Suresh is late today and I am so anxious.
Suresh kisses Shruti and Raman, only when they are asleep. Gentleness of his kiss and affection of his eyes belies the filthiness of his work. As soon as he is back, I give him fresh pair of clothes. He takes a good bath and then joins us for his only meal in the day. But even after bath, his body stinks. There are times when rashes break out on his skin and I am scared to even touch him.
In the mornings, he just drinks a cup of tea and leaves for his drudgery where he has to get into manhole to clean blocked passages. He tells me it’s filthy there. He confesses that there are bad gases there. He tells me that it is banned in other countries. He tells me that they don’t even provide proper masks or protective clothing for this. His eyes are full of tears when he tells me that he doesn’t want his kids to do it. He has told me how his father lost his life in one such grimy sewer.
Kids do not know about his work. He told me all this after our marriage.
But I should have told him to not to tell me all this. This scares me a lot. I would tell him as soon as he is back today that he shouldn’t do this anymore. I should convey him that he is a great father and a very loving husband. But only if get one chance to express him all this.
“Shruti, I’ll go and check for your father. You both just stay here. Today I am going to talk to your father. I have so much to tell him”
And suddenly there is jostle at the door. Suresh enters and in a cheerful mood announces “Yes, tell me. Tell me all you want Bindiya but first you all enjoy some sweets as I got an increment.”
I could breathe. My heart could pump. I was so relived. I could smile through my tears. I could see in front of me the man I loved. The responsible father and the courageous warrior who risks his life everyday to clean the filth of the world without any recognition.
With my misty eyes, I looked for his hand and clenched him.
“ Bindiya, don’t touch me , I am dirty. Let me go and take a good bath”
“You are the cleanest man in this world. Take your clothes and be back in a jiffy. “
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