My eyes were drooping and only my fellow colleague could see it. Each time I faked my smile, my eyes looked really small since it appeared like I was closing them. I was distracted. I was staring at the calendar thinking about a lot of thing. I was feeling melancholy and sad. He called my name and asked why I was not in my normal jovial state. He noticed that I was down and I denied it. ‘You won’t understand. So forget it.’, I said.
‘One can understand everybody else’s problem except one’s own problems.’ He replied. I looked at him, trying to grasp his wise words. He really would not comprehend me if I actually told him. He sat there looking back at me. I parted my lips to tell him one sentence.
‘I have not seen my father for two years. I want to go home.’ I said.
‘In my case, I really don’t want to see my father.’ He said. He turned the table. I knit my brows and it was my turn to listen to him.
‘Tell me more.’ I requested.
‘I don’t want to see my father at all. He is a bad person.’ He continued. ‘He was a high ranked officer and now receives pension regularly after his retirement . I have two brothers and none of them ever helped me when I was on the streets, starving. My aunty put one lakh in my bank account. I donated Rs.20,000 for the Iskon foundation and I kept Rs.50,000 in my fixed deposit account. I tried to sustain myself. Nobody else cared. My brothers turned their face away while I was going through trials and tribulations. My parents were really mean to me. They had high expectations from me all the damn time. I did the work of a security man for a while. I was unemployed actually. I was neglected a lot in my high school. I was alone and lonely from deep within. I suggested my parents that I wanted to get married. It was only to get a woman in the house to help my mother. My mother gave a lewd remark at my idea. It put me off. I survived for 3 months with Rs.3000 in my bank. The day I got married, I was still broke and jobless. My wife was a simple lady but my parents were trying to find out flaws in her as much as possible. They taunted her for no reason. She used to sit at home and work whenever she wanted and that was perfectly fine. Whenever she cooked, my mother asked her why she did not put enough salt in the food. She never learnt to appreciate my wife. At times, I used to go and hug her and hold her in the middle of her work. My mother commented, “You slept with her all night. Are you not satisfied?” ’
I was pretty amazed at his problems. He looks like an unassuming man who is jolly all the time. I urged him to continue, listening to him with utmost concentration.
He went on, ‘ I wanted loan for a two wheeler but my father cribbed. My father cribbed about the fact that my wife did not cook at my place. I fought for her. I told father that she cooks at a place that is familiar to her. Here we do not have facilities for her to cook. I asked him to be happy with whatever circumstances he was in. I was trying to build up my own career. My job was on hold for two months before it got confirmed. My boss helped and supported me immensely. I am infinitely grateful to him for that today. I am sitting here earning more than my brothers and have afforded myself a good bike. My wife fled home and refuses to meet my family even today. I force her to go there sometimes. She will never step there against her will. We live here on our own, contented. We don’t get to save due to some expenses that keep popping up often.’
He went silent for two seconds and went back to humming tunes.
‘You must fight with the situation at hand. So even if I am lonely now , it will not matter because I am used to it.’ He said. I felt really bad but happy that he overcame the situation. The main part was that I did not tell him my real problem because it was not as big as his issues yet it affected me. It is best to deal with the problem yourself, I thought. I smiled and retreated to my chair pretty disturbed.