It looked like tamarind juice to me but then I thought of what use would be it to him. So I asked. He said it was a medicine a Bez (a local wizard doctor) had given him for the stone in his gall bladder. I asked him alarmingly,
: But shouldn’t you get it operated?!"
: The operation's gonna cost me from 30 to 50 thousand rupees and added to that I won't be able to do any work for at least a month or two. I have met people cured by this medicine so what’s bad in trying it?
The talking went on and on and at one point he began to talk about the family for whom he was working at that time.
: “That man's a walking disgrace upon mankind…” - he said “…probably the greatest miser in the world."
Madan Dai had a unique accent, he had this funny way of speaking that you have to literally concentrate to properly understand it or else it as absolute gibberish. Even after living in his presence for more than 8 years it is hard for me.
He went on speaking, it was getting hard for my brother to concentrate and for me to teach him, so I gave him a break and in no time he was invisible.
: “Don’t you watch the league?”- He asked me.
I have mentioned elsewhere that he was an avid cricket fan so I thought it would be unwise for me to speak about the league now. Utterly uninterested to talk about cricket at that moment, I answered cunningly,
: I will start watching it from the semifinals, because that is when it gets interesting, the rest is all boring game show.
Oh how I wished it was effective, because no sooner had I finished my sentence that he began giving a verbal highlight of all the matches played this month and all I was capable of doing was replying with periodical ‘Yeah’s and ‘Wow’s.
: ... they had to make 24 out of the last over and he hit three sixes, two twos and a single. Or wait! Was it two twos or two sixes and two fours? I can’t remember properly…” – suddenly his phone rang and then it stopped. He kept looking at it for some time and asked me-
: Do you have any new funny video on your laptop?
Before I could start preparing an answer, he continued with his own-
: Do you remember that animated video you gave me the last time? The kids at where I stay are so mad to watch it all the time. They just love it. But I deleted it somehow by mistake. Do you still have it?
Situations like this sadden me. Madan Dai was approaching his half century and still a bachelor. Sometimes when I think about him I wonder how he might feel to be so lonely, after all having a family, a life partner and children to dedicate their lives to are what a heaven is for a man. I don’t know what feelings swim around Madan Dai’s head and heart but I am sure they are not content and happy ones. Feelings like ‘dying lonely’ and ‘a life with no love’ has scared the hell out of since my milk-teeth days and my heart always generated a feeling of comfort and sympathy for such people. Today was Madan Dai’s turn. Suddenly I felt my ‘why don’t you get lost’ attitude turned into ‘I am your best friend’ ones.
While my brain was processing all these, I had my answer prepared, erased, re-written and ready to shoot –
: I don’t have that video now because I was facing a shortage of memory space but I have some funny audio stories, you know, it plays just as a song does but it’s not a song, it’s a story.
: Well then you should give that to me, the kids there are gonna love it.
In the meantime I had switched my laptop on; he remembered that he had to take the SD card off, as the Data Cable won’t get into his model of the phone. While the rituals were being carried out, he set off again,
: The family for whom I am currently working for and also staying at, the owner is one f-ing bustard and his wife an even bigger bitch. Do you know? Whenever I am being off from work and if she saw me idle, she will not rest until she sends me to the shop to get something or get me busy with some other work. She just doesn’t seem to realize that I am not a house-maid but a carpenter! And there were times when I had to do her shopping by my own money! Don’t ask me if I ever got them repaid even once. And whenever she had to call someone, she won’t use her phone. Instead she would ask me mine and won’t stop until the battery dies or the prepaid balance. Now they have to pay me three thousand four hundred and sixty rupees including my wage and what they borrowed from me but I am starting to realize that I am not going to get a paisa from them. So I shall come back by Monday, I have already brought my tools out and kept them at your uncle’s house and soon I will bring my clothes and other stuff out of that godforsaken house or else that bustard might sell those off too.
The sound clips had been transferred. Madan Dai re-inserted the SD card back to his phone and walked away with neither a thank-you, nor a goodbye.