Thursday, September 04, 2008

Patience was not new to him. Over 20 years, the main part of his job profile was waiting, without losing his temper. He could do that, wait for hours and hours before he was called upon, and still not appear grouchy or dissatisfied. No one ever fired him, he quit, and he was in demand, he knew his stuff well. Never voiced his opinion, never spoke unless spoken to, never pried, and never ever gossiped. He was even impeccably clean, and had perfected conversational English, nothing fancy, just enough to know what they wanted him to do.But this time…he quelled his growing irritation, as a sharp knock on his window broke into his reverie. He glared as her assistant opened the door for her, and smiled as he bade her a nice evening. He waited, with long years of discipline, as she got in, smiled at him and told him to drive home. He didn’t smile back, just stared stolidly ahead, as if he could wish her away, and as she settled down, started the car.

As he drove down the road, his mind automatically went back to the day the guy in the suit hired him. He was happy with the pay, the employer seemed clean of shady dealings, and he had a decent family, all hunky dory, until he reported to work the next day. He was aghast at whose beck and call he had to wait. The employer’s wife. He didn’t have anything against driving women to their childrens' schools and shopping malls as per the employer’s requests. But to drive a woman to work?
He glanced in the mirror, and saw her staring out of the window. He hated her, hated that she made more money than he did, hated it that her employees treated her with respect. After all, she was a woman. His father, in his tipsy confiding moods, had always told him that women needed to be put in their place. They should cook, bear children, keep the house clean, and the husband happy. He had duly tamed his wife, not that she needed taming that is. His friends made fun of him, for being at the beck and call of a woman. He wondered about the culture of her parents, and the spinelessness of her husband, for letting her earn money. In his village, a woman working meant the family was disgraced. He had been employed by the rich of the city, and their women never earned, but this family…His mind drifted to the plan his friends had jokingly made. He wondered if he could one day just drive off with her, she slept through most of the journey anyways. Kidnap. Seemed like a heavy word, he prided in being loyal. But now, he was 45, he needed money, after he could no longer drive. He had loaned his savings to his son, and something told him he wasn’t going to see that money again. His shoulders straightened as he thought of how much her wimp of a husband would pay for her, what he would do with the money, maybe buy his mistress a gold bangle, and get his wife a saree. And save the rest for his old age. He wasn’t a criminal, he reasoned, but this woman deserved it, for being uncultured, and distasteful of her position in society, for shamelessly working with other men. Would treat her right, for all the jesting that he had to suffer, he'd even humiliate her...scornfully he smiled. Each day he was more convinced he would be taking what was rightfully his, that he’d do his bit towards men by showing her, her rightful place; and that the ransom would only be his payment for the service of mankind.She didn’t notice his shoulders slump with resignation, as the guard opened the gate for them, and he pulled into the driveway.
She didn’t know that he was depressed that he had spent one more day with violent thoughts snapping at his heels, begging for fruition. But then they had checked his records, he was very trustworthy, her husband had promised her.

Note: blended ingredients: True story + my musings on the power of thought + musings on crime against women.
In the true story the driver wasnt morally challenged, just sexist.