Short Story: Changing India

By: Rathin Bhattacharjee

Changing India
Changing India
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Every story brings some change in life of the people, so here know about the Changing India. On waking up at around, 6.35 in the morning, I switched on the light in the corridor outside. It flickered a little before going off. The second attempt yielded the same result. Nonplussed, I opened the door and the light came on its own.


It’s going to be a stressful day, I said to myself.

I was hardly done with my morning puja, when I saw my younger daughter, Anushka, trying to iron out her dress. She had college today. Then there was a spark and all the lights went off!

Know What Happen Next

My wife was cooking outside. After the incident last night, I was praying that she wouldn’t call Basant or anyone. I understand her better now. Staying all by herself with two daughters to take care of, she needed help from others from time to time like when the fuse went off or something like that happened.

I decided to have a look at one of the plugs on the switchboard outside. Unused to electrical work, I had a tough time getting the plug out of its socket. As it came out, I realized there was nothing wrong with the fuse. Even then to make sure, I went out. I made a round to find out that all the electrical stores were closed at the time.

Delicious Breakfast

After a superb breakfast consisting of paratha, a curry and a bowl of delicious payasam, I went out again and found a shop open. My country, India is definitely changing. Gone are the days when most of the shops used to open by 6 O’clock in the morning. People are richer now, possibly happier and lazier as a result.

Standing at the bus stop, Jaya told me of a shop in the market. Luckily for me, I found the shop open. I requested the man to have a look at the plug. He spent 5-10 minutes, cleaning the molten staff around the screws before handing it back to me.

“Taar ta dekhechhen?” (Did you check the wire?) I asked tentatively.

“Taar e kichhu hoi ni.” He replied. (Nothing is wrong with the wire.)

I came back home and put the plug in the socket. Nothing doing. The lights were still out. What to do now? I asked myself. As far I knew there were not more than five electrical stores in our locality. I remembered Swapanda then and headed to his shop at a corner near Padmapukur park.

This time his shop was open.

“Swapanda, meye istri korte gechhilo, light saab chole gechhe. Ektu dekhbe?” I asked him. ( Will you please come to find out why the lights are off?)

“Habena bhai, ektu apeksha korte habe.” (I can’t right now, Bro. Wait a while.) He answered, holding some garlands in his hands.

Something rang a bell and I remembered our last meeting. I had told my Sis at that time, in his presence, that Swapanda was charging exorbitant for the electrical appliances used to light up our house during The Pujas.

I know that I was not being distespectful towards him. I was just asking a sister not to be fooled into believing whatever others told him. I could have made Sis realise my point by bringing another electrician and asking him the rates for stuff like tube lights, ceiling snd stand fans and all, but I refrained myself.

I don’t know why I have this feeling that as long as The Pujas are being comducted with the money contributed by others, the one taking charge, has to be prepared to be accountable and responsible, if you know what I am trying to convey.

“Achchha, ami ektu ghure aschhi. Kauke na pele tomar kache abar asbo.” (Let me see if I can find any one else. If I don’t, I’ll come back to you.)  I told him without waiting. For reasons I don’t want to tell, I didn’t want to be his first customer for the day. The charges, right after the morning puja, wouldn’t have gone in my favour, I was quite sure of that.

I made a right turn, went to where Manjuda’s shop happened to be earlier, found it closed, and ended up near Manisha again. I thought of finding if Najim, another electrician, was there in his shop. He wasn’t but a young chap near Najim’s and outside his own shop was washing his face.

“Do you know any electrician here, bhai?” I asked him in Bengali.

He replied that he did. I informed him about my problem. He asked me to wait for a second, finished washing, and threw his tools in a bag before putting the shutters down.

While he was taking something out of the bag flung on our floor, he told me, en passant, that he preferred repairing fridges to doing electrical work. He fixed the problem within 10-15 minutes. Now, was the most critical part.

“Kato dite habe?” How much do I have to pay?

“Tinsho taka diye din. Kirakom live wire niye kaj korchhilam dekhechhen to?” (Give me three hundreds. You must have seen me working with the live wires.) He replied smartly.

“Thinsho taka?” THREE HUNDRED! I asked with an incredulous look on my face.

Tell me, dear reader, how I could have paid him ₹20-25 after that? My India is not a place for the poor any more. Here, these days even for coming to one’s house for rendering any sort of service, the minimal, nominal charges range from ₹150 and above!

It is one matter that I wanted to pay him ₹50 after lecturing him while showing him the door, on how I never cheated others and similarly, don’t like being cheated by others.

It is another matter altogether that he took a two hundred rupee note from me finally and returned ₹40 as that was all he had in his pocket, he chuckled.

By: Rathin Bhattacharjee

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