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24 Hours by Rhituparna Chakraborty

24 Hours by Rhituparna Chakraborty

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  23 March 2019 11:01 AM GMT

Rhituparna Chakraborty

He received a phone call at around 9:00 a.m. It was from the courier guy. “Where should I deliver your parcel? There is no one at home,” said the courier guy. “Uh! Give it to our neighbour, apartment 201,” Sumit replied. The courier guy hung up.

At around, 9:30 a.m., he received one more call. “Sir, I had come to fix the water taps.” Sumit perplexed, replied, “So, do it”. The plumber replied, “But Sir, no one is home.” This had never happened before. Sumit was worried now. He said to the plumber, “Okay, come tomorrow”. He then called up Sonia. The phone rang, but she did not pick up. At around 10:00 a.m., Sumit’s phone rang again. It was from the grocery delivery guy. “Sir, where do I deliver the stuff?” Sumit was worried to hell. He did not know where Sonia was. He sent her a text message. However she did not reply. He told the grocery guy to deliver the grocery stuff at their neighbor’s home. At around 10:30 a.m., the car cleaning guy called up and said, “Sir, no one is at home. Where do I get the keys for your other car and your motor bike?” Sumit replied, “You don’t have to clean the vehicles today.” Sumit was disturbed to the core. At 11:00 a.m., the watchman of the society called. He had come with the receipt of the maintenance fee, but then no one was at home. At 11:30 a.m., the bathroom cleaning lady had come. But, she went back because no one was at home.

At 12:00 p.m., the school bus conductor called up Sumit to say that no one is at the bus stop to pick up Sohum, Sumit’s younger son. Sumit told the bus conductor to drop Sohum at their neighbour’s home. He immediately called up up his neighbors to inform that. At 2:00 p.m., the school bus conductor called again to say that no one is at the bus stop to pick up Sukriti, his daughter. Sumit, requested the driver to drop Sukriti at the neighbour’s place. The neighbours were kind enough to take care of Sohum and Sukriti. He could see that Sonia had read all the messages and had not replied. She was not even picking up the phone. Sumit tried to wind up his work and hurry home but too many things on his plate today. At 4:30 p.m., Sukriti and Sohum’s music teacher called Sumit and asked if the kids are coming to music class today? Sohum replied, “They won’t be coming today.” He picked up his car keys and rushed home. He first got down at his neighbor’s place, picked up his kids and then went home. The door was ajar.

Everything in the house was kept just the way he had seen when he had left for work in the morning. The sink was full of dirty dishes. Some of the squashed grapes, the children had eaten in the morning, were there on the floor with ants hovering over them, making the tiles of the house look black and sticky. The pillows on the sofa were hither thither. The beds were unmade. The dining table was cluttered with dishes and bowls on which he and his kids had eaten breakfast. Clothes were there in the bathroom. The door of the washing machine was open with unwashed clothes inside. He was scared, worried, and so were his children. His heart skipped a beat. He just hoped Sonia was fine. He called out, “Sonia”. Sonia yelled from the bedroom, “Yes Sweetheart.” He went near her. Dressed in fitted jeans, black top, danglers on her pretty ears and with her hair mahogany tinted with curls, Sonia looked gorgeous. With properly manicured hands and pedicured feet, she looked angelic.

Sumit could not recognize her. He said, “What’s this Sonia?” Sonia looked perplexed and replied, “What?” Sumit continued, “Where were you the whole day? Look at the house, look at the kids. How can you be so irresponsible.” Sonia looked at her pedicured fingers and said, “Oh come on Sumit, it’s you who always tell me, why don’t I take care of myself. I get 24 hours a day and there was nothing that I do the entire day. Hence, I decided to take care of myself, go to the salon and do nothing for the day.”

Sumit was famished. Usually, he comes to a spotlessly clean home after work, eats freshly cooked hot food in the spotlessly clean dining table, finds washed clean clothes in his cupboard and sits on his comfy sofa and watches TV, before sleeping on a clean, perfectly made bed. The only thing he finds unpolished was his wife Sonia. His kids were prim and proper, however his wife Sonia never wore anything nice, and with disheveled hair, she looked so crude. Hence he always used to complain that Sonia never took care of herself and she did not look beautiful at all. Well, today, he realised, how much time Sonia actually got in 24 hours. After today, Sonia never heard Sumit say that she was not beautiful and she never did anything.

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