THE DECEPTIVE MIND
This is purely a work of fiction and is not intended for any one dead or alive. Although it has been written in autobiographical style this is no way related to my experiences or a memoir. Since the content is suited for adult, readers discretion is advised
Life had given me what I had asked for, good friends, Prakriti and college with sporadic attendance. I was contended with what I had until I met Vino. I haven’t spoken about him earlier because he was not related to any group that I had mentioned before. Vino was from another college who used to be a regular visitor at the game parlor. He was a sharp shooter and his determination to win fascinated me. He had the courage to break the norms of the society and was bold enough to try new things. There was a pride in his countenance and had not spared anyone with his bully. I noticed that generally he was avoided by many and he hardly had any close friends.
One day when I was running short of money to play another game and the guy at the store refused to give credit; Vino thumped the money on the desk and asked him to allow me to play as long as I wanted to. There sprung a reverence on him and I felt I owe a gratitude that can only repaid with a warm and friendly relationship. Our acquaintance grew stronger by time and he had been an influential person in most of the important decisions of my life.
There was nothing I didn’t share with him and he knew all about Gina and Prakriti. It amused me to know his philosophy on so many aspects of life. He often used to take me to movies or events in the town and utilized the time in imparting his knowledge and experience.
“Opportunists” he said when we were taking a walk on the lakefront on one fine evening.
“Women are opportunists, there is no guarantee that any of the two will be with you. I can prove it. Go tell Prakriti that you are not interested in studying and aspire to set up your business and tell Gina that you don’t like going abroad and want to find a job in your hometown. I bet you will not have much time before you will realize they had left you for good.”
“But is it not good to have formal education and follow the advice of Prakriti and my grandpa?”
“Look, this world is full of clichés and norms. There is no particular way to lead a successful life. People try to emulate the famous and assume it works in one way but nobody is sure. You are a smart guy and don’t just fall for the usual stuff”
This was really inspirational and it filled with energy that I wanted to achieve something more and different and at the same time it pinched me that neither of my girls would be loyal to me. I started neglecting my regular studies which was already having a measly attention. Vino had spread completely in my life and I was drifting away from my friends and most of the time I was found with him in either game parlor or some entertainment hangouts. I couldn’t even cater time to meet Prakriti as he discouraged the practice of giving a regular attendance because it makes her more demanding and allow her to dictate me. Important decisions were taken with his advice and wisdom. He used to think out of the box or at least different from my folks.
One day he made me sit in his car and said we were going for a drive. I was excited and wanted to see the places that he likes and why. After we left the town he said whether I had complete faith and acceptance on him. I affirmed it and said he need not doubt my feelings. Then he asked me if I ever felt I owe him money as he had been spending on me all the time. I agreed that I had been guilty about it and I couldn’t help much as I didn’t get enough pocket-money and I assured him that we will try to reduce our frequent outings and avoid a lavish life. For which he reacted sharply saying he never meant that I repay the money or I should feel guilty about it. But he stressed that I should be more loyal to him as he had done all that only because he trusted me more than anyone ele. After we both expressed our commitment for each other he asked me what I thought was the plan of the day. I said we might drive till the foot of the hill and stop at the creek and come back. He laughed at it and said it was going to be much more adventurous than that if I had the spirit in me. I sprung up and said I am always game for new things. After the assurance he reveled that we will be tasting beer for the first time of our life.
Though I was scared initially, I thought I will still try. Drinking was a sin in those days and people were discriminated based on the habits. They were profiled as careless and rude with no respect for the society. And at my age it was even worse as parental restrictions were smacked on me.
I held the bottle high and with gusto I just took my first sip. Initially it tasted like rotten tomato juice but slowly it had its affect and mellowed to a fine liquid. Later it became so nice that I sent down my throat few bottles of them. I grew tipsy and I think Vino too was in a same situation, he didn’t speak much and looked as if he was doing all this to recollect his past and pit on it and grind it under his teeth. I didn’t disturb him much when he was staring at the creek and talking to himself and even heard he was cursing someone about his present being.
It occurred to me that I wanted to call Gina and talk to her. I didn’t know why it was her and not the teacher. I picked up a new bottle and was so pensive that I forgot to complete it. I knew it was a strong urge to call her and just talk to her. May be I liked the naïve attitude in her which I lacked and whatever innocence had in me was crushed by the drinking adventure. She will certainly elate me in whatever mood I am and I can be true to myself with her. She had never criticized me of any of my deeds rather had revered me like an impeccable gentleman.
There was pay phone around the corner in a small store which had cigarettes and coke. The store keeper was an old man with all wrinkles on his face and eyes drawn in the socket and looked strained with years of misery. I went in and was trying to speak to him but for some reason words were not coming out of me. I was moving my lips and opening my mouth but no sound. It looked as if I was chewing some pizza dough. The store keeper grew impatient and screamed at me if I had been drunk. Indeed I was and still trying to compose myself. I shook my head couple of times and brought my senses under control as far enough as I could convey him if I could use the pay phone. He waved his hand in the direction of the door as if he was shooing a dog away. Then I realized that the pay phone was hung outside and he was just guiding me towards that.
I made some distorted steps and reached the phone and took a 10 rupees bill and tried inserting it into the coin slot. The inlet was not wide enough so I rolled it up like a cigarette and tried inserting it again. This time roll became bigger and refused to go in so I decided to fold it couple of times and shove in the machine. All the while the old man was standing next to me with his hands folded and watching me in despair and was short of an outburst for what I was doing. He then snatched the bill from my hand and took out a 1 rupee coin and held it near my eye and made me look at it. He was holding it so close and high that it looked as if that coin had a magic power to connect the phone to Gina. I gave a smile to him and held that coin high above my head and saw if it had any mystical power. Except few scratches I didn’t notice anything special on it. So I turned towards the phone and dropped the coin in it and dialed Gina’s number.
The phone rang for couple of times and I heard a Hello on the other line.