The Snot

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic


 

 

 

Short Story

The Snot

R a j u l a l  R a f e e k

 

Even if he wore a mask, a bit larger than the usual one those eyes easily said they belong to Ibrahim, security person of that home where Ramesh was working a few days back as a cleaner. Ibrahim’s left eyebrow has a cut in the middle which he claims that from a war in the border that he had to fight fiercely. Ibrahim don’t like someone call him by just name but with his military title ‘lance Naik’ Ibrahim.

“Lance Naikji’… Ramesh meekly called him.

“Are… mem bola na…andher ana naheem saktha…” (Hello[RR1]  I told… you can’t come in!)

“I will be back so soon…Just need to meet Anand Saab for a moment...” Ramesh pleaded.

Anand Sukla is the manager of that bungalow where Sabeerkhan home. Sabeerkhan is the handsome and most celebrated villain in Bollywood movies having a fan base throughout the county. Sabeerkhan stops over home in the gap between the shootings, usually once in three months. That visit may sprawl into a week or two. If he is there, may have parties where many movie stars and dignitaries must join, drink, eat and dance. The staffs of the home in their uniforms will stay around dutifully having admiration in their wide open eyes.

 

But you can’t click them. You can’t even use a camera  in the bungalow compound 

It’s a rule.

That bungalow was an embodiment of many written and non-written rules. Breaking a rule of that home could be expensive.

Once in such a party Ramlal who can boast of a service for that home more than twenty two years offered his helping hand to the yesteryear’s beauty queen of Bollywood, Mira Shinta from falling down in a trance as she was lurching towards the ladies’ room near the lawn.  She soon gripped around the waist of the 58 year old Ramlal and kept moving. All of the employees venerated the scene hiding envy. The excited Ramlal requested her consent for a selfie together. Ramlal whipped off his mobile from his pocket and took the selfie. The guests were busy minding each other and cocky, only the eagle eyed Anand Shukla perceived it.

 

Ramlal started his new job from the next day onwards in a tea shack near Juhu.

 

“No Man…You cannot…you may go back now…If I said a no …I really meant it….” Lance Naik Ibrahim yelled at Ramesh.

Yes, yes. If he said something….he would really mean it. Ramesh knew that!

Sada Madam, Sada Sabeer khan was an air hostess when Sabeerkhan married her just two weeks after his second divorce. Ramesh read in a cine magazine that Sabeer Saab had got impressed in her height. A six foot lady became plump after the delivery of their twin babies, appeared as a gigantic creature but she has a beautiful face. Ramesh remember the resentful gazes of Sada madam to the perfect body of Mira Shinta, in the parties.

 

Sada Mam, once asked Lance Naik Ibrahim, to clean a pair of her so expensive shoes.

Ibrahim said “Mam, shall I find someone else from our side for this job?”

“You can’t do this…?” Sada snarled.

“No, Madam…it’s not the duty of a retired lance Naik…I have to keep the gate” Earwigging it, Ramesh admired Ibrahim that made an indelible imprint of a proud soldier in his mind. He saluted Lance Naik Ibrahim, mentally. A real warrior, he thought.

She took her phone and called “Hi Anand, this Ibrahim don’t know how to polish the shoes…let him know.”

While coming back after refilling his cleaning bucket, Ramesh had seen the real warrior Ibrahim comfortably sitting on the floor, as the adjacent wall supported his back and very attentively polishing each one from a heap of shoes that was in front of him, in a military perfection. But Ibrahim was so punctual that he showed up in the same place in the same time having another heap of shoes to deal with, every day.

“You know…In fact we military men, really love to care the shoes….” Once Ibrahim commented to Ramesh for no reason. Ramesh nodded his head in agreement. Seeing the expression of his eyes…Ibrahim added… “Have you ever seen a soldier with a soiled shoe, unless they are not directly from the battlefield?’

In his 20 years of life Ramesh understood most of the battles must have started from only one or two persons in resentment. Mr.Mishra, his history teacher in the eighth standard well explained in the class that story of every war can be read along a personnel motive of someone in power. He had some counter questions, but before having a private consultation with Mr.Mishra in the teacher’s room Ramesh’s father been killed in a communal riot. His school life had got an abrupt end so he remained with his historic concerns for ever.

He had to be an apprentice of a cobbler for the next six months soon after his father’s death. He was not paid but granted two vadapavu (potato sandwich) and a half tea per day. Once the cobbler was sewing the snapped edge of a Dhothiwala’s jhootha (Shoe) Ramesh suddenly said…:  ‘Ji…This style of shoe has brought to India by the Shershah Suri….” The Cobbler looked upon Ramesh annoyingly and the customer stared each of them alternatively.

“Yes Boss …’Ramesh said ‘this is an old style that brought by Shersha.’

“How old…” The Cobbler murmured to Ramesh ensuring the customer not heard.

“Around five hundred years…” Ramesh said…

“Bahenchoot ( An insulting Indian slang) ….so this beggar still use this much old Jhootha ” Don’t know how someone else in the universe being heard what the cobbler said in his mind that the angry customer snatched his shoe and vanished off after kicking the cobbler, hard. The cobbler got up from the drainage smeared in black thick stinky drain water but his eyes were still white burning in anger.

Another day, a voluptuous aunty shown her beautiful feet in shoes to polish the leather part of it.

“Boss, this shoes is of south Indian style…during the time of Chola Rajas…”

Cobbler touched his index finger to his own closed lips to sign him to be silent. After a minute’s silence Ramesh said… ‘Ji (sir), This was used mainly by the Devadassi dancers….” Before he could complete the cobbler stretched his right hand and thrown the awl to Ramesh. He skillfully got away, but it hit right on his back. He ran in deep pain to stop in front of his small home that almost a hut to find his 10 years old sister Deepa was sitting all alone and weeping uninterruptedly.  Their mother had met with an accident near her school and didn’t know what happened after that.

Their mother found in a bed of a government hospital nearby but she never up again from the bed and his sister wished to continue her school. He joined in Sabeer khan’s bungalow as a cleaning boy. Except him all other workers stayed in the compound. He went every morning by seven and returned at eight if it’s a normal day. If there is a party it could be up to 2 o clock. He was paid a meagre wage on weekly basis same as to his mother when she was working there. Slowly Ramesh neglected his concerns over the past as the present was too busy for him to attend anything else.

 All the workers were in uniform, but the colour of Ibrahim’s was different. They were expected to do all the chores and would be penalized one and all…if Anand saab could find a corner with dust, a fallen leaf in the courtyard, a wrinkle in a table cloth etc. Anand saab would decide a penalty and cut an equal share of it from everyone on their salary day.

Socialism was assured and life was moving.

Even if his wallet left with no currency in the last two days of the week, he was a hero among his friends. They use to ask about those stars had came for the party. Ramesh laugh on their assumptions of those stars’s body measurements. One of them, a diehard fan of Gita Shinta, couldn’t believe a goddess could ever puke. Her last film was two years before but still she is alive in many minds. Obviously in Sabeer khan’s mind.

Ramesh chosen that time to clean inside the bungalow had a reason. The most famous epic based serial was running in a channel in which Sabeerkhan was the ‘Duryodhanan’( The Villain role) and stolen the show than any other character. The show was a popular one and Ramesh fond of it to watch. The rule said, no TV in anywhere in the compound kept on during the day except inside the bungalow.  There was a TV always kept on the adjacent lobby to the master bedroom. The channel showed the manly and proud dialogues and expressions of the Duryodhana. The scene was of the verbal abuses just before the actual fight begins.

Suddenly he heard Durydhana groaning in pain. No... Not in the TV screen.

In the height of curiosity he violated a rule of the home and peeped through the gap of the not properly closed door. He saw the great villain of Indian celluloid kept his face in his palms and sat on the bed leaning forward apparently sobbing.

 Saba Madam was roaring with anger. ‘stupid, what that bitch has more with her, than me…” she held Sabeer khan’s phone and even from that much distance it was easy for him to recognize the half-naked photo of Gita Shinta in the screen of the phone. ‘Madam, you don’t worry…Gita has nothing more than you…Everything less’, thinking it he quickly left there….He cannot afford to see someone crying, for a long.

He don’t see his mother and sister crying now. In fact they don’t express any emotion. The Covid lock down started just after a day when he decided to buy some clothing to his sister to see a smile on her lips, at least after a long. He even planned to buy a meal from some hotel that they can taste a different dish than the ‘Roti’ and ‘Dal curry’ after months.

Anand saab was not there on the day…and saba madam called Ramesh and straight away said.

“Boy, you keep away from here up to the lock down finishes. Anand saab would call you back once the things are reinstated…stay home only…don’t roam around…everything will be all right.” She wore a mask and gloves. She looked a magnified and oversized mermaid in her over lengthy exotic evening gown.

 

He felt nothing, and thought the days at home could not be a bad idea.

He found his mother use to groan in pain in day time also and astonished to saw the medicine for her was finished days back. He cursed self and burst out to Deepa “why you didn’t remind me…as I was having a nasty routine of late from work and straight to bed.”

Then onwards she started to remind him…all the edible stuff has finished for days….the drinking water not been arrived, The rent of their dwelling haven’t been paid, still she has not reminded him, this year she didn’t buy her school text books.

“Oh…Stop it.” He roared in irritation “…you useless bitch” feeling bad after a minute he said a sorry to his sister and thought how she became so frigid. He called most of his friends to know how they do… all the three of them was asking whether he has any money with him to loan them. He lost hope.

He sat in the same place up to noon….then sat up and checked their tiny kitchen. Sat back again the same place for one more hour and in an urge walked out in a thought for requesting some advance payment to Anaand Saab….

“Man, I told you gently …go away….” This time Ibrahim’s voice was aloud… ‘ Anand saab told nobody can go inside”…..

“Lance naik, you just tell Anand saab about me…I need some money. My mother, sister and all of us are starving…..”

“He …he ……So what…..” Ibrahim seemed so indifferent.

“Anand Saab…..Anand saab…….” Ramesh started to shout in the top of his voice from there.

Hoping to fetch Ananad saab’s attention.

He may help, Ramesh had such a grave feel with him. Even the last week Anand Saab smiled at him…that he never offered anyone else. Especially from the last Friday of the previous month he showed some interest to Ramesh.

Sada madam wanted the ‘country henna’ (a shrub use to colour the body arts) grinded to pulp and decorate her palms and toes in the last Friday of every month.

That day Ramesh entered into the powder room with the henna pulp in a bowl. As soon as he entered there he saw Ananad sharma’s back facing him. At first he didn’t understand Sada madam was sitting there in the chair as the huge body of Anand Saab covered her. He felt Anand was massaging Saba’s naked shoulder. He quickly vanished though the mirror must have reflected him.

 

“ Anand Saab….” He called earsplittingly, out from the gate.

“No…” Ibrahim reverberated.

Suddenly the phone in the security room ringed.

“Yes sir”… ‘Ok Sir” the style and diction of Ibrahim while answering the phone made one to assume that the other end it could be Ananad saab.

“Hey Boy, you can go in…But you may enter only after wearing a mask.”

“I will not take much time….” feeling no chance there to find a mask Ramesh implored.

“Do you have a spare one to lend me…?” Ramesh asked Ibrahim hesitantly.

“Stupid…I am not here to sell off masks…you are again taking the chance….Anand sir can’t see you without a mask….Go somewhere and come with it before he change his decision.”

Ramesh’s heart pounced up….but from where….He walked back on an expectation to find any possibility. Ramesh was so distressed to see the only medical store nearby kept closed. Almost all the shops found locked. Even if they were in business and plenty of them were available, no money had with him to buy one of them. He rambled around and suddenly stuck with a mask laying down on the soil near a trash bin.

He took it in hand.

Someone has gave up it, seemed. He took it and found some snot in it…he scrubbed it out with his fingers.

Wore it. Perfect.

Confidently he strolled back to Lance Naik Ibrahim.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 [RR1]


Submitted: May 02, 2020

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