Continuation of The Night-IV
As I walked back that evening to my home, I noticed a beggar a few meters away from the entrance of my home under a streetlight dozing. “If this guy is a municipality agent then he should have thought up of a better disguise,” I thought to myself, because this part of the city was extremely uneconomical for his profession. There were hardly any people living around on the fringes.
I walked up the stairway to my home and spread myself on the bed, thinking about the strange encounter I had had with Corto. Suddenly a realization came to me that I was famished. My entire plan to visit Bro’s café apart from chatting up with him and K was to have dinner, which was spoiled by Mr. Corto. I decided to make do with some salad for the night.
With the kind of enlightenment Corto had provided me, I quietly walked into my office the next day and settled in my seat looking lost. I listlessly opened a file and kept gazing at the printed words for a long time and finally I had success. Buck Tooth came to me and asked, “what man you look completely lost. Is everything OK with you”?
I smiled inwardly but, kept the somber look on my countenance.
“You know I told him. I don’t know whether I can share it with you,” I said. His eyes became wide with palpable excitement. “Of course, you can trust me bro, you can tell me anything,” he said putting his hand on my shoulder and expecting a confession that would get him promotion and me jail. His hands were cold and they felt like the cold hands of death. I had a dream last night, I told him. Buck tooth looked a bit surprised.
“I saw the Sun and then I saw him dividing Himself into smaller pieces and then they descended on to the earth and turned themselves into ‘the suns’ that we see all around the city,” I said. “Since then I am having this strange feeling of being lost.
There was a slight disappointment in Buck Tooth’s face. But being a true conformist, he patted my back.
“Man come on, I think the Sun is trying to tell you something through your dream. He is saying that He is the one manifesting himself through ‘the suns’ and there is no need to wait for Him to return,” he said.
I feigned a shock . “How do you know that I am waiting for Sun to return?” I asked him.
“Something cannot be hidden my friend, uh-huh, just can’t be hidden,” he said as was his habit of repeating things, which he felt had to be driven into the minds of his listeners.
“But do you feel I had been wrong all this while,” I asked.
“Of course you were. Calling ‘the Suns’ light globs is blasphemy,” he blurted out.
Buck Tooth’s truth was out.
I showed shock and disbelief. To which he smiled an all knowing smile. After a while I softly apologized for my deeds and he seemed satisfied with my sincerity.
“See how the Sun is working. In fact he is doing many more things now through ‘the suns’ than he himself ever did,” Buck Tooth finally said believing me converted. I nodded in accent but, every drop of my blood revolted at the sick idea.
It was the same idea, which drove people to worship the light globs and forget the real Sun, the same idea which made people visit so called ‘Sun Parlour’s the same idea which made people believe that the Sun never disappeared, but had manifested in the form of light globs and the same idea which drove the people to watch their emperor parading naked through the streets, without protest. Though I could never bring myself to do what Corto had done, but I felt this great joy in what he had done on that mid-day.
The following week I reduced my overzealousness in correcting the government documents, the light globs became ‘the suns’ and through email I told both K and Bro the dream I had and how ‘that had changed my life’. They wrote back saying that they also felt that my ‘dream’ had gotten rid of their hoodwink and now they could see the truth. It was all neatly orchestrated.
One of those days Buck Tooth took me to the cafeteria, something, which he had never done since he had joined the organization and over coffee, told me that he had been shifted to another location in the organization, as the municipality felt that ‘he was no longer needed’ in our office. I acted distraught and sad, but I knew that Corto’s plan had eventually borne fruit.
We, however, still stayed on the fringes and the municipality could not care less. Bro and K also confirmed that they could not see any hangers on around their houses or places of work. Confirmation came from Corto that indeed we all had been dropped from the black list. We all heaved a sigh of relief.
It had been a while since I had visited K and Bro. So I set up an appointment with them at Bro’s café.
As I have mentioned, Bro’s café’s real name was The Sunshine Café. The owner of it was more like a Bro and therefore it became Bro’s café for me and K. The only other person who called it Bro’s café was Corto. One day he told me that he visited the café for some snacks, but was surprised to find there was nowhere to make a payment. So to make up for it he worked as a waiter for some time at the café. Great people are made up of different stuff, I told myself.
The owner of the cafe, Bro. But he was much more than just a Bro, a friend, philosopher and guide a person to whom we would go for solace. He was tall, large man with spiky hair with small eyes. He was dark and we knew he was one of those few persons who understood the Sun the best.
We would joke that he grew dark cause of his proximity to the Sun. His was a free café. Anybody could come and have anything he or she wanted and just walk out without even saying thank you. Many people had done it in the past and were still doing it, but it never bothered him. He seemed always happy. Many people from the municipality had also come and free lunches with their families and had just walked out without bothering anything about the café. It was free and that is what mattered to them. Whenever we expressed our resentment to Bro, he would just smile.
Sometimes we would just ask, “so when is the Sun coming back?”. “Whenever you wish…What are you saying, he is very much here,” he would say pointing to the light globs at a distance. Our frustration brewing with such an answer, I would look at K and we both would jump at him and wrestle him to the ground. But on some other occasions, when he would fight back there was not much hope for us. Ha you fellows, you cannot beat me he would declare. On many occasions K would be a mere onlooker and let me fight with Bro all by myself and in a few moments I would find myself on the mat.
We knew that Bro was one of the few people who knew. We also knew that those who knew would never speak. Initially after the eclipse we would keep asking him when the Sun would return and he would give a specific date. When the date passed, he would give a new one, things went on like this and we finally understood that though he knew he would never reveal it to us. So our questions about the Sun’s return grew less and we would just visit him for an occasional chat.
We felt like those lost travelers on a cold December night seeking a place for rest warmth and then huddling around a brightly burning fire which appeared from nowhere.
+ + +
Years passed with each passing day of the year the feeling of sadness grew. Sometimes I would have dreams of being lost in a dark cave, where I could not see anything or be heard. I would suddenly then wake up all sweaty, pop some of my drugs and then go back to sleep. Time passed at a languid pace and without a care for anybody. It seemed it had also joined the conformists.
But then on a spring morning I got a call from Bro.
To be continued…