Laundryman Pic

THE LAUNDRYMAN ( FLASH FICTION )

RevathyLast Seen: Jan 19, 2024 @ 6:35am 6JanUTC
Revathy
@Revathy

7th January 2024 | 4 Views

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THE LAUNDRY MAN

 The sun blazed overhead, casting Surya into a river of sweat as he toiled with his iron box fuelled by burning coal. The scorching heat seemed relentless, amplifying the laborious nature of his work. Pressing laundry for survival in the unforgiving summer heat was a task he wished he could avoid. Alas, wishes are elusive, seldom manifesting into reality.

 

Behind him, a mountain of clothes beckoned, yearning to be rid of their creases through the skilled hands of a diligent worker. Surya, an uneducated man, inherited this occupation from his father, who, too, was a laundry man. His father’s sagacious counsel about avoiding greed and emphasizing the value of hard work resonated deeply with Surya. Throughout his life, he adhered scrupulously to these principles. As a bachelor, Surya found solace and purpose in his work. However, as he married and his family expanded with children, the once-rewarding labour began to feel less fulfilling. His meagre wages struggled to keep pace with the demands of his growing family, a reality he vehemently despised.

 While pressing, thoughts about the alternate life he could have led with the privilege of education occupied his mind. Wiping away the sticky perspiration on his forehead, he pulled out a crinkled trouser that belonged to a wealthy businessman. Envy briefly consumed him as he fantasized about swapping his fate with the affluent man. Guilt crept in, but he pushed the unsettling notion aside to continue his work.

 

However, fate had a surprise in store. As the iron glided down the trouser pockets, Surya discovered two five-hundred-rupee notes. His eyes twinkled at this unexpected windfall. A moment of conflict ensued as his conscience urged him to return the money. His father’s teachings echoed louder, and his heart raced. He paused, sitting under the slab of his shop, wrestling with the moral dilemma under the scorching sun.

“Why can’t I just let it go?” he muttered, torn between his conscience and the allure of an extra thousand bucks. Rationalizing to himself, he declared, “I’m not stealing; I just found the money.” Despite this justification, a lingering unease lingered in his thoughts.

Later that night, sleep eluded him as he grappled with the guilt. He pondered the moral disparity between his minor transgression and the unabashed theft committed by others without a hint of remorse. With the silent sunrise, he resolved to discuss his turmoil with someone, but fear of judgment held him back.

 Surya, emulating his father’s lecturing tone, had always emphasized frugality and the importance of virtuous ideals to his children. It was more a means of control than genuine guidance, as he feared they might be tempted to resort to dishonest means for financial gain.

 

As he headed to work the next day, burdened by guilt, he decided to confess. In an unexpected turn, the maid from the wealthy man’s household approached him, inquiring about the completion of her master’s clothes.

 “Yes, I did. And please, hand over this note to your master. He forgot it in his pocket,” Surya said, handing her the crumpled currency.

 The maid’s eyes widened with delight as she gratefully accepted the money, blissfully unaware of the internal struggle that had transpired within the laundry man. Surya, now relieved, felt as though a weight had been lifted from his heart.

 Unbeknownst to him, the maid discreetly pocketed the money, revealing a sly grin. The laundry man, in his moment of honesty, believed her to be as virtuous as himself or, perhaps, even more so, unaware that he had sinned only briefly by entertaining the idea of keeping money that wasn’t rightfully his.

 By Revathy

RevathyLast Seen: Jan 19, 2024 @ 6:35am 6JanUTC

Revathy

@Revathy

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