A Thousand Stars – Part I

He is standing on top of his 16-floor tall office, with a cigarette between the index and middle finger of his heavily jeweled-with-different-stones left palm, already nearing its filter now. A thousand stars, a hundred thoughts, a chilly night and just a half step for the penultimate ending of the story. He takes the last drag and stashes the bud, among the pile of other buds on the floor. He looks up in the sky. But that is not where the thousand stars lie. The zooming cars with their headlights set on high beam below, the street lamps, and the neon signs of Deloitte, Yahoo, Microsoft and other giants around, are the stars that are visible now. As he looks up, and inhales the smoke in a long deep drag, and feels the familiar sense of satisfaction and relaxation spread through his body, followed by the unpleasant sensation of burning in his throat and lungs, he mentally reminded himself to cut down. But now was not the time to think about himself, there were far more important things to deal with right now; and the tobacco converted into smoke vanishes into the cold air with fog.

Things had taken such great turns in life, that he forgot what the stars in the sky looked like anymore.

“Is it over now? Is this it?”

He asks himself. He no longer remembers what the fight was for. He no longer remembers what brought him here. In this moment, in these times. He knows he must run for it, but the question is,

“Run for what? What is the final destination? When am I supposed to stop running? When does it end?”

He looks at his palm. Shaking today, not the firm and stable palm he had just yesterday in the meeting room. He can’t understand why is it shaking, even when the telecom giant, InterNetworks had won the deal. Another feather in the hat. Last three-quarters had seen an exponential growth in the value of his company. A company today, a young start-up yesterday. Maybe it is the cold winter air and the only-good-for-looks business suit that can’t keep him warm.

10 years. It has been 10 years since he started out with his life like a Phoenix. Burnt to ashes and rose to heights. For 10 years the only thought he lived with was to reach a point where the world knew who he was. Of course, in that everyone was hidden just that one whom he wanted to win back.

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The Case of the Most Wanted Refridgerator

I woke up to loud arguments that were leaking into my room, despite the heavy wooden door being closed and latched in a failed attempt to restrict all sound vibrations from the outside world, for me to enjoy my sweet nap in the cool pleasant weather of Ranchi. The previous night, cable was running back to back episodes of How I Met Your Mother, to which I was glued to, till 3 in the morning. Because why not?

With closed eyes, I ran my hands all across the bed to find the small rectangular bar. My Nokia. 10:20 am. I woke up with a jolt. Not that I was running late. My meeting was scheduled for 2 pm that day. But guilt. In Delhi, 8:30-9 am had become a regular wake up time. Besides, I had to find out what were my caretaker and cook arguing all about!

Flipping aside the thin sheet, with which I had a battle for the better half of the night (you know, when you are not sure if you’re feeling cold or warm and hence you put one leg out of the covers, and other one inside!), I stepped out, pulled down the latch and came out into the room blazing with sunlight.

Okay pause! This song just started running in loop as I am writing : Sunlight Hurts My Eyes

Okay. Let’s carry on.

I entered the common area of the house, rubbing my eyes and picking out on the mud in the eyes. The cook zipped her lips as soon as I entered, looked down at a declining angle of 45-degrees, and walked off into the kitchen to make me some tea. Now, this one is tricky. I am not sure if she left the room, leaving the argument, out of respect, or she walked-out, out of embarrassment. Because suddenly I realized all I was wearing was a pyjama, with the right-side sleeve rolled all the way up to my knees and just a vest. Now let me tell you. I look like the guy from the gym. Just that I am that guy who registered just today, to lose 20 kilos over the next 1 year. So I walked to the balcony to grab a T-shirt, making it look like I did not have any t-shirt to wear as my clothes were drying up.

Sanju kept the cup of tea on the table. And as she started walking back into the kitchen, I caught her throwing looks at Vijay, the care taker. So I asked, “kya hua bhai? Kyu ladd rahe ho subah subah? (What happened guys? Why are you fighting early morning?)”. And soon enough, I regretted asking this. Big mistake. My next 1 and a half hours, that could have been enjoyed over omelette and fresh juice, while looking at the brilliant green view over the Kanke Dam, got wasted into a burnt toast, sugar free tea (i meant sugar less), and tears and yellings and phone calls. The old refrigerator was being replaced by a new one. The question was what to do with the old one? This started the battle for the contenders to get the old refrigerator! Vijay had asked the previous night if he could take it home. And obviously, Sanju wanted it too. The argument began between these two, the premise of the argument being who has been working in the house for the longest and been the most loyal one, thus, being the deserving candidate to receive the fridge! By 11:30 am, Sanju had to leave for another shift. Things seemed to have settled down. But I was mistaken. The Hindi proverb, “ek anaar, sau bimaar” was turning out to be true. Within moments, Vijay received a phone call from one of the drivers, asking not to take away the fridge, as he had been working with “saar (sir)” for more number of years than him. I quickly grabbed by ear plugs, and zoned out. I could not deal with another long hour of explanation to why the explainee deserves to take the old fridge.

I kept looking at my mobile time to time, to check the time, hoping that it was time for me to leave for my meeting, and reach there before the scheduled time. (this sentence gave me a word-gasm at the time of writing!)

It was noon. I started getting ready for the meeting when another phone call arrived. This time some lady from the office, who was managing this entire staff – drivers, maid, cok, caretaker etc. Soon after the phone call, Vijay came to me and said, “saar. Abhi madam ka phone aaya tha. Unko poora kissa bol daali Sanju. Dikkat ho gaya. (sir. Ma’am just called-in. Sanju must have told her the whole case. There is a problem now.)”

I asked, “Why? What happened? Did she scold? Got angry?”

Vijay, “nahi saar. Ab toh madam ko bhi fridge chaiye! (no sir. Now, even madam wants the fridge!)”