“I can’t take this anymore,” the self was itching for rebellion, unable to suppress the feelings gathering to become a deadly force as his boss shouted at him yet again.
“This is not expected from such an experienced person like you.”
“This mistake of yours has pushed us back by at least a month on this project,” he added in an accentuated dejected voice, putting the entire blame on Rajat who was seething from inside; a voice from deep inside was longing to spill the beans on who the real culprit was.
It was a video call and even his super boss was present; a perfect opportunity for him to expose what he had been subjected to daily by an incompetent man, who probably knows only one thing – complain and belittle others.
And when the client asked for changes to the model approved by him, he without any hesitation; not even a blink of an eye, began staring at Rajat, making faces as if he was the culprit, an act trying to portray something far away from reality.
Rajat opposed almost every change his boss suggested, but his ego somehow didn’t allow him to listen to his rational voice allowing changes that were finally disapproved by the client as well, pushing the deadline so far from everyone’s reach, that even his super boss had to call up this emergency meeting where as usual everyone stayed quiet accepting the blame for things, they were not even responsible for.
Every time, Rajat wanted to speak against the tyrant, the thought of his EMI and a young Aarav would hit his mind, forcing him to remain a reticent onlooker while getting slandered by the so-called “Leader”, with negligible leadership skills or quality.
“I need a break,” murmured Rajat as the meeting got over and he was laden with work beyond his capacity with a warning to not make any more mistakes.
This was the reward he was getting after 5 years of hard work and with no leaves in between.
“I will be back in an hour,” he announced as Aarav cried out softly as if wishing to accompany him.
Ruhi took hold of the kid and asked softly.
“Take your time,” she pressed his arm and nodded her head as Rajat too shook his head and left for a walk beside the Ganges.
“Work from home at least has this one positive aspect to it,” he thought as he drove towards Triveni Ghat, one of the busiest spots in the city.
The experience of staring at the river as it flew softly amidst the warmth of the winter sun acted like magic to calm his frantic mind; a break he had been craving for very long.
He walked a little away from the crowd to sit in a place bereft of anyone, apart from a few stray cows, dogs, and a bull who sat on the sand above the large steps which normally remained submerged in water during the monsoons.
However, the winters witness a receding river as the holy Ganges turn thinner and narrower, exposing places she normally hides inside.
Rajat found the perfect spot, a large smooth rock, just beside the river under the medium-sized tree providing a perfect balance of shade and sunshine.
His eyes turned towards the river as he settled himself on the large rock, occasionally looking around to notice the crowd of people from a distance.
The soft breeze caressed his face and head as he fought his mind against replaying the memories of the last incident.
Soon, he was engrossed in listening to the nonchalant flow of gurgling water as it made its way towards the lower plains; the musical sound pleasing both his ears and his mind.
After a few minutes of silence, his eyes slowly turned around as he observed an emaciated man, sitting at the bottom of the rock; he opened a plastic bag and retrieved something from it.
It was the chapatis, which he pulled out first before picking up dal filled up in a small plastic container, and placing both the things in front of him on the ground, he closed his eyes for a moment.
A stray dog suddenly appeared from somewhere and sat beside him, wagging his tail, the scrawny beast too suffered malnutrition and was probably looking for some nourishment. The man, instead of shoving the dog away, broke into a smile.
“Take this,” he offered an entire chapati to him after dipping it in dal and closed his eyes for a second before beginning to eat.
Rajat till now busy watching the holy Ganges and listening to the melodious flow, suddenly grew interested in his two new neighbours.
He closed his eyes once again and, in the meanwhile, a bird sitting on one of the branches did her business aiming for the container, half-filled with dal.
As he opened his eyes, he quickly noticed what the bird has done.
There wasn’t any reaction from him though, he continued staring at the bowl of dal unblinkingly, as if in trance.
He murmured something softly and putting aside the bowl began eating the two chapatis he was left with after having parted with one in favour of the dog.
Rajat’s eyes turned moist as he witnessed the incident; unable to control his emotions, he looked around trying to ignore what he just witnessed; the thin streak of tears, however, breached his strong will as he felt the warmth of salty water on both his cheeks.
Taking a loud and long sigh, he quickly climbed down the rock.
The man sitting at the foot of the rock didn’t even look at him though, chewing his stale chapatis, with blank expressions, adorning his calm countenance.
Rajat dashed towards the nearest eating joint to get something for this man; however, it was around evening and most of the shops were closed, or selling snacks but not what people generally eat during lunch.
Unable to find anything else, he was forced to buy samosas and sweets and ran to offer them to the man, whose face reflected the fulfilment of a man well fed.
To his amazement though, he was missing by the time he returned.
Two men were sitting there instead though, enjoying a smoke in their tattered clothing while laughing and sharing a joke.
Rajat went around, his eyes searching for the man, but he seemed to have disappeared.
Dejected and ready to leave, he was about to turn around when he unintentionally looked up and was pleasantly surprised.
The man was now sitting at his place atop the rock.
His tired eyes suddenly brightened up as he saw him.
“Here, it’s for you,” he announced and handed over the packet to the man, busy looking at the forest on the other side of the river.
Rajat quickly walked away after handing over the packet, his heart and mind overwhelmed with what he had seen.
He, however, couldn’t ignore noticing the loud sighs of thankfulness to the lord as he walked.
The man was now sharing what he received with the two men smoking where he was sitting earlier.
“God is great, I was craving sweets, and behold he arranged for it and that too, and this quick” he muttered with a smile, took a bite, and invited others, to join in the feast.