14 February

Miku’s father had been hanging around 2x-y’s house for almost a week now. I wonder how he manages his living. But then, his family has a chain of general stores, and a clamour of relatives to look after them. Miku’s father must be excused from his duties for the time being by the supportive clan.

But 2x-y, coming home from work every day, exhausted after a long haul from town to the most distant suburb by local train, was distressed by his ominous presence near the lamppost across her house.

Unable to take it any more, she went up to him yesterday and asked: “What do you want?”

She told me later that he kept quiet for a few minutes, at first. Then opened his mouth and let forth the most demeaning abuses in as loud a voice as he could manage. Of course, he’d been waiting for her to break the ice!

2x-y had no choice but to slink past the curious crowd of shopkeepers, street vendors, neighbors, and worst of all, landlady and scuttle into her room, where she could not hear his mad screeches.

When she called me later at night, her voice was hoarse, she must have been crying for a long time.

Of course, the landlady was not going to let go of a chance to pry. Early morning, at 6, she knocked on 2x-y’s door. 2x-y was packing her tiffin box, doing all the things she needed to do before rushing out to catch the 7.48 Virar-Churchgate local.

The landlady had many things to say. But apparently, with consideration for 2x-y’s busy schedule, she restrained herself to showing displeasure at last night’s events. She wanted 2x-y to know that:

1. They were a respectable family.
2. They had a standing amongst their neighbours and society.
3. They did not want any black mark on their respectability.

2x-y made suitable noises of apology and promised that no such event would reoccur within hearing distance of the landlady.

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