I was new to kolkatta, then Calcutta. It was in the early nineties.
We were just married and lived in a tiny one bedroom kitchen plus half of the owner's living room. We lived here till we moved to another better place months later.

A dark, Hindi speaking man, who worked at hubby's office as gardener, came to clean our place the next morning. We were still in unpacking mode. I was so tired after the journey, I just dozed off in our bedroom. Hours later, I woke up to see our home sparkling clean. He had scrubbed, washed, done a neat job.

When we moved to the next accommodation, a bungalow with a garden, he was summoned again. He was at it from morning till evening. Trimming plants, mowing grass, sweeping piles of debris of dried, dead leaves. Then he washed our windows, cleaned the bathrooms, removed cobwebs, made our place as good as new.

He became our handy help, my favorite. I didn't have others. I would sometimes offer him lunch or tea with snacks and hubby paid him handsomely. He adored hubby and never refused to come even once.

It was world cup time. I was watching Indo-Pak cricket match on TV. He was busy cleaning the window. He watched me clap when runs were made, shout in dismay when silly run outs happened.
He continued doing his work without a slight pause. Finally he was done. He wiped himself clean. 'Akhri chai, Memsaab', he reminded me gently.

Smiling to myself, I nodded and rushed to make him one. He knew we were getting transferred to Delhi soon. We did small talk and then he was gone.

Delhi was so different. People so crazy and arrogant. I did my cleaning all by myself. I missed our Bihari cleaning man so very much.

Here in Mumbai, I still remember our Cal days. The bungalow with the garden and the cleaner man.
I haven't yet seen such a sincere worker, who did such a spotless job ever. A man I could be comfortable with though alone at home, watching TV or sleeping.

I wonder where he is now.
Wish he's done well for himself.
Hope his kids are educated, with good jobs.
May his tribe increase!

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