I look down from my small balcony and find the old house completely vanished, instead broken concrete and bricks been laid out all even and a flat new surface it looks. I can relate to that, after tasting the spicy andhra curry, I have returned back to base, burnt, brown and roasted. No complaints, I will have more than enough cool air in the cold environs of office to take care of the burns. There has been so many new beginnings and junctures in my life. At times I faltered, at times I came through, learning all the way though.
I find happiness in the face of 7 couples, digging pits at 7 places on the land. Must be for the pillars or the basement, my tryst with architecture tells me this much. One digs on, while the other collects the mud and throws it out with a spade. They are working together and by the look of it, I think all must be married. There are kids around, the big ones helping the couple in the pit and the smaller ones watching the whole from the shade of a tree, with a bigger one in watch.
A tiny little guy caught my attention. He seems the smallest of the lot, must be about 2 years. He is sitting right at the side of the pit and says something in his baby language. The mother says something back to him and then to her husband. The work stops for that team, they climb out go to the shade of the tree nearby. Cleans their hand and she opens her blouse to feed the boy. He is happy suckling from his mother, while she gets a huge steel box out and two more follows. The lunch is set and the family eats. No one around is bothered about them nor they seem bothered. I felt prying, but the amazing graze with which the lady fed her child and got the food for her husband at the same time, made me feel a knot.
It has been three weeks since I spoke with my mom. Nothing bad has happened between us, but some how the one phone call becomes the elusive one. Right now she is in Chennai for some official stuff and being her, she would be very brief and we not actually really talk. Her reasons are not official mind you, she always the family woman. Hers will be roaming charges of all things !! Ask a lady who runs a middle class family and she might tell you many a secret behind the recipe of their life. Mine believed completely on Bentham and his Utilitarian approach for money. Spend money as per use and not spend it to spend.
My finances doesn't seem to be all that good at this moment. Been a bit careless with the plastic cards, tax evading meal coupons and even our good old Gandhi at times. Misplacing and not keeping a track, a mistake, which would be like a cardinal sin for my mom. I am paid decent enough for a young guy living in India, and to top it, there are no commitments as well, no choking education loans or any brothers of the same breed; but still my wallet is getting thinner as the month ends and mind you, it is just the 10th of the month. I wonder how my parents and people of their folk manged a home with the fixed salaries they got. Did they limit their dreams? I am not sure. Maybe they always wanted something like this.
Then the biggest banker for me, my elder sister will be troubled yet again this time I feel. This is a one way thing, she pays me money every time I am short and I tell her, I will give her back when I have it. But then, she has always been my banker from childhood. For the rubber balls to now travel and booze, she has always said an yes and never asked anything back. I am not a shopper, I might buy a book or something if I need it and clothes been what I get as gifts from Dad and Sisters ever since I started working. With Dad's money, I guess I used to buy more frequently, but now that has almost become one branded SWEATER in an year, when it became cold here last november.
The lunch is over and the kid resumes his position at the side of the pit and watches his parents toil hard in the sun. He too is sitting not in the shade, but in the sun. What dreams does the couple have for the young boy? Maybe they look up and see me standing their and they want their son to have all that I have. Will I be willing to exchange my life with the boys? I don't think I am that good a saint now.