Sunday, June 12, 2016

Sleepless Night ...

Travel was both fun and work for Kannan. There were days when weekdays were regular job and on weekends he would leave on his bike in the morning and return with a smile on the face along with the dirt of the dusty roads late in the night as a part of his second job, rather a passion. The smile would be from all the accomplishments for the day, having trained his team far and wide in the multilevel marketing. It was a Sunday and Kannan set out on his work early in the morning. 

Appa was out for his morning walk, Amma and Priya were sleeping. Sunday being a lazy day he knew they would wake up late. Kannan got himself ready in a pair of jeans and a jacket which carried the world for him. Each pocket was filled with something or the other for the day. The jacket was more of a pocket holder than a riding jacket. His choice of black for the ride was to hide the dirt and dust while he traveled far. He put his goggles on and got on the bike leaving a note on the dining table

"Will be late... off to work... Love Kannan"

As he drove into the morning roads the trees shaded his face from the morning sun, light enough to warm a smile, the streets were smiling with fragrant flowers, and morning had just started with its own set of activities. The bells of bicycles with newspaper rang a few bells; the milkman was also stopping by houses delivering milk at the doorstep. There were temple goers and the temples had their morning prayers on the worn out speakers. Kannan drove past the city and got on to the highway. The smell of freshly brewed tea and vadas lured Kannan as he passed every small tea shop. Hard to resist he stopped by for a tea and snack. He saw a small boy by the side of the tea shop in rags. His smile was fading off in hunger and seeing his eyes crave for a snack, Kannan got him a vada and a tea. The smile which blossomed gave him more energy to set out with double the vigour. The day was fruitful and he met his team in Tamil Nadu. Marthandam, Nagecoil, Kanyakumari, the list seemed endless. It was already half past nine when he wound up the last team meeting in Kanyakumari. 

"Sir... it was really interesting to see you handle your team" Said Vimal, one of his team members
Kannan smiled and was filled with joy to see his team active and revved up. 
"Would you have dinner with us" Vimal asked
"With Pleasure" said Kannan

They went to Vimal's house, a small portion of a row house where the poverty had taken its toll. The happiness with which Vimal's sister served the hot idlis made it tastier. The sambhar which smelled more of love than coriander, the idlis which looked more like smiley. The dinner was over a series of discussions on when the next meeting would be and what the plans were for the same. 

Deep in his heart, he was so happy and excited and with the smile started back home. Kannan checked his watch and it was well past 11. The day’s achievements, the small boy’s smiles, Vimal and his team mate’s love for him all kept him going and reached home by 1 in the night. He parked his bike and looked at the mirror on the bike. His eyes were sunk and the dirt had made them black as if he was returning from a boxing bout. But the sparkle in it was priceless. He was soaked in sweat but gave him the satisfaction of a successful day. He looked up to see the apartment lights were switched on. 

"Who is awake at this hour" Kannan thought and punched the third floor button of the lift. 

The lift came to a halt and the corridor was dark. The light from home was seeping through the gap of the slightly open door. Kannan opened the door to find Amma and Priya in the hall room.

"Oh you did not sleep" asked Kannan
"What on earth do you think you are doing" asked Amma angrily

Kannan saw Priya's eyes wet with tears. He understood that the discussion between them would have been about him. 

"The meeting got late and had dinner ... so... I" Kannan tried to explain
"I don't want explanations" Priya said in an affirmative voice moist with worry and concern
"How can you be careless like this... don't you know we are here.... couldn't you just call once from somewhere" Amma's 

started her firing with an arsenal of questions.

Kannan remained silent and stood there at the line of fire like a fallen soldier. The questions died down and night settled in another couple of minutes of scoffs scorn and shouting. The night was not as comfortable as Kannan's heart wanted to share the success of the day but in return he went into the dumps mentally. 

It was Monday morning and as Kannan woke up, he saw a cup of coffee by the bedside. Priya was getting ready to go to the temple, from where she would go to her parents home and then to work. No exchange of byes or morning wishes were there for the day owing to the previous night. Kannan sipped the coffee and went to the hall room to check the headlines. 

"Amma... I am going... see you in the evening" said Priya to Amma and walked away.

Kannan remained silent and was brushing through the news, when he felt a warm hand touch his arms. Kannan looked up and saw Amma. Fresh after a bath and prayers, but eyes revealed the sleepless night she had. She was smiling but still worried at heart.

"Don't feel bad" said Amma
"I scolded you as Priya would feel left out if I don't share her worries and concerns... we were worried... But I saw the sense of achievement in the smile you had when you walked in"

Kannan could not say anything seeing the care which kept her awake and rendered her sleepless. There are moments in life when we do certain things for others and get hurt ourselves, little did Kannan know how difficult it was for Amma. He saw Amma get back to the kitchen where the morning breakfast was keeping Amma busy. Kannan kept the coffee cup in the sink for washing and turned to Amma with a smile.

"I am sorry Amma... will try and avoid such situations" said Kannan.

The smile on Amma's face said it all. The day began with love and all the happiness of the previous day’s accomplishments.

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