The following entry is written for indifiction workshop
How do you expect a person to do a clean job when he is surrounded 24x7 by a bunch of tics who are keen on sucking your blood and your soul. Walking down into the constituency and begging for votes, even that does not make one feel any better. Even a beggar is proud of his job, not me.
So, bottom line, I am a politician. Yep, I am. That means I carry home the murk of entire city, a personal secretary and an ‘advisor,’ whose job is to tell me how to eat and talk, to my lovely wife, Sandhya.
I am not saying that I am perfect, I made my mistakes in my life but the one mistake I did not make was marry Sandhya. Sandhya, loving, silent and a caring wife. She did not mind me bringing home two people with me every night for dinner. She did not my mind my life splashed in the headlines every morning or discussing work at breakfast. You have joined me in a very boring visit to the local community center. In the next few minutes people are going to shower me with requests of what they need. In a country of 1.5 billion people, everyone wishes their problems are solved. Don’t get me wrong, I do want to help these people, I sincerely do. But people really do not know what they want. You ask them to join schools and they will refuse. Seventy people today have offered ‘donation’ for my campaign if I help their ‘community’. How does one run a clean campaign with such attitude?
“Last visit for the day,” the secretary said, “Vishveshwara facility for the mentally challenged. You promised to visit them during the inauguration of their new speciality ward. The director of the facility is Mr...”
He goes on explaining me things I am supposed to know. “Do I have to?” I asked when he is done. Thats honest.
“Absolutely, we need to project you as a candidate who cares about even those who are mentally challenged and cannot vote. Their relatives definitely do vote,” the advisor replied.
And I am supposed to be the one who will take decisions for the people.
“The facility was built in the year of...” almost robotically my secretary begins his narration. I am working with a bunch of morons. But I guess duty calls. You cannot continue helping people and improving their lives unless you show it on camera that you are helping them.
Its all a prejudged drill, you get out, you fold hands in humbleness. You smile for the camera and for everything that moves. You say good things, you promise you will help them. You listen to their problems and you move on.
I follow the drill, I walk out of the car followed by my toothless secretary, my spineless advisor into the Mental Asylum. Some serious looking people are busy following the code and conduct of the organizers all over the world. The founder of Vishweshwara Facility is holding a large enough bouquet to welcome me. My secretary is talking down the notes of this meeting and whispering the names in my ears as we move on.
He founder shows me their facility that can house 120 patients. He talks in detail about the new ward they are opening in the coming month. He talks about the rise in suicide cases and how people need councillors. He moves over to show the wall of happiness as they call, a wall decorated with their inpatient and success stories. The wall is filled with faces of people that were once admitted in the facility but their treatment is over. The people are back on their feet. There are few who go into withdrawal but the rate is very very less.
There are happy faces, sad faces, confusing faces and familiar faces... wait... familiar faces. I definitely recognize the face. It is younger than today and a little different.
“That is Sandhya,” the founder of the institute explains, “She was one of our first success story. But once discharged her father took her away from the community, we still wonder what has happened to her.”
I know damn well what has happened to her. Her father abruptly married her off to a rich and wannabe chief minister candidate... me. When we met her, I liked her instantly, they told her she had done her college from this community but never mentioned she was admitted. I look at my advisor and he glances back. From his face I know he is thinking the same thing.
This is blatant cheating. I do not mind my wife to be a former mental hospital inmate but they should have come clean during our marriage. If I dump her so close to elections it will be splattered all across the news. If I cannot dump her, I can make her life hell. Yes, I will. Today, whatever my advisor, she will feel my wraight. How dare she and her father hoodwink me? Tomorrow morning, first thing he is going to get a very serious call from me. I storm out of the room without saying a word.
The displeasure has not got unnoticed to my advisor and he pops up behind me trying to calm me down, “Let it go for now,” he advises, “We are very close to elections. We cannot take any harsh steps.”
It is his job, I know, to make sure I win but I cannot.... I cannot mend a city when my own house is in a mess. I simply cannot. I cannot... there was a gun at my place wasn’t it? Yes my fathers old rifle. How easily can I hide a dead body? My wife, a resident at a mental asylum?
His ego was always bigger than himself. When I first saw him, we had just moved from my hometown to this big city. My experiences in my hometown where not so worthy until I met him. I glanced at him from across the room, a close family friend whose father was into politics. He was a nice guy at least better that those parade of computer engineers we visited over the weekend. He spoke genuinely about politics and changing the city. I loved him in an heartbeat.
Our marriage was not perfect, how can it be when his spineless colleagues come to dinner table every night? When every little news in the newspaper scares him? No its not as we say perfect but its not bad either.
I have a comfortable and decent life. Few servants at my Beck and call. O have a walking closet full of latest designer wear. And the famous ruk ruk khan comes to dinner very often. So it's good.
He is a reserved person, keeps to himself. Won't burden me with his politics. He is a good guy. After so many days today I have decided to surprise him. He has a old box that is kept in our store room. It contains his old memories, his days as a party volunteer. I decided to surprise him by planning a big collage of his life. His journey into politics. It will be printed on a big canvas to be hung in our sitting room.
The dusty box has many things, some things buried in the past. Some things kept from the future. Some nasty things, some naked... Wait... Is that a naked picture of him? That's so romantic. There are more, there are... Who is that woman? I don't recollect meeting her. He had physical... Everyone has a past, I can understand but why did he hide it? The gun on the wall is calling me, I need answers. Why hide? Am I overreacting? Yes I am. And pulling that gun down from the wall is also uncalled for. But I will be doing it. How dare he do this to me?
Why the secrecy?
"Why did you hide your past from me?" They both spoke almost at the same time. He had planned on a dramatic entrance by storming in the house only to find her standing with a gun pointed at him.
"My past?" They both spoke at the same time again.
"I had a visit to Vishwakarma mental institute," he spoke.
" Sir today you have just found out that the gun welding wife of yours has a history of mental illness.. Do you really need a good advice now?" The advisor whispered in his boss ears.
She threw the picture of the floor. He glanced at it for a moment. "you both leave," he told his staff, "me and my wife need a moment in silence."
She considered, he was not acting strange, not trying to run away. This was one quality she liked about him.
"I have something to tell you," he said.
"I am holding a gun," she reminded, "talk wisely."
"We don't have bullets in that gun. I purchased few today." He removed two bullets from his pocket.
She glanced at the bullets and asked, "You visited Vishwakarma institute?"
"Yes and I am really proud of you. You have recovered well."
"I owe you an explanation and so do you," she pointed the gun to the picture on the floor.
"Guess we both do," he said, "let's do it tonight, over a private dinner. Just the two of us?"
"We need to do that," she said lowering her gun.
He hugged her. As the body warmed together, he knew everyone has a past, its a matter of second chances. She knew if he gave her a second chance, she will give him to.
Bullets and bad news had entered the house at the same time. As they sat next to each other to talk, they knew, only one thing was needed now. Which one would be used by whom was to be seen.