Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Next Step

He woke up to the din outside his window. He could hear the horns blaring, and people shouting. Cursing the world around him, he checked his watch to realize that he was already late for work. Having completed his morning chores in a jiffy, he left for office. En route to office,the same thought was ringing in his head, but he knew, things were beyond his control. He got down from the bus, and strolled towards office, still lost in thought.He entered office to find a seemingly annoyed boss, who gave him a cold stare. He smiled at the boss, and walked towards his cubicle, and turned on his work station. He stared at the monitor, and was grappled by the thought that time was running out on him. He was visibly shaken, but was vehement that the project should not suffer at any cost. Grappling hard to keep the thoughts at bay, he resumed work.

His silence was perplexing, and all the more annoying. He had asked her to meet him in the evening at their favourite coffee shop. She wondered, whether a storm was brewing in the horizon. He was elusive, whenever she brought up the topic as they spoke. Left with no answers but her own world of thoughts, the more she thought, the more anxious she became, and a sense of doom prevailed on her. Was this the end of the road, she wondered?

The coffee on his desk had gone cold. He was lost amidst the barrage of thoughts. He was going through a transformation over the last six months. Every morning, on his way to work, he came across many children at traffic signals, railway stations etc begging alms. Having had a clear cut understanding of what organized begging was, he never paid any heed to such requests from numerous children. He felt sorry for their plight, and always left with a sense of helplessness. The city taught him about the huge disparity that existed between the rich and the poor. He realized that the rich was getting richer and the poor was getting poorer, despite the government rolling out welfare schemes in every budget. A systemic fault it seemed to him, but he never wanted to be one among the elite youth, who blames the system, without even understanding what the system really is. He was pained to see children eating alongside dogs, and crawling in a pile of garbage. What pained him more was, these kids would never have the opportunity to fight it out in this competitive world, and would eventually end up leading lowly lives, in shanties or dingy chawls. He knew, the time was ripe for him to take the leap. He had decided to quit his job,join an NGO and devote his time for the upliftment of these less fortunate children. His commitment to the cause outweighed his concern for the personal sacrifices he may have to undertake. Today, he embarked upon a mission to tell his lady love about his grand plan. He envisioned her as his future wife, and he knew, he would need her support in this endeavor. He had the herculean task of convincing her about his decision. She had hopes of getting settled, and starting a family. Her dreams would be in doldrums, if he pushed his decision on her. He wondered, whether this could be the end of the road? A personal sacrifice, nevertheless, for a greater cause.

It was 6pm, and he left office in a hurry. He rushed to the coffee shop, to find her with tension written all over her face. He smiled at her, and ordered the regular. He looked deep into her eyes, and clasped her palm. She gave him a quizzical look, and he started talking. He waxed rhapsodic on his decision to quit and work for the society. He apologized to her for keeping it under the wraps, as he wanted to be convinced beyond any doubt. She gave a patient ear, and he could feel the nervousness easing out in her. The smile had reappeared on her face, clasped his hand firmly, and she asked, " When are you joining ? "
The tension was off the air, and they burst into laughter !!!