Not On Assignment

A journo's jottings under no deadline pressure (since Jan 1, 2010)

On the first day of the New Year…

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On the first day of the New Year, a tale of greed and family honour.
Near our housing complex is a small village and in that village stays a barber.
The barber’s `shop’ is a ramshackle, cardboard-cloth-tin four wall structure under a small tree alongside our locality’s main road. With every passing month, the photographer in me observes the different colours of the leaves – and also their absence in winter, and later, as if by magic, their reappearance.
Sometimes, there is a customer on the solitary chair; most often it is the barber himself, sleeping away the hours, waiting for someone to turn up.
But this tale is partly about the barber. Its main protagonist is his daughter-in-law, a housemaid in some of the houses in our complex.
Over several weeks, the housewife in of one of the houses noticed things missing – money, jewellery and finally, her son’s cellphone. She reported this to her husband, who, by an amazing coincidence, happens to be a police officer. The cop asked around and his suspicions zeroed in on the housemaid.
He confronted her. “Tell us the truth. You should realise that if I take this up at an official level you could be behind bars.”
The housemaid admitted to all the thefts. She was immediately sacked.
When he heard this, the barber, in a fit of rage, picked up a huge stone from the roadside and rushed towards his daughter-in-law.
“I will kill her,” he screamed loudly. “She has destroyed my family’s reputation.”
But some villagers managed to stop the old man and cool down his anger.
His daughter-in-law now does not stir out from her home. Nobody is our complex – or anywhere else – is ready to employ her.

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Written by Raju Bist

January 1, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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