The Sage & his Sins

The neighbourhood of Gitanjali wakes up every day accompanied with the impatience and the acknowledging nod from Jeevan to each of his regular patrons, pacifying the fumes from the glasses rather than the flavour and liquor of the re-cycled tea and the baking soda doused biscuits from the local bakery. The tea-stall is orderly and contained in its unwritten membership rules for the regular patrons where the right to admission is reserved on the basis of exclusivity to the retirement rhetoric, diabetic debates, rheumatic resonance and cardiac congestion. 

The regular patrons mentally masturbated at their current age of 60 plus, on topics ranging from cricket, politics, inflation and insomnia. So, if and when an occasional intruder or a bystander made a gallant attempt to offer his unsolicited opinion on the topic of discussion for the day, it invited snarl, grunt and disdain from the ghetto of the regular patrons.

All it took was the topic for the day; women’s liberty and emancipation is bench-marked to aping men, from among others, in dress, desire and discourse and get acknowledged as equal. Jeevan could well have been scripting a treatise on multitasking but for the paucity of time as he gets ready to dispense the staple breakfast of roti & sabji for altogether a different set of clientele; who has been conditioned to turn at his stall almost every day without fail. The unquestioned loyalty of this clientele was largely on account of the value for money, harmony of relevance in being a daily wager and lesser for the bland taste that the food was naturally endowed with.

And by the time it is 11.30 am, the multitasking flair of Jeevan metamorphoses into being an adept broker for land, property and houses at the same tea-stall! Rarely did it occur to the regulars at his stall that the finesse with which he used get them vacate the place for the next series of transactions; was more out of contempt and less on extending courtesy. The man had this ingenuity of masking his intent and expression with such a deceiving demeanour that he remained uncontested in his pursuits and most sought after in his business; despite the presence of his distant compatriots in similar trade.

The neighbourhood of Gitanjali earned quite some fame and prominence among its habitants, approximately ten years back when one of regulars at Jeevan’s, the then retired postmaster of the local post–office made an unaudited and yet, a classified disclosure that Gitanjali featured among the top ten localities in the entire city, when it comes to the foreign exchange remittance from abroad. It did not come as a surprise to many, as most of them were direct beneficiaries. Warm reception accorded by the off-shore opportunities in the services sector, opened up new and exciting avenues for many young people who would otherwise have been joining either the ranks & file of political cacophony of despair and despondency or forcing themselves to embrace something remotely relevant to their aptitude.

For proclamations which were hitherto reserved for the medical and technically inclined meritorious students and careerists; the new scenario did create a level playing field for ordinary mortals, albeit, at the dismay of the passport offices.

In other words, it explained the neighbourhood’s claim to fame!

Hailing from a family of five, where the pension fund is the recourse to marrying off the daughter and building a house that could be at best, testify as the remnant to the middle class plight which often gets misinterpreted as pride, the family was in for a rude shock; when they discovered that the middle class legacy of being born, having toiled and getting laid to rest in ignominy, is at threat by the mushrooming of the change agents in the society; the next best alternative to the family was to disown the cause. 

And here, the cause was me!


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