“Sunaina, are you ready?”, he called out, standing mid way through the hall and checking out in the direction of the kitchen.
“Grandpa, here I am at the entrance”, I replied in high tone, excitedly.
“Riding a horse already?”, laughed grandpa, as he turned to the garage.
In a sense, grandpa was right. I was excited and was in a great hurry. The reason was so!
I always look forward to the summer break with my grandparents, as I get to spend time leisurely, at the quaint town with its rustic slow pace of life. One of the things that I love is venturing out with grandpa whether it’s for a market visit or to Reforms Club where he plays Snooker or Bridge with his friends. Today I was to attend a live performance by one of his friend, Adijay, at club.
“Adijay is not the ordinary man you would come across. He is one in lakhs”, informed grandpa, while starting the scooter.
“Then why is he languishing here? He should have been in the town, minting money”, I wondered while joining him pillion.
“He is younger to me. May be younger by a decade. Friendship however doesn’t need the age to be in sync. It only knows the matching frequency”, said he, letting my question vanish in thin air.
Till now, I had learnt from Granny that Mr Adijay was a dork. He was a synonym with unpredictability. He was few years shy of retirement. How he continued in his job for so long was a big mystery according to her. He would turn up at Granny’s kitchen at odd hours of the day with only one demand, hot and tasty food! It then had to be followed by the cup of tea.
Saints and my granny have some strands of DNAs in common; so she has may of Adijay’s kind, who would visit with quirky demands. With an eternal broad smile on her face, she welcomes one and all, whether it meant invited or uninvited guests!
“Recently he had taken up liking for guitar. Learning the instrument on his own, today he is going to perform live at the club”, said Grandpa, turning back to me and gesturing me to alight. I was so lost in my thoughts that I barely noticed that we had arrived at the club. I then followed grandpa to the club’s auditorium.
Adjusting my sight to the dim light inside, I took a while. Settling in one of the chairs in the front row, I glanced up at the stage. I was startled. I spotted a huge, clumsy, voluptuous frame with unkempt hair and stubby face. He was busy tuning the strings of guitar and had a cigarette in his mouth. Suddenly he turned to left, moved his cigarette to the side of the jaw and gibbered something to the drummer.
‘He is none less than an ape’, a lightening thought flashed in my mind. I turned to grandpa who was busy chatting with one of the guests. A handful of guests were still settling and few were making themselves comfortable.
“Grandpa, Mr Adijay is a true descendant of apes”, I whispered sounding scandalous.
“He is very much a human who had made a monkey of self”, replied Grandpa in atone laced with philosophy. He held my hand and continued, “Lets enjoy the performance now and will have a word later”.
Mr Adijay did churn out some soulful melodies and a few hard-rock numbers as well, with ease. His versatility startled me. Though I was enjoying the performance, I was eagerly waiting for it to get over. An hour or so later, we immersed out of the auditorium after congratulating Mr Adijay for his performance. Soon we made tracks for house.
“Adijay, long back was a boy with a very high IQ. He excelled in academics as well as sports. He had a promising future. Had he not got into questionable company and bad habits, he would have been minting money in town as you thought. One step in the wrong direction means thousand steps to get back on track. He is still fumbling but the life waits for no one. It goes on. He is yet to find his path though there may be only the quarter of life left with him to figure out. Mark Twain wisely said that the two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. Second day doesnt dawn for many. Adijay belongs to there for his is a wasted life…may be”, sighed Grandpa and the bleak shades flashed across his face.
“But he is a gem of a person, Sunaina. Visit his house and you will find at least a dozen of stray dogs waiting for him at his door steps. They are his only kith and kin now. Whatever little he earns is mostly spent on gardening. All the vegetables he grows at the backyard are given away to the needy. He would be the first person to show up if you raise an alarm”, said grandpa and I could witness usual brightness returning to his face.
“And now if you are done, join me at the dining table and have a bite. Adijay must be around the corner, for he hadn’t been to us for almost a week now”, predicted granny with a chuckle.
And the doorbell rang!