Glaring Shadow - A stream of consciousness novel (Part 2, page 1 of 4)


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Part 2

Glaring Shadow

He had the soul of our times, and is the namesake of many. He tamed success by the scruff of its neck, only to fuel envy in our neighborhood. When it seemed there was no stopping him, fate dealt him a deadly blow in his early sixties. Besides losing his wife, son and daughter-in-law with their children in that fatal road mishap, he found his leg mangled in the debris of that Ferrari. The intensity of the pity all felt for him seemed to match the magnitude of his loss, but as he became a recluse, his thought eluded all, and in due course, his tragedy became a thing of the past. But, in time, his intriguing behavior brought him back to the top of the page three in the local media – why he had disposed off his lucrative real estate for a song that left the realtors in the lurch. And as if to create a newsflash in the business world, he had off-loaded his considerable stockholding, which sent the bulls running for cover in the country’s bourses. Soon, even as the scrip was still crunching in the bear hug, the closure of his umpteen bank accounts earned him the national headlines, as it heralded a first rate liquidity crisis in the country’s banking system. But even in that gloomy setting, it cost me a fortune to acquire his palatial bungalow the outhouse of which he had retained.

When I called on him for chitchat that morning, I was shocked to see him shredding mounds of money lying beside him. Unmindful of my protests, as he picked up another wad of notes, I snatched it from him as if it were the money I paid through my nose. However, getting hold of another set, when he resumed his destructive regimen, I said it was absurd that the toil of a lifetime should be laid waste thus. Maybe, to clear my vision as well as to set his mind at rest, he unwound himself, which I would rewind for man to readjust his clock of life. But then why not reveal his name when he is worth writing about? It’s because, the value of this tale lies not in his name, hallowed though, but in the hollowness of life he had led that is even as his name became a synonym for fame. However, if someone were to guess who it is, so be it.

“My tragedy brought to the fore the falsities of life,” he began melancholically. “How sickening it was to sense the anxiety of those to step into the shoes of my lost heirs. If only they stopped at that, and not stooped further, wouldn’t I have taken them as the necessary evils of my aimless life! But they began to believe that they had a case for cause of action to file a suit in the court for their share in the spoils of my life. Let them go in for a writ if they want to, how I care now. What is the injunction they are going to get from the court but to maintain the status quo. Better still if the court were to grant them this shredded stuff; won’t that save me the bother of scavenging it. But then, why blame them? How I failed to see that the self-worthy will not ingratiate themselves, and that it is the self-serving that cater to the egos of the egotists. Won’t the upright seem arrogant to the egotistic, served by the servility of the spongers. Oh, by letting success go to my head, how I began to condescend to descend to the principled folks, who tend to occupy the middle order. Didn’t Napoleon say, ‘The surest way to remain poor is to be an honest man” and, anyway, they are few and far between as Shakespeare had averred “Ay, sir; to be honest, as this world goes, is to be one man picked out of ten thousand”.

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