A simple song evaded his memory. He could not let go of it because the hum refused to die down in his head. He evaded the obvious, thought of the usual suspects and had to let them go as well. Farther down the line, he expected to things to change drastically as he was going to hit the 70 years of age barrier.
He had to let go of his old chowki, the one he'd been guarding for the last 30 years. Chowkidar Ramanjan could not begin to see the end of his woes. A foot soldier in the Freedom Struggle of India, he'd marched along with the one army which set the country free and now he wonders what freedom has gotten him?
No retirement funds. An aging wife. Prescription drugs.
He looked away from the bungalow that had aged alongside him like a faithful companion. Rambo, the Alsatian was long gone. Living was just an exercise.
'Hah! Just like my grandpa used to tell me. People who live, die.'
A seemingly distasteful imagery cropped in the head of Ramanjan who could see people being let go as the forces of death prowl around them. Outsmarting them was not possible.
'Thinking isn't the best thing to do at these times.'
Strolling became the same as patrolling for Ramanjan, who could not keep up with his battle against the bulge of his belly.
'Fresh air. Trees. Health. Sharadha's hospital bill. What about the monthly groceries?'
He came back at a snail's pace as he delved himself in contemplation.
Thakur had come back and it was time for the chowkidar to go back home. Shyamlal the night shift chowkidar wasn't a friend of his. He was just another hotheaded young man. Not much to his liking.
Now, as he peddled on his bicycle slowly back home, the road that led to his broken home was a narrow trail that crept through the forests of that Ghats. His path today seemed to clear up for him that day. It was an odd feeling in his head. That pesky song in the morning dawned on him at dusk and he could not help but smile. A tinge of happiness in a day of toil and Ramanjan walked into his home and went to Sharadha and whispered to her, 'I'm back from work. Tomorrow I shall have to go back'.
Sharadha smiled feebly, 'Wonder if I was a bungalow you'd look at me more often, Oh chowkidar?'
Ramanjan smiled, 'Work beckons me and I go to it for it gives us food and clothing and shelter.'
Sharadha - 'What about the future?'
Ramanjan - 'What about the future? Let's worry about that when we get there. Today isn't that day.'
A simple song struck his memory. He could not let go of it because the hum refused to die down in his head. He evaded the obvious, thought of the usual suspects and had to let them go as well, for today it was all over. Until tomorrow comes.
And the sun set that night to the hum in Ramanjan's voice.
"Ehsaan Tera Hoga Mujpar
Dil Chahta Hai Woh Kahene Do
Mujhey Tumse Mohabbat Ho Gai
Mujhey Palkon Ki Chaon Me Rahene Do"