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The Wound
by Amit Gupta

Puruhoot is happy � today he will get his overtime payment. He thought of buying new shoes for himself. His shoes are not in good condition. He felt ashamed when his colleague said that he was miser. No one knows his problems. He wants to live a royal life but in private job it is not easy. When you will be thrown out you don't know. How much they pay every one knows. And then he has to survive with his wife and two children.

Now he will buy shoes for himself and also a cheap sari for Sudha, she is wearing an old sari for many years, which is torn from many sides like his life. He had paid the school fees, and also he bought the books. There is no more expenditure for this month. He is happy and thinking that he will be able to buy shoes and a sari for Sudha. She understands his problems.

It is the beginning of a new year. He feels like he should be happy but he is not. The days are short and the nights are long. What's a single earning man to do? He wanted to escape to somewhere warm, quiet and peaceful. But he has no money. He is sitting, dreaming about Sudha. He loves her more than words can ever say. Puruhoot knew Sudha from his college days when he was in MSC final year and Sudha was doing her graduation in Arts.

Puruhoot started dreaming about his past. He also remembers the day, when he went to her father and told him that he was in love with her. Sudha belonged to a rich family. Her parents knew that Sudha would live happily with him, so they allowed him to marry her. Sudha's father wanted that his son-in-law should work in his factory, but Puruhoot refused. He wanted to stand on his legs. He started to work in a chemical factory and in the evening, he started to give tuition to the medical students. 

It was a red-letter day when he had met Sudha. Puruhoot knew that many of the older boys had a crush on her. But she seemed blissfully unaware of this. Sudha was a swimmer with wide shoulders and beautifully toned arms and legs. 

You wouldn't say that she was the prettiest girl, but she was beautiful. When she spoke, her head tilted to the right, ponytail and ribbon resting on her shoulder. Her eyes never left yours. 

He was sitting in the library reading some book, when Sudha asked him when Akbar was born. First Puruhoot laughed, and then told her that he is a student of medical science. Sudha's face turned red and she roared with laughter. 

From that moment their love story begin. Puruhoot told her that she would never ask him when Akbar was born because history was not his subject. They started meeting daily in the library and shared their life experiences. One day, Sudha told him that she belongs to a rich family, Puruhoot turned sad. Sudha asked him why he is sad. Then Puruhoot told her that he loves her and he is from middle class family and then how can they get married? At that very moment Sudha consoled him that her parents are not beyond her. Time flew. Puruhoot started doing job in a local firm.

One late evening they met.

" When is your birthday Purohoot?" Sudha asked gently.
" Everyday." He slumped in the easy chair.
" What do you mean? " She winked at him.
" Everyday, from morning to night, I have to work like a machine. I feel hurt, when my boss abuses me even though I am doing my job properly. But the next morning I take a new birth for my never ending struggle." 

Sudha consoled him that one day his circumstances will change. It is then he felt the warmth of her hand squeezing his shoulder.

His attention broke when the phone rang. The peon told him that there is a call for him. After listening to the phone his face turned with a complex mixture of happiness and sorrow. He got a message from his mother who was living in the village. His sister's engagement was next week. Puruhoot didn't know whether to cry or feel happy, because he had to go to the village with his overtime payment.

Next week when he returned to office he was wearing slippers. When his boss saw a bandage on his foot he asked, 

" What happened to your foot?"
" Nothing sir, it's a little wound."

What could Puruhoot say? He was not able to say that his shoes are not in good condition to wear, and he had gone to the village with his overtime payment to attend his sister's engagement. He doesn't know how long he has to suffer from this wound.

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