We found out more about the place where Shrum was staying.
The cigarette parlour was always overcrowded. The smoke and the air around the house was thick and smelled nicotine all the time.
The tea cups lay strewn after the morning hours. They found a college for her sister and put her in it. She came down. The night and the road did not match well. She decided to take a morning shift given one day her cab broke in the middle of the road, half empty and half filled with denizens of the dark.
Many of them left except a guy and Shrum. She called me up and it was almost sixteen kilometres from where I stood in my balcony.
But, then as I decided to call a few nearby friends, she dashed with her seat and next day she found her computer had broken down. There were a group of men who had already spotted Shrum and I asked her to lock herself up in the cab, not to get down, whoever brought whatever means of transport.
She fought with the driver, sat in the cab, refused to get down adamantly. The group, the guy and the driver rectified the bus. Shrum told this guy, she would not get down this cab.
Meanwhile I contacted a few friends of mine, they were all busy. They had all been working, then one of the girls agreed to walk down the road fifteen minutes from her home. She strolled down but thank Goodness, the cab was slowly moving on its wheels. She spotted Shrum inside and called me back. Shrum informed me about her distance and finally she reached home. I went back to bed.
It was the year 2013.
On the very first few days of January she had a peculiar situation in the office to handle.
When anything is pointing towards you, targeted towards you, you would definitely understand. Ignoring such symbolic and affirmative gut voice is never safe. I would say recede when your gut speaks, when it says yes, it is an Yes.
The whole ground was burning, the office bosses were around Shrum more than usual. People were scared to talk to her. I remember one such incident where when she had gone over to ask a doubt to one of her senior colleagues who winked at her in previous years showing his affirmation for her, or slight flirtatious outburst almost looked over like a ghost in front of him. He did not utter a word, he left the seat asking her to just go back to hers. Shrum saw he went and spoke to Durjoy John and as he came back to his seat smilingly, Durjoy John walked behind him equally smiling.
He pinged her over a blipping communicator telling her the answer.
Mr. New Kumar would accompany two women who were equally cranky. One had lost her boyfriend recently, a colleague of theirs, friends in office even to Shrum, Suhas.
She was sad and the girl, Hopes was equally friendly to Shrum except on days when Shrum conducted literature trainings. Hopes would sit in the corner and make a face which expressed jealousy, competition, yet an inability to act against a friend. She was one of those girls who acted from her conscience often, and Shrum quite liked her. Now, we began tapping them too.
She would have communications wherein we understood this job was so important to her, a dentist by education. Shrum worked amidst a lot of dentists and doctors. Some of the doctors were beautifully kind and good to her, their education reflected on their faces and actions. Even when the floor had stopped believing the girl calling her everything dark and moist, dim for a human to be in this world. None of the dentists were good to her.
The loss of a man she mourned was a very simple looking colleague who had given her Abbé zam zam when a few years back he went for a Haj. She had asked him for the waters since her home didn’t have any left from the stock. Shrum’s home was typically secular with preferences of course. Zam zam water, Ganges water and all sorts of water were abundantly present in her home. Strange family which believed and acted so simply and believed so naively, naïveté ran in her blood only to become a soft target in the arena.