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Antisocial behaviour is a trait of intelligence in a world full of conformists.
We were doing a wrong thing to wrong people. We were completely aware.
New Kumar had stopped even the basic communication with her. We knew about him enough to know that the love was oddly placed on his head. Primarily a tapping mechanism for the world, it was being used, a web, a sucking device, a carnivorous plant rather.
We no longer wanted Shrum to wait for him. We told her a few points about his life, his struggles, his worries, his insecurities. I told her to not believe all that, since if he really was not renting his love out for charity or service to others, why was he not coming to her, asking her for a date or two or maybe even expressing his love for her. If so be it, he could have asked Shrum for her hand, nose, ears, palms, feet etc.
She nodded when she heard about him. Basically we found him capable of becoming a revolutionary thinker, a freedom loving, struggling guy, messed up by various nets thrown on him to capture his skill sets, his working and hugely amenable qualities he could harness in others. But, his life like many others was not easy and the guy was trying to stick to things he considered true, he was trying to believe people, he was trying to live.
His many friends, yet his loneliness was very striking. So many girls spoke to him, we do not know in near future, did her get married. He might have, given he was fond of some, specially believed them. His three years brings him to 2017 or 2016, from 2013. Plus Dravidian culture had lavish gifts for marriages. A Kalyan Mandayam anywhere would cost a crore for three days, they had money. Lavish gifts were a part of the system, also the way they were photographed and the marriage hoardings which came up, was different from the northern cultures.
One day, New Kumar had told “the other guy” that probably poor girls like Shrum won’t be allowed within the territories of his world and life, and his place. He had four hundred acres, New Kumar told the other guy. The other guy indicated Shrum was probably trying to be close to new Kumar for his wealth and he nodded sideways declining he would ever allow her.
Her phone was on, and my headphones were latched to my ear holes, as I tapped my fingers on my keyboard facing a huge window with a blue wall.
She was a proud pauper, no one understood that, not even the revolutionary New Kumar.
I asked Shrum to not increase his troubles and struggles anymore. Since he was not able to believe her, he was not able to see that she had taken him as a friend, respected him, tried to understand him, his actions, she was somehow depending on him. Trust, dependant feeling, friendship was what she was seeing in him. Love was not a priority, but she would have honestly considered him had he given her the chance to do so. She might have even settled with him. We were now understanding him so well. Poor guy, he kept himself busy with his meshwork and nets. That is when she gifted him a Buddha statue. We don’t know what he did with it.
Brahmi was her current craze. She had learnt it and she engraved blessings in Brahmi on it.
He took it in presence of a woman, a localite he probably trusted.
Hopes on the other hand was trying to play with Shrum’s mind, she was introducing dimensions, faculties which Shrum was slightly thinking about, she was puking out her green messy fluid on Shrum at times, New Kumar was hanging around with her around the office, he believed her.
We did not keep a tap as to where they all went and what happened to the hanging friends in hanging trees. We chopped off Hopes from our tapping device after we heard her life.
We removed New Kumar from the list. We shut them and she never went ahead to speak to him. Her confusion had impacted him badly. He suffered more than Shrum when all eyes were on him. Little information is a dangerous thing, these guys would tap Shrum’s devices and work on partial information.
Personally they did not know whom to believe.
They jumped boats, managers, directors. We however did not have all numbers, and did not tap onto everyone. So, legally we restricted ourselves to our cause, Shrum’s well being.
My sister was not able to take it any longer. She was now wishing to cut off. But, she believed me and she waited for me.
I spoke to her boss one day, told him about her. He could be fair was not my expectation and he could understand was not at all my belief. He had a good wife it seems, and a son he treasured. The son was innocent even when he was ten, was an amazing story in itself.
I learnt one thing- to be right is a choice and the choice is never very far.
So we understood that New Kumar was desperately trying to keep his job. He tried shutting Shrum off, he loathed her presence after a point and blamed her for his confusions. He despised her and I told her to segregate.
She did, he left after two more years from there. The last day he spoke to her, did not show loathing anymore, loathing towards her. Contempt was in his heart all this while. But on the last day his eyes did not have anything except a very emotional freckle. His eyes had a strange attribute, he could shut off everything from appearing on his eyes. That is disturbing, often considered evil at times. He was notorious for many actions and was impish often. But, he was not the evil, not the satan rather a man capable of becoming something greater, beyond the stars.
Emotion in his eyes was a big thing, she had not seen it ever in that way as he saw it the last day. But, as they spoke to each other, Sucheta called him over.
He went off, wavering off again.
I told Shrum he would not come back, not for love, marriage proposals at least. She had liked him, knew him but yet love could not develop perhaps, which came much later with another face from her end.
She worshipped and her worships often showed her faces but what she felt seeing those faces was how she remembered them till she met them. She had seen New Kumar’s face. She had seen the man she fell in love with also and she remembers having felt good seeing the face of the man she fell in love later, also feeling good in a slightly different manner seeing this face. But then, she had to go. He no longer had anything called faith and we knew we cannot generate faith in anyone, specially in such sceptical people who feared her very existence just because they did not understand her. They probably saw us behind her, and yet did not see us, a halo around any object is seemingly fearsome or beautiful.
Fear simplifies things often. It provokes you to flee, untangling the rope at times. But, that fear has to be your own, the fear which can protect you.
The fear which others create in you often destroys you.
You have to know where the fear comes from, always, to know if it can protect you or destroy you.
We stopped using him in our conversations, removed his thoughts probably to protect New Kumar and to leave him in peace with his inner struggles.
Sun’s ray had one day called Shrum to a meeting room. He asked her about her performance, quality, an overtly manipulative parameter. Then suddenly said,
“Any plans for marriage?”
Shrum nodded that her parents were seeing.
These burgers had picked it up from the extendable ears, since she did not directly tell anyone, anything about this topic so evidently. No one should have asked her in the first place other than her colleagues, we felt.
If colleagues asked it could be fine, but a manager seemed an oddity, a major flaw. It could be an indication that there was still more than what met the eye.
“If you marry you might be poor, less money. Will that be fine?”
Shrum kept quiet and then nodded an “yes.” Naïveté idiot, she never asked where that question came from, why, how?