There was purpose in his stride as he walked into the crowd. Draped in pristine white attire and sporting a radiant smile, he was exuding an air of divine calmness. He stopped momentarily and glanced over the faces…and then his eyes darted towards me. At this point, I noticed a halo around his head.
‘Who is he, and why is he searching for me?’ there were questions burning inside my mind as he walked over and stood towering over me. With an unwavering smile, he held out his hand and a piece of paper appeared in it.
“God, is that you?” I muttered.
“Your bill, sir,” he implored. A preposterous response from someone I revered all my life.
‘Yes, it’s unfortunate that people have turned into atheists, but is the situation so grim that God has to give up all hope and start serving liquor in a pub (to the same mortals who have dethroned him), following in the footsteps of that Hindi movie character who becomes an auto rickshaw driver after his business partner swindles him? Not acceptable from someone who has been entrusted with so much responsibility. He should be up there in the sky hurling that wandering planet from the trajectory of earth…or is it Superman’s job now? Gosh, how much he shirks responsibilities! Fine, at least, he can do something human resourcish, like providing employment opportunities to people, even though it looks like he is struggling a bit here with his own employment.’
I looked up. His head was still surrounded by the halo, ‘Yes, cynics would dismiss this phenomenon stating that it’s the toilet light, from the far corner, reflecting on his head, but if we had looked at everything from cynics’ eyes then half the world would have committed suicide by now (they even call me dumb. Would you believe that?). Anyway, let’s get it from the God’s mouth.’ I resumed my direct conversation with God, “So, how come you are here…I mean, descended on earth?”
“Ummm, well, we are closing but I can take your last order if you want,” he replied hesitantly. The toilet door slammed shut behind him and the halo disappeared from his head.
‘Nah, he cannot be God because God, as the name suggests, is someone whose primary objective is to play pranks with our lives. So, if at all he serves me a drink, he would probably spike it with laxative. This benevolent person standing in front of me can only be a waiter.’
“Yeah, get me something nice…and cheap,” I looked into oblivion. An elusive face off with God remained unaccomplished.
“Sure, Sir. As of now, it’s 8 pints, 6 vodka with cranberry, 6 tequila shots, 5…” clearly, he identified a conflict between my ability and willingness to comply with their norms which included monetary transaction upon completion of the service. And hence, he decided to drop a hint.
“That’s impressive, but I am not particularly interested in your sales figures; let’s just discuss my bill.” I interrupted him.
“That’s what you have ordered as of now, sir,” divine smile continued to permeate his face as he pronounced some devastating facts, “and the total is eleven thousand five hundred…”
DJ was playing the last track of the evening as people started to leave that place. It all exploded into a chaos (DJ’s choice of music could have acted as a catalyst), and there was chaos inside my head as well. I was finding it difficult to relate to my surroundings. The rationale behind those outrageous charges would have been vehemently questioned only if I could muster up a valid form of verbal expression to complement my gaping mouth.
“I have made a separate bill for your friend,” he pointed his finger to an object sitting next to me. He then lowered his voice, “Or, shall I combine all into a single bill?”
“Does he look like my friend?” I maintained the same voice level, ‘Damn, I could have bought a second hand scooter with this money.’
I watched as he proceeded to get my drink and then turned towards my friend, “Why don’t you settle my bill? Remember, I gave you a treat in the evening?”
“An egg puff from the roadside bakery. Was that a treat?” he retorted as he guzzled down something which I wished was laxative this time.
‘And they say people become generous after few drinks.’ I turned my gaze back to oblivion.
The waiter appeared again with his perpetual smile (which, by then, appeared to be a congenital anomaly), “Hope you had a great time,” which could have been loosely paraphrased as – ‘Enough for today. Go elsewhere, if you are not done yet.’
‘How am I supposed to go home? And how did I come here?’ – trivial questions but can be quite traumatic if mulled over at 3 O’clock in the night.
“Let’s go. I need to watch the highlights of today’s match. Will drop you on the way.” the object which the waiter referred to as my friend stated matter of factly as he started collecting his belongings from the bar counter (he looked more like a burglar grabbing unattended jewelry. The only precious item in his possession, though, was a piece of tissue paper.).
‘Who the hell gave him driving license?’ I looked at him in great disbelief, ‘It seems like a miracle that this swinging and swaying object had actually driven a vehicle few hours ago.’
Of course, his intent was noble, but a right intent doesn’t always translate into a desired action, especially when both intent and action are influenced by copious amounts of beverages.
‘Two options,’ I donned my analyst’s hat again –
A) Leave the place with a potential killer.
B) Walk home, keeping a flexible approach towards preferred mode of death.
Hmmm… tough call.’
Owing to his persevering nature, he eventually managed to get up on his feet after couple of failed attempts.
“The floor moved a bit, is there an earthquake?” he looked around.
“Everything is steady except you.” I reassured him.
As we proceeded towards the exit door, he stumbled again, but with another acrobatic maneuver, he brought himself back to a vertical position; I walked towards the auto stand.
……………………to be continued.