It tasted salty…deliciously salty…the drop of sweat that dripped down his lips. Apart from the taste of the sweat there was nothing else at the moment that could make him feel any less miserable than he was feeling. His helmet felt like an over heated pressure cooker with the head being cooked inside…brain cells being incinerated beyond repair. The papers said 45 degrees…with the heat bouncing back from the big flashy hoods of cars around which it felt at least 5 degrees more. When you're in Gurgaon two things is what you are always surrounded by - glass and dust. The dust creeps inside you and the glass towering on both sides of the road adds to the boiling charm of the situation.
In the month of June, Delhi is no better. Especially when you want people to open up accounts with your bank, even when they already have two. To top it all up, you get targets impossible to achieve. And the heat… the fucking heat, makes your field a living hell. And Mangesh, a small town guy from Rampur, had now fully understood that the life of a salesman was itself a living hell.
3 years back, he came to the capital to study for an MBA that was expensive enough to drain his father’s finances and burden him with loans even before starting to earn. He was happy with the placement season for bagging a good package in a world-renowned bank. He diddn’t quiet care to look closely at the profile. The first day itself he was given a nice leather bag with metal edges and kicked out of the office to try and open as many accounts as he could. With his leather briefcase strapped around his back he rode his bike all around the city knowing little what to do. Finally found a nice little place by the India Gate garden and dozed off. Little did he know that the coming days would be worse.
Not many days ago, a customer locked him up in his go-down and he had to call his superiors to sort out matters. Another day he was chased by a ferocious dog belonging to a guy he had high hopes on. Fortunately the dog was called back when he stumbled upon something and broke his leg. Life was not very rewarding.
And then came the heat wave.
Mangesh was the kind of guy you could easily slap on the back of his head with him not bothering to hit you back. He had an easy life back home and after that the college gave him good value for his money. But it was very different for him now. The world was never like this. No-one cared, not a single kind word. The boss used to switch off the air-conditioning after 11 and tell them to go out on their calls.
Hate was something he had found easy to carry along. Helped face the heat better, rose along with the mercury. It was a beautiful feeling to let all out and feel all powerful. His job seldom gave him that feeling.
Miserably failing in his Gurgaon campaign, he came back to Delhi all exhausted and account-less. His boss waited in expectation as he always did.
“dhanda kitna laaya hai?”
He hated that word ‘dhanda’. It made him feel like a prostitute who cruises the dirtiest corners of the city and meets the filthiest of people to earn her living. After completing his MBA from (if not one of the best) one of the most expensive colleges in Delhi this wasn’t the way he had ever imagined he would be addressed. This wasn’t the way things were supposed to turn out. This wasn’t the way he was supposed to live. This wasn’t how hot summers were supposed to be. This just wasn’t right.
And the heat… the fucking heat. His head was already spinning from the day’s job, cruising aimlessly from house to house knocking.
“abey ghoor kya raha hai? MBA me tereko dhanda laana nahi sikhaya kya? Abey…..”
It was still hot outside, as if the earth was now releasing what it had absorbed all day long. His face burned as he looked down but he no longer had that feeling of disappointment and humiliation inside him. He felt strong, all-powerful. He could feel a kind invigorating energy inside him.
He looked up when the first drop fell on his shirt. The blood dissolved to reveal the plain white colour of his shirt, and then another… and another. He turned his head down to watch the blood getting mixed with the water gathering around him in the mud.
Delhi’s meteorological department had issued a statement today that the monsoons would arrive late this year. Their weatherman was wrong… very wrong.