CHANGED FOR EVER
It was the 1st of January. Vinay shot up from bed earlier than usual although a rapturous party the previous evening had left him with a throbbing headache; for he had decided to start each day at 5.00 a.m. in the New Year. He completed his morning routine, changed into slacks and a T-shirt and stepped out for a walk in his newly-acquired expensive sneakers. For a man who seldom had an inclination for a walk, Vinay’s steadfast steps past the main gate of his residential complex, surprised even the night-duty security guard who gave him a sidelong glance while trying to catch up on sleep before his reliever came in.
Vinay turned the corner at the end of the road. A huge pile of garbage was being cleared by conservancy workers; a redeeming feature from the general lackadaisical attitude that the local municipality was not ashamed to project. ‘What a change and a relief’, he thought. He walked further and came to a grocery store which sported a huge banner at its entrance; ‘we deliver to your home now’, it said with an emoji smiling from ear to ear. ‘Great’, thought Vinay, ‘Maya would be thrilled to know this’, he reflected, as he took a picture of the banner which provided details of the telephone numbers.
Maya, his wife, though an expert at churning out lip-smacking snacks and curries from the confines of her modest kitchen was, nevertheless, a trifle weak in the area pertaining to the stocking of groceries and vegetables and would often run out of these vital ingredients that would require him to garner emergency supplies, in the midst of his tight schedule, at very short notice; for he was always at hand, working from an office within earshot of his residential complex. ‘What a relief’, thought Vinay, as he went past a culvert and reached the main road. Here, several men were already in the thick of painting lovely murals on the pillars of the newly-constructed flyover. Although completed nearly six months ago, the flyover looked drab till the day before, but this sudden activity had visibly changed the contours of the structure and enlivened the ambience. ‘Wow! That changes the whole look about this place’, thought Vinay. He walked on for some more time and then retraced his steps.
Once home, he had a shower and saw Maya laying the table for breakfast. After she had retreated into the kitchen, Vinay moved over and peered into the square baked dish conspicuously positioned in the centre of the table. “Lasagne’, he told himself, as his gleaming eyes beheld the endearing mass of pasta convoluted in a rich ensemble of vegetables all topped with a generous layer of cheese. ‘So, Maya has also decided to change’, his ruminations continued. From the regular fare of idlis and dosas that she was wont to dole out, this was a welcome change for a hungry stomach. It appeared that Maya had decided on a culinary overhaul in the New Year. As Maya carved into the dish, Vinay smacked his lips in anticipation. This New Year had definitely started on a brilliant note.
Maya, meanwhile, had intended to give Vinay a ‘surprise’; for she had ordered, through an online portal, for a robot to replace the domestic maid and a dishwasher to relieve her travails. So when the two gadgets arrived simultaneously, there was indeed a celebration of sorts, one which was spontaneously undertaken, to be reflected upon later after reckoning the holes made in the pocket. Maya was indeed in command, for her ‘surprises’ continued unabated; she turned her wardrobe upside down and shifted from sarees to modern western clothes of tops and pants. Then she altered her hair-style, which made Vinay look like her uncle! Lastly, she shopped for elegant footwear to finally arrive at a complete make-over of her persona.
Vinay was in a quandary. He had to address the changed circumstances; so he got himself a well-positioned wig to cover his bald pate that made him look a lot more handsome and began to sport a trim moustache, one that he had adored on the face of Clark Gable in ‘Gone with the Wind’. In this new exterior, he seemed to have cut down on years for he received the tacit approval from Maya in no uncertain terms.
Resuming work after a brief vacation, Vinay went to his boss’s cabin to wish him a joyous New Year. After gaining entry, he was flabbergasted when his boss asked him, “Good morning sir. Could I be of help to you?”
Imagine his disbelief when Vinay responded, “It’s me sir. I’m Vinay.”
“Goodness gracious, Vinay. What has come of you? You look ten years younger, man,” said Prakash, his boss. “What a transformation! Was anybody else in the office able to recognize you at first instant? I guess not,” he continued. “Hey, by the way, there’s good news in store for you; you’ve got a promotion with a substantial hike in salary and all the perks that come with the new assignment. Good for you. I’ve reserved a bigger cabin for you in the far corner of this hall. You’ve had a great year and it is now the moment for celebration. You’ll be working with a new team in a wholly new portfolio; rest is described in detail in a mail. Please go ahead and feel at ease in your new workspace. If you need any help, I’ll be around. So, once again wish you all the very best. Do a great job, as I know you will,” said a beaming Prakash, as he extended his hand to congratulate Vinay. The latter was in a trance as he shook hands with Prakash. A couple of times he had wanted to thank his boss immensely for his gesture but, apart from opening and shutting his mouth like a goldfish, no sound emanated from within. Finally, with a ‘thank you very much sir’, he took leave of Prakash and headed to his new cabin.
The house-cleaning staff was giving the final touches to the arrangement within the cabin and so Vinay sauntered outside in disbelief. Soon he entered his cabin and read the mail in his inbox. He had been promoted as the ‘On Premise Manager’ with a jump in grade, salary and all the perquisites that were concomitant with the new position. A new car was also in the offing. And that was not all; for he had a liberal budget to work with, giving him substantial leverage to make inroads into his competitor’s turf. ‘What a change’, thought Vinay, as he relaxed on his high back chair. Even in his wildest dreams, he had not anticipated a drastic career change for the better. But wait, he had to call up Maya and inform her.
Maya was thrilled. Visions of partying and outings floated generously before her eyes, as she tried to organize the whole scenario in her segmented brain. She relayed the news to all her friends through the phone and social media and there was a chorus of voices and a never-ending list of social contacts who demanded that the New Year festivities should be carried forward for the whole month! Vinay, too, got several congratulatory messages and calls from his friends, as well as his colleagues in the office. After meeting his new team and having had a small introductory session, he excused himself for the rest of the day.
The coming week was laden with parties and then the weekend outings were a recipe for camaraderie. After the extended duration of celebration, Vinay and Maya had some time to themselves. Maya decided to go for a cookery class along with a couple of her friends. She needed a change from the humdrum world of the daily chores in her life. Vinay also felt that they should be more gregarious in their lives and, after getting Maya’s concurrence, they joined the Embassy Club for meeting up with like-minded individuals. Vinay had also committed to himself that he would engage in voracious reading and so he began to augment his modest library, bit by bit. Vinay and Maya were both interested in music and were bathroom singers in their teens. They wanted to take their taste in music to the next level, both in terms of singing and playing the guitar and the violin. So they attended classes for the same and very soon they were much in demand at all their parties and outings.
It was now the fag end of January. So much had happened in their lives that both Vinay and Maya felt lilted in their daily tasks which they went about with zeal and fervour to achieve more and earn the respect and love from their friends and dear ones. The month had initiated a whole new meaning to their lives with the fast-paced changes that were, hitherto, quite inconceivable. It was probably the best beginning that they ever had in any year and, indeed, the best of times.
You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.
Loved how the author slowly reels us in with a good storytelling style
Thanks for the appreciation.
Now is the time for all hell to break lose, and trash all their new found happiness.
Guess so, in the pandemic situation.