Each of these is a question that’s been asked many times. Can you guess?
“What do you think, darling? Am I a good writer?”
My niece giggled as she finished reading my story and looked at me playfully.
Many people have the ability to make others follow their will. Some use their imposing physique, others use their debonair persona. Vipin had neither of these qualities, at least in sufficient quantity. But people somehow did as he wished. He didn’t deploy this trait too often, but when it came to convincing people to play football, no one was spared, especially when it was raining.
“Oh, what is that?”
I was warned by the warden about this patient’s infantile curiosity. He had warned me that this patient asks too many questions. I had rubbished his warning, for I always found children’s idiosyncrasies delightful. However, even I was put off by a balding fifty-year old’s tittering through tobacco strewn teeth.
Monsoon had finally hit New Delhi. The previous day had experienced bountiful downpour, and today’s waterworks were already underway as a drizzle drubbed softly on windows and rooftops. A young fellow rejoiced in the weather outside on the street, but Ranjit was downcast because he was under the weather.
The crowd gathered in the stands had waned. Rain had dampened the field and pushed the semi-final over to the next day, but it couldn’t dampen people’s enthusiasm. Everyone was confident that India was half-way into the World Cup final. But Ranjit had mixed emotions, and not because he had eaten a mixed salad with his favourite chicken salami, coleslaw, and olives, but which also contained artichoke and beetroot. It was because the final was the same day as his date with Bhavna. She had shared her plan the night before. The uncharacteristic vivacity in her eyes lingered in his mind.
The rains had given Delhi residents some respite by bringing down the sultriness in the air. But the atmosphere in the small bathroom was tense. Beads of sweat dripped down Ranjit’s body, for he was too late in noticing the lizard on the ceiling. The fat, multi-coloured striped creature flicked its tongue. Ranjit gulped, and heard a soft splash in the commode below.
It was raining cats and dogs when I entered the mental institute. On opening the door, the patient immediately sprang towards me. “I’m not who you think!”
There was agitation and pain in his manner and eyes.
“Tell me then, who are you?”
“I’m not who you think!”
“Well, who aren’t you?”
“The one they think I am!”
Ranjit’s near and dear ones, with the exception of Bhavna, were gathered in his apartment, waiting for the birthday boy. All preparations for a surprise bash were done. Bhavna wasn’t invited because no one except Vipin was privy of Ranjit’s affair. She was on the roof. The scope of her rifle showed a humming face with a throbbing belly resting on a bobbing motorbike about a kilometre away. She holstered her weapon and began tidying herself.