Monday, June 29, 2009

bhola

The fields were green in the rains, the breeze was so fresh. I could almost hear myself gasp as I tried taking in the fresh air. The pitter patter of the rain drops sounded like music and the hush of the trees added that beat to the glorious nature melody. I skipped and ran across the greens. The roaring in my tummy told me its lunch time. Running home I looked forward to the helping of rice and maybe there would be some steamed potatoes today well mashed with some mustard oil, onions and chilies. If I got real lucky there might be some ghee too. I ran even faster and suddenly I fell into the ditch which I failed to see. A loud jarring noise followed. I sat up realizing that my dream was shattered and my reality was far from the greens and the breeze. I wiped my face and my neck which was wet with the perspiration of the hot and humid night. I jumped out of bed the moment realizing that a brief delay in answering the bell would result in some remarks from memsahib.

It was barely 6 am and my reality of serving the household of 2 at Greater Kailash II, New Delhi had just sunk in. The garbage collection boy frowned as I opened the door saying “kya, itna time lagta hai darwaja kholne mein !” (Does it take so long to open the door?). I meekly handed the garbage to him. In my second year in the capital, I realized after many hard lessons that smiling at people, thanking them, expecting them to smile back never helped. No one ever was pleasant without a motive so it was better to just be elusive.

The mornings were always a hurricane. Between 6 am to 9 am when the house hold left, I had to get breakfast ready, pack Tiffin (2 different ones), finish sweeping and moping the house etc. I rushed around the kitchen. I knew the tiffin was the tough part, Memsaheb tool 3 roti’s, one bowl of vegetables, a dal, curd, salad. Saab never liked the staple diet as he liked variety and craved over chicken which memsahib never let him eat. She would keep saying eat healthy, look at yourself, you need to be in shape. I sneaked a bit of the dry chicken from the night before, dal, sabji in his tiffin. The tiffin’s were ready and lined up near the exit. The breakfast was simple- cereal (some fancy thing in a box called Kellogg’s, it seemed an awful waste of money. I could have made daliya for a year with that money), fruits (3-4 kinds all neatly cut up), milk, toast and sometimes if they asked an egg.

I could hear the shuffles in the room inside around 8 am. I finished cleaning the house and laid the table. Saab and memsahib ate well and cribbed about the ac not working for an hour. They asked me how I slept. I replied that I slept well and never felt the load shedding. Memsahib instructed me on the items to be cooked for the night.

BY 9 am I was home alone. I loved this part of the day. All the time was mine, I cleaned the house, dusted the rooms, washed the clothes, ironed the earlier day’s clothes. By 1 am I was done. I had my meal of rice, dal and aloo and lay down for an afternoon nap. I had to go buy the vegetables in the evening and I would cook dinner. I knew no one would return before 8 pm. They went to some gym to work out ( I always wondered why not walk in the open air, run, play rather than going to another closed place and use big heafty machines) and came back all exhausted. They would eat dinner post 9 pm and sleep after 12 pm. These were my days. There were a little different days where some people were called, then there would be more cooking then there would be days where they would not eat at home and there would be no cooking.

My life was simple. I felt grateful, I could send money home every month, I could save up for my family back in Orissa. I had little or no demands, I was fed and I had shelter in this household and the work was not too much. I knew of people from my village who had to toil for hours endlessly to earn even Rs. 500. I felt privileged. There was a lot of money in Delhi, the family had a lavish lifestyle, they had two cars, spent a lot on eating out ( I have seen shocking bills of Rs.5000 left in clothes given for washing ), shopped but they were kind people who never yelled or troubled me without reason.

I looked forward to my yearly break when I would go back to my village, amidst the lush green place and enjoy the breeze. I sighed as I put on the fan and sat on the floor. I knew another day would go by and another and soon months would pass. I felt blessed, I saw the complications of the lives people led here- money, power, pressure, health, competition, expenses… the needs and the ends were endless. When did life get so complicated I felt. I lived my cycle everyday, I was content and I served with a happy heart. I wish that my contentment would reflect in the family too and they would find some solace in their complicated lives. If only they could be content, if only they could stop running and live… just live by being bhola for a day.. dream of the green fields and look forward to one bowl of fresh rice… I dared not say that but I smiled more.. I helped more.. I tried more.. I hope someday my acquired family at GK (as they call it here) understands the meaning of living… simply living….n being content about it..

The door bell rang at 6 am.. another day … for bhola was just about to begin………

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