Two cups of diluted decoction, two long breaks, two times I felt the urge to look out of the window for a long long time and by the end of it, I was grabbing the keys off the table and making a run for the stairs. The day was over early and there were still a few minutes of twilight I could catch, filtered blue and big through my dusty windscreen.
Dusty, dotted and neglected, my windshield still did a great job at filtering the blue. I stopped at a red light and saw stray bits of cloud making a slow, reluctant retreat, like the last ones to leave a funeral. The dots and the dust bothered me. It spoke of a drunkard.
She earned odd notes of 50s and 100s, she sometimes pushed him back, she at times, hit at him with all her might, she sometimes cried it out. All this I see in the short walk from the car door to the lift. Sometimes she stood adamant, arms crossed in front of my mother, she absolutely needed five thousand rupees to pay her bills and the drunkard woke up each day, cleaned all the cars in the parking lot, lazed, and the odd 50s and 100s broke down to just bouts of guileless drunken slumber, that I sometimes spied beyond oily curtains, barely hiding anything from view.
The she, is my watchman’s lawfully wedded and bedded wife and the he, is the drunk watchman. The spots on my windshield turn green around the edges and off I go, as the blue runs deeper into itself, I climb the flyover, still mulling about the drunk.
When I finally park the car in the parking lot, I stare at the dots and dust. He hasn’t been cleaning the car for three days now. He never misses a day.
I haven’t even seen his wife around for three days now, I haven’t seen his children.
Later, I come to know, I might never see one of his children again. His son is in the hospital battling fatal burns, that burnt as deep as his breathing vitals. Each breath must hurt, I think as I exhale, feeling privileged.
I try not to imagine the pain, as I stare at the ceiling, my mother is still talking. Does it matter?
Will it really matter if someone pointed out that there wasn’t anything to tie together between the boy’s burns and the father’s habit? Dots and dust on my windshield speak of a drunkard, who might never hear a kind word again.
How do you fight two battles at once? The loss and the lost.
The next day, I clean the dots and the dust myself, as the dots browned, they sang of the kid’s slow demise and I didn’t have the strength to pray for a half burnt life of nine years.