14. The Letter

The world ceased to exist as it was, for him, the moment he finished, reading that piece of paper.
It was not entirely unexpected now, but with a fervent prayer, sometimes even during the daylight, he wanted to ward off that evil.

This could not have happened to him, of all, at least to him, he thought!

The hands were trembling a little, faint enough to be like the rustle of a dried Peepal leave under the summer breeze, who went by over them, saying a hello.

He kept the letter down, stooping a little, there were no thoughts right then. The words of the paper had laid siege on his mind and were not allowing any one to pass through, as if it was their right to own that moment. It was the moment for which they were born and they were not to give in till they had done, their damage.

The paper lied in front of him, half open and half closed, as if unsure that his job has been done yet or not.

He stared at it with heavy eyes, there was no anger in them, but the heaviness would have wanted to bury that piece of letter in the deepest fathoms of the sea, for the sin that it has committed. The sin of making him realise that he was mortal.

He could hear people talking around him, moving with the same gaiety, as they went by with their usual chores of the day; so oblivious of the person, now missing around them, as if he was never there with them.

He made no effort to listen to them, they felt like strangers!

He felt guilty even sitting over there, as if the right had ceased to exist, the moment he finished reading the letter. But like a mourner who keeps on hanging even after the pyre has banked, he kept on sitting there,waiting for a miracle to happen.

There was no further movement in his body, as if he was trying to save all the energy for fighting the battle that has been thrust all of a sudden to him, unprepared and caught off guard.

He sat still and pondered where to start from, he had been otherwise so sure of himself. His fingers touched the letter again, trying to make sure that it was real, for one final time.

His first of the thoughts were, was there something which could still be done? There must be something, at least for him. He never believed himself to be dispensable by a piece of paper!

He tried hard, mulling over option after option, but it was like walking down a street and getting each door slammed shut in his face, without any remorse or pity. He could not come up with any course of action.

The eyes had been resisting the foreigner, but after a brave battle, had been unsuccessful, as the first two drops of tears, fell just short of the letter, as if they wanted to take a revenge, but at the last moment changed their mind.

He did not try to control them, they were not tears of self-pity, there was nothing to be ashamed of them. They were just a couple of unfulfilled dreams, lying broken, which he foresaw to be true, in his hubris, ahead of their time.

His mobile had been buzzing with all the myriad beeps and sounds, insensitive and cruel to what has been happening around it. For the first time in his life, they did not matter to him, they could not help him in any way, in his moment of truth.

He felt guilty, for fretting away all the moments, drowning in those notifications, instead of utilising them, to be strong, for moments like these. He hates that piece of junk now.

A pall of stillness descended over him, as he switched off his mobile, this was what needed, he thought. He wished, he had done that often, perhaps he would not have been sitting here like this.

He threw open the cufflinks, on to the table, with the disgust of an object, which has nothing but a burden, carried only for the sake of vanity and has now served its purpose.

He rolled up his sleeve, like in his happier days, when he was free. They seemed like yesterday, still so distant apart.

Suddenly he felt a sudden sweep of energy tingling in his body, as if the rolling of sleeves has lifted all the gloom, the dark clouds of sadness have been swept away.

He realised that the letter actually has been that Messiah which has brought the warrant of freedom for him. An opportunity to start fresh, again. The way he always wanted to but mired in false pretences, dogmas and obligations could not.

All of these now stay vanished in front of his eyes.

With one single swift action of a man, who has never been so sure of himself, he picked that pink slip with his right hand and then wiped his eyes, taking extra care not to soil the piece of paper, on which he could now see the golden letters emblazoned, Freedom!