“So you are saying that the government will pay me for this? I mean… Just like that?”
“Ms. Thakur we have been observing you for a while now. And you aren’t just a random selection out of the crowd. We have our recruits incognito all over, jotting down eligible candidates. You were recommended just a month after you arrived in your college! You have been under surveillance since two years now. Your skills are more than ordinary and I think it’s valid if used for the benefit of mankind.”
“The selfish, self obsessed mankind who don’t give a damn about others until one of them is dead? Nice!”
“What do you think about darkness and light?”
“Two sides of the same coin. Absence of one is presence of another.”
“Okay, tell me… The difference between good and evil.”
“Under normal circumstances. But what do you call people who unleash misery just because it gives them happiness?”
“Exactly. They do it just for fun! Now tell me. Does the principle of perspective applies here? (I shake my head) Here’s what I mean when I say good and evil. Everything in the world is in ying-yang. It’s upto the people who decide what they wanna be. Maintaining the balance is necessary and ying-yang is perfect balance. But when the darkness absorbs all the light, or vice versa, it has to be eliminated to restore the balance. That’s how we measure the good and evil. The humans are ying-yang, in perfect balance. The darkness is evil and the light is good. We eliminate the darkness.”
“What about the light? Doesn’t that disrupts the balance?”
“When the light absorbs all the darkness, that means a human is free from any evil and isn’t fit for the world! Light absorbing darkness means enlightenment! And one who attains enlightenment attains nirvana. Nirvana restores the balance from that side!”
“Okay. Seriously! Who are you people? It seems like you guys know everything about me and I don’t know anything! And moreover, what kind of question booklet like form you have given me! And you are still asking questions here!”
I knew I was being irritating but if I am to accept the offer, I need to know if the people who have accepted my responsibility are actually worth it or not! Not only teachers can select their students but students also have the right to choose right teachers for them! I was trying my best to break their patience! It had been an hour since I was meeting him! It was a little dark and secluded area but somehow I felt I wasn’t in danger. But the man standing in front of me had a Ph.D in patience! Plus he quotes the teachings from Shri Bhagwat Geeta! I looked at the middle aged man in front of me. He just smiled sarcastically and continued.
“So you filled the form! That means you are interested! ”
“The form just lacks my signature. Make me believe that this would be the best decision of my life and I will sign this right in front of you!”
“You have the aggression within you against people who do wrong and influence or manipulate people into doing wrong as well but you lack strength! I noticed that day when you broke the bottle upon those guys that you weren’t fully confident about yourself. You had your fingers crossed praying that they do not retaliate because you had no backup!”
I didn’t reply! Of course he was right! Thank Lord Mahadev that they didn’t fight back else only he knows what would have happened! I just looked at him.
“I was there that day co-incidentally and saw all that. Nearby, one of our recruits was there watching over you. I saw this as the right opportunity to approach you. That’s why I sent this form and that message to meet me here via him. You have the will power and aggression, we have the means and the target. Combined together, we both can satisfy ourselves along with doing the good for humanity! What do you say now? ”
“I don’t think the humanity within me cares for the rest of the world anymore apart from the people I care about! I have had my fair share of penalty for doing that. I will join this, but I have a question.”
“We met here to clarify your doubts.”
“There’s no doubt you all would draw upon the proper cover to hide my working identity but you claim it wouldn’t hamper my personal interest. One of my personal interest is the actual profession I want to persue. And I am pretty sure it’s gonna prove hindrance. What would you say about that?”
“Mass communication? ”
It was my time to smile sarcastically.
“That childhood dream passed away the moment I became adult. CS. CS is what I aspire now. This is what my parents aspire. Is government going to pay the same person for two different jobs?”
“No. The government wouldn’t pay you for two jobs. But there’s the scope for rewards and incentives in every field. And on top of that, you are working for the same company just different departments and departments can be switched according to needs and with proper incentive! Any more queries?”
“Two! (He nods) Are you going to train me personally?”
“That’s why you are meeting me. Candidates meet their trainers so that they can form a trustworthy relationship between them. Yes, Ms. Thakur, I will be your trainer. The second question?”
“Your name. I don’t work with strangers.”
“Bhargav Aacharya. ”
“Aacharya means teacher. And since you are going to be my teacher, I will be calling you Aacharya ji from now.”
He nods. I sign the form and hand it over to him. He gives me a small old fashioned phone.
“We will contact on this. Always keep it charged and near you!”
I nod. He called a cab for me and sewed me off. I turn back to see him walking as if on a normal stroll!
“Viru, get few groceries from the store. The list and money is on the refrigerator!”
I was home for the session break. From next week, it’s going to be our final year. I came to shop and handed over the list to the shopkeeper. He knew our address so I turned to leave but I saw empty coldrink bottles kept there and I recalled the incident from two months back. I didn’t see her after that! And then it was our intermediate semester exams. I didn’t think much about her but some objects and scenes just brings back memories. Girls with strong personality and moral grounds are impressive! It was a rare mood but I got a bottle of that coldrink and smiled.
“What if I keep the bottle?”
“I have seen you growing up here! I can spare a bottle or two for you!”
I smiled at the shopkeeper and sipped the coldrink!
“Woah! What a rare sight! Diet conscious Viraj Rai drinking soda with overloaded sugar!”
The refreshing taste in my mouth turned bitter just by hearing the voice! I wonder the kind of impact some people have! I looked at the girl in front of me. The cheat Purva! I ignored her and moved towards my house. She held my hand! I glared at her and she smirked shamelessly! How could I have been so blind not to see her true side even after knowing her since childhood!
“Move your hand! ”
“Or what? You will shout because I am teasing you?”
She smirked even more…
“Or you have to pay for your audacity as I will break this bottle on your head!”
I said calmly!
“You wouldn’t dare! You may have glammed yourself up and toughened up from outside but I know you are the same Viru who used to follow me like a love sick puppy!”
I just kept the bottle down and held her other hand. She smirked. And I tightened my grip over her. She was feeling uneasy! And then I started twisting it! She looked at me shocked and painfully!
“Well, you can see, change is the only constant! I could have easily jerked away your hand but that would have meant giving you a reaction. But I don’t give reactions to people I don’t know! And you are nothing to me! And I swear on Mahadev that I will pull your tongue out myself if you call me by the name which is used by my mother! So how about we make a deal! As our faces are evidence that each passing second is proving painful for you and disgusting for me, let’s end our misery! You leave my hand and I will leave yours! Deal?”
The word unbelievable was written all over her face but I didn’t care. Not anymore! She left my hand and I kept my side of the deal. I always have a pocket sanitizer with me so I sanitized the part she was touching right in front of her. I picked up the bottle and walked away from that betrayer! Just her presences is enough to make my mood foul! I will never be able to forgive her for what she did to me!
*2 years ago*
It was final year of our graduation. I was planning to apply for Bachelor’s in Physical Education in the same university as the faculty was really good and there was exposure! I already played for the university so getting admission wasn’t that tough for me. I just had to practice! I saw Abhi coming to practice. He was a bit disturbed!
Abhimanyu Singh. We met during the counseling for the college and clicked just then! Our interests used to match and coincidentally we ended up being roommates! He had the same plan as me so we used to stick together most of the time. He was good friends even with Purva! She and I joined this college together. Life was going smooth like a railway track! I couldn’t have asked for more! I looked at Abhi and he was a little off today. I asked him but he brushed me off. He had an extra class that day so I guessed he must have heard a good lecture so he was off. Therefore, I didn’t bother him much!
After the practice he came to me…
“What’s the plan for the evening? Let’s visit the market. I am going home for a wedding next month, I need a nice gift! And then we will eat out tonight! What say? ”
His mood got better. I was about to answer, just then Purva came there.
“Hey guys! What’s up!”
I side hugged her lightly because I was sweaty! She smiled at Abhi but he remained indifferent. That was weird! Purva continued.
“Let’s have dinner out tonight!? There’s this new cafe in the market, my roommates were really praising it! We three should visit it.”
“I have to submit an assignment before deadline Vir, else that witch wouldn’t let me live! Will meet you at the room later! Bye!”
I was startled! What happened to literally 10 seconds ago?
“Later Vir! See you soon!”
But he left before Purva could complete even his name. I looked at her. They both had the same extra class today.
“Did something happened in class?”
“Actually, it was my mistake. I was talking to him but the professor caught us yet she only punished him! He has to do the assignment twice on the same deadline! I tried to apologize to him but he wouldn’t listen! ”
I laughed! Just this matter! He is such a touchy person!
“Don’t worry, he will be normal by tomorrow! And I will transfer your sorry. Okay? ”
After I returned after dinner, I saw him sleeping on his assignment sheets! I shook my head and assembled the paper in a file and kept it on his table! At times he is worst than a child! I was tired so I went to sleep thinking about talking to him in the morning and apologizing on Purva’s behalf!
Next morning when I talked about previous day, he swiftly changed the subject, successfully diverting me! The moment we reached college, he left me as soon as Purva reached us! This kept on continuing for a week! He was normal with me but avoiding Purva! I wasn’t liking this! I was determined to sort out the matter between them! I went to Abhi when we both were free!
“Free hour? ”
“Yup bro! Wanna bounce the ball?”
“No. Want to talk instead! (He nodded) it’s about Purva!”
His expression turned sour.
“Did you see the gift I got for my cousin and his would be wife!?”
“Don’t change the subject bro! See, I know what Purva did was wrong! But she is genuinely sorry for it! Please forgive her!”
He looked at me startled!
“You’ve got to be kidding me! What exactly is she sorry for? Can you narrate please?”
I told him what I knew and he started laughing! More like sarcastically!
“Seriously Vir! Don’t you know me at all? Would I behave such over a petty issue? She told you the professor caught us talking! Do you know why we were talking?”
I shook my head. He gestured from his hand!
“Let me enlighten you! The girl was flirting with me! Not with words but physically! I was shocked and startled and was so disgusted with her that I shouted on her! And that’s when the professor heard me and that’s why she punished me!”
I wasn’t able to believe it! This cannot be real! We have been together for three years now! How could she do this to me! To my best friend! She cannot! She is so sweet and nice and good! But so is Abhi! Why would he lie to me!? What’s the truth! I wasn’t able to say a word! Abhi sighed.
“I know you love her. Even I believed her to be good but that disgusting act of her showed me her reality!”
“It could have been a misunderstanding! She would have touched you by mistake.”
“Mistake is when you touch someone’s leg with your leg and immediately move away! Not when you slide up your leg up to someone’s pocket!”
I had no words. Just then we saw Purva going towards the library. Abhi saw something and told me.
“Let’s end the issue right here… Call her and ask her whereabouts. (I looked at him) Just do as I say!”
I nodded and she said that she had an extra class so she is going to attend that and cut the phone! She lied right on my face! Abhi sighed.
He dragged me with him towards the library! It was eerily empty! We heard some weird sound! Abhi signed me to be quiet and asked me to follow him quietly! I did so! Behind a rack of books, I saw my love, making out with another guy! I felt groundless! So I stumbled over a rack and two three books fell down. They both turned towards the noise, i.e., us!
Purva was stunned! She came towards me trying to explain herself but I have never been such angry my whole life! I couldn’t bear her voice and the moment she called me Vir, I slapped her hard across her face! I was having a hard time controlling my anger! I wanted to kill her but my mother has taught me never to punish someone more than their crime! I said containing my anger…
“You are my biggest mistake and my worst investment (emotional)! I am warning you! Don’t come to me with your false claims unless you have a death wish! Abhi! I will wait for you in the room!”
I turned to leave but I heard Abhi’s voice!
“I wanted to expose you last week itself! But I had no proof! But, I knew you wouldn’t be careful enough around me and end up giving me a chance to expose you! Stay away from me and my friends! Else even if Vir wouldn’t, I would definitely kill you!”
Abhi never left my side since then. Purva’s betrayal had shocked me terribly but thanks to Abhi who was there by my side! Helped me focus and move on! It was impossible to avoid Purva completely for we were neighbours and difficult to ignore her in front of our families for they were unknown to whatever happened between us since the beginning to the end but I somehow did it! I hope she stops bothering me! My phone vibrated and I got Abhi’s text.
“Bro! Coach Bhargav has gone mad! He is starting classes after two days instead of next week! And there’s a change in schedule as well! Don’t know what that hellhound is up to now!”
I smiled at his words and was a bit relived! The sooner I go from here, the lesser I had to see her face! I went in to share the news with my mother!
To be continued