Temperature dropped suddenly. Fog rushed in. All the buildings surrounding the office, despite all the fancy high voltage lights, disappeared in the haze. As I head home at midnight, with hazard lights of my car on, the RJ makes a special request, “All societies in Delhi NCR, please ask your security guards not to burn wood at night. Please provide them electrical heaters to stay warm. Let’s reduce pollution together.”
Having snoozed away multiple alarms, with great difficulty I get out from under the blankets to open the door for Rebika. She walks to the kitchen sink. “Didi aaj to geyser chala hi lena.” I have asked her to use warm water to do the dishes a few times in past weeks. Every time she says will do it in few days. Tap water has been cold for weeks now. Today it is freezing.
I light the gas chulha and keep water for tea.
‘Bhaya, wo 1001 wali aunty ka geyser ka switch jal gaya. Wo mere ko bole tune jala diya.”
“Koi na didi, nabbey saal ki umar mein koi kuch bhi bolta hai.”
She is quiet for few moments. Her hands are busy with the dishes. Isn’t this water cold? I feel the chills a few meters away.
‘Ye 2001 wali didi, Bengal wali. Wo mere ko boli agar bijli ka bil jyada aaya to salary se katoongi.”
I begin to understand her hesitancy of using warm water. There is another type of cold she is more afraid of.
I pour my cup of tea, head to my warm blanket and open the news app. It’s the fourth headline “Watch: Domestic help beaten by a women in Noida Housing Society.”
RJ rushes to his studio for an emergency broadcast, “Security guards, please hold on to your wood.”
#HWR #FDC10 #Prompt14