this is my attempt at creative writing for the surf excel matic "soak no more" contest.
Asoaka was the standard clerk. His non descript middle class life flitted in the endless routine of dombivli dadar 815 fast, BEST bus to worli passport office, and then a rather brisk walk to the office at paradise towers. And contrary to his name, asoaka would end up soaked by the time he was just starting his day.
Soaked in the sweat and grime of the traffic, Soaked in the angst and desperation of the overcrowded local, Soaked in the tears and misery of mumbai, Soaked in the desperate ratrace of getting his life from the slow track to the fast track.
And when the clock struck 5, his mind would go numb. Not from the endless mind boggling numbers and emails, the constant ringing of phones, or the incessant multitasking; these things didnt bother him. Rather, he loved the busy-ness of his bussiness. But the silent anticipation of the ordeal the next couple of hours would hold always got to him. Every single day, asoaka was slated for another gruesome bout of soaking up the stains and grime of the humid mumbai.
And it didnt end when he reached his demure one room kitchen flat. Rather, the ordeal intensified.
There he prepared himself to fight. The projected image of a well groomed, well adjusted, pleasant professional is an uphill task, especially so if you are the single middle class man whose entire wardrobe can fit a single large suitcase.
Everyday, as soon as he reached home, he would jump in the shower, soak his formal shirts and only then, allow himself to sit, watch the news and have tea. Then he would get back to the grind and get done with his laundry. After that, if at all he had any energy left, he'd watch some tv, grab dinner and go to bed.
In a perfect robotic world, this routine would sound fairly reliable. But that was rarely the case. The tiresome day and the mundane loneliness of the house almost always got to him. And soaked up in the drill of his life, Asoaka often dozed off into a slumber of exhaustion.
Eventually, as the tiredness wore off, his eyes would pop open in alarm. No, it didnt bother him that he had skipped dinner. It didnt matter that the tea had spilt over and burnt. What really bothered him was that his expensive branded shirts had been soaking for hours! Each shirt was carefully picked over countless others, a perfect combination of class and style, something his south mumbai clients and corporate colleagues would look at with approval.
And he couldn't just leave it to soak, could he? The fabric would age before its time and the whole load would stink! Be it wee hours of the night or early hours of the morning, he would have to get up and finish the laundry.
And there began the vicious cycle... of missing out a nights sleep, missing his fast train, hanging on to the BEST bus door by his life, and then running his way to work, stopping briefly only look up along his office buiilding from the footpath. Here in a minute, looking up he would gather his breath, mop the sweat off his brow and head inside. The receptionists dissapproving look towards his dishevelled attire, the colleagues' taunts about always running late, an unrewarding day, a depressing week, and a additional task to finish over the weekend usually followed. Asoaka was so wrapped up in dealing with life, he kept wondering WHERE it all went wrong.
And then, one fine friday, he crumbled. He called in sick. Not because he was sick. He was just too tired. He had no will to go on. He HAD to figure this out.
He looked at the man in the mirror. A single man, touching 30, with temporal baldness and the early hint of a paunch. The reflection bore resemblance to a stressed out man who has seen better days. His attire, though neatly ironed and clean, looked dull and worn. He brainstormed, analysed, and kept moving in circles, like a man lost in the desert.
Finally, he decided to give himself a break. He strolled down to the neighbourhood shoppe. he knew he desperately needed A CHANGE. Acting on a whim, he decided to change the brand of everything he was accustomed to. The deodarant, the bathing soap, the underwear, THE WASHING POWDER. He chuckled. Lonely people find ways of amusing themselves, after all.
But it was sunday already. it was time to get back on the horse. He let water run into the bucket and rounded up all the clothes that needed a wash. Sitting on the bath stool, he looked at the blue detergent box, and let out a soft whistle. NO SOAKING? he read all the technical mumbojumbo about hydrogen bonds and vibrations and smacked himself on the head. It didnt matter to him that stains had tails and water particles vibrated. For all he cared, they could invent detergent that worked without water! what counted was this thing worked. No Soaking!
Voila! laundry done in 15 minutes.
They say that When a butterfly flaps its wings.. it can cause a hurricane in another part of the world. The butterfly of asoakas life had finally began to flap.
The next day asoaka woke up fresh, didnt miss his train, got early into the bus, and strolled into his office. His shirt crisp, his hair groomed, and a smile on his face. His day went surprisingly well. When asoaka reached finally home, he couldnt believe his day. Neither could he believe the value of a whole free hour. An hour to relax. Or grab a nap and then add lunges and pushups and whatnot. Or chat with school friends. Or forward jokes to that cute receptionist at work. The value of the hour asoaka was to discover as life went on.
An Audi pulls over at the paradise towers. The doorman jumps at the door and holds it open. A man in an expensive tailor-made suit and greying hair steps out. He looks skyward, admiring the way this building seems like a bridge from the pavement to the sky; like a man-made staircase from the earth into the heavens. His first building. The bulding he practically ran to, when he was thirty.
He would still not mind running to it, asoaka thought. Only this time, not soaked anymore in the stains, the grime, and the misery.