He was a newbie to our office.
He brought 5 slices of brown bread and Aloo Gobhi to office everyday. He would heat it in the microwave and gulp them down with two cups of coffee.
We all shared food amongst each other and found his eccentric behaviour funny. In every other matter he was normal.
He ate alone and didnt eat with us. Besides who would want to share the kind of meal he brought to office everyday. We would have been the losers, not him.
He was ‘normal’ in every other way.
Office is office and there will be gossip behind people’s back. Everyone used to comment at his back. Laugh at him or speak in an unkind way.
This continued for two years. Then he resigned one day.
It was his last day at the office. This time when he opned his tiffin box there were no bread slices. But biryani, kadai paneer and curd. This was completely unlike him.
It was this day or never. If we didnt ask him the question that was uppermost in our mind we would all die with the mystery unsolved.
‘Sir, if you dont mind, can I ask you a question?” We formed a semi-circle around him, with him at the centre.
“Yes?” He was not the least intimidated.
“Why did you just eat those 5 slices of bread and aloo gobhi everyday? For 2 years?”
He laughed. “You took a long time to ask the question. Well, every day we take the same route to office. Everyday we sleep at exactly the same time. Every day of our life is no different from the previous. We do nothing with our lives. When every aspect of our lives is the same, why should the food be different. I vowed I would eat the same stuff as long as I would do the same thing day after day…”
“And this change today ? What’s the reason?”
“For 7 years I was trying to complete a novel I was writing. Every other distraction was welcome, because it was damn tough to work in discipline. So I took the vow. That I had to publish my book before I would get rid of those 5 slices and aloo gobhi. Yesterday the novel got accepted. I had broken my routine. Did something with my life after all.”
He shared his meal with us that day. It was the tastiest lunch I ever had.
“Please do show us the copy of the novel when it appears in print,” we told him as we saw him off.
It was amazing, we had a writer amidst us and we never knew anything about him.
While driving back home, I saw his point of view.
The same boring road. The same routine.
Life was precious and ticking by.
I too began to think of my passion. Photography.
I would have to do something about it.
Next day, I too brought 5 slices of bread and aloo gobhi.
I was not alone. Three more colleagues had the same menu.
We didnt laugh when we saw the coincidence.