City Vox Popili – A Life in Shezi’s Day, South Delhi
As part of The Delhi Walla series asking citizens to “write down everything you did in one day.” Send yours in 400 words max to firstname.lastname@example.org
[Photo by Mayank Austen Soofi]
[By S. Zeyaul Abrar Husain “Shezi”, a “pharma professional” in south Delhi.]
Since I’m passionate about poetry, I’ll start with lines by poet Jigar Moradabadi, who lies buried in my hometown Gonda, a stone’s throw from our ancestral house.
“Tūl-e-ġham-e-hayāt se ghabrā na ai ‘jigar’
aisī bhī koī shaam hai jis kī sahar na ho
(Jigar, don’t be frustrated by life’s prolonged sorrows,
There is always light after the darkness.)”
I get up a few minutes before 5:45am. After offering the fajr namaz, I help the wife in readying the kids for their school. I drop them off to the school van. I come back, and scroll through my WhatsApp and Facebook over chai and rusk.
9am. The wife leaves for her job—she teaches in a university. I start my day as a pharmaceutical company professional (mine is hybrid mode – Office plus WFH). While setting up the workstation, I go through the morning papers (one English, one Urdu). Soon I’m checking e-mails, answering phone calls, writing reports for medicinal products. At some point, I put out an Out of Office notice for the second-half of the day.
12:45pm. I pick up the daughter from the school van. We came back chitchatting, mostly me asking her what she did at the school, and if she finished her lunchbox—she is only four! I help her get rid of the day’s dirt, and serve her the dal-chawal prepared by our cook with the wife’s help.
The wife returns for her lunch, and leaves again for the university, taking our daughter who will be in her crèche for the rest of the day. Within moments, the son returns from the school. He is in 8th grade and is an artist—he recently submitted a poem for the school magazine. I quickly serve him lunch, finish the remaining office stuff, and turn off the laptop.
2:15pm. I’m out to shop for some fittings for the renovation of our house. The wife joins me. Hours pass in a jiffy, and it is time to pick up the daughter from her crèche. We cannot find an auto. We get frantic.
Later, discussing the house renovation, the wife worries we might overshoot our budget. It is a valid point. I calm her down, uttering my pet line, “Tension mat lo, sab ho jayega, InshaAllah.”
7:15pm. A friend wants to discuss an upcoming pharma conference over dinner at a nearby restaurant. I head out.
12:15am. Back home. The wife and son are still awake. I hum a Faiz Ahmad Faiz line:
“Tujh se bhī dil-fareb haiñ ġham rozgār ke
(Pains of daily grind are more deceitful than you).”