Thursday, April 28, 2011

Fair to Life…

As he stood in the morning near his bathroom window, he saw the sky, the corner of the old building and the three full bloomed gulmohor trees. This was a sight Amit had been seeing every morning that he had been in this house for the last 50 years. Nothing had changed much except that the building looked older and the trees taller. And every time he had wished that he could wake up, stand at the same window and view snow clad mountains.

Amit had turned fifty five years today. Three more years, and he would retire from his banking job. Life, he thought had been fair to him, a doting wife, loving children who had done well for themselves, a good job and a decent bank balance… But had he been fair to life…

As a teen he had been a dreamer, passionate about music, literature and painting. He would spend hours chatting up with his many friends who enjoyed his company. Being intelligent he always scored well in his exams but never was decided about a career. He was never bothered about relatives jeering him and taunting him about him being no good and a complete waste in life. He was someone who enjoyed life and enjoyed living it his way… dreaming about the snow clad mountain from his window.

Life took a turn with the death of his father. Amit had just completed his graduation then and now being the sole male member of the family he started to feel the responsibility. That’s when he decided to do his MBA which was such a fad then. Getting into one of the best management institutes in the city was not a big deal for him. During his MBA course he made many friends, painted many paintings, listened to a lot of music, read a lot of literature and continued enjoying life taking each day as it came. He got placed from his campus in an insurance company which didn’t pay him much but he didn’t really care as far as he continued loving life. He kept telling everyone that he was not the kind who would get lost in the corporate world. There was much more in life to do he said.

He fell in love with a girl who worked with him and shared a similar passion for life. They soon got married. Working in the same organization was not possible and he got another job in a multinational bank. Amit started to do well and between the two of them they managed to buy a lovely little 2 bedroom apartment and soon shifted there. There too he made a lot of friends but not really likeminded, music continued to be an essential part of his life, he would read on flights during his many work related tours, but the paintings reduced. His mother and sister continued to live in the old house and every weekend he would visit them with his wife and again he would stand in front of the window longing for the snow clad mountains.

As years passed Amits family grew as his son and then his daughter came into the world and so did his work load. Amit was a good resource and with his work load his designations grew too. His wife had stopped working and had started her own boutique which was doing well too. The savings were increasing the kids had been admitted to the best schools in the city. He continued saying that he didn’t want to get lost in the corporate world knowing that he soon was getting lost. He made a few friends whom he didn’t really trust. Music now was only during weekends in the background as he scanned The Economic Times for the market news. The canvas and the pastels stayed untouched. What remained was the dream of the snow clad mountains every time he visited his old house.

Amit was today the national director at the bank. And the work load was immense. All he thought about was the business numbers and how he would do well. He had completely lost himself in the rat race. His son and daughter were both in the US doing their masters. He had a huge four bedroom apartment in the heart of the city. He didn’t have many friends now. The old ones were all lost as he had failed to keep in touch with them. He couldn’t remember the last time he had listened to some music. But like today, he continued to visit his old house and spend a moment at the bathroom window searching for the snow clad mountains.

Amit was suddenly awakened from his thoughts as his wife called out to him, “Amit, what’s taking you so long in the bathroom, the kids have called twice to wish you and don’t you have to get to work.” He walked out of the bathroom looking dazed and called his wife, he said “I am not going to work today; in fact I am not going to work this week”. She looked surprised. She couldn’t remember the last time Amit had taken a leave. He worked from home on weekends too. Seeing her look Amit smiled, held her hand and said, “Will you play on that old Salil Choudhury CD… and do you remember where have I put my paints and canvas.” She nodded and still dazed pointed to the almirah where the painting set was kept. She stared at him as he walked towards the almirah and heard him speak over the mobile phone, “Yes Suresh ji you heard me correct, get me the details of some good properties in Shimla… ya ya bunglows or cottages… but make sure that the bathroom window faces snow clad mountains… arre nahi it has to be the bathroom window…” as he hung up, she heard him mumbling – just want to be fair to life.


  1. I want to do that right now! Sell off everything here, and go live by the beach, or the mountains, or the beach+mountains (Konkan rocks!)... :)

  2. Phata phati. good characterization.


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