This short story by Sekhar Banerjee is beautiful introspection into the mind of someone who is undergoing some major upheaval in life.
A fly was making rounds for the last fifteen minutes. It came through the open window facing McLeod Street which spread like a labyrinth.
Uneven rows of Victorian buildings on McLeod Street towered on it like a long canopy of a very old tree about to fall. Everything seemed confused: the busy streets, masked men and women, the demanding vehicles, the caterpillar-trams, the buildings and the late morning that had lost its youth only too early.
After waking up at 8 am sharp and the mandatory stealing of the usual fifteen minutes of sleep, Publo lay still on his bed trying to stretch his fifteen minutes to eternity. The underground train to the Central sped past, rocking him and the McLeod Street exactly at 8.15. The trams headed for Esplanade and the Central rolled by flashing the overhead wires and chasing the crows away at every intersection. The smell of freshly made Kachauri and mixed curry was coming from the street below. He knew that the ‘ Bharat Sweets, Prop: N.C.Ghosh, since 1930 ’ below his apartment was full of masked customers eagerly waiting under a smiling picture of Bharat Mata and Netaji. A pre-independence certificate signed by Tagore, the poet, in 1939, hung on the opposite wall extolling the virtues of Bharat Sandesh and indigenous enterprises.