Medium Rare

A man sits quietly with a humbled expression on his face, thoroughly enjoying the meal prepared for him by his helper. He chews down on each bite relishing the intense flavor of the steak and the sauce. The helper is standing at the corner of the room for assistance. The man, in his late forties, a rich man and a reputed doctor in Noida, sits alone eating and following his daily routine. Alas, there is no family. No one to share his home except Babu, his helper.

INT. DINING ROOM:

The interiors of the house are tastefully done by one of his patient’s daughter, who happened to be an interior decorator.

In a baritone voice, evidently wrecked by smoking.

           MASTER

Babu, today you have outdone yourself.

           HELPER

Thank you janaab.

           MASTER

Except for a couple of pieces, it was absolutely delicious.

HELPER

Sorry for the poorly done pieces, but very little of the red wine infused jus was left.

MASTER

(In astonishment) What?! Is the pateela empty?

           HELPER

(Babu sighs) Yes, sadly I left the pot on for too long while making your soup the other day. It became a very thick paste, it looked like jelly. I used it to make the chutney for the vegetables yesterday.

           MASTER

You need to go and get some more stock. You know I hate waiting for meals. Go and pick some up, before I get back from work tomorrow.

           HELPER

Yes, I will, most definitely. I’m sorry sahab for the wastage. I did my best to utilize it.

           MASTER

I understand, but you have to be more careful. There are only a certain amount of fumes that the basement exhaust can handle. You know it becomes a little embarrassing to explain the smell to the guests, plus they immediately become a little skeptical and tend not to stay voluntarily for dessert.

(Babu nods in affirmation)

           MASTER 

And you know how I hate forcing people.

           HELPER

Ji janaab. Which one should I pick up? Slightly more tender?

           MASTER

(With authority, blurting instructions as he can best recollect)

Preferably not too aged. And no more drug abusers. The scalp tends to be very flaky and grainy.

And make sure you don’t overpay.

Darker would be nice. Preferably with no moles, slightly auburn hair would be pleasant.

Please, make sure they don’t use hair color or have streaks. I hate streaks even more than grey hair.

Large nipples, big eyes.

I am sick of stressing on these issues.

Sometimes I think you are brain dead or just visually impaired. Or maybe you just don’t like listening to a word I am saying…

MASTER (Contd.)

(With a sympathetic expression on his face, and a false sympathy in his voice, almost mockingly)

…I would hate to be in a position where I get so annoyed with you, that I give up and stop paying the tuition  fees, for those ‘English medium’ private schools that your 3 children back in Nepal are attending so gratefully.

           HELPER

(Listening with his face tilted, looking down at the ground)

Sir, it’s becoming more and more expensive day by day.

           MASTER

The schools?

           HELPER

I’m sure sahab, and in return for this noble gesture I pray for your good health each day.

But I was talking about the villagers.

They KNOW, almost all the men in the village have started hoarding because of this.

           MASTER

But…what is the point of hoarding?

It’s better when they are ripe and young. Do they think they’ll get more and more money, later along the years?

BEAT

           MASTER (Contd.)

(He laughs hysterically, seemingly fake, and says)

Fools…

           MASTER (Contd.)

(Now, with a cynical grin on his face as the residue from the laughter)

…Idiots. That’s why they’ll always live in villages. Don’t see a good opportunity even  when it walks up to their doorstep and pays a premium.

I would start buying from the city, but I like these people. I want them to prosper.

Plus, I hate lungs with too much pollution and kidneys & livers with too much alcohol content.

Even the bladders tend to be less juicy. And warts and high cholesterol.

You know those bastards are going to die on dialysis.

           MASTER (Contd.)

(He grunts) AAAAH. (Running his hand through his hair just above his right ear)

Just the thought sickens me. Can’t believe I used to live off them.

           HELPER

Haan ji. Hum kaafi door aa gaye hain. (Yes indeed, we have come quite far from those times)

           MASTER

I’ll leave Rs. 9600 in the top drawer on the  left side in my cupboard, no bargaining.

           HELPER

Theek hai ji.

           MASTER

Have you left anything for dessert?

           HELPER

(He shrugs) Sorry, sahab. But we do still have some leftover pineapple pastry. It’s the one that the madam from Ghaziabad brought.

MASTER

Yes, yes I remember. Was it ‘Sakshi’??? (Looking puzzled)

(Then, while caressing the lines on his  forehead; then in the same motion, running his hand through his head, collects the front strands of his hair between his fingers and pulls upwards).

I’m forgetting her name.

But, I remember her, she was the one I met through ‘Tinder’ (While, rubbing the meat sweats which are on the palm of his hand)

           HELPER

(Awaiting a response) Should I get the pastry?

           MASTER

A small slice will suffice. Eat some yourself and give the rest to the dog. I doubt it will last much longer in the fridge.

           HELPER

Okay. But Sahaab, you do know that frosting is bad for dogs, right?

           MASTER

(Extending his lip on one side to expose a faint smile)

Look at you. Pretending to be smart.

           HELPER

Sorry jannab.

           MASTER

(Smirks) Noooo…it’s good, I like that you speak your mind.

           HELPER

(Walking away) I’ll go and get the cake.

           MASTER

(Switches on the Air conditioner and lights a cigarette)

Babu, don’t forget to pick up the mosquito repellent. (Squatting a mosquito on the table with his right hand)

It seems like these blood sucking bastards are breeding in this house.

His cellphone rings, the caller I.D. reads the name of the hospital where he works

           VOICE ON THE PHONE

(Hurriedly with a hint of distress)

Dr. Nilendu, sir, we need you to come in immediately. We have three patients from an accident, possible DUI, who are being brought in, they are critical condition, Doctor.

It is an emergency call in.

           MASTER

Yes, I’m on my way. There in 10 minutes. Prep them for surgery.

Beep, phone disconnects.

           MASTER (Contd.)

(Firm and loud) Babu, I have to leave, lock the gate and the doors and go to sleep, I’ll be late. And remove the frosting and give the cake to the dog.

(Takes one last drag out of the cigarette, then stubs it; washes his hands with liquid soap; puts the house and car keys in his pocket and picks up the coat hanging on the back of his chair)

(Now, softer in an undertone, to himself, while wearing his coat)

Some drunk fools are dying, and I have to save their miserable lives.

FADE OUT

–12/05/2014

– Aman Bhagat

Aman is a lawyer turned aspiring actor-director. He’s currently at summer school at Tisch and will tell you all about it if you go out for drinks in either Bombay, Delhi or New York.

Submit your expression with a short bio + portrait + relevant contact information at mirrorworkss@gmail.com to have it featured on this site. Namaskara!

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