When I stepped into the house, I saw boxes. Cardboard boxes of God knows what. I gingerly went in searching for my employer Mr. Sheri.
I caught him making a cup of coffee.
‘Good morning Sir’, I said.
HE nodded. I remained silent. Mr. Sheri was quite temperamental and it was better not to mess with him before he had his first cuppa.
Mr.Sheri belongs to an erstwhile family of landlords. Now there are only a few acres of farming land left but yes there are other assets. Mr. Sheri though moody is a philanthropic and not quite interested in other work. And there is where my work starts. To see that the money goes to the right place and see that it is utilised well. Well Mr. Sheri does not fancy women much but he believes that women can be trusted more than men. Who am I to judge his beliefs. I enjoy the privileges of my work.
Privileges you may ask. But you see in our town Mr. Sheri is highly respected and so as his Secretary I too manage to get some limelight.
Other than that I see to it that I don’t have much to do with the BOSS.
‘You wanted to ask something?’, it was HE. Lost in my thoughts I had not noticed that he had finished his coffee.
‘AAA…the boxes outside, what are those.’, I asked.
‘My good aunt, my mother’s sister has left her books for me. God knows why. I don’t read much but you know that’.
Of course I knew that; even the morning newspaper I had to read aloud to him. He hated reading that much. There was a rumour that he had not even finished his High school. But then what is the need to study when you have an inheritance waiting for you.
‘What am I supposed to do with the books?’ I asked.
‘Anything you feel like, he said and left.
I opened the boxes, all ten of them. Encyclopedia, atlases, novels, all stared back at me. And soon I was lost in the world of books.
‘Janaki, JANAKI’, screamed Mr Sheri, ‘Can we begin today’s work’.
I jumped and ran.
The successive days were pure nectar. I would grab one or the other book and read whenever I could. and take one home too.
Some days later we had been to the orphanage which Mr. Sheri supported. I met some really bright students who were supposed to take up their Matriculation. I enjoyed talking to them, they confided their dreams and aspirations. They mentioned how they were afraid about their future because they were not so fluent in their English and once they finished their matric and went to the city, they will be ridiculed for their language.
An idea struck me… if only Mr. Sheri agreed.
It is two years since the idea stuck the orphanage now boasts of a library. The boxes of books that Mr. Sheri inherited have now been transferred there. Evenings I teach them spoken English and am glad to see that the love for books have been kindled in them too. And yes there have been periodic additions too made by us. Yes, us. I am now Mrs. Sheri. Somewhere in the setting up of the library and the teaching of kids we discovered that we did love each other. So while I oversee the library and the orphanage, there is a secretary appointed for everything else. Yes a female middle-aged secretary with a husband and kids. Though I trust my husband, can I take chances….no, na…