Sunday, December 10, 2006

Shikandi - The Meeting

Shantilal Gupta stood before him, a smile in his eyes. Shelu politely extended a hand in greeting. He noticed that his hand trembled. Shantilal Gupta, swatted his hand aside and embraced him. Shelu felt like a little boy, for the first time in his life. He felt the seconds tick by like minutes. He almost felt faint. He did not understand why. He’s only an MLA, thought Shelu to himself.

And then Shelu felt it, deep within. It was a silent roar of anger and violent fury that rose from the depths and the remote recesses of his mind. Murderous fury seemed to emanate from his soul. Shelu almost gasped as he felt his arms tighten and his muscles flex.

And then Gupta released him. Shelu realized he was standing on tip toes. The emotion that had welled up inside him, urging him to action, appeared to raise him off his feet. And then their eyes met. For a fleeting moment a shadow crossed Gupta’s eyes…a shadow of recognition. A shadow of remembrance. He shook his head, almost to himself, as if dispelling a memory, a face, a person.

As suddenly as it cam, Shelu felt his anger recede. Shelu almost sank to his knees and had to steady himself from falling.

Gupta reached forward to steady him. “Take it easy, my brother. Its not time for twilight. Rest only when your deed is done…”.

“…And you are surrounded by greatness”, completed Shelu. The words almost stung his lips as he mentioned them. He did not know their significance, but he knew that he had ended a verse.

“Oh, dear friend”, said Gupta his eyes wide in astonishment. “You have read the great poet Kalidasa, have you?”

Shelu had only heard of Kalidasa. He had never read his poetry. But he simply nodded his head in affirmation.


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