I’ve been waking up early everyday these last couple of weeks to catch the boy who mistakenly puts Rajasthani Patrika outside our home. It’s supposed to be for the family with a baby on the first floor. The family was informed but the paper didn’t stop coming here.
I don’t know why it bothered me. Probably because it made me feel powerless that the newspaper kept piling up outside our door, getting wet in the rain, becoming my job to discard it. I began clocking his time. It was definitely sometime before 7 am but after 6:30 am. Even after figuring out this 30 min interval, I was still not able to catch him.
I was watering the terrace early one morning and missed the boy by a few seconds (went running after him and all) – he had already left by then and I could only see the top of his head exiting the gate. After that, the sight of the newspaper lying like newly made chapati on the floor everyday made me grit my teeth. It reminded me of Ram Gopal Verma’s Apples in Darna Mana Hai – very cute, very innocent and paapa minding its own business and all; but its villainy was ultimately only known to those who didn’t eat it.
I was in the bathroom once when I heard the lift coming up. It was 6:40 am. I raced out in a hurry only to have missed him again. It was surreal. I thought of giving up. I might have been enjoying the slow thrill of waking up early to catch the boy every morning in one sado way. Even so – I was beginning to think – so what if it’s coming here? If the people downstairs care one day, they’ll come up and pick it up or inform the boy. What goes of my father?
Yesterday, I was araam se doing my business in the bathroom. It was 6:30. On instinct I thought to myself, why am I sitting in the bathroom for so long, especially when it makes hemorrhoids worse? I got up and decided I’ll sit and drink water outside the lift. As it had to happen, the moment I stood in front of the lift, it began coming up. I was excited. Was it really him? Was I finally going to see the boi? Was I going to scream or do passive-aggression? What if he’s young and cries? What if he’s young and throws attitude? I waited calmly to see if the lift would stop on the first or second floor. It didn’t. It had to be him.
When the door opened, I saw a young boy ready to throw a newspaper. I smiled. No idea where smile came from. He smiled back. I asked him if what he was holding was the Rajasthan Patrika, he said yes. I said not here – first floor. He looked surprised and said ok. I said thank you. He said no problem, you are welcome. Then we smiled and he went away.
I felt immediately productive after that and thought all is well in the world again. Then I felt a pinch. Why hadn’t it occurred to me to bring the bloody newspaper inside and read it at least once? Just to get a taste of someone’s life, someone’s state, someone’s language? What kind of a fuckall writer misses an opportunity to learn something new like this? I’ll tell you what kind – a fuckall one.
I had to do something with all the uselessness no? So I came here to write this while my other two deadlines are waiting with their hands crossed, one foot urgently tapping.