Morning papers read a drop of 4 Degrees in the temperature (Exaggerating a little, 2 Degrees didn’t seem significant). Winters are about to set in the capital city. There are a lot things that this capital city is defined by; the architecture, the food, the people- segregated by the geographical landmarks such as the river that flows through the city and the man-made landmarks i.e. the roads and more recently the metro-rail that runs through the city, the high crime rates, the corrupt police and politicians, the recently concluded international sporting extravaganza, and a simple fact that this is the capital city that has the power to control and decide the fate of a whole lot of significant and insignificant citizens.
Mr. and Mrs. Rajput drive through the sub-road that branches out from the main road and leads to their kothi. The kothi is right in the middle of both the entrances of the sub-road, but luckily for the Rajputs, the road barriers aren’t dropped down from the in coming side yet, else they would have to drive all the way on the wrong side of the road and take a full turn to reach the kothi, very unlike Mr. Rajput who strictly abides by the traffic rules. Moreover, it was quite a task after an uninformed lazy day off from work and a delightful dinner at the new Mughlai restaurant near Mrs. Rajput sister’s house.
Approaching the kothi, Mrs. Rajput has a sigh of relief to see the chowkidaar sitting on the rickety bench just outside the house as now she need not get down the car and open the door of the parking space. The car swiftly takes a turn to the right and stops in front of the gate. A second or two pass by and seeing no movement, the Rajputs turn their heads to look at the chowkidaar. Their sights fall on the still hands of the chowkidaar that holds a worn out greyish black wallet in one hand and a half entered/ half pulled out 20 rupee note in the other. A look upwards discomforts Mrs. Rajput; the chowkidaar has his eyes closed and is napping again. She gets down the car and slowly snatches the half entered/half pulled out note from his hand. Alarmingly, the chowkidaar shakes his head, open his eyes, clutches his fingers and straight away reaches for the 50 rupee note that is fallen on the ground right beneath the bench.
Before Mrs. Rajput could say anything, the chowkidaar starts mumbling about the headaches and the stomach aches that he has been having for the past few days and how this has affected his health and sleep. Seeing Mrs. Rajput unfazed with some discomfort on her face, the chowkidaar runs for the gate and opens it. In doing so he glances at Mr. Rajput who has a lazy smile on his face. The car drives into the parkway and the chowkidaar looks inside the car window and greets Mr. Rajput, “Raam raam sahibji” and receives a nod from the sahib.
Mrs. Rajput follows the car inside the parkway and the chowkidaar while closing the gate tells the memsahib that he was counting his notes to see how much he has managed to save in the last few months and was calculating how much will be spent as Diwali is approaching and he has to buy clothes for his daughters. Maybe, this would change the facial expressions of the memsahib, but she keeps on walking and passes the chowkidaar and the car and unlocks the door of the living room of the kothi and disappears in the vast darkness. Mr. Rajput has just locked the car and stands next to it. A slight contact with the chowkidaar’s eyes makes the latter bow and repeat “Raam raam Sahibji”, and another affirmative nod along with the lazy smile follows.
Tomorrow Mr. Rajput has to go to office.