Down Under, Way Beneath The Rafters.

Lying flat on my back on the mat, I keep looking vacantly, at the ceiling.. I have carefully peeled away the scabs on my brow, temple, elbow and knee on the left side of my body, but a bit of itch still persists, it requires effort to desist from scratching, I content myself with vigorously caressing the patches .It is over three weeks since I had suffered the accident, my left shoulder, left hip and my back, still remind me of the hefty guy (on his big Yamaha bike who came the wrong way on his Big Yamaha bike, whoever named the bike so has a wry sense of humor), and hit me for a leg glance with his bison-like bike. They pain me,now and then, and when my back, especially, threatens to render me immobile, I take recourse to the time-tested remedy of resting, lying flat on my back on the hard floor.
The chimes sound. I lift myself up slowly, (cursing the hefty guy who borrowed his friend’s bike, while on a short visit to the city from Pune,to celebrate his having secured a job as DB administrator came from behind and swept me on to the hard and rough concrete paved road with the bike while I was crossing the road towards the median looking carefully, at the at the immobile onward traffic staring at the traffic signal to turn green. ) and hobble to the door.
My friend Anand, my neighbour-thrice-removed, is at the door,looking a bit worried. I invite him inside and look at him questioningly.
“Kishan and his wife have come from Europe. They will be with us for a week. Lakshmi’s hubby is in the States on a short assignment, she is staying with us along with my grand brats since a week.A shirttail nephew of my wife is living with us.sjnce a fortnight, trying for a job here. My brother and my sis-in-law have dropped for a few day’s stay on the first leg of their Tirtha yatra. ”
“I know, you’re Packed to the Rafters.”, I quip.The colony is just a small place, like the www. There is nothing that is private here like your Facebook account. We are all one big family. Vasufhaiva kutumbakam, as they say.
Anand agrees “,Literally.” and continues sheepishly, ” The cooking gas cylinder has cruelly chosen just this moment, to sputter out on us. I have booked a refill about a week ago, but it is yet to arrive..”
I stare at him blankly, noncommittally and wait.
” If you can lend your spare cylinder, it will be of a great help.I will remember it for the rest of my life.”, he pleads.
“But your supplier may be different. I mean your regulator may not agree with our spare cylinder. Besides this, our running cylinder may not last more than a few days. And I understand gas cylinders are not transferable. And the counterfoil of the receipt with the dealer contains the serial number of the cylinder with us..”, I put in weakly, aware of the glaring looks of the missus.
Anand who studied law a few decades ago, brushes aside my objections with his well-reasoned arguments and assures me, ” Don’t worry.The cylinder I booked is expected any day.” And collects the cylinder from our kitchen and retreats quickly, averting the scorching glances from my partner.
I switch on the TV and slowly settle myself again on my mat. The missus comes and towers over me, ” If you have no objection, I would like to nominate you as The Best Samaritan Of The Colony.”
I protest, ” I can not afford to be an island unto myself.Any way he promised to provide the replacement soon.”
” That is not the point at issue. There are many others in the colony. And he has many other friends, who are in general, much closer to him than you.”
” We do not know how they are placed in regard to a spare cylinder.”
” You may be ignorant of this. But I know that his cousin has one and the one that is on their stowe noe is connected only yesterday.”
” How do you know?”
” I know. The maid told me so.”
I sigh.The new maid works for them too and she revels in being indiscreet. No, not about her own affairs ( no innuendo here, mind you), but those of her employers, (neither here, mind you again)
The missus continues, ” I agree that you need to help your neighbors. But let there be some reciprocity. You know what I am referring to.”
Yes, I remember. About six months ago. The painter completed giving a new coat to the house. I paid him off. Overlooked a bit of overstating in the measurements of the area he had painted.
The next day he comes again to me looking distraught. I ask him what the matter was.He cries out, ” Sir, my younger brother is the hospital. They say he has appendicitus, he has to be operated with out delay. i am falling short by about a couple of thousands.”
I advise him to approach someone else, but shell out the money,as the missus intervenes on behalf of the fellow. It is only much later, that I come to know that the guy doesn’t have any siblings, younger or elder.And he was not to be seen by us until he obtained the assignment to paint Anand’s house. I tell Anand of my experience with the fellow and advise him to be careful with him. And I request him keep me in the know when he pays the fellow off, so that I can inveigle him to return my money.
Anand’s response was, ” Excuse me. Don’t drag me into some dealing between you and the fellow in which I had not been a party.”. He made sure that I was away from the colony when he paid the fellow off.
I agree with the missus that we need not be good samaritans with mean neighbors. Yes, we need to reciprocate their meanness. But for this once, I feel I may not have been wrong. Poor fellow, suffering from a surfeit of friends and relatives.
I look up at the ceiling, from my mat. The rafters are far up above and away from me. And I am l way below, down under. I envy the Anands. But then, I am not sure, if Anand or some other samaritan, good one or otherwise, will condescend to lend me a cylinder of gas when it is my turn to get packed, to the rafters.


About versa kay

Agile, keen, versatile,considerate,patient
This entry was posted in Code of conduct, Homor and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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