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Monday, July 6, 2020

The Haunted Pajama!


The boss asked me to come around 8 in the evening. Actually, he was not my boss, but one of my good friend’s. Once when I visited my friend in his office it so happened that the boss came to him on a query, and since I was sitting in his cubicle, he introduced me to the boss—a painter by profession, that is to say.  The boss seemed to like me at the very first instance asking me to come to his chamber for a cup of tea. Lively discussions ensued on creative arts, paintings, the market for artistes and so on. I found him to be open-minded and devoid of any air or ego. So, in a way, I liked him too—at the very first instance, that is to say.

Later on, I learned from my friend that the boss, in fact, was a very influential person in society and had tremendous contacts. Considering my not-too-healthy artistic pursuits in recent times my friend planted an idea in me: why not approach him for some references, he resides in a posh housing society—just 10-minute walk from my residence. To tell the truth, I needed some connections and references to be able to hold a solo exhibition in the best art gallery of the city and also to take things further in selling my paintings. Naturally then, I clutched at the idea like the proverbial straw.

I visited the boss again in his chamber on the pretext of meeting my friend and with lots of beating-around-the-bush I finally raised the subject of somewhat seeking a favor from him. To put me at ease he was very encouraging and told me that a famous cultural figure lives in one of the apartments of this society; he promised to take me to him. He asked me to give him a call before coming, preferably on week-ends.

I called him several times in the recent weeks, but always he found an excuse to not being able to do that on that day. Although I was a little put-off and frustrated and although I was not used to seeking or getting favors in my existential struggles I did not give up. And finally, today he calls me home, and will take me to the great personality. That was some solace to my sense of self-dignity; I looked forward to the promised meeting.

I pressed the doorbell of his first-floor flat, and I was ushered in by a housemaid. After about ten minutes he appeared beaming at me and dropped himself on the sofa from a considerable height. He was clad in a home-stitched traditional white pajama with a white vest tucked into it. Well, I ponder, it must be because of the humid heat. However, I continue with my thoughts, I do hear a mild whirring sound of ACs in operation inside: as I look around, I see an AC in this sitting room too, but not operating, and the ceiling fan gyrating rather too weakly. Well, I continue still, perhaps the boss avoids expensive ways of treating guests, particularly a non-profitable guest like me. But in any case I was a little disappointed at not finding him ready.

As he continued smiling at me in a rather worryingly relaxed way I managed with a gentle query, “Sir, how is everything? …are we going to see him presently?”
“Oh yes, definitely. But there is no hurry as such, he is as nocturnal as me. Ha! Ha!” he bellowed in the same nonchalant way. And he started chattering on a variety of subjects, often not waiting for my response.

After nearly an hour of inanities and my growing impatience he exclaims suddenly, “Ah! It’s so hot and humid! I really need a bath! Would you mind if I do?”
“Not at all Sir! Please do!” I replied with the inner-me not at all supporting my response.

Half an hour later, around 9.30 in the evening now, he came back and occupied the sofa in the same way. I was confounded finding him in the same dress—pajama, and the vest tucked in. And there begun another session of banter, my impatience slowly giving way to boiling anger. Another half-hour elapsed when he exclaims again, “Oh damn it! I feel very hungry now. We’ll surely go to him, but let him also have his supper. Please bear with me…I must!” He withdrew to the dining room inside. For a fleeting moment I considered storming out. But controlled myself hoping for action finally. I continued sitting there, and I was not welcomed even with a glass of water.

Just before 11 in the night he entered the sitting room again fondly caressing his belly; again, he was clad the same way with the drawstring cord of his pajama dangling out dangerously; again, he crashed into the velvety sofa, overwhelmingly relaxed and again he started one more session of inanities. I could hold it no longer.

About perhaps a ton of ire had been accumulating like phlegm at the middle of my stomach; now it surged up in great fury and it was thanks to my best of efforts that I could allow it only to scratch at my throat and stop dead there. The efforts made my countenance rather distorted as I felt my lips curling up gnawing both jaws and my eyes almost bulging out. I somehow managed, “Forget it for today…it’s got quite late. Good night!” I moved towards the main door without waiting for his response.
“No…no…dear fellow! We can still make it...but if you insist let’s do it next time. Please call me…!” the boss’s voice trailed off as I stormed out.

Although I was exhaling and inhaling only fury and a temper of the highest order, I couldn’t stop myself from laughing out like a mad man on the way back home. I pitied aghast at my apparent helplessness and surrender and pondered why at all. Well, I decide, one should never do things against one’s wishes; one must be on one’s own at all times, odd or even…and keeping exchange of favors at bay. 

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