* Dining Table *
It’s lunchtime. I know it when I see the people walking out of the building, when I hear the sound of their footsteps and when I hear the persistent beeps of the ID Card Swipe machines.
I go to my spot. I take my mop and bucket along. My job is to make the floors look squeaky clean.
I go to the place where I have my lunch everyday. It’s under the staircase; pretty secluded to give me some privacy and save me and my lunchbox from the sympathetic glances of the people with ID cards who work in this place.
I sit on the floor and untie the towel tied around my tiffinbox. I look at the lunch that my wife has packed for me. Today, I’ve got four chapattis and dal. I eat my lunch in solitude and doze off for an hour under the staircase.
I wake up, mop some more floors and walk back to my home at 10pm. My son opens the door for me. I smile at him. He runs ahead of me, singing, “Pa’s here, Pa’s here.”
I won’t deny that I feel special. At the building where I mop the floors, I am just a shadow whom everyone deliberately ignores. At my home, I am no longer a shadow; I am a crucial member of the family, I am special.
I walk in and see that my son has assembled some bricks and laid one of my wife’s saree neatly over them.
“What is that for?” I ask my wife.
“Today, he had gone with me to the houses where I work. He saw dining tables in each one of them. He came home and made this for us,” my wife says with a smile.
My wife works as a maid in the locality closer to my home. My son goes with her sometimes.
My wife serves dinner for us. We sit crosslegged at the dining table made of bricks. I pull my son on my lap and feed him from my plate.
“You know, this table is way better than the one I eat at during my work,” I tell him.