He is a former colleague who also claims to be a friend. I met him during my first tenure of employment in the city I live and work in at present, which was about 10 months ago. He appeared ‘clean’ at first, but had started slipping in comments that appeared inspired by ‘them‘, of late, into our conversations.
That day was a Sunday and he had come over ostensibly to use my laptop to apply for jobs, since he doesn’t have a computer and is looking for a job change. Afterwards, he asked if I wanted to join him for a walk, to which I agreed.
During the walk, he suggested that we go a particular way and then rejected his own suggestion. So, we went another way that we also take often during our walks. We kept chatting as we walked on, until we reached a particular junction and he said he wanted to take a turn to go to a particular bank’s head office nearby, which also happens to have an ATM machine. It struck me immediately what he was up to, but I played along.
There often is a guard with a metal detector at the gate and he had obviously been instructed by ‘them’ to see if I would pass through the security check, just to confirm if I was carrying a concealed weapon on my person, such as my ‘Moola‘. When we reached the gate, he placed a hand on my shoulder and said, “Aao.” (Come.) and, just as expected, the guard at the gate also stepped forward with his hand-held metal detector. I decided to let him and his newly found mentors guessing though, and politely refused, saying that I would rather wait for him at the gate as I didn’t require to withdraw any cash.
There have been many others like him before, whom I have met over the past 4 years and 8 months (since I filed my first complaint against ‘them’), who started off fine but decided to sell their souls to the devil at some point later. In fact, that has been the case with almost every one I have met in this city.
This dramatic change in relationships has not been limited to those I met after ‘they’ came into my life though. Some people I have known since childhood have also decided to cross over to the other side, though they would never openly admit as much and it would obviously take a lot to make them confess their allegiance to ‘them’. The fact that I don’t have any solid evidence, although I am sure of my instincts, wouldn’t help either, I suppose.
However, when I think about it, I just smile and take solace in Guru Gobind Singh’s words:
“meiN hooN param purakh ko daasa, dekhan aayo jagat tamaasha”
(I am a servant of the Supreme Being;
and have come to behold the wonderful drama of life.)
I leave it to all such people who have chosen to betray me to come clean with what they are really up to, as and when they wish to.
P.S.: There have been some notable exceptions as well, and I should not forget to mention them. Some people I met in the city I was stationed in before this one chose to remain neutral, even though some of their friends or relatives were on the ‘other’ side and I still appreciate their stance.