It was 7 p.m.
As he drove home on Dubai’s busy commuter streets, his mind wandered.
He knew this was going to be another long drive. If Neela were sitting in the passenger seat, it would have been a long, chatty drive — with her doing all the talking.
The air conditioner was roaring with full strength but there was no respite from the scorching heat.
“I need to replace the AC coolant,” he made a mental note to himself. This was his 20th note this month about the coolant.
Dad was so happy when he bought the car. It was the most expensive car in the entire Gupta family. Neela and Dad used to argue so much whenever the senior Gupta visited.
It was the most entertainment he would get those days.
The two of them would argue over anything … politics, poverty, education, the U.S. trying to spread the concept of democracy. There was no end to the list.
What always surprised him was the ease and comfort she had with his Mom even though she could never work with her own mom in the kitchen.
Someone was getting impatient behind him.
He moved forward a few hundred feet and then stopped behind a large SUV.
“Why do people buy an SUV for commuting?” he thought.
He started to rationalize why and in the process blamed the U.S. for most of the oil problems in the world.
China was not far behind with its exponentially increasing oil consumption. “But the Chinese are organized,” he reasoned.
Maybe communism is the answer to an ideal ruler. You know the one that Socrates was talking about? But where is the freedom?
If only he had the freedom to express his displeasure with his employer’s unnecessary roughness. Why is he tolerating this mistreatment? Money.
Isn’t that the key to all evil? He thought that the human species was inherently evil. No other known species kills or procreates for fun.
She always said power makes people evil. Neelakshi, as her friends knew her, insisted that basic human nature was good.
His mind always went back, never too far from where she was.
He finally managed to get on the ramp. It took him much longer today he thought, or maybe it was just like every other day. He didn’t know. He couldn’t. He was too busy to notice.
Constantly traveling down memory lane, he hardly noticed anything.
The expressway commute was uneventful and he reached home a little after 8 p.m.
Aanjay must have already left. She had been taking care of him for the last three years now.
Neela’s friend Raghav had introduced her.
She was taken in by the Indonesian consulate after she ran away from her abusive owners. They had bought her from the travel agent whom she had paid 50,000 Rupees to get a visa for Dubai.
Food was on the stove, still warm.
He stood under the cold shower, wishing things would have gone differently … knowing fully well he had no control over things he wanted to change.
He started drifting away, the cold stream of water washing away his pain.
The cold stream mixed with salt from his eyes.
He loved her.
He missed her.
This has been another entry in the Pleasantly Disturbed Series started by Duane Scott — except this time it hasn’t been penned by me.
He’s a talented fiction writer and poet who hides behind the garb of an engineer.
A sensitive, honest man I am lucky to call my life partner.
You can see why we’re together … his mind travels down multiple roadways just like mine … picking up bits and pieces of this and that and stringing them all in a way that makes sense. We find commonality in our disturbed wanderings.
I hope you enjoyed this piece of fictional mind-wandering and will check out other pleasantly disturbed folks’ musings.