Black & White Diaries
A tree that doesn’t bend when a strong wind blows gets broken! Had I known the real meaning of that proverb, the lengthy fall from a white colour job holder to a ‘no collar job’ (read jobless) that left my bank account parched and most of my assets gone would have been needless.
Just a few months since the table turned leaving me unemployed, my mind flirted with the thought of ending my existence. This thought must have rubbed my ancestor the wrong way, for the words of my long gone old geezer ( my his soul rest in peace) came ringing into my ears like a church bell, “Son a real man should be like tealeaves, his strength showing when in hot water.” the voice put it.
I folded the sleeves of my surviving H&M shirt, sold off the remaining household items and unwillingly vacated the posh apartment like a timid soldier leaving the protective trench and heading to a bullet-flying battlefield.
With a 2-inch mattress that once belonged to the house help and a few buckets that the buyer kindly left for me, I headed to the country’s worst slum, the slums I only read about in the papers. My broke head told me this is where I could find a cheap abode to lay my pathetic self.
I managed to rent a one roomed hovel in a neighbourhood that can make even a street beggars skin crawl! Amazingly, the first night I slept like a pregnant mule, only awaken by the merciless laser-like light that filtered through holes in the roof, the bellows of ‘Madame Lucia’ my machine-gun mouthed land lady made it hard for me stay asleep .
I closed my eyes real- tight wishing it was just another nightmare, but the pangs of hunger confirmed my fears. Trying to wake up wasn’t the easiest task, as my back felt like it was welded on the razor-thin mattress. The vermin and roaches I shared the lodging with had started patrolling their territory.
What I saw when I peeped through the cracks in my door made me feel like someone sliced my heart out with a spoon. Checking my wrist for time, I remembered it was the first to go when I couldn’t raise rent money for the luxurious apartment I once occupied. My inner voice told me not to bother searching for a cell phone…. that was day one.