Saturday, June 02, 2007

Cleansing Souls - on a contract

(this was written for an exercise on Shakespeare and Company Network of Writers. The picture was the clue given.)


Hellooo! Hellooo ! Who is this? array kaun hai bhai? Will you speak up a bit please? I can't hear a thing over this din. Achhaa! So it is you again. Array bhai I told you na, don't call me so often. I am on it, I told you so already. Rest assured old man! This constant nagging affects the business, you see. Yes yes, I know how important it is to you. It is my business too!

What? You want an interim report? What sort of a client you are? Do you think we are one of those market research companies that ask silly questions to a few dozen people and then declare a winner of the election in a constituency of million voters, based on their 'opinionpoll'? We don't give any report shiport. No no no! No means no. Your job will be done and you will know about it when it is finished.

What? You insist? What nerve indeed! Listen old man, you have not paid me any advance yet. If I don't do your job, I don't get paid. Simple as that! What? You know I am smoking a cigarette? So you have put a spy on me, haan? So what if I am doing that? Can't a man enjoy his fag in peace?

No. Smoking certainly does not affect my image. Our clan has always indulged in much more deadly stuff. What is a ciggy compared to ganja and charas, I ask. This is India man! Not some demented country like America, which is taken over by those anti tobacco lobbyists. So put your phone down and let me enjoy my smoke.


Oh, you again? You won't rest until you get your report? So get it then, what the hell! Of course, I can swear, whatever and however I like. Now shut up and listen. I don't have time. I see a bakra coming this way.

So far in this week, I have washed thirty souls. Cleaned them of all sins, and some money too. What is wrong in that? Money is maya. Money is bad. So what if I reduced their burden of maya a bit? I have to buy my king-size Gold Flakes. And pay for this phone too. Consider it as my perk if you will. Okay? Now listen. I have to achieve my target of hundred souls a week. Yes I know that! So don't you waste my time.

But I must tell you this. River Ganga is very polluted nowadays. Almost filthy I would say. I myself have stopped taking dips long back, don't you worry about me. And I carry pure bottled water in my kamandal. But these pilgrims, I have to wash their sins. That is our contract, no?

I perform the pooja for them standing on the bank while they take their holy dip in the filthy water. So be prepared. Better make some extra room up there. Many of these cleaned souls may be already on their way to your abode.

Now you have got your report. Put the phone down and let me go clean some more souls. Ah, that group seems nice. So many ladies! Soon theywill be all wet. Bye. See you later!


(c) Rajendra Pradhan

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