“Welcome!” I opened the door.
“Wow! Finally, I found you,” he boomed and came rushing in the room, holding a bag.
“I wasn’t hiding anywhere,” I said, closing the door, and turning to him.
“Yeah, yeah… every one knows,” he said flinging himself on the couch. “How long are you going to stay here this time?”
“Not more than a week, then I will – ”
“Go back to your Himalayas! I know, I know,” said he.
“Right,” I said.
“Man, you are having fun!”
“Fun … not exactly, I would say. I had fun when I was in Delhi. Now, it’s all work there.”
He let out a raucous laugh on hearing that, and said, “Oh, I forgot that you’ve joined an MNC up there. What package did they offer, again?”
“I am working for myself, and that’s as important as any work in an MNC. Tell me what’s up in your life?”
“My life is super-awesome buddy … anyway I heard that you ran away,” he chuckled. “What happened? Couldn’t handle the pressure?”
I stared at his mocking face, and said, “I have just taken a break.”
“A break!” he raised an eyebrow. “Break is what I took last month. Four days’ off to go to goa. You have been out of work for six months.”
“Hold your breath then. It’s going to extend much beyond your imagination – maybe three years or four, or even more than that.”
“Are you crazy? What are you trying to do here?” he asked with no particular concern in his voice.
“Nothing much … don’t you worry,” I moved towards the kitchen. “Tea?”
“No. Wait. I have brought the real drinks,” he reached into his bag, and pulled out two beer cans.
Catching the one tossed at me, I took my seat opposite him, and put the can down on the table. “Thanks,” I muttered, and sat back.
Dismissing my gratitude with the wave of his hand, he continued his attack, “You are not really hoping to make a comeback after this break of yours. Are you? Because that would be utterly foolish. More so than your renunciation.”
“I’ll worry about that when the time comes.”
“Really? You know you have committed a career suicide. If only you had consulted me once before jumping off the cliff – ”
“Sorry, but I didn’t really feel the need to.”
“I can see that,” he emptied his can. “You should’ve, though. I would’ve helped you clean up your mental mess.”
“Well, you’ve always attached too much importance to yourself.”
“Well, I have duly earned it,” he took out his wallet, pulled out a card from it, and shoved it into my hand. “See how it addresses me now. Taken another promotion. I am important – you see.”
“Congrats,” I said, smiling. “Now, tell me what made you pay me a visit today, sir. Chit-chatting doesn’t amuse me anymore.”
“Oh, shut the fuck up. We are friends, and I want to help you in your crises. What else?”
“I don’t know. Maybe, you want to belittle me. That’s something you are really good at.”
“You are talking nonsense now. I care for you, and in your crises I wanted…”
“There is no crises for you to worry about. Seriously don’t bother. I care for myself well enough.”
“Oh, you don’t like what I am saying. Right?” he said. “It requires courage to tell truth, you know. I doubt … any other friend of yours told you that … that this little adventure of yours will leave you poor in the end. That, one day, soon enough, you will return empty handed, crawling back to the old streets begging for a job.”
“You are not the first one, I can say. But since you are so worried, let me tell you that I am living an amazing life there, gathering invaluable experiences.”
“What good are your invaluable experiences if they earn you not a single penny?” he spluttered.
“Difficult for you to underatand. But I will try. Experience, you see, is the very thing that I am after. That’s what I am earning.”
“And, it sure is worthy of being mentioned on your resume,” he laughed loudly.
“I am doing what I am doing, and loving it too. It would serve you better if you worry about your own resume, not mine.”
He picked up another beer from his bag, and said, “Why aren’t you drinking? … well … anyway, the fact is that I always knew you were not cut out for the corporate world. You were meant to break one day … a fool you are.”
“You are missing a hell lot by being, what you understand to be, wise.”
“I am missing out nothing. I am earning what you can’t even imagine.”
“I am imagining much better things for sure.”
“Success, I guess. But imagining it won’t bring it to you.”
“Okay, tell me how it feels to sit idle the whole day.”
“You know the feeling very well. Try recalling your typical day in the office.”
“Idle. Me! You are out of your mind. I am the busiest person at work.”
“Yeah, the nation is so proud of you,” I smiled.
He snorted and looked away. “I just came to jerk you back to your senses…”
“In that case, save your energy, I never lost them.”
“I thought I would put some better sense into you,” he repeated, getting tipsy now.
“I see, you have a wonderful way of doing that,” I retorted, grinning.
He pushed himself abruptly on to his feet, and said, “I must leave now. I think you are quite beyond repairs.”
“You should, if you must.” And, I stood up as well.
He picked up his bag, and began tottering towards the door.
“Take this along,” I threw his beer can at him.
He tried catching it in vain. It hit him on his chest, and dropped down on the floor with a clatter.
Suppressing his fury, he looked at me, and said, “Maybe, you are reading too much of philosophy nowadays. It doesn’t work in real life. I’ve read it all – ”
“Oh shut up, and get out. But thanks for reminding. I need to catch up with Philosophy!” I bellowed, and took a mental note.
He turned and pushing open the door, left the place.