To have a hot water shower was one of Tejas’ favorite activities. Not only did it offer great relief to his muscles, it also acted as a source through which he forcefully manipulated his instincts. Now, his agenda was to restore some peace into his galloping confidence. He wanted to go to people, and gloat about his success and announce his victory. What joy would that be.

Yet, now that good luck was his- he tried to avoid doing exactly what his enemies would have expected him to do. They’d be prepared for it, some may even show their love in order to offset him from getting too ahead with the sarcasm. Society was the last thing on his mind, now that his account had been debited with all the debts it owed him. Meena would be happy for him though. He had acted slightly repuslively the past few months, only because it seemed as if the entire floor of his life had started to vibrate and he very desperately needed someone to hang onto and in that need, he had pulled so hard that it came off the wall and made the impact to the ground very hurtful.

With that thought, he dried himself and went into his room to wear the shirt he had saved for days now for this occasion. One look into the mirror, and he saw a beautiful man staring back at him. What wonders can confidence do, especially when mixed with a tinge of suppressed revenge.

***

Once down, and out into the real world- Tejas felt himself bigger and stronger amongst the numerous pedestrians and shopkeepers and motorcyclists that were there on the road. On most days, he had felt banal, only trying to get to where he wanted to be. Not today.  Today he felt like a diamond finally formed out of the gold. Today he felt like a champion who had after years of failing, won his last shot at the championship. Today he felt like the insanity that he felt was creeping up on him, had been knocked in its nose.  He looked at a child walking, he made out that he was in his own world from his expression.

Once at the traffic signal just before his destination, he decided to pull the reins on his mind. There would be people waiting for him, and he had to give the impression that he was looking forward to meet them. He tried to bring in a happy thought- just so that people see him smiling, as soon as they saw him.

***

Once on the set, which was a modern day office, Tejas took a seat next to the lead actor of the movie who was reading a script. Both nodded their heads to acknowledge each other’s presence.  Tejas had now started to observe people there. Very stereotypically, the heroine was late and there was chaos. The director didn’t look pleased, but Tejas was sure that once the heroine entered he’d greet her with the widest smile, and the heroine too would make an innocent excuse. Everyone knew what the truth was, but people still made an effort to lie. As if, the ability of lying well was a symbol of smartness and garnered respect.

Tejas, then felt his face breaking into a smile, contagiously as he saw Meena smiling back at him. With his head lowered, and smile intact he walked towards her. He made his hand into a phone, and bought inquisition in his eyes- as if to ask, ‘Why didn’t you call?’. Meena, shook her head looking straight into his eyes, and opened her purse. A bottle of wine, with a note reading- ‘Bitter wine, to make sure that the sweet taste of success doesn’t get into your head.’ exchanged hands.   Overwhelmed with gratitude, Tejas stopped smiling. ‘I’ve just been very lucky y’know, of late.’, he said.

***

The scene was clear in Tejas’ head. He just had to walk straight and drop a pen, near the heroine’s table. And smile, while picking it up. It was a subtle film, with loud characters. Tejas’ take was ‘okayed’ in one shot, and after a few confessions to the director- clearly with a lot of happiness, he was allowed to go home. After a long time, he’d enter without his keys in his pocket.

 

 

 

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