spoon

Dusk

47

Category: ,

He smiled.

It was a smile of victory, of contentment. The most genuine smiles are often priceless, as they are not easy to come by. Sometimes it takes years of hard work, sometimes a happy memory. In Prawal’s case, it was the former.

Excellence is achieved not only through hard work, but by being passionate about something; by being crazy about something you love the most. Prawal had somehow known this since his childhood.

When he was just a five year old little brat, all he wanted to do all the time was play cricket. One evening when he came back home after a game, his mother, like everyday, had immediately dragged him to the bathroom. She had then asked him casually while giving him a bath, “What do you want to do when you grow up, my dear?” And Prawal, who was wearing nothing but a smile, had replied in the same casual manner, “I want to play Cricket.” His mother had simply laughed, and he had kept mum.

Now, fifteen years later, he was still smiling, holding the cell phone in his left hand. It was just seven-thirty in the morning, and he had woken up to the most exciting news of his life. He had been selected for the National Cricket team. Only his mother wasn’t alive to enjoy his success.

He was enjoying the moment. Though the call had gotten over, he was still holding the phone and smiling. Some of his friends noticed him and whistled. It was February 14th. Love was all around, and his friends’ thoughts were that of a conventional mind.

He finally kept his cell phone back in his pocket and walked back into his hostel room. He needed to be alone. The first few moments of one’s greatest happiness should be spent with oneself, and that’s exactly what he was doing. It was Valentine’s Day, and he was in love – with himself.

Falling in love with oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.

***

He loved himself very much, and that’s the reason he could give so much love to her – to Ananya.

Ananya!

He had to tell her the news. She would be so happy for him, he knew. She had dreamed of it along with him. Except for her, there wasn’t anybody in his life. She was one, she was all.

He got dressed up, and just when he was about to go, his cell phone rang. It was an unknown number.

***

“Tell me one thing. If you have to choose between me and cricket, what is it going to be?”

“You know, people love a lot of things in their lives. For me, there are only two things I love with all of my heart: You and Cricket. But if I have to choose between you and my game, I shall have to choose the latter.”

At that particular juncture her respect for him grew, and she kissed him on the cheek.

“Would you have kissed me on the lips if I’d said that I’d choose you over my game?” Prawal asked, grinning from ear to ear.

“No, you idiot. I’d have slapped you hard across your face if you’d said that. If you can’t love yourself, if you don’t have any respect for your dream, how can you ever love me?”

***

“Hello,” Prawal said into the phone.

“Prawal?”

“Yes, this is he.”

“I’m Dr. Pradeep from Ashraya hospital. I was rather hoping you might be able to come to hospital now?”

“Oh, my test results have come, haven’t they? I’d almost forgotten about today’s meeting with you. Sorry. But sir, I was on my way to somewhere else….”

“Just a matter of few minutes, my boy. Anyhow hospital is not too far, is it?”

“Yes, all right. I’ll be there in a while.”

***

The rays of the morning sun were reflecting on the lake with iridescent brilliance. For some people that were strolling along the bank of the lake, the day had just started. But for Prawal, it was over. There would be no more mornings for him. The doctor had said two more months; two more months filled with darkness. Two months, only if he got admitted and started getting the treatment.

A week ago when he had complained of severe abdominal pain, constipation, nausea, and some blood in the vomit, the doctor had subjected him to various tests.

“I was just over-reacting. I’d eaten like a glutton the previous day. Maybe it’s because of tha…..” he had begun to say the moment he saw the doctor in the morning.

“Stomach Cancer,” the doctor had cut him off. He knew no tricks could make Prawal feel any better.

He had listened to the doctor in silence for the next half hour, without reacting. And then he had just gotten up and left.

Now, he stood staring into the void. His life had come to a stand still.

***

“What is love, Prawal?”

“I don’t really know what love is, my love. All I know is that I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I want to grow old with you. I’ve heard people say that a man should find a woman to die for, but I’m proud to have found a woman to live for.”

And they hugged each other tightly as tears rolled down Ananya’s cheeks.

***

He stood there incapacitated, listening to the horrific thoughts in his mind. He shuddered at the thought of Ananya.

People find love on Valentine’s Day, but Prawal had lost it.

He came back to reality when his cell phone rang. It was she.

I’m sure to go through a lot of pain in the next couple of weeks, but the pain would be unendurable for her if she ever came to know.

The phone was still ringing. He held it tightly as if he was trying to crush it, closed his eyes, and switched it off.

********************The End********************

Copyright © Karthik 2010


A Wild(e) Experience - Complete Story

14

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This post has been selected as BlogAdda’s Tangy Tuesday Pick. To read a short review, click here


1

Mamata Banerjee’s heaven looked like hell. The platform was so crowded we were encumbered every time we tried to walk freely. It was almost 8 and we still had half hour to kill. For such dedicated Ornithologists like us, killing time was no difficult task. The grip we had on that beautiful subject called Ornithology was truly exceptional.

I’ve been to Railway Stations many times in my life, but one thing that is still not clear to me is why people prefer to stand at the tip of the platform to check the arrival of the train. The real tragedy is that it has influenced me as well. So, instinctively, I went and crossed the yellow line and stood at the tip. I bent (again by practice) and the smell that came from the railway track made me retch. But what I did see on the track made me nostalgic for a minute. There were some Piglets and a big Sow searching for their world’s pizzas and burgers. That scene reminded me of a nursery rhyme I’d learnt as a kindergarten boy:

Piggy on the railway,

Picking up stones,

Along came the engine

And broke poor Piggy’s bones.

“Oh” said the Piggy, “That’s not fair”

“Oh” said the Engine, “I don’t care”

I smiled at those Piggies and some atavistic reflex made me feel that I had to get back to my gang – immediately.

Railway Station is a place where one gets to see every type of people. Page 3 delicate darlings to village tough heads, Babies to Babes, decent boys (like us) to indecent ‘yo-yo’ boys with studs all over their bodies that always scream ‘I’m-a-moron-please-look-at-me,’ early teens that behave like omniscient to late teens that look obscured, middle aged ‘big’ boys and girls that look tensed to old aged ‘very big’ boys and girls that look mystified by everything around them, so on and so forth.

As I was observing the people around me, I saw two aunties that were holding their babies in their arms, and the babies were looking at each other in mute amazement. I wonder what was going on in their little heads. A few moments later, one of the aunties gave her baby a lolly pop and the other baby started crying suddenly. Was it because it didn’t have a lolly-pop like the other, or did the baby with the lolly-pop swear something in encrypted baby language that offended the one without a lolly-pop? I really could not decipher. There are so many things in this world that are beyond our understanding. So I just laughed and turned toward my gang which was checking out a group of ‘oh-so’ babes. This sudden transformation from baby world to babe world made me obtuse for a minute. After all I had to suit myself to the changed environment.

A minute later a new girl made an entry onto the platform. Oh boy, what a girl she was! She was so beautiful it sent chills down my spine. She was wearing blue jeans and a black sleeveless top. Her lustrous wavy black hair was let loose, which took pleasure in disturbing her expressive, pellucid, almond shaped eyes, and delicate, sensuous lips. She was wearing a beaded black bracelet on the right hand with which she occasionally brushed her curls to the back of her ears, gently, beautifully. Thin shoulder blades and a tattoo on her creamy left arm, full breasts, shapely hips and legs – all accentuated by her slim waistline. She was a stunning beauty.

Did I say beautiful? Correction. She was drop dead crazy gorgeous. She must’ve been sent from heavens to show us mortals what beauty was. I was speechless. I had never enjoyed poetry until now. She was the poem, and I was completely ruined.

“To have ruined one’s self over poetry is an honour.”

After a while when I came back to my senses and looked at my gang, I found that they were still floating in the ‘new babe’ world. When I looked at their jaw-dropped faces, I knew perfectly well about their on going imaginations. Hari was already having coffee with her (literally, I mean), Deepu was teaching her Electronic Circuits in the college library (well, this is the maximum his creative faculty could afford to imagine), and Dheemant had already started live-in relationship with her (and this is something called height of imagination). And me? Well, I have a theory. Enjoy Beauty as much as possible, but never mess with it unless you are sure that it doesn’t cause any serious repercussions. Or else the beauty may become the beast.

“One should absorb the colour of life, but one should never remember its details. Details are always vulgar.”

I was sure of one thing though. None of us were thinking of approaching her, because she was a kind of girl, to approach whom, you need the looks of Hrithik Roshan and the confidence of Barrack Obama – which none of us had. But I didn’t know then that one of us would prove it wrong.

After some more moments of studying her, Dheemant announced suddenly, “I am in love with that girl.”

“Yeah. Me too,” all three of us said in chorus, not taking our eyes off her.

She was now standing with her arms folded with ear phones in her ears. Dheemant turned to us with fire in his eyes and said, “Do you guys think I’m joking? I’m not, all right? So you better start treating her as your sister-in-law.”

We were stunned to hear this. It’s not what he said that bothered us, but the intensity and seriousness with which he said. We couldn’t believe our ears when he said it. I mean, come on. Seeing a stunning chick and saying “ooh aah out” is OK, but love? Gosh, that’s such a heavy word. Above all, we had a rule. ‘Nobody is supposed to have a commitment so early in life, because we never know what is in store for us in the future.’ That was for our own well being, you see. Electronic gadgets and chicks keep getting better and better with each passing day. But Dheemant had broken our rule. Of course rules are meant to be broken, but certainly not this one.

“I’m going to propose to her,” Dheemant dropped the bomb.

“What?” All three of us asked in chorus.

“Yes. You heard it right, guys. I’m going to do it.”

“You mean now? In the railway station?” Hari asked.

“Yes, dude. You are right,” said Dheemant with full confidence.

“Hey, come on. It’s already 8.10. The train may come at any time soon. And above all, you don’t even know her. You’ve got to be kidding me,” I said getting a little concerned about him (well, I was also jealous).

“Oh, not at all, Kishore. I’ve never been as serious in my life as I am right now. The moment I saw her, I knew. I knew she was the one. There is this spark I got in my heart as soon as I saw her. I mean, it’s not just about her beauty, man. It’s just there is something in her that attracted me and made me fall in love with her.”

Hari muttered under his breath, ‘there is something? I mean there are lots of other important things in her to make a guy go mad. Only something? Such a moron.’

Dheemant continued, “It’s my destiny, guys. You don’t believe me? All right, consider this. You know I was not going to come to the Railway Station. But I decided to do so at the last minute. Why? Because, this modern angel we are seeing right now was supposed to meet me today. Did you guys get the logic?”

Did he say logic? Did he really say logic? I think he did. But thank God, he didn’t have any aspirations of becoming a math professor.

We didn’t really have any other go, so we nodded at each other and I asked him, “So, how are you going to do it?”

“I don’t know. But I’m going to do it somehow,” answered Dheemant with the same certitude he’d shown before.

“Are you sure, my friend? From where I can see, she is dressed in money. Looks like a high society girl. A perfect page three material,” Deepu observed.

Dheemant put his hand on Deepu’s shoulder and said, “Listen to me, son. Let me tell you something I firmly believe in. Whether a girl belongs to a high society or otherwise, page three material or otherwise, beautiful or not beautiful, intelligent or a bimbo, when it comes to wooing her, every girl is the same. Reactions may be different, but ultimately, a girl’s a girl. And it all depends on how good your broom is, to sweep the girl off her feet.”

“But, dude, don’t you think this is the age of vacuum cleaners and not broom sticks? I mean, one needs to suck these days, not sweep,” said Deepu, and Hari sniggered.

“Yeah, I’ll do whatever it takes,” he was annoyed.

“But, dude, what if she already has a boy friend?” Hari asked.

“I don’t think she has a boy friend.”

“How can you be so sure?”

“Because she has come to the Railway Station alone. If she had a boy friend, don’t you think he’d have come to drop her?”

Wow, that’s some analysis.

“How about this? She may be going to Bangalore to meet him. He could be waiting there to receive her.”

And this is what I call logic.

“All right, it’s possible. But, she will have fallen in love with me by the time she gets on the train. So it’s not a big deal.”

Shabhas, mere Jeethe, shabhas. That’s something called height of confidence.

“You are crazy, aren’t you?” Deepu asked. It was a rhetorical question of course.

“It’s all right if you don’t believe it, but still it doesn’t matter to me if she has a boy friend.”

“Oh, really? Why not?” Deepu was insistent. Hari and I were mute spectators for the ongoing drama.

“I have a theory called ‘Football Theory’.”

“Football Theory? What the hell is that?” Deepu asked, crinkling his eyes. Hari and I were equally puzzled.

“Well, Football Theory says, ‘What’s the fun in scoring goals when there is no goal keeper?’”

Bingo! That’s some theory. I felt like whistling and clapping. I should agree that this was the best dialogue of the day, or probably the best dialogue of the semester. I was sure a lot of people belonging to DOSLA (Desperate One Sided Lovers’ Association) would find hope in this dialogue. Now, looking at Hari’s and Deepu’s faces, I could easily tell they too agreed with me tacitly. Except Dheemant, all of us laughed hysterically. In that moment of euphoria, some people stared at us, including our dear sister-in-law. So, with the Football Theory explained to us, even Deepu started supporting Dheemant. After all, he was showing all the symptoms of becoming a love guru some day. We couldn’t have taken chances with him by annoying him.

“So how are you going to do it?” I asked.

“I don’t know. I’ll just go with the flow. Will tell whatever that comes to my mind.”

Deepu, Hari and I didn’t say anything for a few seconds, for we were a bit surprised. Finally, Deepu said, “Ok. Let’s see how you do it. Go on, my boy. All the best.” With that being said, Dheemant set out on a Mission – Mission Impossible 4. Ha! Tom Cruise would’ve been so proud of him.

2

When he was walking toward her, my heart palpitated. I didn’t and I still don’t know why. Was it because he was one of my best friends and I was concerned about him? Or was it simply because I was afraid of getting slapped by my ‘to-be-or-not-to-be’ sister-in-law for getting involved in the game? I couldn’t solve that mystery.

When he was just a few feet away from the girl, Hari, Deepu and I went and stood a few paces behind her so that we could hear the conversation clearly. It was definitely a dangerous position to stand, but we were ready to take the risk. When we were comfortably standing behind a bench that was between us and the girl, I said, “She is really beautiful, isn’t she?”

“Are you kidding me? She is ‘booty-full’,” said Hari and we giggled.

Dheemant, before approaching her, took out his pocket comb and combed his hair. He then took out his goggles, checked his hair in it and kept it back inside his pocket. After doing these monkey tactics, he started walking briskly and went past her, took a U-turn and came to us.

“Hey, why did you do that?” I asked.

“I’m getting tensed, guys,” said Dheemant and started biting his nails.

To put some fire back in his heart, I said, “So, she is not the one after all?”

He immediately responded, “Of course she is the one. That’s why this is becoming tough.” I could sense Hari and Deepu giggling beside us. Dheemant made up his mind and departed from us again.

This time too, he went past her without stopping. I thought he would come to us again, but no. He went back and stood right in front of her. Finally. This was the moment we were all waiting for. We held our breath and started to eavesdrop.

“Excuse me. Could you please tell the exact time? I have to set it on my mobile phone.”

The girl removed her ear phones from her ears and said, “Sorry?” He said it again. She said, “8.15” and put her ear phones back in her ears. Her body language clearly showed that she wasn’t interested in talking to him. Poor Dheemant.

But he was not a loser to let it go without trying harder. He had once said that his grandfather once auditioned for the role of Raja Vikram in a TV serial titled ‘Vikram-Betaal,’ but was given the role of Betaal instead. So what? Now the grandson was hell-bent on realizing his grandfather’s dream.

He set the time on his mobile phone (or acted like he did) and asked, “Are you supposed to be the most beautiful girl in the city?”

The girl removed her ear phones and put them in her pocket. She might have realized that it was simply not possible to hear music until Dheemant got away from her. She said, “Sorry?” in the same style as before.

Dheemant repeated his dialogue once again, “Are you supposed to be the most beautiful girl in the city?” and waited for her reply with a flirtatious grin on his face.

She brought her right hand to her face and brushed her curls to the back of her ears and said simply, “Yes.”

Her reply must have blown his mind away. That was one of the most artistic replies to one of the most pathetic questions ever asked. She said it without being presumptuous or angry. It seemed like she just knew who she was without ever comparing herself with anyone in the world. Now that’s what I call attitude.

Normally, when a boy compliments a girl and she replies, ‘No’ with a smile on her face, it just means that he has to say it again with much more explanation and conviction. But how would you react to a girl who is in perfect agreement with what you said about her? That’s what I had to find out. So I kept my eyes peeled and ears open.

“Of course. Who else would know it better than you,” said Dheemant.

That was a good start.

She didn’t respond. So he continued, “By-the-bye, I’ve seen you before.”

‘That’s the age old dialogue, you moron. Try something new,’ I wanted to scream.

“That means, either you are very famous, or you have a common face. I wonder which one is true?”

There was some improvement finally.

Now the girl responded with full force, “First of all, I don’t know why you are talking to me. Secondly, to answer your question, if at all I’m famous like you said I am, it’s because of guys like you. And I don’t care whether I have a common face or not.”

“Oh, I’m such a moron. Of course you don’t have a common face. You are unique.”

The boy was trying his level best, but the girl still didn’t care. Well, what can I say? I wasn’t surprised.

“Look here…” she was saying, but Dheemant cut in suddenly, “I am.”

“What?”

“No. Nothing. You were saying something?”

“Are you trying to flirt with me?”

“It’s such a pity that girls nowadays are getting too paranoid. Trust me, Anusha. I’m not TRYING to flirt with you. I’m actually doing it.”

Presto! This was the second one liner of the day. But how did he know her name? Did he know her? Not personally, but by some other source?

“How the hell do you know my name?” the girl asked.

Exactly my question, dear.

“Oh, come on. Now please don’t say you don’t know me.”

“Of course I don’t know you.”

He was really playing it nice. But I still didn’t get how he knew her. Hari and Deepu were equally flummoxed.

“You don’t know me? Are you sure?”

“Yes,” the girl was growing impatient.

“Wow! That’s wonderful, dear. Even I don’t know who you are. See, our frequency matches so well. We could be good friends then. What say?”

We desperately wanted to see her reaction and took a few steps sideways.

And we weren’t disappointed. For the first time she smiled. And what a smile it was! It was like getting 86% attendance when only 85% is required. It was also like getting 16 marks in internals and 36 marks in externals when only 15 and 35 are required.

Then she said, while the smile still lingered on her face, “Are you crazy? Or is it just that you are the King of PJs?”

Dheemant gave one of his best sheepish grins and said, “Both.”

“I thought so,” she answered.

“Ok, jokes apart, I was wondering if we could….” Before he could finish his line, she said, “I know where you are getting at. But it’s not possible. It’s just that you are not my type.”

Dheemant clearly looked disappointed.

“Not your type? Then who is your type?”

This was the question he shouldn’t have asked.

“Well, my type is waiting for me in Bangalore and I’m going there to meet him.”

So Deepu’s logic was right. “See, I told you. I told you, her guy was waiting for her there,” he jumped up and down.

“All right, all right. Now keep quiet,” Hari snapped.

“Hey, listen. You don’t understand. The moment I saw you, I knew you were the one for me. It’s not just about your beauty. It’s something else. You know it’s like the wind. You can’t see it, you can’t touch it, but you can always feel it. Why don’t you give me a chance to prove it?”

I wonder where the hell he picked up those stupid and disgusting lines from. I mean, which idiot says all these on the first day itself? It was totally unlike Dheemant. Had he lost his mind, or was he really serious about her being the one for him like he said? At least was he sincere? If not, was it a terrible thing? I think not.

Insincerity is merely a method by which we can multiply our personalities.”

When I looked at her, it was too conspicuous from her expression that she perfectly agreed with my thoughts.

“Now why are you behaving like an age old monkey-brained movie obsessed demented juvenile? For a moment I thought you were quite sensible. But never mind. Didn’t you hear what I said? I have a boy friend.”

“Oh, yeah. Right. So he’s like Brad Pitt and rides a Yamaha R1?”

“Bloody hell. What made you say that?”

“It’s too obvious, isn’t it?”

“No, it isn’t. As a matter of fact, he has not even started earning. And to say something about his looks; all I can say is, he’s not even as handsome as you are.”

“You are playing me, aren’t you? It’s a big fat lie.”

“People only lie to their loved ones and that’s a hard fact. But sometimes there’s no problem in telling the truth to strangers. So I’m not lying to you. Now if you are having any more imaginations of flirting with me again just because I said you are handsomer than my boy friend, then you would definitely be taking a crazy walk on the wrong side. If I went for the looks, I could’ve had the handsomest boy in the city.”

Splendid. I wish every good looking babe were like this.

Having said that, she removed her i-pod from her pocket and put the ear phones back in her ears. Then she said to Dheemant who still looked befuddled and hopeless, “You seem like a good person. Whatever it was you expected from me, at least you didn’t misbehave with me like an uncultured scumbag. That’s one important aspect girls will notice in you. Now go and enjoy your time. There are far more beautiful things in the world to think about.”

I couldn’t see his face then. I wanted to interfere and ask her to consider his proposal once again, but I held back.

“I never take any notice of what common people say, and I never interfere with what charming people do. If a personality fascinates me, whatever mode of expression that personality selects is absolutely delightful to me.”

She was certainly charming. She certainly made a lot of sense. And she put it nicely without hurting Dheemant. But before I could think of anything else, she turned to us and said, “Take care of your friend,” and pressed the button on her i-pod and lifted her bag from the ground, for the second bell had already rung.

I was balled over, and so were Hari and Deepu. I tried to take refuge in them, but their expressions said that they needed more assurance than I. By-the-bye, how did she know that Dheemant was with us? She must’ve noticed us some time ago when we were planning Dheemant’s moves. Smart chick, I should say. Dheemant had already come to us with a heavy heart when I was having these thoughts.

After having listened to all the things she had said to Dheemant, one thing was very clear. She was a very nice person. Cultured, no arrogance, but lots of attitude, sensible, and above all, she was far more mature than all of us. If there was any other girl in her place, Dheemant would have had a full bashing.

‘My boy friend is not even as handsome as you are.’ There are two possible conclusions for this statement: either she was telling the truth, or she was just being nice and sweet to Dheemant. I actually prefer the latter, but by some fluke of chance if it is the former, then our future is really bright.

3

It was very clear from Dheemant’s expression that he was heart broken. We decided not to disturb him for a while and let him recover on his own. A minute later, the train arrived on the platform and Hari got ready with his bag. People started flocking the compartments and the train resembled the tea stall that was off the platform with hundreds of flies whizzing around. In fact, the people outnumbered the flies.

Dheemant took full care in getting Hari in a compartment that was at least 10 compartments away from the one in which my ex-Bhabhiji was. When he was comfortably sitting inside the train, we stood by the window. Dheemant still looked disappointed.

“It’s all right, man,” Hari was saying, “You’ll get over it. Just like the girl said, there are far more beautiful girls in the world to think about. So chillax. You’ll be just fine.”

She didn’t say ‘beautiful girls’. All she said was ‘beautiful things’. But the modification was a good idea to cajole him. After reminding Hari once again about the list of things to be bought, we bid him adieu. The engine started and it vanished in a few seconds, along with Hari.

Once the train was gone we started walking on the platform slowly. Neither Deepu nor I knew how to start the conversation with Dheemant. Finally, I scrounged up some courage and said, “Don’t worry, man. Everything will be all right. She is the past now. You know, Oscar Wilde once said, ‘The one charm of the past is that it is the past’.”

Dheemant looked at me furiously and cried, “Screw Oscar Wilde, man.”

It was a wrong quote at the wrong time, I guess.

“OK. Let’s leave that thing out. Now tell me, how did you know her name?” Deepu asked, trying to divert his attention.

“No big secret, man. When you guys were standing behind her, she got a call and she acknowledged herself. That’s all.”

It was blatant from Dheemant’s expression that he’d lost all his energy and enthusiasm. When the girl lectured him, I was in total agreement with her. But now, after seeing his pitiful face, I thought otherwise.

“The only way a woman can ever reform a man is by boring him so completely that he loses all possible interest in life.”

4

It was just 8.40 am, but it felt like 1 pm. The summer morning and a ‘babe’ experience had squeezed all the juice from our bodies. Just outside the Railway Station there was a fruit juice parlour. We decided to quench our thirst and went there. Soon after we ordered our drinks, I saw a lovely girl dressed in maroon selwar suit walk past the juice parlour. I ran outside, and there she was standing with a delicious sense of repose on her face, near the parking lot, holding her bag in both hands, and occasionally taking care of her curls in one hand in a typical girlie fashion. I have always loved to watch a girl do it. She looked very pretty in her dress and the poise with which she stood added an extra edge to her beauty. She stood there in the shadow for a few more seconds and stepped into the sunlight when a car approached the parking lot. And when the morning rays of the sun fell on her already beautiful face, a divine charm came onto it. It was a treat to watch her.

While I was standing there enjoying one of the most beautiful things in the world, someone tapped my shoulders. When I turned and opened my mouth to swear at the criminal who had disturbed me, I found it was none other than Deepu, with Dheemant a few paces behind him. Wow, I love my friends.

“Hey, why did you come here in such a hurry? You didn’t even finish your juice. But don’t worry. That’s been taken care of.”

I just turned and looked toward the girl. “Oh, my God! She is lovely, isn’t she?” Deepu exclaimed.

“Yes.”

“Hey Dheemant, did you see her?” Deepu asked him.

Dheemant was standing still like a rock beside Deepu. He didn’t move and he didn’t talk. Deepu looked at me and raised his eyebrows. I just shrugged my shoulders. I was actually worried about him. Had he lost all the passion? Had he lost all the interest in Ornithology and flirting? Was he never going to fall in love again? I needed answers for so many questions.

When I was still wondering what had happened to him, he did the unthinkable. He thrust his hand in his trouser’s pocket, took out his pocket comb and combed his hair in a hurry. Then, took out his goggles, checked his hair in it, and this time he actually wore it. He looked at us, gave a wild grin and started walking toward the girl. Deepu was the first one to recover.

“What the hell do you think you are doing?”

Dheemant stopped, turned and said, “I’m in love, guys. Wish me luck.”

Again? So soon?

“Hey, wait. Don’t you think you need a plan?”

“Nope.” He started moving backward.

“Well, she could be waiting for her boy friend, you know.”

“Doesn’t matter, buddy. You know my theory, don’t you?” he said, turned and wended his way toward her.

“Each time that one loves is the only time one has ever loved. Difference of object does not alter singleness of passion. It merely intensifies it.”

******

Deepu and I stood there dumbfounded not knowing what to do or think or talk. We really didn’t have the stamina to have another ‘babe’ experience. So we came back to the juice parlour and ordered two more glasses of Orange juice. We still hadn’t spoken to each other, for both of us were floating around in our own crazy thoughts. Finally, when our orders were served, after taking a swig of juice, we looked at each other. None of us responded in the beginning, but slowly a smile came to each other’s faces and finished our juice with a loud laugh. Deepu got up to pay the bill and I took out my cell phone and started text messaging Hari about the latest improvements.

********************The End********************

P.S. All the quotes that were in bold italics are from Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Copyright © Karthik 2010


Our Matho-English Professor

36

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Professor Rudrappa (name not changed) was our Mathematics professor, but how wrong we were! He was in fact our Matho-English Professor, for he was not only good at Math, but also English. Or should I say Kanglish? – A mixture of Kannada and English. Nevertheless, we improved our language in his company.

He was also the warden of Boys’ Hostel. Being a strict and responsible person he once randomly chose a first year students’ room in the hostel at eight in the evening, on the first day of college. Upon making a heroic entry into the room he asked the boys their good names: Ramesh, Shashank and Praveen. He gave them some sage advice, like he did every year, and took their leave.

The next day in the class, to his surprise and also the boy’s, Praveen was in his class. He recognized the boy from his previous day’s encounter and nodded at him, as if telling, “I’m watching you.” Well, the class got over, and so did the college, a couple of hours later.

That evening Professor Rudr went to the same room at the same time, only to realize that Praveen, his humble student, was missing. Upon asking, his roomies told him that he had gone out. Professor Rudr made a mental note of it.

The next day in the class, while the attendance was being taken, our poor Praveen was sitting silently, waiting for his name to be called. But what he didn’t know then was that he’d be going down in the history of Professor Rudr’s histrionics.

A moment later his name was called and he promptly said, “Present, Sir.” Everything was all right till now. And then the bomb was dropped!

Our dear Matho-English Professor asked Praveen regarding his absence from his room the previous evening, “What Praveen? I come to your room yesterday. You only come for first night and don’t come for second night. This is bad. Why is that? Where are you?”

Needless to say, the entire class was in fits of laughter. And none stopped laughing for the next ten minutes. This reminds me of one thing. When Swami Vivekananda said, “Brothers and sisters of America,” the whole crowd clapped continuously for two minutes. And now, when Professor Rudr said those beautiful words, the whole class laughed continuously for ten minutes. Tell me, tell me, who’s greater?

Well, it was just the beginning.

***

He was taking class on a boring afternoon and we dudes were talking. The Professor noticed us and said, pointing to one boy in particular, “Hey, you. Stand up, I say.”

A boy in the third bench stood up and asked, “Me, sir?”

Our English Pundit said, gesticulating, “Not me. Behind me.”

The class roared with laughter. During that particular moment, our College Principal passed through the corridor. Professor Rudr dear was quick to add “Shhh… Don’t make sounds. Principal just passed away.”

And the sound of our laughter soared higher and higher.

***

Diwali came and we had holidays for three days, starting from the next day. That evening, after college, my two friends and I met with our Professor in the parking area. We lovingly said, “Happy Diwali, sir.”

To which he lovingly replied, “Vice versa.”

We really didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. So we didn’t do anything.

***

He hadn’t taken class the previous day. On the present day, soon after taking attendance, he said, “I can’t come to class yesterday, because I was went to mud-making.” After that he carried on with his lecture.

His bad grammar didn’t amuse us that much, as we’d already got accustomed to it. But one thing that haunted us like never before was the term he used, ‘mud-making’. We scratched our heads, we scratched our chests, but we couldn’t figure out the meaning of this new phrase. We couldn’t even concentrate on the lecture, for our minds were occupied with ‘mud-making’.

After about an hour, when the professor was gone, one of my friends shouted at the top of his voice, “Eureka, eureka, eureka!”

He was now being surrounded by six or seven of us. He was beaming with pride. He kept smiling. I tapped his head and said, “Are you going to say anything?”

“Dudes, do you know what he meant by ‘mud-making’?”

None of us answered.

He said, “He meant funeral, dudes, funeral. You know, the ceremony of burying the body in the ground, and performing one’s last rites.”

Good heavens!

Some boys pulled their hair, and some fainted.

Our loving Professor had effectively translated the Kannada euphemism for funeral and told us – ‘mud-making’.

***

I was sitting next to the window in the class one day, and it was unbearably hot. I had just taken my seat, and the windows were still closed. Professor Rudr told me as soon he entered the class, “Karthik, open the windows, please. Let the air-force come in.”

Ah, was I amazed?!

This was still ok to a certain extent. But on another day, he said to a girl, who was sitting next to the window. He didn’t say air-force this time, but simply said, “Archana, please open the top.” The postfix was dropped.

No comments.

***

A few boys and two girls had not done their assignment, and they were all made to stand up. He didn’t say much to boys, as he perfectly knew it was useless. But what angered him was the fact that even girls had failed to write the assignments.

The girls were standing, with their heads down.

He said, “Look at you. Shameless girls. Why you didn’t did assignments, I say?”

“Sir, I had been to …” started one girl.

“Don’t give me reasons. Boys are always like this, I know. But what happened to you? I have seen many girls in my life, including my daughters, who are also girls. But I have never seen girls like you two.”

The girls couldn’t control their emotions and started laughing hysterically. It angered him very much.

“Pack your luggage and get out of my class,” he cried.

More laughter.

“You are still laughing? Get out. No attendance for you today.”

The girls silently packed their bags and headed towards the door.

“And one more thing,” the Professor said, “I know what you will do outside. I have seen you many times understanding the tree and talking. If I see you understanding the tree again, I will never enter you in my class.”

The girls didn’t say anything, for all they wanted to do was go outside and laugh. They simply said, “Yes, sir,” and scuttled away.

Professor Rudr had done it once again.

***

A few hostel boys complained the Professor-cum-warden that the hostel food was not all right, as they had found some minute stone particles in rice. ‘Stones’ was the term used in Kannada.

The Professor took it to his heart and decided to taste the food himself. So he sat with some boys in the dining hall, for lunch. The food was served, but unfortunately he didn’t find anything wrong with the food.

He finished his lunch, stood up from his place, and asked everyone in the dining hall, at the top of his voice, “Did anybody found rocks in rice?”

Some laughed hard, some sniggered, some banged their heads against the table, and some looked flummoxed. But whatever they did, they didn’t answer the question, as they thought that consuming ‘rocks’ along with rice was better than consuming Professor Rudr’s English.

Such was the beauty of his language!

Hope you all yanjaaayed.

Copyright © Karthik 2010


Escape

54

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This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 10; the tenth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

1

The day was coming to an end, and so was his life; or at least he thought so. Never was he so sure about anything in his life as he was now, about running away, about escaping. But little did he know that escaping was not so easy. The only thing he knew for sure was that he was escaping. From what? From whom? He had wondered. He had got the answer after contemplating for sometime: from the nasty world he was living in. And it was then he had chosen the spot – to escape.

Chitradurga, a district headquarters in Karnataka, is the land of brave men and women. The stone fort of Chitradurga is the beacon of bravery and strength, an impregnable fort which comprises of 19 gateways, 4 secret entrances, 38 posterior entrances, a Palace, great granaries, and oil pits. It is the land which saw the reign of its last ruler, Veera Madakari Nayaka, and the guts of Obavva – the wife of a guard of the watchtower – who fought the soldiers of Hyder Ali singlehandedly with a wooden club, meant for pounding paddy grains.

Now, he was climbing the rock to reach Tuppada Kola (pond of ghee), probably the highest peak in the fort, from where one can see the entire city and its structure. It’s the spot from where Ramachari (played by Dr. Vishnuvardhan) and his lover committed suicide in the 1972 hit Kannada movie, Naagarahaavu, which became a cult classic. And now, he had chosen the same spot to end his life, thereby escaping from the ugliness of this world.

He was on top of the hill. He looked everywhere, and after having made sure that no one was around, he took a step forward. The difference between life and death was just one step away, and he knew it. A jet of hot wind hit his face as he closed his eyes. His whole life flashed before him. He took a deep breath as if it was his last. It was time.

***

“Got a light, my boy?” said a voice.

He was stunned. He had made sure that no one was around. He opened his eyes and swiveled round. It was a handsome middle aged man in blue jeans, white t-shirt and brown boots.

“Do you have a match box or a lighter or something?” asked the man again, with a cigarette between his smoke stained lips.

The boy felt disgusted and angry. “I don’t smoke,” he said, evincing his anger.

“Oh, good, good. Come, take a seat. Let’s talk,” said the man.

The boy didn’t try to hide anything.

“Look, if you have come here to stop me from doing what I was about to do, let me assure you, you can’t. I’ve made up my mind.”

“I know that, Santosh. I won’t stop you. But before jumping off this cliff, could you tell me why you want to end your life?”

“What?! How do you know my name? Who are you?” Santosh was dumbfounded.

“Well, that’s not important now. What’s important is why you want to end your life. So tell me in detail. I am very curious to know. I’d not have been surprised if it was somebody else, but you? Why would a boy like you want to….Well, what is it that drove you to this? Take a seat and tell me what,” the man said and started playing with his cigarette.

Santosh didn’t know what to do. Anyhow I’m just one step away from the edge of the cliff, and I can jump anytime I want, he thought. Out of curiosity, he decided to talk. He found a small stone and sat himself down. And when he looked up he saw that the man was already smoking.

“Where did you get the light from?” Santosh asked, crinkling his eyes.

“Never mind that. You start your story now.”

“There is no specific reason, no specific story. It’s just that I don’t want to live in this pathetic world.”

“Pathetic world? How dare you call this world pathetic?” screamed the man.

Santosh was taken aback.

“Hey, cool it, all right. First of all I don’t know why I’m even talking to you, and moreover, you are yelling at me?” He got up.

“All right, I’m sorry. Now sit down, will you?”

They sat in silence for a while, listening to the whoosh of the wind and the barks of the dogs.

“Would you like to smoke?” asked the man. “Anyhow you are going to die. Why don’t you try it?”

Santosh thought for a few seconds. I have nothing to lose. “Ok,” he said.

The man took out a pack of cigarettes from his jeans pocket, and offered it to him. Santosh took one stick out of it. The man lit it with his cigarette, and kept the pack back in his pocket. Santosh took a puff, and started coughing miserably.

“This is awful,” said he, coughing, and threw it away.

“Not as awful as ending one’s life. Anyways, continue.”

Santosh stared at the man inquisitively for a full minute. He said at last. “It’s a bloody nasty world I’m living in. I don’t like the things that are happening here. I don’t want to be a part of this system. It’s ugly, it’s rotten.”

“Tell me what’s rotten.

Santosh spoke at length. “Everything. There is corruption everywhere, no place is safe anymore, terrorism, dirty politicians, no one does his work properly, and no one has humanity left in him anymore. My best friend died in Pune blasts recently, and I’m still not able to get over that loss. Forget about the big world. Three months ago I participated in a debate competition in our University fest. One of the colleges in Bangalore hosted it. Though I had done my best, I was not expecting a prize. But the boy who got the first prize belonged to the host college, and he had done a terrible job at it. I later found out that 95% of the students that got first place belonged to the host college. Show me one place in this goddamn world where there is no corruption. Now wait a second. I don’t want to hear any godforsaken advices from you, all right? I am convinced that there is no good left in this world anymore. Anyhow some terrorist will plant a bomb in my city someday, and I’m going to die. So it’s better to take my own life before some bastard kills me for absolutely no reasons. You know, I don’t have any personal problems. It’s just that I refuse to be a part of this system.”

Santosh was finished and turned away from his new acquaintance.

The silence between them was interminable. The man in jeans and t-shirt had already smoked two cigarettes. He broke the silence after several minutes.

“Interesting. Very interesting. So you are not happy in my world, and don’t want to be a part of it? That’s what you are escaping from?”

“Your world? Are you kidding me? Well, um… never mind. You might stop me today, but I will definitely do what I want to do, on the morrow.”

“First of all, I’m not going to stop you. Secondly, yes, it is my world.”

Santosh sniggered. “So what is it you do?”

“I create things, my boy. I’m the creator.”

“Oh, really? You are a creator? What is it you create?” Santosh mocked.

The man didn’t seem to take any offense, and answered.

“You’ve got it wrong. I’m not A creator. I’m THE creator. I’m Lord Brahma, son. And I created this world. My world.”

2

For a moment Santosh forgot all about jumping off the cliff, and started laughing. The man who called himself Lord Brahma remained nonchalant, and lit another cigarette.

“Lord Brahma in jeans and t-shirt and boots? Ha! I should probably call you ‘Smoking Brahma’,” Santosh ridiculed.

“What’s my dress code and habits got to do with my designation, son? Did you expect me to have four heads like you see on your idiot box? That’s total crap. The so-called messengers of gods tell you that I have four heads and sit on Lotus, and you believe it? Have they seen me? For real?" The man took a heavy drag of cigarette and exhaled. "Have a good look at me. This is I. The real Lord Brahma, the creator."

“Oh, logic, huh? All right. I’m Santosh, you are Lord Brahma, and you created me. Is that right?”

“Yes.”

“What if I were, say, Anthony? Who are you then?”

“Simple. I’m Jesus Christ.”

“Dude, you are one helluva artist.”

“Of course I am. Anyways, you don’t believe me? All right. Have a proper look at me, especially my face.”

And Santosh did. What he saw was unbelievable. There was silence all over. The wind had stopped blowing, the dogs had stopped barking, the sun had set, the dusk had come, the darkness was on its way, and Lord Brahma had become Jesus Christ.

There was a beard on his face, and the hair had grown to shoulder length. The body was much slimmer now.

Santosh was awestruck. He just sat there, staring.

“Now don't ask me what if your name were Abdul. I would just disappear, that's all."

Santosh still kept mum.

"You still don’t believe me? All right, come here,” said the creator, and dragged Santosh to the edge of the cliff.

“You want to jump from here, don’t you? Let me see how you do it,” said he and before Santosh could blink an eye, the void was filled with bare land. There was no empty space below anymore. The surface on which he was standing had just stretched for another few kilometers.

“So now you believe me?” asked Lord Brahma. He was back in his true form. No more beard and shoulder length hair.

Santosh took a few steps away and slumped on a stone. A few minutes passed in silence. And then he stood up. He was seething with rage.

“If you are what you say you are, then why is your world filled with filth?”

“Son, this is a crazy world I’ve created. The rules have changed. For example, I created cigarettes. I love to smoke, but one should never become addicted. You take it in excess, and it becomes bad. I only created good things. And then I had a competition. That’s the rule of the game. When I created cigarettes, he created cocaine. It’s the same ever since. Whenever I created something good, he created the exact opposite. But I can’t run away, I can’t escape. I have to face the challenge. You think you are the only one who is having problems with this world? I created this world, son, and I am having problems with my own creation.”

“He? Who is it?” Santosh asked incredulously.

But before Lord Brahma could answer, the two of them heard a voice.

“He’s talking about me, dude.”

Santosh swiveled round as Brahma cringed.

A handsome man was standing with his arms akimbo. He was completely dressed in black; black shirt, black robe, black trousers, and black boots.

He certainly looked more attractive than Lord Brahma.

“Hey Brahms, how are you?” he asked.

Lord Brahma made a disgusting face, and said, “Whatever.”

“Who are you?” asked Santosh.

“I’m Lord Keechaka,” said he, taking out a small plastic pouch containing cocaine, from his pocket, and took a fix.

***

“What the hell is happening here?” Santosh was losing his mind.

“Everything that has happened in the past, everything that is happening now, and everything that is going to happen, is real,” said Lord Brahma.

“What do you mean?”

“Let me explain,” Lord Keechaka began tersely enough, “Look, dude, it’s simple. When he created heaven, I created hell. I think you’ve already got the picture. It’s business. Nothing personal. And Brahms knows it very well. You must be wondering why Lord Brahms here doesn’t simply finish me off, and on the contrary, Osama Bin Laden must be wondering why I don’t finish Brahms off. Even though we are capable of finishing each other off, we simple won’t do it. Bottom line: we both need each other. This world is incomplete without me. What say, Brahms?”

Santosh felt sick to his stomach. He didn’t have any other choice except to believe in what was happening. He couldn’t afford to ask Lord Keechaka to prove himself like Lord Brahma did. He turned to his creator.

“What the hell is he talking about?" He was fulminating, "Why in heaven’s name does this world need him? Why can’t there be only good? Why is it that there is only evil in this world?”

Lord Brahma breathed heavily. “Do you really think there is only evil in this world?”

“Of course,” said Santosh, with utmost conviction.

Lord Keechaka laughed his guts out.

“Dude, trust me. You really don’t know what would have happened if there was only evil. It’s because of Lord Brahms here that there is some amount of good left in this world. Then again, if I were not there, people would have seen the end of the world a long time back.”

Before Santosh could say anything, Lord Brahma said, “He’s right, son. Well, I know it’s difficult for you to believe. So let me show you. Let me make a deal with him.” Having said that, he went to Lord Keechaka and had a small talk.

He came back a minute later and said to Santosh, “All right. Here’s the thing. For the next one month, I’ll stop working, and Lord Keechaka will be in full swing. Then you’ll know the real meaning of ‘evil’. One month later, we three are going to meet here. Same place, same time. Then, from the next day onwards, Lord Keechaka will take his leave, and there will only be good in this world. If you still like that perfect world, I shall fight him, right here in front of you and chop his head off. Deal?”

“Chop my head off, Brahms? You are funny,” Keechaka snorted.

Santosh thought for a while and said, “All right.”

He had finally postponed his death.

“All right, then. Let’s do this,” the two creators said in chorus and vanished.

3

Santosh woke up to a few screams. There was chaos everywhere. It seemed like people just loved violence. The newspaper was torn to pieces. He picked it up and read the headlines: Petrol price hike fuels food inflation to all time high.

He was thunderstruck when he read the full story.

What’s happening?

He suddenly remembered. Oh, my god!

It was just the beginning, he knew.

And then there were riots everywhere. People killed people without compunction. It seemed like they just needed a reason to thrash somebody. It was a new world altogether - a new beleaguered world.

Pulses, vegetables, fruits and milk were sold in black market. Milk was sold at Rs. 250/- a litre, petrol was priced at Rs. 1053/- a litre. Pulses, fruits and vegetables had become the luxury of rich people. Ironically, everyone had become rich. And the rich purchased their essential requirements in black market. Nothing was available easily. Weapon manufacturers made huge profits all over the world. In fact everyone made a huge profit.

In a world ruled by thugs, whoever has the gun is the commander. But what if everyone had a gun? This was the situation. It was all about timing. You take your weapon and use it on a man at a time when he is not carrying his weapon, and everything that he has is yours. This became the only rule of survival.

People were no more divided into rich and poor. Now, the two kinds of people were the ones with weapons, and the ones without weapons. There was no use of police; there was no use of law and courts to judge anyone.

Nobody worked anymore, and nobody needed degrees anymore. All one needed was weapons and the skill to use them. Everything was easily available, because of which the economy came down. Inflation rate dropped to the bottom. People were bored, and hence they started riots again, for absolutely no reasons.

The government of India didn’t have anything to do. After contemplating for sometime, it decided to tackle Pakistan. A war broke out between the two nations. Pakistan got the support of China, and India got the support of Russia. US of A was angered by this, and thus began the third world war. Every country that possessed nuclear weapons didn't hesitate to flaunt them.

The world came to an end in ten days. Santosh now fully understood the meaning of ‘evil’. One month was up. The time had come to meet the people responsible for this.

***

Tourists were already returning when Santosh entered the fort. He climbed up to the spot where he had met the creators a month ago. It was almost six in the evening. He was tired, physically, psychologically.

Ten minutes later, Lord Brahma and Lord Keechaka arrived.

“So how are you, my boy?” asked Brahma.

“You know how I am, don’t you?”

“So how was my work? Do you now realize what I am capable of doing if I am not challenged?”

Santosh didn’t answer.

“Trust me, Kiddo,” Keechaka was saying, “It will be much worse if I ceased to exist.”

“How is it possible?” Santosh was rather nonplussed.

“You’ll see soon.”

“Are you ready for the next session, son?” asked Brahma.

“As promised, I’ll go on a vacation. The world is all yours to experiment. See you both in three months,” said Keechaka and vanished.

“Three months? Why three months this time?” asked Santosh a minute later.

“It’s simple. It takes time to implement good things. See you in three months,” said Brahma and he too vanished.

4

The day started off well for Santosh. The newspaper boy had delivered the newspaper on time. He was insanely glad when he read the newspaper, and at the same time, a bit surprised too.

The naxalites had given up their fight and surrendered to the police. It was big news, and almost half the newspaper had covered this story. No more Operation Green Hunt, no more slaying of police officers; peace had prevailed once again.

A few politicians withdrew all the black money from their secret bank accounts and gave it to the government. More of such cases followed, and in a few days, all the politicians had come out clean. Each and everyone in the country paid their taxes honestly. There was no corruption anywhere. Santosh was happy. The world can never be better than this, he thought. He was wrong.

Nobody killed anyone, nobody robbed anyone, the banks were safe, the people were safe; corruption, bribery, extortion, murder, and robbery were the words that existed only in dictionaries. Nobody hated anyone, everyone loved each other, nobody did a wrong thing, and humanity reigned supreme. It was a perfect world. But perfection too has a price to pay.

Soon the negative effects of this perfect world started showing.

The police didn’t have any work to do, as nobody did a wrong thing anymore. The income tax officers didn’t have any work to do. Soon many were sent home, and some left by themselves. The Indian Army didn’t want anymore men, as there was no need to guard the frontiers. Many were sent back. The Air force and Navy became useless. The government didn’t have to pay them anymore. Hence everyone lost his job. There was no need of soldiers. Their services were no longer required. There was no need of defense forces. This was the case in every country.

All the weapon manufacturers experienced heavy losses. Nobody needed weapons anymore, as nobody fought with anyone anymore. All the weapon manufacturing companies across the world were shut down. Mikhail Kalashnikov, the man who designed AK-47, committed suicide. All the people who were in weapon manufacturing business became jobless.

Everything was freely available. The government had a lot of money. No one needed to work hard anymore. Everyone was paid thrice as much as he used to get for the same job. Some even got paid for nothing. There was no competition. Everyone was satisfied. People that were once mettlesome, became vapid and lazy. The only people that suffered were the hard workers, but ultimately they too became like the rest of them.

This was worse. There was chaos. But there was order in chaos.

Santosh was distraught. Never in his wildest dreams had he imagined such a thing. How even good things could go wrong, he wondered. He had to find out. He was relieved when three months were up.

***

Lord Keechaka was laughing hysterically. Lord Brahma was standing with his arms folded. Santosh was waiting for his creator to speak.

“Didn’t I tell you?” Keechaka said, laughing.

“Anyways, now that you’ve seen the two sides of the coin, what do you think?” asked Brahma.

“I don’t know. I’m confused,” said Santosh.

Lord Brahma elucidated. “Let me explain. It’s the balance that takes the world forward. The world you were living in, before you met me, is the real world. It’s the truth. And you can’t escape from it. There is only way to survive. Fight.

“Don’t try to change the system. You can’t. I’ll tell you one more ugly truth. You can’t change the system unless you own the system. And who owns the system? You know it. You reach there, and even then, you can only change a small part of it. But the roots remain intact. You simply can't extirpate them.

“My world is still beautiful, my boy. There is no need to run away, no need to escape from yourself, from this world. It’s like Boxing. Play all the fifteen rounds. No problem even if you lose, but just don’t get knocked down. Stay in the ring, and finish the fight. Don’t run away.

"Tell me one thing, Santosh. Do you believe in me?"

"You mean, do I believe in God?"

"Yes."

"Don't know why, but I still think you are just a figment of my imagination," said Santosh, matter-of-factly.

"Exactly. Everything starts in your head. If not for you, there are many Santoshs in this world who would want to escape. Do you really think anything is going to change if you run away? Doesn't matter if you don't believe in me. But believe in yourself. I'll tell you once more. You can try, but you can't escape, from this world, from yourself, from the truth. That's how this game is designed. And the rules of this game are strange and abstruse. Now that you are dragged into this game, DEAL with it, in your own style. Happy. That's what your name means, isn't it? Live up to it."

Santosh stood there, marveling at what he had just heard and experienced. He kept looking at Brahma.

"I'm getting late. Off I go," said Lord Brahma, smiled, and vanished.

Lord Keechaka started laughing sardonically. "Brahms is real crazy, eh? Anyways, I'm getting late too. Hope to see you soon." And then he too was gone.

Santosh stood there alone, on the solid rock of the fort, as silence sang in the air. He looked upward, as a small gust of cool breeze caressed his face, and saw the canopy of fiery stars sprayed against the gray sky. It was nearly seven in the evening, and a blanket of darkness had surrounded him completely. But it didn't matter to him anymore, for he had now found the light.


***************The End**************
Copyright © Karthik 2010



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