Thirst is what gets you in the end in such a hot and humid summer day. Makes attending job interviews even harder. Especially with an almost empty wallet.
This is a city of thieves and corrupt politicians, a city that took his father’s life. Looking out from a traveler's eye, it might look like the next Chicago or Hong Kong or the ultimate urban vacation spot. But the residents know that every block of those concretes carries a history of blood. Blood spilled in the name of development and society. Mostly, the poor man's blood.
Deep’s father was a construction worker. An honest down to earth and a god-fearing man who came to this city with big dreams and ambitions. But instead, fate had turned him into a slave for the sake of modernization. With his wife and two kids, it was hard to live with dignity only with a dollar per hour job. And sadly, he had to accept his fate willingly while knowing fully well about the situation he was in, that he will never be free of this curse until death.
But he successfully taught Dip at least one thing, how to keep his head above waters even when the tides are against him.
And so, even after knowing that he will not get it, Deep proudly gave his interview and left with his head held high. His father would’ve been very proud if he saw his little kid growing up to be so mature.
Not being able to afford an umbrella makes the sun seem shining brighter. While walking on the hot street pavement that is almost boiling off the rubber from under his shoes, he could only think about one thing, how he would buy the most lavish umbrella ever, one day.
On the other side of the street, a street vendor is selling fast foods. A flicker of hope lights in his heart. The hope of getting to drink a glass of cold water. He hurries while crossing the road.
“Assalamualikum brother” He politely tries to start a conversation with the vendor. In an attempt that he might not have to beg for it.
The old man with a long white beard looks up at him while trying to understand why this stranger was suddenly being so polite.
“Walaikumassalam. Do you want something to eat sir? I have the best-fried chicken in town. Or you can try my new bestseller, The MidDog” He laughs while saying it.
“My wife watches cooking videos on YouTube. She says that the Americans eat something named hot dog and it’s supposed to be very popular. So I thought why should I not give it a try. But It’s made from pork and we can't eat pork. So I invented this. The MidDog” again ending the sentence with his wholehearted laughter.
Deep forgot about his thirst while listening to this passionate friendly old Vendor telling him so many personal things yet he said only one word to him.
“You look tired sir? Would you like a Drink? Though I don’t sell any drinks, my wife sends me out with a lot of lemonade when I come to work. You can have some if you want.”
“Yes,Thank you” Dip couldn’t make out anything more to say being amazed by his kindness.
When you are thirsty, even the almost boiling hot lemonade from this summer heat feels like God's gift carried down by angels only to believers.
He lost track of time while the vendor ended up telling stories about almost his whole life. His name is Kalam. Before coming to this city, he was a religious preacher in a village mosque. But with his newborn baby, it became increasingly harder to sustain his family with the little pay he got from donations and patrons of the Mosque. So he came to the city and found out that the son of his neighbor is a police officer here. And he set him up with this cart and the little money he needed to get things going. Now he has everything he ever wanted. A shed, Food, comfy bed, and his happy family.
While listening, Dip imagined how this was so similar to his father's story. But his luck wasn’t so forgiving. And how one unfortunate event almost ripped the ground under.
It was almost two years since his father started working in construction. He was in school then. A public school with thousands of students. Within those two years, Dip managed to fall in love with a girl, "Aditi".
That day, he was bunking class and hanging out with her behind the toolshed on the left side of the campus. When suddenly the principal's assistant announced his name over the speaker and asked to immediately come to the principal's office.
Deep ran as fast as he could and when entering the room, he saw his mother sitting and crying her hearts out. He asked but she could only mumble. What he could make out of those uttering sent a cold shiver down his spine.
His father has been in an accident and died. While working, the safety rope broke and he fell from the sixteenth floor.
Even after laying his dead father down in the grave with his own hands, Dip couldn’t believe what was happening. It was like a very long nightmare. And somehow seven years have passed since and he still can't believe it sometimes.
TO BE CONTINUED...