Part - 25
“Let me do that”, he says taking the light bulb forcibly from her hands.
The light has blown a fuse that evening when Dr. Saktivel has dropped by at Padmaja's flat on his way back from a late meeting at the hospital where he is a consultant.
Padmaja drags a step ladder but Dr. Saktivel (“please call me Sakti, like everyone does”) insists that he is too tall for it and instead just raises himself on his tiptoes while trying to screw the bulb into the groove. The bulb slips out of his hands, landing on the floor into a thousand scatterings.
“Sorry, sorry, I'm much more trouble than help.”
Padmaja does her best to reassure him but he wouldn't be pacified. And in an attempt to redeem himself, he offers to fix the light bulb properly this time. He gingerly climbs on top of a dining chair (“Please listen, I don't need a step ladder. I'm too tall for it, really.”), holds its back to steady himself, stretches to his full height and inspects the job he has on hand. Padmaja passes him the light bulb from below which he now attempts to rotate into place.
“Can you turn the switch on?”
When the light glows, she can see his face glistening with satisfaction from a job well done. He lowers his tall frame gradually, bending his knees and feeling for the floor as steps down.
“How's that?”, he demands dusting his hands and pushing the chair back into place. The mobile phone rings. Seems his driver is back after filling up petrol in the car, he must leave now. Dr. Saktivel apologises again for the mess he has caused while Padmaja tells him to think nothing of it. He picks his way of the flat still littered with shards of broken glass bulb.
Padmaja brings out the broom and dustpan and begins sweeping out the metallic crumbs from the floor. With her guest now gone, her shoulders slump, her jaw relaxes, her fists unclench, her lungs expand as she begins to breathe.