The high pitched metallic rattle of the alarm clock violently jerked him out of sleep. Not that he had slept peacefully…a violent start to another tumultuous day…after a turbulent sleep…
He stared out of the window at a greasy brick wall…the red was showing in patches. Dirty, smelly grime covered the rest of it…knotted, dangling spider webs cut odd streaks across the wall. ‘Like rotten depths of a forgotten cavern…’ he thought.
He walked to the basin and face contorted…he hadnt turned on the tap after throwing up last night.
The small bottle of No.1 lay on the floor, a few crowns of Bagpiper club soda scattered around it. He had had to do with less of whiskey and more of soda last night…no money left for even a pack of peanuts…
His head throbbed as he tried to recollect the events of the night.
Ahh! She had dumped him last evening. The whole of yesterday wasa blur…but he remembered their last few minutes of conversation quite vividly:
Him: “I love this time…the time when Im with you…I wish we could be like this forever…”
and then he had bit his lip…afraid it was too late…he shouldn’t have said that…he knew what was coming…
Her: “I know…I love being with you too..”
thank God for that…she didn’t start it this time…always ends in a fight..
Him: “…You know Daljit got a new pair of jootis for himself….proper punjabi jootis…i think I’ll get a pair too..”
Her: “Didn’t he get anything for her?”
here it comes…
He: “I don’t know”
Her: “Ofcourse. Why would you know. You would never remember such things. Daljit is a responsible man. He married the girl he loved…not like you. You are a loafer really.”
Him: “Please dear. I have told you already. Daljit’s story is different..he has his father who is providing for him…for now…”
Her: “I don’t want to hear all that. Bhaiyya and dadaji are searching for a match for me. Unless you do something soon…”
“I have heard this a million times ok…please give me some time-“
“What do I tell them? What reason should I make up now? I cannot think of anything now. you are coming to talk to dadaji…tell me when you are coming…now!”
“You know I am not earning much…it is hardly enough for me…”
“Tell me now..please!”
“I need some tim-“
“I cannot. I really cannot. Its been four years since we have been together..but nothing has happened..”
“I cannot give you an answer now…please try to understand…I need time..”
“I am sorry. I just cannot. You either come to my place tomorrow and talk to dadaji…or we will never see each other again”
With that, she had walked off…he had sat there…stunned…unsuspecting…and then cursing her for all she had said and done.
He had walked home, bought the whiskey and soda on the way. By the time he had reached his rundown single room ‘home’, he knew he had done wrong. Taking it all too easy…
…now…after drinking…puking…sleeping…and coming back to his senses…he knew what the answer was going to be. He put on his ‘costume’…his job required him to wear it. A bright yellow lungi…a bright yellow bhugari…and a white kurta. He put on his jootis and joined the others from his group…today he was to dance at the wedding of a wealthy marwari merchant’s only daughter…