It was no longer crisp and glossy, nor was it pressed to absolute perfection. Its charcoal grey had washed away into a dull, tired version of itself, much like its owner. To an outsider, it was not much. But it was the only thing of value that Sazzad owned.
There it hung in its lost glory, in the middle of the cramped room with insufficient lighting, with layers of white paint scaling off the walls. The suit hung on its own, like a regal centerpiece. Sazzad could spend hours staring at it, and it had little to do with any of its beauty or elegance. It was mostly because he had few other tasks to keep him engaged these days.
He missed his carefree days, when going to a good university seemed like the only thing a guy could ask for. Assignments and finals, all that felt like curses back then, he would gladly trade them back for his idle days now. Even on his graduation day, he was so happy that he had finally finished his education and was out there to trample the world under his mighty feet. Only that it was him who had instead fallen under the burden of the world, and was being crushed on a regular basis.
He couldn't bear to face the rest of his family, those who blamed their illiteracy for their inability to provide an opulent life for their children, who thought that marrying off their daughter, Sazzad's only little sister would mean more for the rest of them, who believed it was the beginning of their good days.
The entire village marveled at the son of a common shopkeeper being at a good institution, they too had thought that once he'd make his parents proud. That he believed too, once.
Once – so long ago that it felt a few lifetimes away.
After his graduation, he had spent quite a fortune on getting the suit tailor-made, since first impressions always mattered, isn't that what they said? But like a lot of other things they said, it too proved futile. He had good grades. He could work hard. He was ambitious. He could do it.
On his first few interviews, he was so ecstatic, so full to the brim with life. Something must have gone wrong, he had assumed. Then he bought interview guides. Borrowed perfumes from his friends, got his shoes polished from the cobbler on the other side of the street.
He thought it was still a perusable aim.
When the truth finally hit him, it hit him hard. He was so overwhelmed at the sheer insolence of the world, this cruel conspiracy against him, at his powerlessness to change his state.
He had been to another interview for one last time, a few days ago; pressing and ironing his suit once again, unable to rein his hopes in.
He finally had it. He had a job.
The interview drawled on in its usual pace. Were his grades okay? Why didn't he bag a job by then? When he mentioned that he didn't have “connections”, they all nodded in consolation, followed by a sly grin shared by them. That wasn't a problem, they said. There was always another way.
And so he finally had a job, minus that few acres of land. He also had a new uniform.
Staring down at his khakis, he sighed in relief. At least, he could throw that damned suit away.
Upoma Aziz is a walking, talking, ticking time bomb, going off at versatile detonators. Poke her at www.fb.com/upoma.aziz