Bahadur has been with us for decades. No fuss, no nuances—he is no Jeeves, but our Man-Friday for sure.
Assisting the families of three brothers on three floors and managing no man’s lands, Bahadur is everyone’s favourite punching-bag. Not as stoic as Buddha, he takes it from all with equanimity—allowing just the right twitch to his left eyebrow.
He manages the garbage, grounds, and the grimaces. He drives us nuts, but doesn’t bolt; and produces the priceless screw n screwdriver just in time to overcome many a mini crises. Like feudals, we shout n clap “koi hai”, and Bahadur emerges from the shadows like the ghost who walks.
He has mastered the survival stratagems—he ducks, reflects, and deflects the blame-balls with aplomb. He has stood the tests of time, our idiosyncrasies, and bewildering behavior.
Time and trials have taught him when to take us for granted, and to play one against the other. His subterfuge is not subtle. Unsophisticated—unlike the city-born and bred—he is often caught. But haven’t his small sins and cunning little leeways—albeit harmless—resulted from our own selfishness?
He has lived more of his life with our family than his own. He has played with our infants, seen children become adults, and witnessed young grow old—while his own hair has thinned, and temples turned grey. If ever he had dreamt, he had merged them into ours long ago.
We mess with him when he is around, and miss him when he is not. Like the “unhappily married for long”, we wouldn’t leave each other…Till death do us part. Caught between “Goodbye” and “I love you”, we retire to a corner and hum the mutual dilemma:
“Can’t live with or without you” (U2);
”Tere bina zindagi se koi shikwa to nahin…Tere bina zindagi bhi lekin zindagi to nahin” (Aandhi)