After ten long months Mr. Ghosh entered his house in Mumbai and this time he was alone.
Every three months (since last five years) Mr. and Mrs. Ghosh would come from Bangkok to spend two weeks in their house in Mumbai. This was their holiday home, away from their own family and friends, where they would come regularly to spend a quality time with each other. In Mumbai, Mrs. Ghosh never kept any maid nor rented a car. Such luxuries were reserved for enjoying in their home in Bangkok with their family. In Mumbai appointing a maid for just fifteen days was pointless. For fifteen days, they would pass their time, eating in restaurants, watching Bollywood films, visiting relatives and shop for Indian clothes to take back home for their children. They spend most of their free time at home, helping each other in cleaning and cooking, and in nagging each other.
“Did you dust the furniture?”
“Did you change the bed sheet?”
“Why can you throw away these useless things?”
“There is too much clutter here.”
“Remove the cobwebs”
“Bath room tap is leaking”
‘Fridge is stinking”
“There is too much work, I am not cooking today”
Both of them did their bit of work and at the end of the day, they compared notes and boasted about their own neatness at work.
At the end of fifteen day, the house looked clean and shiny and they would return to Bangkok to stay there for next three months.
But this time, after ten long months Mr. Ghosh enters his house in Mumbai and he has come alone.
He spends the first few hours sitting by the window, staring at the traffic. Slowly he gets up, removes the keys from his pocket to unpack his suitcase. He puts away his clothes in his wardrobe and then opens his wife’s cupboard.
“What should I do with all these sarees? I need to give it all away in the charity” he mumbles as he removes her sarees and her other clothes from the wardrobe, and spreads them on the bed. He opens the safe and checks the jewelry and the bank accounts. A photo album slipped out from the heap of clothes and falls on the floor beside his feet. He sits, squatting down on the floor and stares at her pictures.
Mrs. Ghosh is laughing
She is standing in front of Taj Mahal in Agra
She is adjusting her head scarf
She has no hair and is looking very thin and feeble
Tears blind his vision as he turns each page. He keeps the album on the bed and walks to the kitchen.
“Fridge is stinking”
“I need some help in sweeping and swabbing of the floors”
“There are too many cob webs on the wall”
He picks up the intercom hand phone to speak to the security guard in the lobby down stairs
“Listen, I need a maid for next fifteen days.” He says into the phone and then sits down by the window to stare at the noisy street below.