Sunglasses for all seasons – Amartya Kumar Mitra

 Amartya is studying in class X. His interests are music, creative writing, films and recitation. His ambition is to compose music and perform at the Wembley arena of London and to make films on world’s amazing short stories

You can never focus on a single thing when you are in Esplanade.

Something or other will make you look at it. This is not only because there are a variety of things but their low price tags. The only problem lies with the label. You may find a shirt with a costly brand name but you can never say if it’s genuine because here the genuine and fake items are like Siamese twins. Trust me, if you feel down just step into a bus and head for this heavenly place. But it may help only if you are a bit too drawn to the lures of material world. If you feel those is not anything worthy for a man to dwell upon then change your bus if you are already on board and head for Dakshineshwar temple.

The traffic sergeant with a wave of his hand stopped the vehicles. A huge crowd rushed to the other side of the street like violent bulls. Tired daily-passengers inside the bus exchanged hopeless expressions. Irregular passengers mostly woman watched the event with puzzled looks and open mouths. Everyday on such a busy hour Robi, a handsome twenty three years old boy would cross the road. His looks often drew attention of people passing him. Whether the weather was sunny, overcast or rainy he wore a sunglass and had a fancy stick with a bell metal handle. His attires changed only occasionally as he was not rich and neither did he want to be. Only thing he wanted was to help his brother in his studies doing the laundry job for him as his brother was working in a well known laundry so that one day he can buy enough food to feed both of them . The laundry owner knew that Robi needed money to support his brother and his brother needed time for his studying. He allowed Robi to work in place of his brother.

Robi was knocking around the laundry building when the voice of his boss was heard. He was calling Robi. As usual Robi was waiting for this call and climbed the stairs.

‘’ Yes Sir’’ said Robi

The stout laundry owner sipped his fruit drink slowly and said ‘’ It’s in your delivery area but the address is new. Deliver this to 401, Serpentine lane,Howrah’’ and handed Robi a parcel packed in brown papers which had dry- washed kurta pyjamas. Robi took the parcel and repeated the address twice. He crossed the very same road but instead of walking this time he got into a bus.

Merely five or ten passengers in the office hours can make a man standing outside a bus think that the bus is over-crowded. (Just for the terrible noise they make). The same man might think the bus is deserted just after six full half hours but when he boards the vehicle he will find dozens of drooping heads in post lunch siesta. No risk of pick pockets as those thieves also probably doze at such an hour.

Robi couldn’t dare to take a nap asHowrahwas not far from Esplanade. The bus reached there by half an hour. The clock said 1.30. The holy water of the Ganga looked like sparklingChampagne(though not transparent). Robi made his way to a dhaba nearby not to have lunch but ask the owner who happened to be his childhood friend the exact location of 404 Serpentine lane. The Dhaba owner forced him to have his lunch there and Robi had no choice but to eat there. When he finished it was already two. He hurried to the address. On the way sadly enough he stumbled down as his feet struck a small rock jutting out of the narrow road. The pain was tolerable but the parcel he was carrying got torn and the kurta pyjamas got somewhat soiled.

‘’ What the hell is this?’’ screamed the owner of those clothes. ‘’ I gave this to be washed and ironed but what is this? huh? He continued.

‘’ Sorry sir I……’’

‘’ Sorry? I want to kill the man who invented that word. Will it clean my dress?

‘’ Sir I just…”

“Don’t say a word and just get lost. A young fellow like you can’t deliver a laundry in a good condition and what the hell for you are wearing a sunglass and carrying a stick like that? Style huh?’’ and he slammed the door.

‘’ No sir pleases ……”

Robi didn’t get a chance to say a word and left. He feared the worst. May be his boss will fire him or pay him less or……….

On the other side the angry customer who wanted the Kurta to be ready for attending a wedding went to the telephone and called the laundry office.

‘’ Hello! Hello! Are you the worthless owner of the laundry?’’

‘’ Excuse me Sir may I know who are you speaking?’’

‘’ One of your customers fromHowrah’’

‘’ What can I do for you sir?

‘’ Shut up! This is possibly the worst laundry service in Kolkata. That stylish boy. Who came to deliver my laundry? He has ruined my Kurta. I thing he dropped it carelessly. Now you have troubled me much and I swear I will never use you service anymore Good Bye!!”

‘’ Wait! Don’t show so many attitudes. We have hundreds of customers and we don’t care if you stop dealing with us any more but being the owner of the company I will refund you the money and ….. Are you listening?’’

‘’ Yes’’

‘’ And for Heaven’s sake don’t curse the boy for his mistake. He is blind’’.

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