The Ego

"Only enemies speak the truth; friends and lovers lie endlessly, caught in the web of duty."

It was an amazing evening..the sun painting the horizon in golden colour. A perfect evening to stroll by the seaside, holding the hands of your beloved. Listening to the silence..whispering the sweet nothings. Taking a stroll and eating roasted groundnuts, yes it was one of those evening when anything and everything was alright.
And yet he was alone unaffected by the beauty around him. Sitting in a deserted coffee shop by the seaside, sipping a cup of black coffee..he was wondering - "How the Hell!! Am I going to get out of this mess I have landed into?"

He was not sure how long his savings would hold him up.

But he was not excessively concerned. He had friends. His friends would help him.. if survival became tough. Afterall they always had in the past. But that was
not his concern..his mind was pre-occupied with the thoughts of him about to be getting married. Not that he did not like the girl. She was perfect and he had always wanted a girl like her. Sweet, Charming & Loving.
But it was his own web of lies!

Last night he went to meet the girl and her relatives. And as is the norm with the relatives..they exaggerated about the their expectations of bridegroom. He
was caught in the flow.
He had an ego..he always had..and then he lied more than he had actually planned to..
He told them he had a car and was earning 40000. He was not worried then..he knew his boss would help him out... He always did...

He couldn’t believe only yesterday he thanked god for the luck that came his way..

Bubbling with the newly found happiness he a
ccosted his boss..
"Boss! I have got a good news."

"So Marriage is finally on the cards"

"How do you...?"

"I know everything" said the boss, owner of a small time company manufacturing small auto parts to different industries.
"It was about time too. One should marry at the right age" he continued smilingly.

"Well Yeah..But I have a favour to ask..If you don’t mind"

"Oho Salary that you are married additional responsibilities..ok it would be raised to 10000. So is that all?"

"Oh thank you sir.. but.."

" Oh I almost forgot your leaves for marriage and honeymoon is also approved. I have also instructed the cashier to give you the next month's salary in advance."

"What can I say Boss.. thank you so much.. no other employer will be as caring as you! I am very lucky!" He had meant every word he said.

"That's enough. Now get back to your work" Boss said teasingly.

He was in a dilemma now.. His boss had given him so much that it was hard to ask more.. Somehow he had not even thought about honeymoon.. but maybe she would want it..
His father in law was supposed to come over the weekend… so he knew he had to approach his boss again.. but he was not sure how he could.. He cursed himself thousand times over for being so stupid..

Boss was watching him from the cabin and could make out that he was worried..worried about something. Being a concerned employer he was..who knew that the road to success is through employee's happiness. He got up from his seat and walked up to him.

"What is the matter. You seem to be worried. What is it? Tell me?"

"Boss..I have a problem.. I don't know how to ask you."

"What is it?"

"I want a car. My father in law is coming this weekend."

"This is petty thing. Take mine."

"No I want my car."

"You buy it for me and cut it gradually over the years.. besides with the money that my in-laws would give me.. I will give it back to you"

'Why do you want so many burdens on yourself? You are starting a new life there would be more important things that needs to be take care off. Besides this even with a salary of 10000 you wont' be able to afford it."

"I have lied to my father in law. So I need it."

"I am sorry . But I cannot give it. Why did you lie?

"“Then.. I may have to quit this job” he said dispassionately knowing his boss would buckle down..

Shocked the boss looked at him for sometime. He wanted to rile.. "Do you have any idea what you are talking about?" But he didn’t. It was not his responsibility to teach him sense and he was angered then. After doing so much for them.. this is what he has to come against time and again… He picked out his checkbook.. generously gave him the current months complete pay.. almost threw it on his face and said

"So be it then. I expect you to clear your desk within an hour"

Riding on false bravado he had left with a huff.

And since then he has been lost.. not knowing what to do..

He could hear the waiters talking in mushed voices.."Kya lukkha hai yaar.. 2 ghante se Ek cup coffee piya hai.. pata nahi kahan kahan se aajate hai"(What a loser ..has been sitting for the past two hours with just a cup of coffee)

Outside the weather had suddenly changed to worse..It was raining heavily..he could see the giants waves leaping on the seashore.

Smiling ironically at the waiters thought.. he went towards the vast seashore .. one final time.

He could not let his "Ego" die.

The Honey Syrup

She was feeble, her face was pale and her lips were dry… was more than a week that she laid in bed. He touched her hand and she deposed it away. He could see her perspiring forehead before she covered her face into the blanket and rolled to the other side showing her back to him. He gently touched her shoulder and called her name.

She muttered something, acknowledging that she was aware of his presence. She was but half asleep. He saw the medicines lay there by her bedside, the same way he left them in the morning. Some cat had spilt the milk from the cup and drunk more than half of it.

“You have to drink this syrup to heal” he said.

She didn’t like that honey smelling syrup. “I hate that smell” and the taste is “Yuck” she said turning to him.
“I am glad that your nose is cleared” he smiled

“This will heal your fever. Drink this” He lied down next to her on one arm….while in another hand he held the syrup.

She twisted her head off and turned away to the other side. He sat up next to her. He pulled her to a sitting position with his free arm. She couldn’t sit on her own. He let her rest against his chest.

She tried to speak, to tell him not to force her, but before the words could slip from her tongue the warm edge of the cup touched her lips and the fluid leaked into her dry mouth. She shook her head vigorously and he pulled the drink from her.
“I do not want it ….leave me alone.” She yelled in a frail voice
“No,” it was all that came from him, however it was firm. He raised the cup to her again, but she refused and turned aside.

His tightened his hold and his hand reached the back of her neck, holding her head upright. The cup tipped, pouring the concoction into her mouth and he had to remove it once as she spat some of the mixture from her lips and it drenched her blankets.

“You leave me no choice,” he was tough,
but this time before she could spit off the liquid, he covered her lips with his. She struggled to free herself from his grasp, but in her weakened state it was to no avail. She swallowed, and it was only then that he removed his lips.

She frowned at him and wished to speak, but the cup was at her lips again. But before she knew it, so were his. He repeated this action until the cup had been emptied of its contents, mercilessly forcing the drink into her body.

“How dare you,” she tried to growl or perhaps snap at him, but it only came out as a worn out whisper. He placed her head back onto her pillow and pulled the blankets tightly around her chest.

“Sleep well,” he said.

The Frog

Once upon a time in a distant forest lived there lived a small community of frogs… As it happens in those days they spoke beautifully.

In soft tender tone they would sing songs of the pond. The lotus would go to sleep listening to their songs. The flies mesmerized by them would stop mid air alas would be caught dead. The birds would keep quiet in envy. They would move away high up on the trees to sing.. to not to interrupt. Few of the brave souls would try to challenge them but most either slinked away or joined them in their symphony keeping time.

It was an ideal world. A paradise.

Into such a world came one poor frog. He didn’t have a sweet voice. He croaked. And to balance this defect out, god had given him the skill of enterprising and the intelligence to use it. He market
ed himself as unique artist. When he spoke people listened. Simply because he was different.

He was very much in demand.. and the whole of next generation imitated him blindly. Especially the Toad X.
Toad X was such an imitator that he surpassed his idol. He talked like him walked like him. And inculcated it onto others as the ‘cool’ thing!
Many generations passed as it happens and all the frogs forgot that they can sing. They all croaked now and thought, croaking is how they sound. Until one day Junior X was born. Interestingly, he was left alone by everyone as.. he sung.

And when he sung, the flies stopped mid air. All the members of the pond envied him and hated him.. as he was so different. Which he wasn’t.. he was more true to what they really were than anybody else.

But that my friend was his crime.

He was suppressed, tortured until he gave up singing until he died. And when he died, he was celebrated as the one and only singing frog who was brave enough to survive in this cruel pond…

And that perhaps is the story of every being in this world….

The Fantasies

He was a wonderful artist, people said. A magician of words. A great story teller. When his pen started to weave magic, no one could remain unaffected. Under his blazing sun, she all but remained over shadowed. She had gentle ways, she did. And she never begrudged him for he was her sun..her knight in shining armor. She was very much content to rest in the welcoming shade of his shadow and protection.

But she was always there for him. To listen, to correct, to advise, to hold his arms, pick up his clothes and plates behind. To make sure he eats, he sleeps... Like a true soul mate.

And he took all of it as his due. She loved him yes... But she wished for once he would notice her, for all that she did.

She kept the fireplace burning, literally and figuratively while he journeyed through the land of fantasies. He talked about emotions, alive and raging, of gentle murmurs and whispers, of sighs and nudges. And yet, or may be because of it, he never understood them in real life.

She wished for once, just once, for him to notice her. Really notice her. Not with those dreamy eyes that she loved so much but in complete awareness. She wished she could be more than an audience to his fantasies..she wanted to be a part of it.

Alas, her wish was never fulfilled while she was alive. There were just too many ideas waiting to be spun into intricate stories.

And then it happened. She died. She was gone forever from his life..unnoticed.

He couldn’t write anymore. For you see, all his stories were for her, of her in many different avatars. When the muse died, the art decided to abandon him to his grief.

If only she knew, it was her, always her, that lived in his fantasy!

The Window

It was a sunny afternoon. My companion was still sleeping, dreaming her wonderful dreams, while I looked out of the window, observing the passersby. There were not many. A small kid of 4-5 years playing ball on the road with his imaginary friend. An old man chiding him to stick to the pavements. A woman in the next building hanging clothes as the wind blew on her face. And there was a lady waiting to cross the road at the corner, lost in her thoughts.
I wondered what she was thinking. She seemed pleasantly happy. In a way, she was day dreaming. As the signal changed, I saw her looking this way before crossing, just to be sure. I couldn’t help but smile. Then I recognized her. She was… She was my wife.

There it was. My living nightmare. My most cherished dream. I willed her to look up, to notice me. I hoped she would. Then this charade would end. This game of lies that I played with each living breath. A farce that wasn’t even original.

And then she looked up. And I … forever a coward, instinctively moved backwards. She hadn’t seen me. She was looking at the birds flying in tandem to an unknown music, perfectly choreographed. I was glad for a moment, and yet, despair seemed to raise its ugly head.

Was it that she trusted me so blindly, or was it that she knew and accepted it as a passing fancy ? And yet, with contrariness of emotions, I could feel a rage building within myself. But whom was this rage directed towards? Her for not noticing? or me , for wanting her to notice and letting truth come to light, or towards my lover, who by her sheer presence made these lies necessary?

I looked at her receding back. She looked happy. A stranger on the road. My wife. She was happy. I wasn’t.

Presently, my lover demanded to know what caught my attention. I said, it seemed like raining , as I closed the windows and returned to her welcoming arms.

TRRRRINGGGG....the alarm buzzes N I wake up from my dream!!

P.S. This is an excerpt from a dream that I had few nights back..have tried my best to put it in words ..of course with little imagination in order to give it shape. Hope I had a way to remember my dreams.

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