He opened up his diary kept in the drawer. And started flipping pages, trying to read hard, and find something in it.
Running his finger line by line through the diary, his eyes became as narrow as a slit used in Fraunhofer’s experiment. The pages had turned yellow and the binding had come loose. A blue plastic on the cover of the diary read ‘Allahabad Bank’ with the year ‘1989’ written below it. It had hundreds of names, numbers, addresses, accounts and a lot of other information. I believe, diaries are always like that, especially if they belong to a few decades in the past. Today the world is moving to a paper-free note-keeping and diaries are rare, but go back to those days and you would find almost everyone running around to get the latest diary at the beginning of a new calendar year. There used to be different types of diaries to keep daily notes, and different ones to keep phone numbers and addresses. While the notes diaries were by date and month, the address books would be by the alphabet. Even today you would find those in the stationery stores, but people have moved on to computers.
However, there was something special in that diary that would catch anybody’s eyes. Each page had a repetitive feel to it. There was a pattern. Each page started with neatly written names and numbers, written perhaps with a black ball point pen. As you would scroll down the page, the letters would get more slanting. At the very bottom of the page, the letters no longer resembled those on the top of the page. There was a distinct blur in each letter of the alphabet caused by shakiness of an unsteady hand. Loss of grip was caused by a loss of strength. While each letter on the top of the page was made by a average single stroke of the pen, each letter on the bottom of the page looked as if made by thousands of horizontal zigzag strokes. Many of them were written in pencil. The last few words on each page were almost illegible to anyone other than him.
One would almost think that his life was scribbled in that diary.
Suddenly, his face lit up as if he had found his lost treasure. His wrinkled face extended to bear a semi-full smile. “Six-three-five-zero-two-four-one”, he read out, and once again.
Picking up the receiver he dialled the six digits.
“This number does not exist, please check the number and dial again”, was the rude reply he got from the other end. The wrinkles on his face slowly went back to form the shape of the expression, the type when his back pains terribly. He kept the receiver back on the phone and slowly closed the diary. His eyes were still on the cover of the diary and his sight was fixed. His mind was certainly nowhere around. It was wandering somewhere else.
She came out from the kitchen with his dinner. He looked at the her. She was quick to take the diary from the top of the table and put it back in the drawer, she made some space to keep the plate. He turned his eyes back to the table. The diary he was staring at was replaced by a plate of food. There was a chapatti, some cooked vegetables and curry.
Please note: This story is part 1.4 in continuation of Melody of Life