Jackko

By Pagadala Vijay Kumar

General fiction

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378
18 mins

Jackko

Chap 1
.
Aug 2007
.
‘5’o clock in the morning,’ the song of ‘The Village people’s pre-set for morning alarm; it wakes Jackko every morning. He’s awake; stared the flag post. Colourful decoration’s visible through window facing the road. MLP restaurant’s decorated for 60th Independence Day flag hosting. He lay for a while, thinking of Indian freedom fighters; memorized national anthem to sing and make his staff sing. He doubts, with fast moving time, can one remember and sing correctly, as it’s not a rap or pop song. The city’s still drowsing, a batch of workers pedaling on bicycles chatting and gasping loud, sounded strange to the rag pickers at the cross roads of Sainikpuri. Few kids peddled their bicycles for morning studies. The early bird squeaks, flutters filled morning fresh air while, the rising sun spill’s orange at the East. The newspaper agents are sorting newspapers under lamp post for the local area distribution. He walked from the back door to check surrounding, and asked kids to clear off. Then, he dragged a hose to the tap and watered crotons, geraniums, lilies, roses and few verities of dwarf plants. It’s six am, and green uniforms started cleaning the city roads.

It takes half an hour to water the plants. Jackko finished gardening and went inside to inspection kitchen. Though, it’s not a part of his job for his managerial calibre, but maintains a strict discipline for a clean and healthy food business. Despite warning chefs they leave the food uncovered, that stales and attracts insects. He checked gas, cutlery, freezers, refrigerator, ovens, tandoor—cylindrical metal oven, sinks and floor for cockroaches. No creatures, he’s satisfied and walked to the entrance of MLP restaurant.

He asked security to lift shutters for morning sunlight. And saw Jaffer parking his bicycle; always punctual and anxious to report to duty. Despite, his eighteen kilometres cycling from old city, he’s never late. He’s the master of kitchen with a good hand and taste, which attracted customers of all ages. He served for forty years as chef in various restaurants and hotels in twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad. Jaffer saw the flag on the pole and gave a royal salute. Then, saw Jackko, wished him with a warm smile. There’s affection between them—an understanding for their personal matters. Sometimes, they discuss issues of finance and family. Jackko being ten years younger treats and respects him as an elder brother. Other two cooks are just good at kitchen, and no significant qualities to mention. The delivery boy, Patrick, ‘Pat’ for short is one of the three delivery boys, jovial and a tongue twister, changes his avatar as a movie star each day. These two people Jackko trusts for any job as they have good experience. He knows trick to deal with teens, after all his takeaway section’s profits are building up by these boys and girls. He’s often addressed as ‘Uncle Jack’ or ‘Jack uncle’ for his pleasing behaviour, simplicity and casual mix up with students. Sometimes, few students invite him to join in their celebration and which, becomes a hell’s task to excuse. His liberal percentage of discounts made his name and restaurant a landmark in locality of Sainikpuri.

The ‘Dine In’ is behind take away section; headed by a manager from a three star hotel. He’s in-charge of twelve tables with six waiters. Boss recommended him and his adamant behaviour’s disliked by the other staff. Jackko’s most familiar and better known by customers at take away. Dine In is a favourite place for college students and medicos. Youngsters enjoyed on the lawn than inside the restaurant. Jackko’s never angry at naughty kids, but corrects them with a pleasant gesture and smile. It annoys other staff and customers as well, but he apologise to intolerant customers with a smile.

It’s sharp eight am, every one gathered at the flag post, and chief guest’s none other than the eldest of staff, Jaffer. He’s surprised and said no, but Jackko ordered, sixty years old man’s nervous and nodded. He’s excited, as he never had a chance to unfurl the national flag. The knot’s tight and flag didn’t open, so new manager took advantage and unfurled. The shower of colour papers and petals of chrysanthemums and rose flew in the air. Jaffer gave a salute with tears in his eyes. Later, Jackko started national anthem and choir followed. Then, boys distributed snacks and soft drinks.
“Jackko Saheb,” Jackko turned and saw Jaffer with folded hands. “I am so happy sir, I owe you for this opportunity,” he said and continued in Urdu language.
“Sir aaj muje bohoth khushi huve, aap log muje ithna samman, ithna khathirdari kiya. Mai ye din zindhagi me khabi nahee bhool saktha Sir, nahee bhool saktha—Sir, today I am happy you all gave me such respect and hospitality. I can never forget this day in my life, can never forget.” Tears rolled down over his wrinkled white cheeks.
“Jaffer bhai, isme kya badi baath hai, badonko ader hum sabko ko karna seekna chahiye, my bhi tho wahi kiya. Chalo gale milo—brother Jaffer, its nothing, we all should respect elders, and I did the same. Come on give me a hug.” Jackko said.

Both shook hands, and hugged. After few minutes, everyone was busy with their respective jobs. Being Independence Day, restaurant prepared special dishes and Jackko selects music personally, a mix of old and latest tracks. He plays latest pop, rock for college folk and soft for Dine In. By ten am, everything’s ready at the kitchen, he gave menu to the cooks and returned to his room. He posted figures in accounts statement, in his laptop. Prepared a final statement, went to bank and deposited money. By the time, he returned to restaurant it’s twelve pm; scanned statement, bank receipt, and emailed to his woman boss at Bangalore. At six pm, a group of medico’s arrived, Jackko saw four cars parked, greeted and received them.
“Welcome sir, how many?”
“Fifteen,”
“Do you want me to arrange here or in Dine In,”
“In the Dine In, do we get discount in there?”
“Of course, why not, is it a fresher’s party?”
“Yes,”
“Sure, you deserve a discount.”
Jackko said, ushered them inside the Dine In. Then, he issued a note to manager to send the bill to him before presenting it to customers. By ten pm, medico’s party was over and bill was sent to Jackko. He checked the bill discounted; and personally presented it to students and they are glad. One tried to order few more drinks for discounted money, but friends convinced him and bill was paid.

He requested for a written feedback on the food quality and service. Three girls and four boys scribbled on note pads and chuckled. The rest of the evening passed with greetings, accommodating, discounting and good nights. The time’s half past eleven pm and there’s nothing left, and staff had to prepare a short meal before leaving. The last delivery boy dropped shutters down and went inside kitchen for dinner. Jackko closed cash register, locked and stuffed money in the money pouch and went into kitchen. Saw Jaffer and Pat, enquired, they said they had dinner. Jaffer showed a plate and said, “Sir, aap ko ithna hi bacha hai. Pandra mintomey kuch bana doonga aap ke leya—Sir, this is left for you. In fifteen minutes I’ll prepare for you.”
“Nahe bhai, yeh bus hai—no brother, this is enough.” Jackko thanked him; and asked Jaffer to hire an Auto rickshaw. He smiled, got on his bicycle and said good night. He knew the reason, why a sixty years old man stays fit, healthy and strong, despite of his tiresome job.

He went to cash counter, switched off lights except, the four dim lamps to scare away dark visitors. It started drizzling when he’s having his dinner; he quickly ran out and collected his dried clothes and dumped them on chair. Meanwhile, there’s a call, saw the caller, its form Bangalore and wondered as he never gets a call after midnight.
“Good evening madam.”
She enquired about flag hosting and customers.
“Everything’s well madam, I asked Jaffer to host the flag.” He’s glad by her appreciation and said,
“Thank you, madam.”
“Sure, I’ll transfer money anything else, madam?”
“Good night madam.”
He disconnected and finished his dinner. Forgot water bottle, went downstairs and heard voices. Yelled at the people taking shelter under portico to leave at once, one voice requested. He saw night watchman at the gate; took water bottle and returned to his room. Lit a cigarette and enjoyed the rain, and siren of the police petrol reminded him of time and next day’s schedule. He threw away burnt cigarette butt and went inside the room. Opened his personal and precious laptop presented by his employer and started entering figures, the day’s profit and loss statement. The last six-month’s figures proved his ability and proved him as an efficient restaurant manager. Accessed net banking and transferred money she asked; and wondered what crises made her to call at this hour and want him to send the money. As she never asked for money to transfer at this odd hour, it made him to think again. After confirmation noted the balance and logged off. Its quarter past one, and switched off the light to retire.

He stared ceiling and appreciated light colour of the room. Earlier, property owner’s younger son stayed in the room. After his marriage, whole scene of mother, daughter-in-law, father-in-law and son turned to a war front situation. They finally lost battle to his daughter-in-law’s accusation. The property owner had to sell property for settlement and moved to his native place with his spouse and son. A few months ago, Jackko’s boss offered a good price for vacant plot of five hundred square yards beside and the restaurant. But land owner declined the offer. Now, Jackko lives in a single bedroom with and attached bath on first floor. The entrance’s through the stairs from behind the cash counter. The room’s not visible from the road, and it gives him the feeling of his home. He misses his wife and children for a valid reason; and relaxes with a drink.

Later, land owner had to settle forty percent lesser than the market price. After the property was legally acquired by his boss, Jackko thought of a beautiful garden in front of the takeaway. He gave an idea to his boss; she agreed and sent few plants from Bangalore. He’s given additional responsibility to maintain a garden. As he loves gardening, it didn’t bother, and took additional job without any extra remuneration. Later, he hired a gardener for a thirty by fifty foot lawn; and it was ready in three month with an arch of bougainvillea at the entrance. The colour lamps, creeper plants at the entrance, gave an elegant look and a grand gateway. Later, new bakers are hired and a bakery section was introduced. Jackko planned and designed a layout for six tables outside on the lawn. Open air sit out was arranged with a TV, a sound system and sub dewed florescent lamps. Lawn and ample parking space attracted customers. In summer, most of the tables occupied from the afternoon until midnight. Polite and pleasing manner of the staff made customers satisfied and Jackko always warned his staff to behave well; arrogant and rudeness he never tolerated.

Few months incurred huge expenditure; and were managed by additional loans to run the restaurant. Yet, Jackko’s boss insisted, on not to compromise the quality and quantity. After all, in food business it’s a golden rule to never ignore the taste and courtesy. A concept adapted by Jackko attracted large customers, and sales increased in three months. New concept of getting feedback from the customers on their taste and choice was interesting. The original hand written messages are scanned and displayed as slide show next evening. Customers noticed the slideshows and were craze to see their comments and visited again. The slides even displayed discount given to customer and appreciation for their rating. Thus, Bakery delicacies too are more in demand by children and young folk. The innovative idea raised a few eyebrows of the businessmen in the city. His boss was impressed by his unique idea; and complimented him with a good pay hike. She visited only twice a year and it proved Jackko devotion towards his job. And this gave a good reason, that she trusts him, and appreciates his management. Now, Jackko’s accomplished and satisfied with present job.
Copyright © 2016 Pagadala Vijay Kumar
.
Jackko - Chap 2
.
Jackko was fortunate; he was asked and offered the present job. He has no money after his compulsory volunteer retirement from company six months ago. With a mere two lakhs and a useless citation for his twenty-five of service in the organisation couldn’t support or get him another job.

He’s a moody person, with a ‘No,’ at first, and takes a ton, later. While on job he hardly smiles; after office hours, a jovial person. His friends enjoy his humorous talk at the parties. Its two months after his retirement, his semi finished house consumed his retirement benefit; his bank balance’s nil and days proved hard even for cup of tea and a cigarette. His wife and children asked him to take up a job as he’s idle at home. The way they said pricked him, and by nature he’s a self-sympathiser. He didn’t blame them as, other husbands and fathers are still earning, which made them think their father should take up a job. They spoke with a view of social aspect and respect, not exactly a monetary need indeed. But need for their expenses too was another reason they couldn’t express thoughtfully.

His wife’s employed in a government office and her salary’s sufficient only for fifteen days of the month. Children study in one of best schools in the city and fifty percent of his wife’s annual income accounts to their fee. He never thought his life would churn this fast and leave him in midst of crises with no money. Unemployed feeling haunts him and points at his social status. He has no trade experience, skilled or a professional degree to apply for a good job. His previous employer considered him, because he mastered in known and unknown fields of the office administration. Being a quick learner, Jackko’s held responsible for various tasks at office. His relationship with other offices played an important role while, retaining him and his services till the end of his loss-making organisation. He’s forced, put to test with official matters and this made him a fast learner, despite age old managerial system.

He never forgets his manager; office that gave him opportunity; exposed to computer software, internet and many protocols of the electronic media. By virtue of which he’s a person with computing knowledge. Now, a capable employee and an independent one man show in the restaurant business. He’s new to the job with no prior knowledge; with a strange acquaintance of a young woman in her mid thirties challenged him with the job as a small restaurant manager. Often, remembers the day, how he’s offered the present job. Jackko was retired, with ample time to waste, so decided to help one of his deceased colleagues with his provident and insurance fund payouts. One day after the final payments were made over to his friend’s son, ‘Hari’. He thanked Jackko and wants to repay his favour, but Jackko got annoyed, ignored and asked,
“How are your mother and sister?”
“Fine sir, sister’s engaged when dad was alive, and now, the wedding date’s fixed. I’ll personally come with invitation, take you, ma’am and the children to Mumbai.” Hari said.
“We’ll attend the wedding ceremony but, don’t take pain to come to Hyderabad. Just post the invitation.”
“Is this the number or changed,” he asked showing Jackko’s number on his cell.
“Same number,” Jackko said.
“Good Bye sir,”
“Take care, and give my regards to your mother,”
“Sure sir, bye.”

He thanked again and wants to drop Jackko at his house, but he’s in no intention to go home early. So excused; and said he has some work at airport and Hari left. Jackko walked to the airport to watch passengers, flight landing and take offs. As a kid he was fascinated and wondered how aeroplanes fly in air and land. Often a group of four or five friends go through the tunnel, which, runs across below the runway on their bicycles. Once, security at the other end of tunnel chased them and they had to peddle all the back to main road. They didn’t get a chance to watch a single aeroplane, and that was last unfulfilled wish and worst experience. Later he and his friends never had an opportunity to visit again. Now, he’s grown up man, with a right of citizen’s liberty to visit any place in city and walked towards departures. Airport’s different now, with extended passenger waiting lounge and parking space is wider with broad roads. The entrance’s narrowed for security reason. Strict vigilance’s obvious by additional police and custom officers. The immigration and cargo departments are with the same old rusted rules making passenger wait longer. And passengers are spending more time to collect their luggage after the arrival.

He remembered the last cigarette and wants to smoke and saw a small park with flowering plants. He’s scared if he’s caught, might end up paying a huge fine for smoking in a public place. But badly in need of smoke, four hours passed from the last smoke. He took out a crippled cigarette, lit and nicotine charged his brain. While searching for a place to dispose burnt cigarette butt, he saw a woman’s wallet on the grass. As he’s in need of money felt excited—human tendency, and at once picked it, but scared to open. Watched for others, there’s none and searched wallet, and saw a few cards and first card showed name, address and a women’s face. Then heard someone addressing him, thought he’s caught, turned and saw a young woman. She’s in her in her thirties in a white salwar and kameez.
“Excuse me, hello,”
“Is this your wallet madam?” Jackko stammered.
“Yes, I might have dropped while attending a call over the cell.” He recognised her by the photo and returned her wallet.
“You can take this madam, but be careful with your belongings while, you speak over phone,”
“Thank you, sir.”
Her thanking reminded him of new recruit’s thanking him when he helped them with their office work. She took out a hundred note and gave him.
“Thanks, but I can’t take. It’s one’s responsibility to return a lost item to its right full owner.”
“It’s alright, please take it,” she insisted.
“Excuse me, I can’t take it, sorry.”

He turned and walked towards road. His gait showed his annoyance and anger. He didn’t like his rude behaviour. But he believes, rudeness sometimes works better than being humble or polite. Humble and politeness often forces one to oblige and accept. He’s still walking fast; saw his five minutes slow running wristwatch and it showed a few minutes past four pm. Later relaxed; and his stride turned into a stroll. A car passed and slowed down few feet before him. A window rolled down, and a fair hand waved at him. He recognised the woman, and surprised, thought what made her to stop her car.
“Do you work?” She asked him, a Silly question.
“I mean, are you employed?”
“I used to,” Jackko said and smiled. He never, and has no intention of using the word retired.
“So you’re free, can you take care of my new restaurant’s construction work at Sainikpuri?”She said.

“If interested, call me, I need an honest and hard working person.” She said, took out a visiting card and gave him. He took the card and said,
“Give me some time, I shall call you.”
She raised window glass and cab moved away. By the card, she’s a financial professional from Bangalore and has four office telephones and a fax. He studied it twice and put it in his pocket, again took out the card and hurls across footpath. It flew and landed on five feet fencing wall. It’s a joke, he thought and smiled, as there’s no way to get a job, the movie style. He’s longing for a cup of Irani chai—Iranian tea. Crossed the road and entered cafe. Checked his pocket and ordered a cup of tea, bought a cigarette and was waiting for his tea.

He remembered the incident at airport; he blamed himself for his rude behaviour. Fifteen minutes passed, cup’s empty, cigarette turned to ash, then he walked out of the cafe. Thought again, about job offer and he’s yet to convince himself. But his necessity proved him wrong and walked him across the road. Searched for the card he tossed. It’s still there, took it read again; put it in his shirt pocket and went to a bus shelter to catch a bus to paradise crossroads. But, he bargained some time with distance for a stroll, two kilometres to his house in Sindhi colony.

The time’s seven pm, children are in their rooms. His wife yelled from kitchen, and he said he shall be back after bath and walked to his room on first floor. He took bath, changed into pyjama and walked downstairs. They are watching a programme of song and dance competition. Jackko’s still thinking about the uncertain job, a site supervisor, cement, steel and dust. Working in sun; supervising workers with least salary and benefits, he’s not interested. After spending many years in his previous office as an expert in all jobs, his favourite furniture, cubicle, staff’s respect didn’t allow him not to accept the offer. Now he’s in dilemma. Ascertaining his age, none shall hire him, and could hardly get any 9 to 5 job. After staying away from the corporate stream for long time; no one would give him a better job than a site supervisor. It appeared as a good opportunity, and finally decided. Day-to-day needs of the household are on rise, and frequent mumbling of his wife and kids made him to settle for job. The rising prices, inflation and rate of interest on the loans forced him take up the job for survival.

There’s a call for dinner and finished his dinner in silence. Went out with his cigarette, puffed out smoke into the air, and imagined his life in it. The stars in the sky, now pointed him towards the job offer as a right choice, for his tea and cigarette expenditure of the day. It’s strange, he’s offered a job and blessed, but cursed to work in dirt and dust.

He’s finally decided for the job, stared at sky and thanked stars and galaxies for opportunity. He’s bestowed to deal soft with his life and with kind people. Meanwhile, his wife already occupied her space and snored loud; he took a pillow, and settled on the couch.
Copyright © 2016 Pagadala Vijay Kumar
.
Jackko - Chap 3
.
Rwuan and Jackko checked out separately from Abuja airport in Nigeria. Rwuan hired a car and picked Jackko from the arrivals. After five minutes, he lit his cigar and gave one to the driver. Driver lit and thanked him. Jackko observed them talk, laugh and sometime the discussion was like a question and answer. After few minutes, driver’s busy and carefully manoeuvred the rough uneven narrow road.

Rwuan saw Jackko’s silent, and said “The language I spoke is one of the oldest languages of this land. We have many languages, many states and each with significance and with an old dialect. After the colonisation, few languages are hardly spoken in some regions. These languages are ignored, and never taught to next present generation. Now, few people of particular regions again started speaking the ancient dialect and such, few became major languages of the regions. Did you notice the sign language’s still in use by us while explaining or interacting with the people, when we can’t speak their language.”
“Yes, I got you Rwuan, and what’s about the official languages of these states?” Jackko asked.
“Few states adopted major language written and spoken by the locals, and while few states followed their traditional language. Others states use English as their official language. Appreciate the change adopted by the educated people.”

The driver asked something and Rwuan nodded, and he took a short route, a country road. Rwuan threw the cigar and pulled up the window as dust blew inside the car. One hour of rough, bumpy and dusty road journey they reached a remote village. The village has few concrete houses. After few turns in the lanes, car stopped before a tiled house. It has a high compound wall; driver got out and knocked on the old carved wooden door. After two minutes a teenage girl opened the door and enquired. Rwuan introduced himself; she asked him to wait and closed the door.

After a short while, door opened by different young woman, she wished and welcomed him. He asked Jackko to follow him. The house has a large hall and around it are six rooms. One side in the hall was a sit out with few carved chairs and a table. Rwuan remembered the old table and chairs; his father and the village head were served their drinks over it. When he last saw the house it had only three rooms and a portico, and the table was placed in the middle. They went into a room and entered a second room. There’s an old woman in the bed with clean white clothes. Her weak body and pale face displayed her ill health. A young boy assisted her to sit; she adjusted and leaned back over the pillows. She saw Rwuan and said in Swahili language,
“Rwuan, my brother, you’re grown old.”
She spread her arms; he sat beside and hugged her. After, a while she freed him and wiped her tears. Rwuan introduced Jackko, he stood and said,
“Namaste.”
She said Namaste and they shook their hands. She asked Rwuan to sit beside her; he moved his chair closure to her. Rwuan’s told, she worked for a bread factory as a supervisor for few years and due to her ill health, she quit. Later, she taught children at a local school, a free education and took up the responsibility of their studies. Few acres of farming land were registered on her name after her parent’s demise. She leased the land to the known villager and received apart in money and a small yield of crop. She was in love with her neighbour, and planned to get married. But few days later, he’s shot dead by the police as he involved with a rebel group. Till now, she lived as a spinster and took care of her sisters and their children.
“Sister Liliuanhu, I missed you all these years.” Rwuan said, held her hands and kissed them.
“Even I missed you Rwuangishe, prayed for your safety. I thank God for taking care of you.”
“Even I wished for your good health, why didn’t call me when you are diagnosed. I know many good Doctors, now you come and stay with me.”
“Stay and with you, where? I know you have been running right from the age of fourteen, I feel sorry for you brother.” She interrupted him and he was silent. Later, she spoke of her two sisters, their families and their children staying with her in the house. A group of eight children, her nephews and nieces are staying with her and she’s taking care of their studies. A teenage girl offered them soft drinks. Meanwhile, Rwuan received a call, excused, and went out of the room. Jackko spoke to her and she spoke in English fluently. She told him about Rwuan’s parents, her father, and the accident. She praised Rwuan for his good nature, obedience and wept remembering her brother. She said both families were cursed and so it happened. Rwuan returned and spoke to her, took a cheque and gave her. She didn’t accept, he held her hands and pleaded. He couldn’t convince her, turned and saw Jackko. Now Jackko realised, why Rwuan wanted him to accompany.

Jackko smiled and said, “Sister Liliuanhu, it’s his love for your kindness, I know Rwuan’s a decent and good man. If he gives you, he’s sharing his love in the form of money. I can understand he told me about you and your love can’t be converted into money, yet it’s still a need for living. Please accept as a token of his gratitude and goodwill.”
She stared them, took the cheque, and surprised seeing the figure. She placed one hand on her right cheek and said,
“Rwuan, its huge amount brother, what should I do with the money?”
“You need it for you treatment, nothing’s worth in this world before your kindness, mercy and the promise.” She watched Rwuan as though she saw as a stranger and waved her hand. She moved closure to him, took his face and kissed him on the forehead and said, “So you knew of the promise, the oath of my uncle, Nuzveku?” He nodded. There was silence for a while. Later she wiped her tears and spoke with a choked voice, “He’s a good man, but sometimes the mind plays dreadful games and he lost his temper. I excused him, when my parents were dead, but when he shot your parents. I couldn’t bear, complained and he was arrested. I don’t know now where he lives, living or dead.” Tears rolled down on her sunken cheeks. Rwuan told about his meeting, but didn’t say about him and chasing game. He said he’s still thankful to Nuzveku for sparing him and respecting the oath. He told about his business tie-up with few gangs and mafia groups. She closed her eyes and prayed for him.

Later, they spoke of development of the village and she told him about a new and educated village chief. Later, a stranger walked in, wished Liliuanhu, Rwuan and Jackko. Rwuan’s not interested meeting with the new chief, as he didn’t trust the people regarding financial matters. She asked him to take a seat, Rwuan spoke with him and wrote three cheques and gave him. Similarly, chief too signed three personal cheques and gave Rwuan. Others didn’t understand why they exchanged their cheques. Then, Chief asked him to trust, and thanked Rwuan’s father for his help in difficult time. Liliuanhu asked Rwuan,
“I didn’t understand your business deal?”
“Simple, I pay him for construction of school building and donation in three instalments. And want him to deposit in the official account with different time intervals.” Rwuan said.
“Then, why his personal account cheques?”
“If I pay with a single cheque, I’ll be questioned by the tax authorities. As he works for a charitable trust and child welfare, he can organise campaigns and donation programmes, and manage the money. He should supervise, utilise fund for the purpose of school in this village.”
“Why should he give you his cheques in return?”
“He should, these cheques for a check to stop the misuse of fund.”
“Brother, I never deceive you, or deceived anybody for the money. I know hunger and family troubles.”
“You may not brother, but others might lure you for a fraud. In case you use my money, I’ll present your cheques and if you have the money in the bank I get back my money. If your account’s without fund and if there’s no development of school building then, you’ll be legally sued.”

He signed the papers and said he would update the development to her and left. Jackko’s impressed by Rwuan’s plan and appreciated him. Even Liliuanhu too praised and thanked him for help. She asked about Yovetla, he told her about his death; she said he and her uncle were childhood friends. Now, Rwuan knew why Yovetla use to work out a plan against the Nuzveku, exactly opposite, and thanked him in his heart.

After an hour, two teenage girls arranged the lunch on the table. One plate’s with a dish called Ugali, it’s beautifully presented with meat and sauce. Other plates are with Fufu, chicken gravy, and a country made drink. Rwuan poured the drinks and tossed. And took a small lump of porridge into his hand from the plate, rolled and made a small ball. He made a depression with his thumb in the middle, dipped in the sauce and tasted. He asked Jackko to follow the same procedure for both dishes. He tried and enjoyed the dish; later a boy served them Jollof rice.

Before leaving Rwuan gave her a new cell phone and asked her to speak to him in case of emergency. He told her he would call her in few days. Liliuanhu called the eldest girl, gave her cell and warned not to play with it. The girl took and placed it in the bedside drawer. Rwuan called children; they came and stood in a line. He took few notes, called one by one, and gave money as a gift. First, they didn’t accept, later Liliuanhu nodded and each took the money, kissed, and thanked him. Jackko wondered at their discipline and appreciated their respect. Rwuan called the driver and car arrived after ten minutes. He said goodbye, and she asked, “Brother Rwuan, I would like to see you once before I lay repose.”
“You won’t sister, not so early, after I complete few business negotiations, I’ll take you with me to my parent’s country. I have arranged for a regular medical check up with a local Doctor and don’t neglect your health.” Rwuan instructed her and she smiled. Then he kissed her goodbye and walked out of the house.

The villagers were watched them, Rwuan got into the car, he saw an aged man walking towards the car. He stepped out of the car and approached him. He spoke in low and shivering voice, and introduced himself as a cousin of Yovetla. Rwuan told him about his death, and said he took care of him till his end. The aged man spoke of Rwuan’s parents, village heads family and spoke of his past days. Someone asked him not to detain a person while he’s on a journey, he nodded and wished him goodbye. Rwuan took few notes, gave him, asked him to take care and got in the car.

The car was on the dusty road and the hot sun was piercing sharp through the window glass. Rwuan showed a burial ground, where his parents and the village head and his wife were buried. He spoke of the old times, and his school days. Jackko thought, Rwuan would pay his respect at the graveyard, but he didn’t, and later, he realised why they didn’t stop.

They reached a city; Rwuan met with a shop owner, spoke for five minutes and left. After another few minutes journey they reached the airport. Rwuan boarded the flight early. Meanwhile Jackko went shopping, bought a cotton dress for Kaanchi and a Kalimba—an African instrument played with thumb and it belonged to the family of Lamellaphone musical instruments of Africa. Later, he occupied a seat in the last row and flight took off to France.
Copyright © 2016 Pagadala Vijay Kumar



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