*Thank God I am not riding. Being a pillion is insulating me from the direct impact of the pouring cats and dogs. I can't wait to get home.*
*I wish I didn't offer to drop him. Why did it have to rain tonight. I just hope I don't get late again or she will be really mad this time round.*
I could never understand why people disliked monsoons. It's such a beautiful phenomenon that makes everything come alive. I nibbled at another piece of pakoda and sipped on my lemon-tea as I continued watching people struggling in the rains..
*Staring at the image*
"Did you know the eighth incarnation of the divine fought the celestials to bring down the flowering tree, because his wife desired it?"
"Yet, the flowers from the tree fell into the adjacent backyard, rewarding the superior devotion and humility of his first wife".
"Are you saying you are fullfilling my wants to another lady?"
"Stretching her hand up to reach the stars, too often she forgets the flowers at her feet."
"Don't mis-quote Jeremy Bentham".
"Why can't you concede? Don't you have anything better to do?"
"I did. You finished it for me. Thank you.".
"Mummy, I like the red one with double rounds."
"Are you sure?"
"Blue one! No, I like them both."
"Ok. Let one colour be magenta."
"Mummy, I also like the background buildings in grey."
"Ok. Let the other one be stone-grey. Now before he fancies more colours, send it to the press."
As the head-of-the-state made the announcement, her lips curved at the thought of possible chain-of-events under her regime. And it dropped as quickly.
Things were changing, she thought, dialling the emergency contact. She hoped the disaster recovery plan had enough contingencies built-in. .
"Ma, I am bored of eating the same food every day. Why do I have to eat rice? Why can't I eat a pizza?"
"There was once a crane who got tired of eating fish. He wanted to try something new. His eyes fell on a reddish crawley. He caught it without giving a second thought. The crab choked the crane's neck with its pincers until it was released. The crane had to rest until its neck was healed to eat fish again."
"Ok, give me rice."
"You know I could have killed the crane right?"
"I love rice!".
"As I walked past stacks of books, she brushed aside a strand of hair that obstructed her concentration... I love bubbles... The waves seemed to empower her every time it touched her feet... I made an image of the kids in all their glory... The beautiful stone-paved alley adorned with all the old school buildings could not match her... nor could the sun kissed greenery she waded through... GRANNY!! She would lie amidst tall grass for hours on the end... the ticket stub..."
"Patrick! You haven't taken your medicine yet."
"I was going to. After I bid her goodbye.".
Two years had passed like a breeze. It was the day of reckoning; graduation. He went around capturing the moments of happiness and joy. There were talks about the seven-figure package bagged by the cream of the lot, the exciting world that awaited them outside and abundant promises to stay in touch.
Maybe, just maybe, if I hadn't dropped out, I would have been a part of the gang, he thought, as he looked at the picture while entering the boardroom. He headed the Million Dollar Round Table.
Everything came with a price tag. He had mastered valuation now..
"An ethereal phenomenon of extraordinary beauty. Beguiling and inspiring, in equal measure, across night sky, a celestial display of coloured lights. Emit greenish-yellowish light characteristically, blues, reddish-violet hues, but can occasionally be seen. The Roman Goddess of Dawn, derived from, the name, Aurora."
"Bravo! Described so vividly! I feel I am a witness to the event. Here, a bag of mohurs!"
"Your Majesty, we have no such inhibitions. Tonight it is yellows and reds, blues and violets, tomorrow, it could very well be. We call it reflection."
"Raman! An epiphany! Take these, one for your wit, another for the indigenous-beauty!".
"You don't come to play with me anymore."
"I have grown up and have better things to do now."
"Even for a little chat?"
"What do we talk about?"
"But... I gave my whole life for your happiness."
"Wasn't that your purpose all the while?"
"Don't be surprised if you hear the same tomorrow."
"Shahaan, wake up! You are getting late for your meeting..."
I woke with a start.
"Hello, yes, I had called in earlier, but no, I have changed my mind about having them stay there. Yes, I too am happy I decided against it, Thank you.".
He was tired of trying. Nobody seemed to listen to him anymore. The younger folk seemed to think very highly of themselves, ignoring the mortal peril that was surrounding them. They saw it as an over supply of food and had begun to grow lethargic. He couldn't live to see his clan perish under his watch. He took the bait, gnawing at the rare worm that dangled around those parts.
He made the headlines, the next day.
"Ever elusive Hilsa finally captured. Local hero narrates tale of persistence."
Elsewhere, the water bodies continued to be polluted beyond repair. .
"Did you know in the past thirty years your smoking has cost you over a crore? Can you imagine? You could have become a crorepati today. It also damages your memory among other ill-effects."
"Did you know suicide is a crime? Yet throwing away one's life gradually is allowed. Government tries. The industrial lobby wins. And who says all of us seek to cherish our memories?"
Sensing my awareness talk wasn't getting anywhere and he was stoned, I started to leave, when he spoke again.
"Are you a crorepati?"
"No," I said.
"I figured," he said, blowing smoke. .
What is this I find in your shelf?"
Who is she?
She is a Christian, isn't she? Our community girls are not good enough for you is it!
I wonder where I went wrong in nurturing you.
If you liked her so much, you could have told us..."
"Ma! We are shooting an ad profile for an upcoming awareness event... She is from our own community, if you are interested. She doesn't seem to be.".
He sighed as he strolled through the gallery. How fast times change, he thought.
The curator, having recognised the legend, immediately walked up to him and said, "It is our great pleasure to have you here and be a witness to our work. Would you like to share your valuable feedback?"
Not a man of many words, he said, "Today, it isn't an art. It is literature. Earlier, we didn't need a hundred words to make our images speak. They did it for themselves. I am not good with literature, I will leave that part to you.".
Every day, as he sold tea to his customers, he would stray for a while and listen to the intelligent conversations some of them often had. While some ignored him, others would jibe him with their vile remarks.
"You think you will become the next Ambani?"
"Maybe he will become an 'Adarsh Neta'!"
"And then he will have chai-pe-charcha with his party-mates, while elsewhere his citizens continue to drown in problems..."
He didn't have to answer them. His deeds would; one day. .
"You know its Thursday right? I hope you have written."
"You know me. I write only after the world sleeps."
"Don't fall asleep without writing. It's been a few weeks now."
"Thanks for reminding. I won't."
She looked forward to his stories. He couldn't tell her he was having nightmares. His block was haunting him. An empty diary and an empty cup of coffee; they just wouldn't fill up.
He woke up with a start. He had spilled the coffee. The diary lay open....
"No, not good enough. I want a Facebook DP quality picture. Another."
"I am not Raghu Rai ok! If you are unhappy with my shots, go hire somebody. Maybe then you will realise my worth!"
"Shona! You are upset.. I am only trying to build your potential. I know you have it in you..."
"You keep saying that every-time you donâ€™t like my pictures. I am not falling for it again..."
Telephoto lens had its advantage. I could maintain my distance. But I didn't like this guy either. She deserved better. It was time to pay him a visit..