A big, sprawling farm house covering five thousand square feet area, in a plot of three acres. On the northwest corner, backside of the house and far away from the national high way, under the old banyan tree. It was cold, shivering to the core. Camp fire was glowing, throwing splinters of orange pink towards the sky. It was nearing midnight and from somewhere close by a frog was croaking. Maybe the frog doesn’t know that it is not supposed to croak in winter.
Pappu was lying on his side, taking support from the lumps of the banyan roots. Bluish green smoke was emanating from the long chillum. Sitting opposite of him was his uncle, friend, mentor Diggy. He sat there like a sadhu in deep Samadhi. Dew deposited over his naked bald head was shining like pearls in the orange glow of fire. He took deep breath and exhaled in short, but robust bursts. Disturbed at the tyre burst sounds, Pappu opened his eyes and looked at his mentor. The effect of weed could be seen in his insomniac eyes. He looked at Diggy in amusing way before he spoke.
Pappu enquired “Hey Mamu, Can you fart from nose too?”
Diggy stopped exhaling and looked at Pappu, the way butcher looks at the goat, just before sprinkling water over its throat. Then he sighed. A real deep sigh. “This is not farting Pappu” he replied. Twitching his forehead, he explained “This is a breathing technique to freshen up one’s mind”.
Pappu laughed. He laughed so loud, the frog feared at his laugh and stopped croaking. “If breathing freshens up the mind, what the weed would do?” Pappu questioned Diggy. “Will you leave the thinking to me?” Diggy shouted annoyingly. Pappu looked at Diggy like a cat that was ready to leap onto its prey.
For a moment, Diggy feared. He remembered last such incident when Pappu tore off a piece of meat from his shoulder, by the sheer power of his jaws.
“Well, Beta Pappu” he started pacifying the excited young man who was old enough to be called uncle by teenagers. ‘What I meant was…, Hmm… In fact I was trying to think how should we block the parliament for one more day? I mean, I was on the verge of finalising the way, when you suddenly pulled me out of trance”. Though he gave a reply, Diggy’s heart was still beating at hundred.
Pappu looked in a disinteresting way. “I won’t go to the dome tomorrow” he declared. “I’m bored. Rather, I better act in a film, where I can get some cheers. Not under the dome. Everyone there belittles me. Even out own guys”. He took a long puff; so long a puff, Diggy felt Pappu may be inhaling entire Delhi pollution.
“No. Pappu, you should not feel so. You are improving. In fact, you were brilliant today” Diggy spoke encouragingly. “You were on all channels. There were many tweets on you. And the timing. It was excellent”. Exhaling like a coal fired rail engine, Pappu asked “Did I speak at the dome? I mean, today?”
“Yeah. You told the press that even the Prime Minister is personally terrified of you. And you said it like, well, quite like a style statement. You made you Momma proud today.” Diggy replied.
“Did I make Momma proud? Really?” the tone of Pappu was exciting and he continued with another drag. After venting out another cloud of blue black smoke he asked “What did I say”.
“You said you have proof of PM’s involvement in corruption”.
‘Oh! Really. How nice I was. Then, Mamoo, do we have proof with us”?
Diggy smiled; almost like Shakuni smiled before advising Duryodhana on playing dice. “We have few newspaper cuttings and some reports from one Fiesta’s website”.
Pappu looked hard at Diggy. “Mamoo, tell me. Do really newspaper cuttings count for evidence”? He paused and looked at sky, in a melancholic mood. “You too think I am a fool. No”?
Diggy sensed the mood had turned into a tragic one. He got up and went to Pappy. He could see eyes swelling. Pappu was hurt. Diggy wiped the streak of tears from Pappu’s eyes. Pappu said in a slow tone “I know what they all think of me. But, if you too think like them, I felt hurt”.
Diggy sat on his knees and said “No Pappu! Brave men don’t cry. You are not a fool. Don’t you remember how Yug Purush foolded Delhi public by waving many newspaper cuttings, citing them as proof against our Aunty? He did won. Didn’t he? Then, what is wrong if you use the same tactic? Anyway, the means doesn’t matter. The goal matters”. He stopped pep talk and observed his pupil for a moment before proceeding further. “You did really well today. Just before the parliament assembled, you accused PM of corruption. Declared you’ve proof against him. Well in time, before our spoons got the parliament adjourned again”.
Pappu glanced at him for a while before turning his head away.
Diggy continued. “Pappu, my boy. Just another day. Tomorrow is the last day of winter session. From the day after you can have long vacation in Thighland. Just repeat same performance tomorrow also. For Mamu’s sake and for Momma’s sake”
Pushing Diggy down, Pappu rested his head in his lap and started another long drag. After polluting the total farm house plot, he said “Only one more day. And I need a month’s holiday”. He closed his eyes and said “If you disturb me during my vacation, I will show you what I am capable off”. He smiled himself, before slipping into coma, oops… sleep.
Diggy sat there. All alone. With one hand on Pappu’s head, patting. Another one on his own head, shaking the dew away. He sighed, and resumed his short bursts of breath. He needs to clear his mind that was polluted by the exhale of Pappu.