A Dialogue With A Well-Wisher

“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.”

“I know.”

“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.

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The Mountain Top

I tried to capture a photograph and add that with this post but the internet is not that strong here. This mountain top that stands tall right opposite to my balcony, and the base of which should not be more than a mile away from where I am writing this post, troubles me a lot. This is one thing that I see the most here – while reading, writing, going out, coming back. It refuses to budge. 

It works as a leviathan cinema screen, and presents me with the most fascinating and charming movies – the theme always remains ‘Nature’ of course. Sometimes it is shrouded with white fluffy clouds and looks what heaven must look like. There are times when after a day of snowfall it assumes an outline of bright white colour.

After the sun rises it becomes slightly hazy, and just before dusk it showers the rich green colour to the eyes. I recognize the trees outlining it by their shapes. Some look like men working, others pose as huts, and animals. They must feel awesome perched up at that height, or maybe very lonely.

The rain brings the best of the scenes. It cleans every little speck of dust from the surface of the mountain, and you suddenly feel like you are watching it on HD screen. You can count the trees, see their tilt. Some big boulders raise their heads and catch your sight. Occasionally, an image of an animal is visible, and right at the top tiny black dots of kites appear floating around.

The trouble is that I want to go there and see it all from close – but I can’t. From my place, it is a descent that will leave your knees wobbling at the end, where there is a valley. After that you will need to cross a river to get close to the foot of the hill. And then begins a very very steep ascent. It can take you hours even to reach the midway, and that is after you are extremely fit, and not afraid of leopards. And beyond a point there is no way for you to walk through the thick vegetation. You are the first person to walk any path you take thereafter. Small unrecognizable animals and insects start to flit across your vision too often for your comfort. And then begins the dark – though it still is noon in the sky now out of the reach of your eyes. Your imagiation takes over from there, and voices, all sinister, make you shudder, and your feet develop roots of their own.

That’s where the beauty you saw from your balcony vanishes, and you wish you were still there looking at it from distance. But now it is already afternoon, and the evening threatens to take over anytime. The slope appears too steep to walk on, and you begin clambering down nervously, slipping every now and then. You don’t know how you ever came that far in the first place.

Your eyes search for any signs of civilization, and you scan the distant hills all around. There a white blur of a car appears snailing far away. You take a deep breath and acknowledge that this is not the way you came through. 

“River,” you jump, “there was a river in the valley. Where is it?”

You walk to one side and then other. Get on top of a rock, and peer down to the abyss, to locate a stream. Any signs of water.

Water!! 

Where is your bottle? That’s ridiculous. You took the last sip half-an-hour back. You are extremely thirsty now. That’s it. You need to reach home as soon as possible.

You are walking down and down, and though you are famished, you dare not stop and eat even the chocolate that’s in your pocket.

The density of trees starts thinning, your hopes shooting upwards. “Ahh, I saw that little temple coming up.” And the life becomes easy when you notice a flock of sheep clung to rocks almost vertically and savouring green grass. The village at the base is now visible; the river flowing by its side. The sun is nowhere to be seen now.

In the twilight, you continue somewhat relieved, and reach the river almost in one piece. You cross it, jumping on the stones cautiously not to dislodge any.

The villagers are surprised to see a stranger roaming around in the dark, and group around you wanting to talk. You aren’t really feeling very social at this time, so you quicken your pace despite crumbling legs.

The steep and winding stone steps take you closer to your home, but now dogs stir into action not accustomed to human presence at this time. You act brave. Animals sense fear. You break into a gallop once you are out of their reach.

Your heart revolts having not had this much of work to do since you turned an adult. Sweating profusely you reach the best place in the world – your home.

You switch off the torch, and slump down on the chair in your balcony. A great sense of relief and joy come over you, and you close your eyes.

Breathing deeply, you open your eyes slowly and look at the great mass of darkness staring at you.

“I am invincible,” it appears to be sneering.

“You might well be, but you are my slave. You can’t leave me. I enjoy your beauty at will. And I can leave you whenever I want.” You smile, and go back inside.