Nobody argued with him. He read three newspapers, watched the news twice a day—morning and night—and analysed every new legal, political and economic change in the world. Today, he braced himself for the challenge by adding one more newspaper and an extra hour of television news to his repertoire. After all, it was the day of the US Election results. Add to that PM Modi’s master stroke of invalidating the 500 and 1000 rupee notes—it was going to be a day filled with news.
His hands itched to go online. He wrote and rewrote in his head all the fabulous FB posts and Whatsapp messages that he could have created. It was futile. His wife had disconnected the Wifi connection a month back. She said they couldn’t afford it but she continued using 3G on her phone. He couldn’t take it anymore. He called out her bluff two days back. It did not perturb her. She had the audacity to tell him that she needed 3G for her work. He was working too, wasn’t he? He knew it was pointless to argue with her.
At 11:00 am sharp, he reached Andheri Court. Already, his colleagues had gathered around Raju’s tea stall, opposite the court. His heart jumped with joy and he huffed with pride as they silenced their animated discussion and welcomed him warmly.
“Shuklaji, you are just the person we were waiting for,” one of them said. “What a change overnight! How can Modiji do this? It will affect professionals badly.”
It was just the spark Shukla needed to spout out all the facts, figures and analysis that he had done for the last five hours. As he kept speaking, cars and bikes poured into the court and his colleagues scattered after the vehicles. The folks left him were replaced by ones that took a breather amidst the hectic day. The court was on, in full swing, inside; Shukla was on, in full swing, outside. As the evening hours crawled in, the court and the lawyers called it a day.
Shukla’s predictions about the future of America, the fall of black money and the plight of Indians in America had kept them all enthralled. Now, even they had to head home. Finally, only Raju remained; he had learnt to tune out Shukla’s droning but Shukla tried to draw him out.
“Raju, don’t worry about changing your currency. The banks will open tomorrow and things will get back to normal,” Shukla said.
“Shukla Sir, I am not worried about changing the currency. In fact, I will even accept a 500 rupee note from you. Your credit has already crossed 400 rupees,” he said.
Shukla dipped his hand into his empty pant pocket. It was another day spent in the service of his country; wasn’t enlightening the fellow citizens an important duty? Why wasn’t anyone appreciating that? Should everything be valued only by the money you make? Shukla went home with a heavy heart.