Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Buttons buttoned. Shirt tucked in, ironed smooth like his manner. Hair parted. Clean shaven. He was the suit wearing, democracy-loving, above-average, rich, young, and successful American man. They swooned when they saw him on the television, when they met him on the street. They had fallen in love with him without meeting him, they trusted him without knowing him, and they believed every lie that came out of his mouth. All he has do was flash his smile. 

But something was wrong.

He was too perfect, teeth too perfectly aligned, hair too perfectly combed, body too perfectly toned. There was something unsettling about him. He could not have been made by God, for God never bothered with the finer details, and his finer details were finer than anyone else's.
And yet today he was worried. 

For the first time in his life, in his massive air-conditioned office, as he sat behind his desk, staring at the pile of paperwork that lay before him, he started sweating. 'There is too much work for me', he thought, 'Even I am not capable of all this work.'  

The phones rang, all at the same time. Mr. Jones on line 1, Mr. Owen on line 2, Mr. Johnson on line 3. 'Sir, I need you to go through this paperwork', his secretary said, 'Also, your 5.00 appointment has been shifted to 4.30. Oh, and your wife called. She expects you home by 7.00 tonight.'
Outside, the traffic was getting noisier and noisier. Horns blaring away, abuses hurled back and forth, everything becoming louder and louder, threatening to reach some sort of climax, but just when it seemed to, only ignoring it and going further on.
'I need time, I need time.', he moaned, and without thinking, he closed his eyes, and for the first time in life, he prayed.

Suddenly, all the noise and chaos from everywhere dissapparated. His paperwork was no longer in front of him. The room was dark as night, silent, and it was bare, the only inhabitant being him, his chair, and his now empty desk. 

And then it happened. 

A ring of fire formed around him, seemingly engulfing the office, but in reality, whatever that was, somehow not causing any harm. Someone stood before him. Satan. He leaned over until his face was a breath away from his.

'What do you need?'
'I need time. I need the world to stop, I need time to think.' 
Satan smiled. 'You have five minutes.'
The clouds turned black, covering the sky, covering the world, and at one particularly spot, seemed to be sucked outwards, a big hole forming in the sky. The heavens had retreated. God had forsaken humanity. He could not help anymore.

He opened his eyes. Everything was stuck. Water in mid air going into his glass. His secretary tripping, about to fall, someone about to help her, someone laughing. Cars stuck in a silent traffic jams, noone honking, but everyone looking upset and angry. Two lovers in each others arms, in a passionate embrace, held together by time.
But he could move. He did not bother to be awestruck. There was no time for disbelief. He only had 5 minutes until time started again.
When his work was done, his sweat evaporating, his calm, confident manner reappearing, he smiled as he glanced at his watch, only to see it stuck. But still, surely five minutes must be over by now?

And then realized the horrible truth. 

Time was stuck, and five minutes would never be over! And he withdrew into a little corner, praying for forgiveness but hearing no answer, praying for mercy but only hearing a cruel laugh instead. 'I only gave you what you wanted. I stick to my word, you know. You have five minutes.' 

And he saw himself grow old in his office, submitting to the wrinkles that cut his face open, with everyone else staying the same, waiting patiently for their turn to grow old, waiting for five minutes, waiting for eternity.


blinknmiss said...

Part Dorian Gray, part Harvey Dent. Not bad at all.

Where've you been all this time?

Indrajit Dutta said...

Smooth.The pieces fall into place very well.

Dhrubo said...


Dhrubo said...


joey said...

this is the feeling i get everytime i see obama somehow.

Aditi B said...

nice work Mr Das- work that will be remembered...