Know it all


This is written for an Indiblogger contest – The Character, organized by: Jacob Hills (By Ismita Tandon Dhanker) . It has always inspired me how there are some people among us who believe in themselves even at the most difficult times, hold their head high and believe that a change is possible. This is a work of fiction to bring that out, to depict two important characters in common man. They are my protagonist and antagonist.


“We are running late!” The agitated voice almost shouted.

“It’s just the traffic”, replied the calm one.

“Yes, but why does it have to be like this? I mean it’s nothing new – happens round about everyday. Only the vehicles in this lane seems to be moving slowly.”

“It’s just perception, every lane is more or less moving but given the population burst and lack of growth planning – it could have been worse.”

“Those people who are in the government – whom we’ve voted and chosen over the rest aren’t even mending the roads like they should.”

“Well, may be it’s not as simple as it is to say.”

“Yeah! How do you know? This is the main road to the airport and at the rainy reason when it is most needed, it’s in worst shape. Surely they aren’t doing anything!!!”

“By them – are you referring to some species very different from ourselves?”

“I don’t want to reason with you, it’s so horribly sultry and so suffocating humid, that…”

“There you’ve found yourself a simile – a heavy weather in heavy traffic.”

“You talk as if these things don’t matter to you.”

“Of course they do, but there is hardly anything, that we could do about it.”

“It just feels so wrong, so cursed – to be soaked in own sweat and reach work halfway drained already. My life seems to be cursed!”

“Don’t blame it upon yourself, you are doing just fine.”

“How could you stay so calm – I can see you are perspiring nearly as bad. Are you disciple of some famous baba (read spiritual leader)?”

“May be I’m, may be I’m not, but there is no point rising to the unpleasantness of it.”

“No?”

“The more you do that, the more you are limited by your helplessness on the situation you are in. On the contrary, if you think about possibilities of change you can bring about yourself, there is much more to be inspired from. Don’t let the spite and anger get the better of you.”

“What do you do for a living? I’m sure you are no less knowledgeable than a baba yourself!”

“I am a clerk at the passport office!”

“Wow, that explains – your position must come with a lot of underhand money.”

“It does for sure once you choose to accept it!”

“Are you saying that you don’t?”

“I gather that given the situation I am in, taking hands off coveted fortune is somewhat explicable morality that doesn’t exist.”

“Yeah! that’s right. You must be a fool. Everyone is making money up the ladder, why shouldn’t we?”

“Who is stopping you – you need not practise what I idolize. You hardly know me.”

“Ah but your self righteousness is kind of breathing upon my conscience. Then again, my job doesn’t come with the avenues to make illegitimate money.”

“Should you not steal because you can’t or because it is not right?”

“You are a good player of words, are you not?”

“It is safe to play with words than anything else.”

“Now, I get it, you wanted to share the cab fare with me because you spend cautiously and there was no bus from the stoppage today.”

“I always do that if I am not going by bus.”

“To save the burden of whole fare, right?”

“Among other things, yes.”

“What else could possibly be there?”

“Reduce carbon footprint, make an infinitely insignificant attempt to save fossil fuel and …..”

“Wait a minute! you are quite a scientist, too!”

“Well, it takes a lot to be a scientist, but it doesn’t take much to be an informed and conscious citizen - there are news in the middle pages of the newspaper, that will teach you from quantum theory to DNA. It’s easy knowledge, you see!”

“Who cares to read all those news and articles print tiny columns among such clumsy advertisements?”

“As I said, depends on what you are after. The real, effective and promising news are inhabited in those regions, I am afraid. Knowledge comes to those who want it.”

“Then you must be discarding all the rape news and economic downfall that are coming out on the front page?”

“Factually no, otherwise yes.”

“Otherwise?”

“Those parts weaved in the news to sensationalize it – as they say like undesired fat and I know I can live without it. My heart bleeds for the agony of every single woman who suffer at this – not those that media choses to create a hype about it.”

“So you are following the news? Don’t you think the rapists should be punished brutally?”

“Rationally, yes but the penance also needs to come from deep within.”

“Your views seem to be aligned to Christianity, but appear to be plain old Hindu household tome.”

“Even if I was a believer, I won’t think differently. I don’t take a blind leap of faith – I weigh the options with rationale.”

“And what do you think about the economic crisis?”

“Well, if you have really followed the true accounts of the crisis and went through facts and figures, and define the expense pattern in the country – that rises from every single person, and then you start controlling them – the gasoline spend for example, you do your duty towards nation in the hours of distress.”

“Wow! First I thought you are disciple of some famous baba, but you seem to have more. You seem so complete, it seems you have everything. You seem to be so happy, so poised – what’s your trick?”

“There is no trick. I am merely your co-passenger today. I am a simple common  man and I have everything I need, yes and contentment brings happiness.”

“It amazes me how you think. I didn’t realize people like exist, what is it that you have and I don’t? Enlighten me.”

“It’s not about me and you.”

“Then?”

“The protagonist or antagonist are one and the same. The virtue and vices live in the same body. It is what we chose, what we do, that defines us and that as a whole shapes a whole nation. Don’t let the worse half get the better of you. Now, I must be leaving. Here is the exact change.”

“Wow! Would I see you again someday – in the same route? We are almost nearing our destination.”

“May be, may be not, but like I said, I am no different than yourself. Look inside and you will find me in your own purity.”

The taxi came to a halt and he saw his fellow passenger, the otherwise common but exceptionally though provoking person he had met in a long time, walking into the crowd, dissolving into thousands of nameless faces in no time but his words of wisdom was sinking in his mind, slowly – but effectively.


16 comments:

mahabore said...

Nice....really nice, it almost felt like I was talking to myself there :D

Abhra Pal said...

Thanks a lot. Those words coming from you means a lot to me. I am a great fan of your writing myself. Writing for this competition was particularly difficult as I was at a loss of ideas and was ransacking my brains, while the conversation completed on it's own.

themoonstone said...

Very creative. I liked how you weaved so many problems and solutions into the conversation.

Abhra Pal said...

Thank you so much Ash! Well, I was very confused how to shape my entry for this contest and after a lot of debate with myself I just sat in front of my laptop and wanted to see where it goes on it's own and here it is. Thank you for reading, once again.

Suresh Chandrasekaran said...

This one was amazing Abhra!

Abhra Pal said...

Thank you Sir. I am a great fan of your writing. It is a great honor to see you on my blog and have such high opinion about it.

Solitary Reaper said...

Loved reading this Abhra, a very different take on perception and patience. Best of luck for the contest.

Abhra Pal said...

Thank you - reading other entries from Indiblogger doesn't give me very high hope as I have taken a completely different track for it, but it feels good to know your opinion.

Indrani said...

A very different take, but very well presented.
Good read.

motivatingria said...

Abhra, that was just amazing. I really hope you win :)

Abhra Pal said...

Indrani, thanks a lot. I wanted to be different but not sure I could align to the actual objective of the contest. Let's hope.

Abhra Pal said...

Hi Ria, Thanks a lot for your kind words. I am glad to hear you like it.

Anunoy Samanta said...

left a deep impact on this reader... Good luck broda :-)

Abhra Pal said...

Thanks a lot :)

Swati Murti said...

its an amazing post!! I am so glad you won the contest :) congratulations!!

Abhra Pal said...

Thanks Swati - it is from your comment, that I came to know I have won the contest...feeling wonderful.

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