Minutes from dusk

Startled by the noisy chorus of birds, he wakes up. His cup of tea, now cold, lies next to him on a three-legged stool. His sight is caught by the boisterous lot across the street. Quibbling over the spoils of what appears to have  been a rather eventful game of cricket, the Victors harangue the Vanquished. Boys with wooden stumps in their thin hands are engaged in an animated discussion of some moments of the game. Each account is accompanied by a cheer or a jeer.
His interest now wanes. Also, the boys have passed. Turning towards his cup of tea, he cannot help but notice his neighbour watering his columns of Petunia. A young girl, emerges and hands the man, what appears to be a water hose. It is returned in utter disdain. The girl must be the man’s daughter, he tells himself.
Removing the thin crust formed over his brew of tea, he takes a sip. It has become colder than he had anticipated. Wiping his little finger in the corner of the blue curtains, he sets the cup down, back on the table. The curtains have prints of birds and bell shaped flowers. Noticing the stains, he regrets his action, moments ago.
A distant whistling sound inconveniences his slouch, for a fleeting moment. The sound of a pressure cooker is not unknown to him. Slouching once again, he picks his teeth, remnants of lunch can cause discomfiture. Almost without any second thought, the curtain is brought into service again. No mental note is made this time.
He picks up his cup of tea with three of his fingers, index and middle fingers together, supported by the thumb on the other side and empties the cup in one go.
He gets up and switches on, the light bulb on his verandah. Another click of the switch, followed by another one. He has forgotten to change the fused light bulb yet again. The cup of tea still in his left hand, he walks into the room beyond the blue curtains with bell-shaped flowers and birds.
A distant whistling sound is heard.
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