Mr. Ravi Raj was on his way back from his office, with his wife on the seat near him, as he drove through the messy traffic. He had to concentrate on the road but in his state, he couldn’t help think about a million other things. He had just retired.
He navigated his way through a particularly busy street where vendors would stall a fantastico weekly market and where all people from nearby colonies would come for some fresh and cheap vegetables. He remembered the times he himself would be returning from home on his scooter and would get a call from his wife, asking him to bring this and that and he would be all too happy to carry everything without a bag on his scooter. But those times would hardly come now. Not that he would never buy vegetables again but that he wouldn’t do that returning from work.
They had now reached a little less busy part of the road and so, Mr. Ravi Raj could afford to look at his wife, really look at her. She was dressed in an exquisite Kanjivaram but he couldn’t point down when she had bought it. It must have been years, he guessed. As he looked at her, he thought that maybe now, he would be able to give his wife the time and empathy that had eluded her all this time. He thought of making it up to her, for all those years she had been through without ever complaining although he knew it deep-down that she was uncomfortable. He decided to change that.
They reached home and he wondered how the next day would be like. Will it be just another day or something would have changed at the core. He couldn’t wait for it and soon went to bed. But he couldn’t sleep straightway. All those thoughts kept gushing into his mind all the time and he fought them with all his might. “Is that how retirement impact everyone or is it just me?”, he wondered. Sleep must have crept in eventually but he didn’t know when.
Another day. A bright morning but he couldn’t relate with the sunshine anymore. He felt like it was different in some way. It no longer had the same warmth or the peppy feel to it that would always light up his mornings. He got up, got fresh and went out to his porch. The newspaper was lying under his car and he picked it up using a stick. He put a chair out there, and a little stool infront of him as he skipped to the Business section, like he always did. He was halfway into the very first paragraph when he suddenly stopped and turned the page away. He thought about something but even inside his brain, that thought didn’t materialize into words. Then, to his own utter surprise, he went to the front page and began to read the headlines.
“What had the world come to?”, he thought, puzzled. He read about some college where the students had staged anti-national sentiments and there had been a huge uproar against it. He disgusted at the thought and went thinking again “In our times, we knew what the world meant and understood the value of a great country. Generations since have just degraded along”. He read about a tragic news in a small column near that and his heart went out in sympathy. And then he closed the newspaper to move in. He went to his room where his wife was sleeping. He woke her up, tapping her shoulder and asked for a cup of coffee. She rubbed her eyes, got up, and went out to make one for him.
He again opened the front page and moved his head in disapproval. Soon his wife came in with two cups of coffee and sat beside him. He again closed the paper, holding the cup in his hands and took a sip. It tasted perfect as he went about telling his wife the breaking news.