It was a nippy December morning but one could see sweat beads trickling down Nathu’s face even from a distance. He was panting and looked scared as he carried a heavy looking carton in his arms.
Bindya was standing on the porch when Nathu reached home.
“Where were you? Hurry up before-“, Bindya was cut short as a loud voice boomed.
“Nathuuuu! Is the stuff ready?”
Nathu looked terrified. Bindya pulled him in from the front door and signalled him to go to the master’s room. Nathu climbed the staircase and stood before the huge door and carefully balancing the carton in one arm, he knocked.
“Come in”, the voice said.
Nathu entered the room. Master was sitting on the armchair with his eyes closed. Without opening his eyes, he signalled Nathu to keep the carton in front of him. Nathu did as directed. Master opened his eyes and stood up slowly. He opened the carton and emptied the contents on the table ie. an old partly rusted typewriter, few ink bottles and other stationary stuff. Master positioned the typewriter on the table and sat down on the chair. He pulled the chair closer to the study table and started setting up the typewriter with sheets and ink cartridge. After 15 minutes, he let out a delighted gasp, “Ahh! It’s ready!”
Nathu gave a meek smile but Master did not care to look at Nathu. After 20 minutes or so, Bindya came up with a tray in her hand. There was a huge bowl and a brush on the tray. Keeping the tray on the coffee table, Bindya said, “Master, Badi madam had asked me to give this to you. She also asked me to tell you that you should get done with this before she returns at night.” Still engrossed in his typewriter, he nodded without looking at the tray. He sealed a big envelope, got up and stretched. As he came near the coffee table and peeped in the bowl, he frowned.
“Well well. Neeta wants me to dye my hair!”, he said and laid emphasis on the word “dye”.
“And why would I do so? I am finally 50 and an old man now. All my hair is white. This is the day I had been waiting for. This is the year I’ve dreamt of throughout my youth, the year when I’ll turn old, old enough to write a book with things I want people to believe in! I have waited for my old age so that people can finally start taking all my adventure stories and advices seriously. I’ve wanted my old age and this white bob on my head. I’ve wanted and awaited the death of my youth. Probably the only death which was so awaited in the entire world!”
He gave a small laugh and picked up the envelope from the table.
“I am not going to dye my new life and my to-become-an-author dream black. Bindya takes back the tray. Nathu, please post this envelope. Take money from the chest downstairs. Off you go now, both of you!”
At last, the day had come. The death so awaited had happened and he had a new life to live now. Master stood before the window with his hands crossed as he dreamily looked outside, at his new world.