Hot Tea, Cold Night

I handed the cup of black tea to dai. He clapped his hands twice to get rid of the dust sticking in the deep crevasses of his palms. That did not stop his mud-covered hands from becoming any cleaner.

Dai, do you work just here or somewhere else too?” I asked out of curiosity. Dai used to visit the house thrice a week for around five hours in each visit. I had rented the decently priced apartment very recently, and dai’s job was to make sure that the garden thrived in its utmost capacity.

Kathmandu, being the wretched place that it is, could no way let anyone survive with fifteen hours of labor per week. Unless, you are an influencer or your granddad got a chunk of property from the King. Or, if you own a big company or are a top politician of the nation.

“No, I work as a watchman too,” he said, sipping his tea. “Aaaah,” came the approval from his inner throat. I was delighted at my tea-making prowess.

“Oh. Do you go there on days you don’t work here?” I asked him.

“I have to go there after my shift here to turn on the motor for the water. But I work at night, seven days a week,” he said.

I thought for a while. “So, when do you sleep?”

“When do I sleep?” he repeated my question. “Every twenty minutes, I have to press a button that buzzes to check whether I’m awake or not.” He rolled his eyes, perhaps out of anger.

The sun was already low in the sky at 3pm. A chilly breeze had started to blow. How much colder would the night be?

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