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I Wish I Never Met (standard:non fiction, 798 words)
Author: JuggernautAdded: Oct 31 2010Views/Reads: 1258/0Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A biographical sketch
 



I Wish I Never Met 

By 

Subba Rao 

“I am taking a sabbatical during this summer if you are interested you
can stay in our house,” Dr. Dayal sounded very kind, at least that was 
what Juggernaut thought. 

“Sure, thank you,” “while looking for a new place to live, I can stay at
your house for the summer, you know I am looking for a new place since 
my flat mate vacated sometime ago and I couldn't afford the entire 
flat,” Juggernaut gave a long explanation to his professor and thesis 
supervisor Dr. Dayal.  Dr. Dayal, a man in perpetual somber mood, 
always thinking and a constant pain in the neck to his technical staff. 


Dr. Dayal's wife always wore Indian garb, “sari.” Just before they left,
she asked Juggernaut to visit their house so she could show him a few 
things; one of the chores was to water the lawn and flowerbeds in the 
front yard. She insisted that he turn off the lights early and not to 
use too much hot water to save on energy bill. “You could use whatever 
food in the fridge and cooking gas in the hundred pound gas cylinder 
located outside the kitchen.” she said giving the house keys to 
Juggernaut as if giving away her own house; after all, the house was a 
small bungalow provided by the University at a highly subsidized rent 
to the academic staff. 

On the first day of the stay, Juggernaut realized that the house was
sparsely furnished. They kept the child's bedroom open to use and 
locked the other two large bedrooms. The only food in the fridge was 
few overripe tomatoes, a half cabbage, and in the freezer section a 
lump of fat from goat or chicken meat wrapped in a plastic bag.  Within 
few days after moving in, the cylinder ran out of cooking gas.  
Apparently, the cylinder was almost empty before Juggernaut moved in. 
Juggernaut replaced the old one with one with full gas and stacked up 
the fridge with fresh vegetables, fruits and milk in advance to the 
arrival of Dayals from their vacation/sabbatical. 

On returning from sabbatical, Dr. Dayal called Juggernaut to his private
office immediately. When Juggernaut entered his office, Dr. Dayal 
jumped like a predator with his shoulders hunched forward. 

“You know my TV wasn't working,” Dr. Dayal said. 

“Perhaps your TV outdoor antenna may be out of synch, following the
hurricane we had when you weren't here.  I hardly watched TV you know,” 
said Juggernaut politely after a little thought. 

“By the way, what happened to the passion fruits on the vine in our
backyard? My wife counted the exact number of fruits before we left, 
now we have far less,” Dr. Dayal was holding his forehead with his hand 
as if it may explode anytime. 

“Dr. Dayal, please check with your neighbor I believe he collected some
fruits with my permission,” Juggernaut was now frightened.  Juggernaut 
had no clue what he was talking about. But then it occurred to him that 
after the hurricane, Dr. Dayal's neighbor, a visiting professor from 
Sweden collected some over-ripe fruits dropped on the ground with his 
permission. He didn't know that those fruits were passion fruits and so 
precious to fight for. Apparently, passion fruit is used in making 
refreshing fruit juice in Trinidad. 

“Oh, I see,” said Dr. Dayal as if he ran out of cross-examination
questions. “Well, I am expecting full rent from you for the six weeks 
you stayed at our house,” he said, as if closing the book on 
Juggernaut. “I will have to pay you in small installments, since I was 
under the impression that I was staying at your place for free,” 
Juggernaut was flabbergasted at first, since he did not expect to pay 
him any rent. Then, he gently reminded Dr.Dayal that it was a tradition 
commonly practiced on the campus to allow graduate students to stay 
free when the academic staff were out on sabbatical. 

“I will think about it,' said Dr.Dayal pulling his ear lobe with two
fingers as if waiting for some divine help. 

The next day, Dr. Dayal called juggernaut to apologize and said his TV
was working after some adjustments and his Swedish neighbor apparently 
relished the rotten passion fruits collected from the ground and as for 
rent, he asked Juggernaut to forget about it. 

One day while walking back to his apartment, Juggernaut was caught in
the rain. Driving in the same direction, Dr. Dayal slowed and opened 
his car door, Juggernaut walked fast to catch up, but then he drove off 
after allowing a black woman, an office worker to get in. “I wish I 
never met him,” thought Juggernaut about the mess he got into with 
Dayals while continue walking in pouring tropical rain. 


   


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