A Friday Night
'7 errors', 'Build failed'
Arun once again witnessed the familiar pop-up window. Yet another precious hour wasted for the same piece of code. He looked around; only very few left in the floor, may be two or three here and there. Then he looked at his watch 9:30PM. It was a Friday night & still he had a couple of documents to review and some mails to be sent. He thought whom should he blame - his manager, his colleagues or himself? Already he had lost his chance to go to a pub with his friends, but he denied the offer saying he had to do his "so called" work. Totally fed-up, he decided to call off the day!
He was a typical bachelor in a metro – staying with friends, long commutes and hotel food. Though it was already half past 10, thankfully he had a couple of choices near his house itself & he decided to go to his favorite. After washing his hands, he found a comfortable seat. Since it was too late, only very few were there having their dinner. Being a south Indian, dosas were his favorite & he was ok even if had them three times a day. He asked the waiter to bring a masala dosa. The waiter looked at him awkwardly -
Arun read his mind "What the hell do you think yaar?....Its 10:30PM. Nothing is left". The waiter said politely, " No dosa sir". Arun asked what is available & the reply was only meals. He ordered the same. It was cooked in the afternoon itself, but was hot since they used to heat it consistently to have a feel that it is fresh.
When he was about to finish it, a bare-footed boy started approaching him to clean a nearby table. Perhaps of ten years old, he looked very. Arun understood that the boy wanted to clean his table also. The boy started taking the plate that Arun ate. The boy sprinkled some water & started cleaning the table with a cloth he may have been using for the entire day. It was almost torn; that the boy was literally cleaning with his bare hand.
The boy was new to the hotel & possibly new to his JOB too. Arun thought 'Is this what a boy of this age is supposed to do?'. He compared his childhood to that boy's. He never even took his own plate or cleaned it. His mother gave everything in hand while watching television, reading or playing. It was not even comparable in anyway. He thought to talk to that boy personally. This he wanted earlier also. But every time he skipped it. Today he decided to talk to that boy. But he was in dilemma, what to ask & in which language? Finally he asked the boy in broken Kannada.
Ninna hesaru enu? [What is ur name?].
The boy was so perplexed as If Arun was the first outsider to talk to him. He said in a very low voice "Nagaraju". Arun wanted to talk to him more. But he didn’t know Kannada. He continued his talk with Nagaraju in broken Kannada & Tamil. He came to know that the boy was a drop out from third standard. His father, a street sweeper & mother a house maid. He has not seen his father for past 9 months. He no longer comes to their house. Nagaraju, his 2 year old brother & mother stays in a small house along with a family of his uncle. His cousin is also working at the same hotel. His day started 5 AM in the morning, helping others to cut vegetables; from 8, cleaning the tables and end at around 11:30 PM cleaning the plates & vessels. 17 hours X 7 days. Almost like the advertisement 24X7. Even though his slum is near to the hotel, nowadays he stays at the hotel kitchen itself. Arun thought whether he can compare this to his 12 hours job, 5 days a week in an air-conditioned room with no hard labor. That is also incomparable. That is what education; probably a science or engineering education gave Arun. This boy is deprived of even the formal education. Still we say "I was born intelligent; Education ruined me"- what an irony? The boy gets 75-100 rupees a day for all this hard labor.
"How many days can he continue in this rigour"- Arun thought. The waiters & the cashier started a small smile seeing they talking for a long time. They must have thought "has this person gone mad". Arun wanted to help that boy somehow. But he was reluctant to give him some money to the boy. But finally he handed over a 50 rupee note to that boy. The boy didn’t accept it. The boy said, the hotel owner will give him the money for the day. And now the people around us started really smiling. But still Arun wanted to do something for him. Finally Arun ordered the waiter another meal for the boy and asked him to sit near him. It must be the first time the boy is going to sit in that seat meant for customers. The meal came and boy had it. Arun could sense a relief from hunger and happiness from the boy. When the boy finished his meals, he took his own plate & cleaned the table. No other go. Arun put the 50/- rupees into that boy's half packet. Both were very happy & Arun said bye to him. The boy replied "Tanks". Arun smiled and started walking towards his house & the boy back to the kitchen….
ps: This is 50% fictional piece of writing :)