, yet the sheer joy of being a ‘home owner’ could not be matched. Sarfaraz looked around at his small one room studio apartment. In one corner was a washing machine with clothes overflowing from it. The bed could be described as a single cot temporarily acting as a dumpster. One fan could be seen in the ceiling with bundles of grit collected over it. The wall plaster was chipping and his posters had been ruined by the seepage of water. A small doormat lay recklessly near the entrance and on one side of it were his shoes – one formal, one sports, one casual and some chappals.
He went to the kitchen to make some tea to ease his early morning irritation. He didn’t mind the clutter and how the glasses lay around. He had stopped using utensils for eating, it meant too much of trouble washing everything. And he certainly disliked the stink when he left them unwashed. His cellphone flashed “Mom” and refused to stop. “Haan Mom” “Ya, I was just making tea” “Not again Mom, my life is very organized and I like it that way” “Ok, tea is done, I will call later. Bye.”
He felt his Mom was the most persistent person ever. He had always refused but she still insisted that he got married. Every week she e-mailed him the so called ‘finalized’ girls’ pictures and he promptly deleted it. “How was the first one?” his Mom had asked. “Which one Mom, what are you talking about?” “Arre, the one in the pink suit.” “Mom, she was terrible, ok! We are not talking about this.”
Nothing ever upset him or left wrinkles on his forehead. He was the typical happy-go-lucky, god-fearing guy who believed in making the most of everything he had. But there were times, he felt under privileged, as if God’s love was showered sparsely on him. It had been five years since he had moved to the city in search of a job. It had been a long time since then. He was now the team lead and respected well among colleagues. He worked in a respectable company and his only problem was his Mom’s nagging – or maybe not, life would be incomplete without that as well!
He couldn’t help his feelings when newcomers, who worked in his team, drove past him in Honda City. He was a car enthusiast and buying an SUV was definitely on his wish list. But till now, he had always had the aerial view of them from the bus. He always relied on his feet and the public bus system. It was satirical when his colleagues flashed their latest smartphones. He liked reading up and researching about the latest gadgets, even if he could not afford it immediately. He had a list of the best smartphones, their features and his secret wish list, which he updated with each new release. Shekhar showed him the latest Android phone. “Allright, this is nice man.” And then Sarfaraz took thirty minutes to explain him the features - in short, Shekhar learnt how to use his phone.
Sarfaraz was known for his quick wittedness, his sharp observation skills and most of all his dedication to work. He was the only guy in the team to have seen such a sharp rise in his career graph. But he never forgot the main reason he came to the city – his mother had sold her jewellery when his father had died. He had been in college. She had encouraged him to complete his graduation. Slowly, their funds had depleted and their house was mortgaged. He had asked his mother to leave the age old house and move to the city with him. But somehow, the emotional ties were too strong for her to leave. She would always say “This is where your father breathed his last, this is where I want to die as well.”
Every month, he paid a substantial amount towards the house debt, some towards savings and the rest for his rent and food. He could not believe how much he paid for a small place to live, where he barely stayed for a few hours of the day. He knew that getting his ancestral home was the priority, but five years of trying made him feel very worn out.
People took his opinion on everything, because he was the encyclopedia for everything. So all queries about buying cars, buying property, even electronic items – all requests came to him and he handled them all enthusiastically. But somewhere in his heart, he wanted a closure of things – he wanted a decent life, maybe a car, and maybe buy an apartment, and a smartphone – but he didn’t know in which order he would exercise his choices, if given a chance. Whether given a chance, or maybe never.
Sulking had never been the answer. He had encouraged his landlord’s daughter to take up fashion designing against the MBBS degree which the parents wanted. He had encouraged Shekhar to tell his mother about the girl he liked in office, and eventually got them married.
Seldom, when he sat down to sip his tea at his terrace, he opened his eyes wide to take in the view. He felt alive, and that was the best feeling, he felt a happiness within him, a sense of inexplicable euphoria. A sense of calmness which an SUV, an apartment, or a phone couldn’t have brought. His hand reached his small phone, where the key “5” was already broken and “3” had started dangling. He smiled, in fact, chuckled to himself. As the sun was setting, the whole terrace was showered with a golden glow of light. He dialed a number and waited. “Hello Mom, I love you a lot.” A tear trickled his eye and shone brightly along the setting sun. “I don’t want to get married, but can you please come to stay with me?”