“Yes that is correct. That is how you draw a question mark. Now the next punctuation is comma.” Says Rahul as he draws a, onto the pad placed on the table between him and a spectacle clad 3rd grade boy sitting in front of him. It is still dawn darkness and they are studying with the help of a table lamp. It is a big room with a personal desktop and a single bed in the dark background. The boy is in his toony night suite and Rahul is in a jeans and polo t shirt.
“So Ayan, comma is a punctuation used to separate two different parts of a single sentence.”
“Why” utters the boy
“Why would you separate a sentence? It is a single sentence isn’t it?”
“Hmmm. Ok. Let me give you an example. Remember last weekend you went to a road trip with your Dad?”
The kid nods in affirmation “Yes. Khandala. It was so much fun”
“So let us assume, this is your home and this is Khandala” He draws two distant points on the paper and joins a line connecting them.
“So did you start from home and directly stopped at your hotel?” he asks the boy with fake curiosity filling up his face.
“No. We stopped at many places.”
“Why. You had to reach Khandala. Isn’t it?” interrupts Rahul. The boy looks a bit offended by the interruption and explains
“We had to. First there were some really delicious looking hot samosa being prepared and papa, mom had tea, then we had hot corn by a road side midway, Papa stretched his arms there. He was tired of driving so long” he laughs “and before reaching there, we had to stop again for getting directions to our hotel”
“Exactly! These are your commas. In a long journey you have to put commas at the right time, to relax, enjoy and check whether you are going in the right direction. Otherwise you miss a lot of good things” He states emphasizing on each part and drawing 3 commas on that line he drew.
“Same is for sentences, if they are long and consist of different parts, you separate them by commas. Got it?” he smiles at the kid
The kid smiles in affirmation at his tutor and then Rahul checks his watch to say “It’s time now Ayan, you study this in home work and I will check all your punctuations together with a test”
The kid’s smile vanishes away with that alarming word “test”
Rahul packs his bag, takes his jacket on, looks at him and pat his head to say “Cheer up! That is going to be next week” And Ayan is smiling again as Rahul walks off to the morning winter sun.
Walking, he is seen going back to his room, where all other bachelors are still asleep and this guy is rushing to get a bath, the camera follows him until he enters the bathroom and shuts the door having a hanging notice saying. Caution! Men at Work!
Rahul is seen clad in a white shirt black pant and tie with a cross laptop bag and helmet on, kicking for the 12th time his old scooter. He is sweating profusely by the hard work to which an elderly guy comments “Kya baat he rahul, thandi me b garmi ka ehsas ha?” as he laughs to his own joke.
Rahul pauses for a second to show his frustration to this man who has come on a new smart bike. But slowly clears it with a smile “Nai. Secretary uncle. Bas ye chalu nai ho rahi”
“Hogi bhi kese. Kitne mahino se keh rha hu tumhe ek nayi bike le lo meri tarah” as he takes pride on the shine of metal under him. Rahul seems uninterested and kicks again. “Kab tak roz ye senior citizen k upar zulm dhaate rahoge?” he asks angrily showing his empathy with the word senior citizen.
“Are ye thek he he na uncle. Nayi bike me itne pese kyu daalne. Ye chal rahi he na” as he kicks again and the engine triggers! “Lo hogyi chalu. Ab dekho kese bhagata hu is senior citizen ko.” As he hops on to it adjusting his bag and races his way out spreading smoke on the oldie’s face who says “Bhad me ja. Kanjoos Kahi ka!”
A back shoulder shot of Rahul sitting and checking the stock exchange on his office desk. “Rahul! Trading in office hours!” says the guy coming in from back.
A shocked face of Rahul with the background of lower half of that man on the side is seen as Rahul closes the tab and rotates his chair “No sir. I was just…” he pauses and says “Saale tu he..”
The guy laughs violently to his prank and says “kyu fat gayi na…” as Rahul opens his tab again and focuses on what is happening there as he is taking a bit from his packet of chips. “Bhai focus krne de. Aj bada issue aya he ek. Safe and profitable bet he. Me to Kehta hu tu bhi ek lot le le Mohit” as he looks onto his friend for a second.
“Me? Nai bhai me apni job se khush hu. Richa bhi acha kar leti he, ghum rhe he fir rhe he. maze se chal rahi he apni gaadi toh.” Says Mohit
“I don’t understand tum log khush kese ho jate ho itne me. Abi hi toh time he kamane ka. Me to jitna ho ske bana lena chahta hu” he is still at the screen. Not looking anywhere else.
“Bhai teri to baat hi alag he. Tu toh kaali mata he bhai!” utters Mohit
Rahul gives him a look with question in his eyes “Kuch bhi?”
“Nahi sach me. Pura din ye office, lunch break me shares aur raat ko gujarati restaurant me part time waiter. Tere ek do hath aur hote to kaali mata bhi Sharma jati tujse.”
“Sale waiter nai head manager hu me waha”
“Acha toh wo chutki bajane wale ko manager bolte he waha?” he laughs
“Sale dimag mat kha. Bata richa kya kr rahi he aaj kal” asks Rahul
“Richa is good. And the news is she has got a promotion and this Sunday.” he pauses for a while “all 3 of us are going for a road trip to celebrate that!” says Mohit with all his excitement.
“Sahi he yar. Congratulations bhai.” He smiles at his friend. “But ye Sunday nahi ho paega yar.”
“Kyu be sale.” Asks a shocked Mohit “Office ki b chutti he aur tera ye satta market b band hota he us din. Ratko tere restaurant k time tak to wapas ajaenge.”
“Baat sahi he yar. But mene ek ladke ko padhana shuru kia he. Roj subah 45 minutes and Sunday 3 hours.”
“Tu insan he k kya he be? Me wo kaali mata wala majak kr rha tha. Tune to seriously le lia. You are doing 4 fucking jobs together. And how is a money centric moron like you be interested in such social work?” he asks with genuine curiosity.
“Abe social work krna hota to school me na padhata. 3rd standard ka rich bacha he, mere society k pas hi he, usk mom muje kuch din pehle restaurant me mile and school me already padhae hue data ko 45 min wapas revise karwane k lie im getting more than half of what I get paid here for 10 freaking hours ” he laughs.
“Me wo sab kuch nahi janta. Tu humare sath chal rha he aur wo final he. You know college se hi richa tuje apna best friend maanti he. Muje batane se pehle wo cheeje tuje batati he. Yaha tak ki ek time to college me muje doubt that um dono me kuch chal to to nai rha. Tuje pata he na bhai mene tujse wo confirm krk hi use propose b kia tha.”
“Yeah I remember that.” laughs Rahul profusely “You are one lucky guy my friend” he adds
“Tuje lagta he wo tuje islie ane ko na keh degi because tuje ek bache ki maa ko lutne jana he?”
“Bhai tu samjha lega use I am sure. I have to go. Abi naya hi start kia he aur first Sunday hi nai jaunga to samaj jaegi k lut hi rha hu” he laughs.
“Are par.. chod. tu use hi samjhana.” Says Mohit as he starts walking away disappointed.
“Are par sun toh use nai samjha paunga me. tuje pata toh he.” Rahul tries to stop him, but he goes away.
Now, fillers of Rahul working all day are shown in which Richa tries reaching to him over phone, but he avoids it being busy in his work. A steady shot showing him going to teach Ayan in dark, time lapse and him coming back. Then going to office on scooter and coming back in the late night after restaurant. Time lapse of him in center of restaurant (chutki bajate hue) and waiters running around him. Him teaching ayan. He is seen getting dull , tired and dark spots filling his face. Giving presentations and seeing Mohit’s spot vacant. He tries to call him, but his phone is unreachable and he again gets back to his work. A couple of days pass similarly and he sees Mohit has not come since 3 days. He tries calling Richa, who does not pick up either. He inquires with a guy at office “Are mohit kaha he? 3 din hogye aya nai”. The guy replies “Are tujhe nai pata? Uska accident hogya Sunday wo kahi jar ha tha wife k sath. He is hospitalized since then.”
Rahul is seen inquiring the room number in the hospital and reaches to Mohit’s room, where he meets a nurse coming out who says that he had some severe injuries and the until he gains consciousness, it is critical. She asks him to not disturb him. His wife has gone to buy some medicines and soon will be coming there she states. Rahul checks Mohit and then sits on the bench in the room. He looks around for a minute. After that, he takes out Ayan’s test sheets from his bag and starts checking them to utilize the time. After some time Richa arrives. She has some bandage done over her hand and skull. Rahul immediately puts aside his work to greet her “How are you?” He helps her put the food and medicines brought to keep aside and makes her sit on the bench.
“I am very sorry about this. I just got to know about all of this only today” he gives his clarification
“No its fine. It’s all in the destiny. Otherwise, how can a driver be less hurt than the guy sitting beside her?” she is heavy in her throat.
“What do you mean?”
“Yes. I learnt driving only lately and wanted to practice it. Mohit gave me the steering and I gave him this” she cries.
“It was not your fault Richa. Things happen. He will be fine soon.”
“I hope he does. He is the best thing in my life Rahul. He has given me so much of happiness, which I never would have imagined otherwise” she goes and sits on a stool placed beside Mohit’s bed and takes his hand.
“His care and affection, and at the same time his maturity of handling a relationship. He was so good at everything. There was not a single day Rahul, when he didn’t make me smile” she continues while she kisses his hand.
Rahul quietly says “hmmm” to her and tries to let her speak.
“Though he always seemed carefree, he always planned things so well. You know he has been investing into a mediclaim + life insurance since 3 years now, out of my knowledge.” She looks at him and he smiles to comply.
“With him, I have lived every moment of my life Rahul. He has taught me to live in present. The weekend outings, those meaningless drives in rain, watching movies back to back in theaters… She smiles as she recollects all their good times. Mean while, seeing her lost, Rahul takes his work back and focuses on checking the papers.
“At this point if I look back, I have so many memories, playing pranks on strangers, working out together, those sunday naps which went till noon. Rahul is fully occupied with his work and just “hmmmm” ing to her. She continues lost in her world “his poetry, his humor, he let me live in my space, but he was possessive as well. You know he once thought you and I had a thing going” as she laughs and looks back at him. Rahul is still “Hmmm”
Richa: “Are you even listening? Do you ever pause from your work?”
Rahul: “I am sorry Richa. I just needed to finish these.. I am sorry, I will do it later.” He keeps the work aside.
Richa: “No. Keep at it! Look at you. You look like a 40 year old already. Do you even have any life or heart at all? Which race are you running to win for? Because it is only you in it! No one else! In front of your eyes is lying an example of vulnerability of life and you still don’t care to pause? Nothing is permanent Rahul. Nothing at all! So why don’t you appreciate what you have ever?”
Rahul: “I am sorry Richa. But we disagree there. I have an ambition to earn, become a big man in life and I don’t feel any wrong in it.”
Richa: “So you feel doing such meaningless jobs and avoiding life’s goods would make you rich? Do you ever think what have you missed while running like a mad horse in a single direction, completely unaware of what or who is going around you?”
Rahul:”I have not missed anything at all. I have got success, made as much money as I could and I look forward to pursue this run.”
Richa:”You know what?” she takes a pause and asserts “I did make a right choice in college!” as she turns back to her husband and kisses his hand.
The scene is shown blurred out as a confused Rahul keeps looking at her. The camera focuses on the ,(comma) marked with a circle by Rahul in Ayan’s papers and same voice over of Rahul comes in background.
In a long journey you have to put commas at the right time, to relax, enjoy and check whether you are going in the right direction. Otherwise you miss a lot of good things”