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Ayyapan reads a post in facebook captioned ‘ONE PICTURE – TWO FAMILY-THREE DECADE STORY’. Just as he reads the caption, there was power failure as it was a rainy season. He slept in the armchair itself. Just as the water droplets shed down from the window bars, his upper eyebrow removes its contact with his lower one. With the aid of walk stick, he moved towards the window and opened the door. As the rain stopped, the sky begins to clear itself. Clouds made way for the sun to spread its rays over the skyscrapers. Sun felt overjoyed as it goes to see its friends. Birds which sheltered in trees start moving towards their regular habitat with loud sound. Rainbow, the combination of different colors not only brings happiness it too represents different emotions of people. An elderly man whose face was full of wrinkles looks in dilemma condition. He is a vendor who is selling banana in his tricycle. Having lost his son and daughter-in-law a year ago in heavy downpour, he was the sole response for his grandson who was 5 years old. To meet all the daily expense of his wife and grandson, he largely depends on the sales of banana. As the rain hits heavy, people hesitate to come out of the home and buy banana. He looks extremely depressed with his hand on the head. The banana vendor has some strong bonding with this locality and the man looking from the balcony as this was the place where he started his life. Hailing from poverty ridden family and place where agriculture was completely decried, he was forced to leave his own place and was forced to find alternative carrier for his life. With no idea in head and wide space in his stomach, he walked around the streets in search of his lifeline. He failed to find his path. Under the red hot sun, with starving stomach he was unable to inch forward and he kneeled down. As it was vinayagar chadurthi, a huge crowd carrying ganesh idol was approaching towards the temple. Some people in the crowd spotted the man who was unconscious. They ran towards him and offered him some water and he slowly comes to conscious. They further provided him some banana along with some lentils. Again he started moving in search of his lifeline and finally landed in a local bus stop. Spotted with dirty shirts and rugged trousers, people recognized him as a beggar and thrown away some coins of their capabilities. Initially he hesitates to accept the offerings but due to his situation he accepted all the offerings for his survival. Later he made begging as his profession and regularly halted near the local bus stop. Just opposite to this bus stop, there was a fruit stall which was busy all the day. The fruit stall was stocked with all kind of fruits ranging from local fruits such as banana, orange to imported fruits like strawberry. The beggar regularly shops there and he becomes familiar with everyone in the fruit stall. He used to buy bunch of bananas regularly. As he begged regularly opposite to the fruit stall, he knew every inch about the fruit stall. He knew the opening and closing time of the fruit stall along with lunch break. As he gained regular income by begging, he gained some weight and seems to be a person with health condition. His appearance highly influenced his income which goes in declining trend. Since he had no regular income, he again starved for food. With no money in his pocket, he was left with no idea except robbing the fruit stall. He entered the fruit stall with an unusual face which forced everyone in the fruit stall to enquire about his indifferent face. He just answered every question with a simple smile. Then he marched towards the banana section in haste. With no time he picked up bunches of banana and fled the section. Now he has to cross the paying section. He was nervous as the people in front of him are moving forward towards the cash counter. He left way for others to go past him. This act by him made others to keep an eye. Now it’s his turn. He has to pay the money. But his pocket was empty. With bananas in his hand, he approached towards the exit. As he approached the exit, the bar code detector starts beeping continuously. Soon all the staffs working in the fruit stall approached towards the exit and caught him red handed. In enquiry, he admits that he had no money. He intentionally involved in robbery. Later he was taken to the owner of the shop. The owner sent back all the working staffs to continue their regular work. Then he ordered two cup of coffee and asked the beggar to reveal the real intention behind this theft. He admits that his motive was to fulfill his stomach and no other motive. But the owner was redolent to accept his explanation and threatened him of police case. He kneeled down in the owner’s leg and begged him to trust him. He further asked him for a job in the fruit stall. He refused his request and asked him to wait outside his room. When he waited outside, all the staffs looked at him in a different way. After few hours, he was called inside and offered a job in the fruit stall with a warning that he was initially deputed for one month. Based on his performance, he will be offered confirmed job. His cheek turned red and glowed with broad smile.
On first day of his work, he failed to receive assistance from the colleagues. They still viewed him as an intruder rather than a colleague. As days passed he succeeded in gaining the trust of his colleagues. His only problem was shelter. Earlier he was a beggar, so he can sleep anywhere as per his wish. But now the situation has changed. So he can’t sleep in places such as bus stop, railway station and platforms. Now he has to find a place for his living. He asked for help from his colleagues. One of his female suggests that she had a house for rent. Knowing his income, she reduced the rent of the house. Slowly they become close friends and starts sharing their personal emotions. Since they worked in same place, their closeness increased day by day and second by second. Finally they ended up as lovers. She brings food for him and they started sharing the foods. They begin to spend time in loneliness. For spending time in loneliness, they started taking leave regularly. These things raised doubts among the colleagues and the owner. The owner called both of them and demanded explanation. Both of them confessed that they are loving each other and planning to get married. Further they explained him about their problems. Both of them are from different caste and the girl’s family won’t support inter-caste. He assured that he will support them in getting married and asked them to concentrate on the work. He also advised them that money is necessary for surviving in the society and asked them to start saving money for future. Standing to the owner’s advice, both of them started saving money for their future. On the other side, girl’s family geared up for her marriage. But she denied and was adamant in marring him. As days passed by, the pressure from girls side scaled towards the sky. So she was forced to leave the house along with him in a midnight. Both of them left the house with no idea about where to shelter. Both of them moved towards a cooperation park where he used to sleep when he was a beggar. As he regularly sleeps there, the watchman of the park becomes friend of him. With this friendship, he asked him to permit them to stay in the park for a night. As usual the watchman demanded something as a bribe for permitting them to shelter inside the park. In rage, the watchman checked all his pockets and managed to arrange some money.
Next morning, before sunrise both of them left the park and reached the shop where they used to work. On seeing their arrival, the watchman of the shop appreciated their commitment towards work without knowing their actual situation. Just as ten passed ten, the owner of the shop arrived and eyed at all the workers before entering his cabin. Both of them stared at the owner with an eye on their work too. As it was Sunday, the number of customer in the shop was trice than usual days. Both of them were busy on their works. As the clock towered twelve, all the workers rushed for their lunch. Meanwhile, these two people reminded in their places. After few minutes of hesitation, both of them decided to enter shops manager room to seek some assistance. By the time they entered the cabin, the manager of the shop was speaking to someone over phone. So he welcomed both with his eye and asked them to take seat. The lovers seated in front of the manager with full of confusion and frustration. By seeing their faces, the manager came to know that both of them are in need of help. Nearly after fifteen minutes of phone conversation, the manager turned down his phone and looked over them. There was complete silence in the room. To break the ice, the manager asked them the reason for visiting him during interval. Both of them looked at each other’s face. The beggar revealed the manager that he was in love with this girl and explained him about their situation right now. Without any fuss, the manager nodded his head and said that he already knew this. On hearing this, both their faces turned red and asked him how he knew that. The manager explained them that he was monitoring each and every one of the workers from his cabin through cameras and doubted both of their attitudes as it seemed weird. Further he asked them what they are expecting from him. They begged him for some home arrangement. The manager promised them in positive manner regarding home arrangement and will confirm it by evening, meanwhile advised them to carry on their work.
Both of them were happy on hearing these consoling words from the manager. After having their lunch together, both of them started concentrating on their works respectively. While working both kept on eye over the clock too. As it was festival time, the shop was flooded with huge crowd. Customers demanded different items and pressurized the workers to work in full throttle. Both the customers and the workers in the fruit stall felt sweat besides turning on the air cooler. Somehow as the time passed-by, the number of customer in the shop reduced and the workers finally had some breathe. When the shop was about to close, every worker fled in rush to reach their houses while the loving couples waited at the gate for the manager. As the manager was busy in consolidating the total sales amount, the workers waited passionately for his arrival. After finishing the consolidating work, the manager walked towards the entrance where both of them are waiting. The workers reached to the manager and requested about their demand.
The manager just recalled about their demand and further requested them for some time. The manager asked them to stay in the guest house. But they hesitated to accept his offer with disappointing face. The manager further assured them the house will be arranged for them by tomorrow. He explained that the house broker known to him was out of station and will arrive by tomorrow morning. After his arrival, he will talk to him regarding the house and will make necessary arrangement. Till that he advised them to stay in his guest house. After much thinking, they agreed to stay for a night in his guest house. Without a second of delay, the manager asked them to get in his car as he is leaving for his home. They get into car and made themselves comfortable. Since this is the first time that both of them are getting into a car, they felt something novel. As the car starts moving, they enjoyed the fresh air hitting on the face. After few minutes, it started raining and the drizzle falls on the faces. Earlier they felt warm breeze, now they are realizing some fresh cold air. Stretching out her hand out of the car, she collects some water and throws the water on the beggar’s face. The beggar was exulted by her activity. Just as the car speeded up, they realized that the buildings are moving fast beyond them. They wondered like a child as they are unfamiliar to this circumstance. After some time, they thought that the water entering the car may make the car clumsy. They tried their level to bring the car window down but failed. Noticing all their activities and efforts from the rear mirror, the manager explained them how to close the window. The manager mocked at them on being failed repeatedly. After few failed attempts, they succeeded in closing the window. Finally their face blazed with grandeur as they succeeded in their attempt. While enjoying their maiden car journey, the lover duo also felt pity for the roadside residents as they are struggling to find the shelter during drizzles. They spotted an old lady who was completely drenched in drizzle. Being old, she could not show resistance to the coldness caused by the rain. She was left stranded with none to help. Somehow everyone sheltered themselves below the railway fly over leaving the old lady alone.
After an hour of journey through the rich and poor scenario of the city, they reached manager’s house. Manager’s better-half received them with bright smile as she was informed earlier about their arrival by the manager over the phone. She was spotted with red saree which carries many stone works. They considered her as an embodiment of goddess durga. She was fair, beautiful, bold, stylish and elegant. The matching earing which jingles in her earlobes enhanced her beauty in red saree. The earrings were designed in a way that a peacock was stretching all its feathers away. The feathers of peacock were designed with valuable stones while the eye was decorated with red stone. To add further beauty she carried bangles with many stones. All the stones in the bangles are red in color. She noticed many rings in her hand too. By seeing all this ornaments she longed for a wealthy life. But felt worried about her present condition. She was dumbfounded on seeing a beautiful woman carrying herself in complete seduction manner. She was flattered.
Her lover brought her back alive by hitting her shoulder gently. After getting returning back to normalcy, she looked improbably at all the three people. Later they entered the house which was well furnished with imported materials. First they entered the sit out of the house, complete built with white stones. The walls are decorated with contemporary Russian painting that resembles the beauty of a woman. Another painting is a reflection of wealthy natural resources of a marshy land. The lighting works in the hall enhanced the painting’s beauty. The shelves in the hall are accommodated with glassy objects which carry minute fine arts works. Adding coldness the rainy condition outside, the room was fully air conditioned. Since she is in half-sleeve chudidar, she is unable to cope up with the coldness produced by the air conditioner. She protected herself by covering her hand with the dupata. The walls are painted with pleasant color of high cost. Wife of the manager left the hall as she had some work in the kitchen. Rest of the three continues their chat with much of fun.
Nearly after half an hour, the manager’s wife called them for the dinner. She directed everyone towards the dining hall. A large dining table made out of teak wood pleased everyone to rest over them. The dining tables are carved finely like the waist of a young woman. Wide range of fruits and desserts are stocked over the table along with freshly prepared dinner. To make their visit memorable, they were served with highly tasty food. Spicy food like chicken, mutton and prawn were prepared and placed in front the couples. On seeing such a grand dinner, both of them were astonished. Further they were mouth watered. They seemed to be stunned. To bring back them alive, the manager called both of their name again and again. After repeating attempt he failed in bringing back them alive. So he decided to beat them alive by shouting. He shouted at them recurrently. Finally he succeeded in his repeated attempts. Both of them looked at him with courtesy. He asked them to have their dinner. Both of them started having their dinner. Since they are very hungry, they started having their dinner in no time lag. Within few minutes they finished off their dinner. The manager showed them the way for hand wash. They amazed on seeing the hand wash because the hand wash was different from normal one. Hand wash was designed in such a way that the tap was designed like a lion’s mouth from which water flows. After hand wash both of them arrived at the hall. The manager asked them about the dinner and is they satisfied with it. They nodded their head continuously. The manager called his wife for guest house keys. She came with the key and handed over it to her. She further added that she cleaned the guest house for them and everything is fine over there. Both of them received the keys form her and moved towards the guest house.
Both of them reached the guest house and stood in front of the door. She asked him to open the door. He refused and asked her to open the door. After much fuss, she agreed to open the door. She inserted the key into lock and it entered smoothly. After two right turns she unlocked the door and entered the house. They are welcomed by lavish sit down. Furniture with highly decorated arms was placed at the sit down area. They looked around the paintings which were hanging on the wall. Every painting is a portrayal of lord Krishna in different avatars. The house is provided with large windows as it is sea sided house. Later they entered kitchen. All the walls of the kitchen are finished with tiles. Modular chimney was placed in the cooking area. Finally they entered the bed room. The bed room was fully furnished with wardrobe made out of imported oak woods. Further the bed room was fully air conditioned. After completely surviving the house, both of them felt that they need rest badly. Resting in the sit out area, they started discussing about the future plan of owning a large house. After discussing for hours, both of them felt tired and slept unconsciously. Next morning both of them waked up late. After freshening up, they left the guest house and searched for the manager. The manager’s wife came and acknowledged them that his husband already left for the store. Further she said that his husband asked her to take care of them.
After finishing the breakfast, they left for the store. Since the manager’s house was found on the outskirt of the city, rarely few buses came. Nearly after an hour, a bus came and both of them went by bus. Since they reached the store late, both of them hesitated to enter the store. Somehow the manger came to know about them. He called both of them to meet him.
‘Are you comfortable with the house’ the manager asked.
With little shy, ‘More than comfort it’s a luxury sir’ he replied.
Further the manager said that within a week, you have to find a house.
Without any delay, ‘sure sir’ he answered.
Both of them returned to their work. Since one of the regular customers is a house broker, they approached him for help.
‘Tomorrow I will come with an idea’, the broker responded.
‘It will be great help for us sir’ he replied.
As the day came to the end, the manager called them and all of them went to manager’s home. After having everyone went for sleeping.
‘Will the broker come up with a plan’, she asked while entering the guest house.
‘Hope for the best’, he consoled her.
‘Where will we go, if we failed to find a new house within a week’, she screamed.
‘Think positive and god will be with us’, he pacified her.
With half mind they felled asleep.
Next morning they got ready by time and moved to the store with manager.
Expecting the arrival of the broker, both of them failed to concentrate on their work. The clock crowed 1’o clock. And it’s time for lunch interval. Without full mind, he finished the lunch. Being disappointed, she left half of her lunch. By 2’o clock, the lunch was over. Everyone resumed to their work. The lover couple too returned for work.
Every second, she looked at the entrance expecting the arrival of house broker. When one of the customers asked for apple, she in confusion delivered pomegranate. Later realizing her fault, she gave apple. By 15 passed 4’o clock, the house broker arrived.
‘Had you find a house as per our demand’, she asked in fuss.
‘Yes’ the house broker answered.
‘What about the rent’, he questioned.
‘Two thousand and five hundred per month’, house broker replied.
Further he added that the house was ten kilometer away the store. It’s in residential area. Electricity bill has to be paid by you. Have to close the main gate by nine in night.
‘If you agree to the terms and conditions, I will confirm the house’, the house broker finished his explanation.
After discussing a while, both of them agreed to house broker’s condition. Further they enquired about the date by which they can move on to the new house.
‘Even tomorrow you can move on to the house’, house broker asserted.
‘Thank you sir, thank you’, both replied with bright smile on their face.
House broker added that ‘you have to pay the advance amount 1 lakh by today evening’.
They looked frozen and after taking deep breathe, they become normal.
‘Can you extend the time period for paying the advance?’ he requested the house broker.
‘How many days you need’, broker asked.
‘A week’, he demanded.
‘A week is too long. It’s difficult’, house broker turned down his request.
‘Three day’, he begged.
‘Ok. Within three days you have to pay the advance’, he told firmly.
With no money in hand, he agreed for paying 1 lakhs advance within three days. He was in confusion. He sought his lover help. She too had no money and idea. Both of them had no option except approaching the manager.
By 8’o clock, the store was about to close and everyone is getting ready to leave the store. The manager called both of them and left for their home. After refreshing, all of them sat for dinner. The manager’s wife starts serving the food. There was a complete silence. To break the ice, the manager begins the conversation.
‘Hope you had a hectic work today’, the manager asked them.
‘Yes sir’, saying that both of them nodded their head.
‘Why both are looking tensed’, the manager questioned.
They hesitated to reveal their need. The manager asked them to tell him their need.
After much confusion, they requested him about their need for one lakh amount. On hearing this, the manager was shocked. He turned his head towards her wife. She looked amused. The manager asked them for time and he assured that he will do his best.
With full of depression and anxiety, they went to sleep. In the middle of night, he waked up and starts wandering around the veranda. Few minutes later his lover waked up and on seeing him wandering, she approached him and asked him about wandering at this time. He explained his fear about arranging the advance amount. She too shared her concern regarding the advance amount. Later she asked him to have sleep.
Next morning both of them waked by 6’ o clock and finished their routine work. By seven, both left the guest house and anticipated the arrival of the manager.
‘Will he help us by giving some amount’, she bothered.
‘We have no other option other than him. Wait’, he consoled.
‘Yesterday he was not seen in good mood. Not sure he will help’, again she expressed her fear.
‘Don’t be a pessimist. Be patient’, he yelled.
‘Ok ok. Hope for the best’, she answered boldly.
‘Calm down! Calm down!’, he pacified.
As time passed, the morning singers let the tree and goes for routine work. The sky cleared and the morning guest sun arrived.
By 8’o clock, the manager opened the door and arrived. He looked more energetic than earlier days.
‘Get inside the car’, he asked them.
Without any delay, they get inside the car.
‘Why this kolaveri kolaveri di’, the radio screamed as the manager turned on the sound system.
‘Had you both slept well’, the manager questioned.
Both of them nodded their head in gloomy tone and looked at each other. As they approached the fruit stall, they got stuck in traffic jam. After waiting for nearly ten minutes, the manager lost his patience. He stepped out of the car.
‘What’s going on over there’, the manager asked a man who looked immaculate.
‘Accident’, the man replied casually.
On hearing this, the manager approached the accident spot. There he spotted a man whose dress was battered. He was identified with a blue shirt and blue jeans pant which was painted red with blood. On seeing him, the manager came to guess his age was around 30 to 35.
‘Had anyone informed the police or ambulance’, the manager asked the crowd.
‘No’ is the answer he received.
Pocketing out his i-phone, he dialed ambulance and informed them about the accident spot. On the other hand, he informed the police too.
After few minutes, the police along with the ambulance arrived at the accident spot. The ambulance recovered the injured man and fled towards the hospital. After collecting the basic details, the police regulated the traffic and left the place.
‘Oh god!! Do save the man’, uttering these words the manager gets into the car.
‘What’s the fuss over there’, the man asked.
‘An accident’ the manager replied.
Since it was late, the manager speeded the car towards the shop. After fifteen minutes travel again they got stuck in traffic signal. All the three members in the car gazed the signal as it counted down from 60.
‘Amma amma’, a little girl whose black dress was tattered called the women in the car.
She lowered the window and asked the girl about his request. She came to know that she needs alms.
She helped her by giving ten rupees and raised the window. As the signal turned green, they raced towards the shop. By 9.30, they reached the shop.
Throughout the travel none of them uttered a word.
After reaching the fruit stall, the manager directed everyone to carry out their regular work. With dull face both of them carried their work. One hour after the opening of the shop, a tall man with good physique in brown t-shirt and denim jeans entered the shop and enquired where about the manager.
The staffs in the fruit stall directed him towards manager room.
As he entered the manager, the manager pulled down the window screen making it opaque for others to see what’s going within the room.
One hour later, the person in brown t-shirt left the shop with desperate face. None in the shop could what could have had happened inside the closed chamber. Roughly around an hour, the manager left the chamber and approached his car. In much hurry he raced the car.
Everyone in the speculated over the manager’s sudden exists since no one knows the reason for his early exist. An hour before the closure of the shop, he arrived to the shop. The manager advised everyone to leave the shop in hurry. He also insisted the married couple to leave the shop and asked them to find sheltering of their own.
After closing the shop, the manager left the shop with grim face.
Next morning when the employers of the shop arrived for work all they could see is a closed door with a billboard. “This property belongs to SRK firms”, read aloud by one of the employee. Everyone looked puzzled. As the time passed by, one after one left the place with gloomy face.
Everyone easily connected the things that happened last morning and realized their manager had undergone some financial crisis. They figured out the man in brown t-shirt as SRK firm’s manager.
The married couples were the one who knew the manger’s house. So they went there to look them. Much to their disappointment, they saw a closed gate.
Years rolled-on. The married couple tried to meet their manager but they couldn’t. Later they started to sell fruits on their own with the aid of a tricycle.
Being accustomed to the city routes, the man travelled every nook and corner of the city and sold the fruits. He earned money to meet their daily expenses. In all his rush time, he always reminded his manger and longed to meet him. Years later he had a son.
As his son grows older, he too gets older. He arranged marriage for his son. His son was blessed with a boy. The man becomes grandfather. He looked for the manager to share his happiness. All of the sudden to his happiness, he lost his son’s family in a heavy downpour. Now he becomes the sole responsible for his grandson and his wife. With heart full of sorrow, he continued his errands.
To cope up with the market trend, he signed up Facebook. He expanded his market range with the aid of facebook and took his work to next level.
The manager who fled the town returned with his family. He bought a flat in the seventh floor and settled. The manager had no heir. Due to aging, he become weak and spends most of the time within the flat. To beat the boredom, he used to login in facebook.
Since it was rainy season there occurs frequent power cut. Though backed by UPS, to his misfortune the UPS failed. Resting on the arm chair, the manager went past asleep. Suddenly he heard a sound err!err!err! and he looked up. A fan much younger than him starts rotating in clockwise direction. When the air from the fan hits his face, he was enchanted and felt refreshed.
Another sound Beep!Beep! raised. He directed his shaking hand towards his eye companion, grabbed it and make it comfortable by placing over his ear lobes. Then gently pushed the monitor button and turned on the computer. After few seconds the monitor turned on and displayed the home page of windows 8.0. Since he is aged, felt difficulty in holding the mouse and managed to enter the browser page.
As he entered the browser, he logged into facebook. Since new to facebook, he had many friend suggestions from his locality. While scrolling down, he came across a face named ‘Mohamed Siraj’ which is familiar to him. Double clicked the name to view his profile and gave friend request.
Mohamed Siraj, the man, a regular vendor who sells banana received a friend request form a person named ‘Ayyapan’. Recognizing his face, he quickly accepted his request. Mohamed Siraj felt extremely happy on seeing his manger again.
Soon they both started chatting out their life after the separation. They too planned to meet. Finally they finalized a day and the two families meet each other. As joy overflowed, they clicked photos randomly.
Later both the families reached their home and both of them gone through the photos they clicked. After scrutinizing many photos, they picked a photo and uploaded the photo which turns out to be the same one. They captioned the photo as
‘ONE PICTURE – TWO FAMILY-THREE DECADE STORY’
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