Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Landlady

A short story

I tried to gulp the hot tea down in a hurry and sputtered, spilling some over my shirt. Darn! I reached for the tissue box. Then, glancing at the time, I cursed my alarm clock for not sounding at the set time yet again. I knew I would be late for work and didn’t have the gall to face Mr. Yunas.

Mr. Yunas, who? My boss, of course. Yeah, I knew he would never pass the opportunity of giving me a long, boring lecture on punctuality and commitment …and, oh, ‘sense of responsibility’! No matter how hard I tried to avoid him, he always managed to find time to give me that disapproving look whenever I turned up late - which was not that infrequent, mind you. Then he would start droning in that dull monotone that made me want to punch his nose! Unfortunately, I couldn’t do that … why, I needed the job!

I took a deep breath to steady my nerves and shake off my gloomy thoughts. I can handle it, I told myself, and pulled out a burnt toast from the toaster. The light thump-thump of the measured steps of my landlady, as she carried out her morning rituals in the small room she occupied above my modest abode, was beginning to irritate me. I tried to ignore it and went on with my ritual of having a breakfast that would’ve shamed a faqir! Well, I’d never been one to confuse necessities with luxuries - burnt toast and scalding tea worked just fine for me!

Wiping the corner of my mouth with the back of my hand, I took another sip of what was left in the cup. My thoughts drifted to the old widow upstairs, Mrs. Viqar-un-nisa Rahimdad. She was quite a character. She liked to be called by her full name, but I just called her Auntie to soften her image and bring her to my level from the high pedestal she liked to occupy when dealing with tenants. Unfortunately for her, I was just not willing to be pushed around anymore...

This story is being this space!

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