Dec 5, 2007

Necessary ritual

My contribution to Cafe Writing - December project (Option four)

"Sumi, where's my coffee?", Shyam's first question in the morning as always. "On the dining table", replied Sumathi, his wife. He savours his coffee with another of his can't-live-without habits, reading newspaper ofcourse. Shyam has always been an early riser. Sharp at 5 AM, he is awake and bustling with energy. His next course of action is to walk to the nearby CM Park and jog along with his friends. He likes to observe the different people who visit the park and their mannerisms - some prefer to walk briskly while some others prefer to take a lazy stroll. Being a regular for the past 28 years, many of them recognize him and offer a smile.

He quickly gets dressed up after coming back from the park. He heads straight to the Pooja (prayer) room to offer his daily prayers. "Breakfast ready", Sumathi's voice echoed from the kitchen. After a sumptuous breakfast, Shyam leaves for office, waving goodbye to his wife. The clock struck 8 AM. These 3 hours are preprogrammed into his system. He knows exactly where he will be and what he would be doing. Such was the schedule he has been following for the last 28 years. He is very happy about this and always believed that this jump start every morning has been the secret behind his success. He is a senior manager at a reputed multinational bank.

It's a different story today. Although the schedule is the same, it doesn't give him the jump start as it used to be. He is happy about his retirement and glad that he gets to spend more time with his family. But he is wondering what he is going to do starting from tomorrow. No more excitement, no more monthly paychecks, no more jump start routine. Sumathi completely understands his feelings and doesn't want her hubby to get a post-retirement syndrome and become depressed.

Sending good-bye emails, meeting his friends at office, settling all the financial matters and a big farewell party - the day that just swooped past him in a jiffy. He returns home with lots of gifts and good wishes but a feeling of emptiness inside.

Opening the door, he realizes that his house is completely dark. "No power? Sumi! where are you?", Shyam enters the living room. He notices a candle glowing in the store room. There is dead silence and he is starting to get freaked out. He enters the store room. "Surprise!", shouts Sumathi from the corner of the room, switching on the lights. He's in fact expecting this surprise from his wife and knows that there will be a cake in the middle of the room, having known her for the past 30 years. But that's not the case this time.

The room is looking colourful, with the two opposite walls in splashing red. A painting board is standing pruodly with lots of brushes and paint colors around in the corner where Sumathi is admiring her hubby's reaction. In the other corner, there is a huge book shelf with classics that Shyam used to love reading once upon a time. He also notices that his computer has been shifted to this room from his study. "Who told you that you are retired, Shyam? Your work from today onwards is to renew your painting hobby and also get immersed in classics and other books that you loved to read. I want to see you here in this special room every morning at 8 AM. All right?", Sumathi expresses her wish to her dear hubby. Shyam is happy that he doesn't need to give up his necessary morning ritual. Just because he is retired from the bank, it doesn't mean that he is retired from life! He is now looking forward to restart his painting hobby after 28 years. Life is colourful again, thanks to Sumathi.

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