Can Chalk And Cheese Co-Exist?

Can Chalk And Cheese Co-Exist?

10 mins 9.8K 10 mins 9.8K

The wind was whistling in the meadows and it was quite late at night. Two boys, Rajesh and Harry, aged 48 and 44 respectively, were returning from a New Year’s eve party with their friends. This party was held at one of the resorts along the Mumbai Pune Highway. The time was around nine p m when their car passed by a bend in the road. The driver, Rajesh, did not see the bend, as he was drunk, and he drove straight into a tree, which was lying by the wayside. Suddenly, there was a bang.

And lo and behold…….. the car came to a stop forcefully against the tree. It was a banyan tree with many lowly hanging leaves. The car had suffered a dent on its bonnet. This happened because Rajesh was in a hurry to get home. They got late because the party was so lively that its atmosphere took them in and they did not realize when it was time to go. By then, both were also sloshed. Harry warned Rajesh against taking the wheel in that condition, but the latter brushed aside his suggestion. The result was that they had dashed into a tree and their car had suffered a dent.

Nobody had been injured in the minor accident. However, Rajesh was shaken slightly after the jolt. He refused to take the wheel once again. Finally, Harry called up a taxi-cab and gave the driver both their addresses and they went off in it. Rajesh left his car there and decided to come back the next morning with a mechanic in tow so that the car could be taken to a garage and worked upon before he took it back home. It was 2 a m in the morning on the first day of the New Year and Harry decided to stay back at Rajesh’s bachelor pad before proceeding home in the morning. 

Both of them crashed into Rajesh’s house and spent the night there. Harry was uncomfortable initially when they reached Rajesh’s house, but the latter made every effort to make his guest comfortable. They threw their tired bodies on Rajesh’s double bed. This was when Harry noticed that Rajesh had turned on the room’s fan to full speed. Harry immediately took offense to this and asked him to switch it off. However, Rajesh did not budge. Rajesh was hot headed and therefore needed a fan to cool down his temper. On the other hand, Harry was quite cool of disposition and therefore he felt cold when the fan was turned to full speed.

Finally, Harry went and slept in the kitchen with a little help from Rajesh. He had started cursing himself for deciding to stay back at Rajesh’s house. However, nothing could be done now. It was quite late at night and no public transport was working. Therefore, he decided to stay put in the kitchen. He compromised even though he was a guest there. However, in his mind, he had decided not to continue his friendship with Rajesh. He was angry at having to compromise. He was angry with Rajesh for making him sleep in his kitchen. 

Rajesh was an employee of a call center, Pinnacle BPO and worked the graveyard shift from 9 p m to 6 a m. He was of an aggressive in nature. No doubt, he was successful in the sales process at his job. Rajesh was also involved in a side business of catering. He had a wife and a 12-year-old daughter. He had sent both of them to Nagpur in the interest of his daughter’s upbringing. He decided to take help from his in-laws during his difficult times because he was not sure that with his meager BPO income and his uncertain catering income, he could provide a comfortable life to his family in Mumbai.

Therefore, he decided to send them to Nagpur, to his in-laws. He was living alone in his flat in Chembur and he entertained friends in his flat from time to time. He had a house cleaner coming every morning to attend to the cleaning of the house. She also cooked the delicacies that Rajesh supplied to his customers. Slowly and gradually, with her cooking and her beauty, she won Rajesh’s heart and he started a physical relationship with her. Rajesh was a colorful character who had lived in many countries. He had established a relationship with women wherever he lived and he flaunted this fact whenever there was an opportunity. 

Rajesh was a defaulter in Saudi Arabia and he had run away from there to settle here in Mumbai. He had taken loans from private moneylenders there to do catering business, which had gone in a loss and he could not pay them back. Rajesh was also a fanatically religious person. Whenever there arose an argument on religion, he started giving a discourse on Christianity. At times, his discourses were so boring that the audience would ask him to shut up. However, he went on and on in his tirade. He was stubborn and rude at times. However, at heart he was a gem of a person.

Harry was a 44 year old civil engineer who had done his graduation in the field because his relatives were doing business in it. He had been brought up in a joint family atmosphere during childhood and therefore, he had not learnt to speak up for himself. His grandparents doted on him, provided him with a lot of love, and fulfilled all his needs. His father was a mere spectator during Harry’s childhood. He accepted the decisions about Harry’s future taken by his grandfather. However, after becoming a civil engineer, when Harry went to work with his relatives, he was exploited. 

He was paid a meager salary of Rs 1000 a month, even though he was a graduate engineer. Therefore, he took up a job in civil engineering. For sixteen years, he worked in civil engineering in different positions but he did not get the satisfaction he was looking for. In all his jobs his performance was found wanting and he was retrenched from everywhere. Tired and disillusioned, he started content writing. He wrote a post describing his experience with a company where he had worked as a civil engineer. He described in it, how the company had treated him badly.

The post garnered many eyeballs. What is more, after reading the content in the post, one of his engineering friends called him up and started sympathizing with him. This compelled Harry to start thinking about pursuing a career in writing as his work had evoked emotional reactions from his friends. He started by working for individuals who in turn took up work from companies. Slowly and gradually, he built up a great portfolio for himself. Although he got a lot of satisfaction from writing, he could not think of converting his writing profession into a full-time job. 

He had constant fights with his mother about this. His mother wanted him to get married again and therefore, she was forcing him to work in civil engineering. However, after spending time with his first wife, his mother and his sister, he was disillusioned with females. He had planned not to get married again, until and unless he fell in love. Harry was a timid, unassuming guy who had always wanted a decent family life because he was romantic by nature. He gave more value to people as opposed to money. His mother, on the other hand, was very materialistic in nature. She always prodded him to go for high-paying jobs so that he could get married soon.

The next morning, on 1st January 2017, when Harry and Rajesh got up, Rajesh offered to make tea for Harry. Harry agreed. However, Rajesh told him to get the tea powder, milk and sugar required to make tea, from a provision store below. Harry was angry once again. He was surprised that Rajesh did not keep these things in his house. Finally, Harry went down and got these things. Rajesh was a coffee person and therefore, he did not store these things in his house. Also, Rajesh always had coffee outside. Therefore, he never felt the need of stocking coffee, sugar and milk in his house.

After Harry got the things to make tea, both of them had coffee and tea respectively. Then Harry got up to leave. He wanted to reach home before his mother woke up in the morning. She generally woke up by 8 a m. Harry wanted to reach home before that. Rajesh also had to go to fetch his car. They both left Rajesh’s house. Rajesh escorted Harry to a bus stop from where he would get a bus to reach his house, while he went to search for a mechanic. He wanted to get his car back. He was actually wondering whether the car would still be there.

Suddenly, Rajesh thought of something and told Harry to accompany him to fetch the car. Initially, Harry declined but when Rajesh forced him to go with him, he relented. From his interactions with him, Rajesh had judged that Harry was a very timid individual who would always agree to what he wanted to do. Together, they went to fetch Rajesh’s car. On the way, again, they had an argument. Harry wanted to go to the location by train while Rajesh suggested that they take a bus. Finally, they took a bus. They reached the location at 1030 a m. The car was not there.

On inquiring around, Rajesh found that it had been towed away last night itself. Rajesh started getting worried. He feared that they would now have to shell out a fine. Rajesh bend down and started looking for any note left by the towing authority. After looking around for ten minutes, he finally found a small note. It was written in black ballpen. It contained the vehicle’s number and directions to where they were taking it. Both of them went to the place and fetched the car, after paying a fine. Of course, Harry shelled out money for the fine.

Rajesh was having a cash-flow problem. Therefore, he had asked Harry to accompany him. Harry was silently abusing Rajesh. First, he made him sleep in his kitchen. Then he made him buy things for his own tea and now, he had to pay for getting his car released. Harry was getting more and more irritated with each passing moment. He had started disliking Rajesh as a person. He already hated his fanatically religious nature. Now, he also started hating the fact that Rajesh did not budget his expenses. If Rajesh would budget his expenses, he would not have to ask Harry to pay for first the tea and then the car.

Rajesh then offered to give Harry a lift until his house. Harry agreed. On the way, Rajesh asked him for a loan. Harry initially hesitated but then he gave him Rs 2000 on the promise that Rajesh would return the same to Harry when he got his catering payment. This was another reason for Harry to start hating Rajesh. However, he gave Rajesh a loan because the latter had given him a lift until his house. Rajesh promised Harry that the amount would be returned by 15 January. His clients generally paid him on the 14th.

Then they both separated after Harry took a promise from Rajesh to meet once again on 15th for Rajesh to return the amount. Days passed. On the 12th, Harry called up Rajesh to confirm their meeting on the 15th. Rajesh did not pick up the phone. Harry got worried, whether Rajesh would return the amount. On 13th January, Rajesh called up. He told Harry that their meeting was confirmed. However, when they met on 15 January, there was no sign of the money. Rajesh had spent the payment received from his clients on the 14th. Now, he did not have anything.

On probing, Harry found that Rajesh had spent the amount on a commercial sex worker. Harry was angry again, but he did not say anything. He had given the loan to Rajesh because he had given Harry a lift until his house. However, now he started to have second thoughts on continuing his friendship with him. Harry, on that day had a big fight with Rajesh. They decided never to meet again. They decided, they would go their own ways and never see each other’s face. Harry had started thinking how to earn back the money he had given Rajesh.

They both separated on acrimonious terms. However, on 12 December of that year, Harry got a call from Rajesh, wishing him a Happy Birthday. Harry did accept the good wishes, but he did not talk too much to Rajesh. He also did not ask him to return his loan. Rajesh wanted Harry to meet him. However, Harry asked him over the phone, “Can chalk and cheese co-exist?”

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