Tea and Cigarette
“A Cigarette, Please” asked Tuhin.
As he lit the cigarette he moved his sight from the cigarette vendor towards the road. The road was
noisy. For a moment his eyes were fixed on the road but mind was wandering somewhere else until an unrecognized voice brought him back.
“Hey” , his face moved towards the unrecognized voice, ” You look sad. I saw you coming from the hospital. Everything OK? ”
Tuhin nodded , “My father, is admitted there.” and looked away, taking a deep inhale from the cigarette.
“Oh , I am sorry , Is he alright ?”
“Yeah , He will be, that’s what Doctors say , Lets hope” . His eyes moved towards the sky, staring at the dark starless night. He took off his glasses and squeezed his eyes with his fingers.
The strange guy , lit his cigarette and moved closer , “So, what happened ?”
“He fell from stairs”, Tuhin replied.
“What does the doctor say?”, The stranger asked.
Tuhin was feeling uncomfortable. He wanted some time alone, but the stranger was interrupting him for having a time with himself.
“They are going to keep him in the ICU, for the next few days. He is able to talk and is responding well . May be in a few days he will be back home”
“OK, hope he gets well soon”, realizing he has not introduced himself yet , the stranger offered for a handshake.
“By the way , I am Arun.”
“My name is Tuhin” , shaking his hand Tuhin offered him to have a cup of tea together.
“I hope , I am not intruding much , but I think , your father needs the time , you should be with him.”
Tuhin stared Arun, he had no answer. It felt like the stranger has punched him directly in the face. Looking away he replied , ” I am in a big dilemma.” his tone sudden became weary.
Arun patted him on the shoulder and said , “I can understand , It is one hard time of your life and I am sure, everything will be perfect soon.”
Arun offered a glass of tea to him.
“I know he will be alright, but now something else is bothering me.” Tuhin stopped, took a sip of tea, he then took a long smoke from his cigarette.
“Go on, speak it out.”
“I work in the US, I have a stable life, my kid studies there. I have my parents here in India and now I feel that they need me.” He took a puff again and continued ,”I have been assigned a responsibility by my company , we are going to open a new office in the states, and now I have to come back to attend this emergency.”, he kicked the air disappointingly.
“So do you like the lifestyle there?” Arun asked, rolling the small transparent tea glass between his hands, enjoying the warmth of it.
“Yes, I do , it’s the US , and I am on peak of my career, an opportunity that many would envy”
Arun did not interrupt and sipped his tea, Tuhin continued, “but after this incident, I feel my parents need me and I should wind up from overseas and settle in India, They are not willing to travel to the states also. I am confused, what should I do , my parents needs me.”
After a pause , Tuhin moved his face towards Arun and asked “what’s your suggestions?”
Arun asked “In this age, no one would want to leave his home, people get attached to the place, that it would be very hard for them to adapt. Anyways, What about your wife? What’s her opinion about it?”
“My wife is quite understanding, she will accept whatever I will decide and will help me in that” said Tuhin.
“Thats good, so all the decision making rests with you.”
“So let me ask you a question, how much are you earning, and how much would you earn if you are in India”
“Pretty much, may be 5 times that I might get here in India”
“So you might have saved, right? How long can you stay without earning and still live a good life with your family?”
“May be a year.”
“Good,so you are on a safer side, you have a year’s time, I think you can do anything you wish to, look for a job in India, it might be possible you won’t get that much money, but you might get a decent amount considering your work-ex. If you want you can start something of your own as well.”
“That sounds risky, you know, I have a mortgage there , I have to settle it up, I have to take care of my kid’s education too, If I stay in US, my kid has a brighter future.”
“Well, lets make it simpler for you. Suppose, there is a market crash and suddenly there are no jobs in your domain ,so what would you do ?”
“Well, I would try to look for job in any other domain, or I will try to do something of my own”
“So what is stopping you, right now?” He paused and continued, “ You have enough funds to support your family till you set up your business or change your field. I feel , the other problems are very minor and can be sorted out. It won’t be simple for you but, that is the adventure of living a life, the way you want, if you want something in life, you have to move away from your comfort zone and that job is your ‘comfort zone’ right now. If you want to be with your family you have to take a chance and I believe it would be worth it.”
Tuhin was listening, his eyes focused on the dark part of the road, somewhere inside in his heart he knew that Arun was right, but to take such a bold decision seemed a foolishness to him “That’s foolishness” he stood up, threw the remains of his cigarette and crushed his with his feet and then turned towards Arun, looking down on him “If I fail, I might ruin my family’s future, my kid’s future, what would happen to him”
“Fear of failure should not stop you.”, said Arun, gulping the last sip of tea.
Arun moved forward and paid the cigarette vendor. Tuhin was watching him, he was silent,his mind was unable to process anything. Arun came back to him and kept his hand on his shoulder, ” Look friend, life is too short. A few years ago, you were in lap of your parents. You should also not forget the countless sacrifices made by your parents, and they never asked for any favor in the stead. I believe , it is better to act than repent, probably the moment you will spend with your parents would be one of the most valuable moments in near future.”
Arun smiled and continued. “Don’t worry, everything will be alright, Chill and go back to your father, he needs you at this moment. I will take my leave. All the best to you” . He offered his hand and said “It was nice meeting you , have a good life.” and started walking away.
“Wait”, said Tuhin, he took a small jog towards Arun and asked ” Where do you work, can we stay in contact.”
Arun, took out his business card and handed it over to Tuhin, “Give me a call, and let me know what you have decided”, he smiled and kept walking.
“Thanks”, shouted Tuhin, raising his hand to which Arun also responded, “Welcome”. Arun was now lost in the crowd. Tuhin , walked towards a better lit area to read the card. “Arun Sharma , General Manager, Neotech Solutions”
“Neotech”, the name was recognizable. Tuhin realized it was the same company to which they outsource most of the work. He flicked the card with fingers and contenting smile came to his face. Keeping the card in his pocket , he shook his head and went inside the hospital.