Disclaimer: At first, let me make it clear; I do not smoke, and do not promote the same. In fact, I dislike smoking, and request you to discontinue smoking, if you smoke. Some strong language has been used. But, the work is not solely reserved for adults.
Note: Smoking is used as a metaphor for insignificant grief. The person referred to as “Brother” is in fact a part of the narrator’s mind which tries to argue with him. I will be very happy to explain any part of this work, if you did not understand. Just post your remarks, doubts, etc. in the comments!
“Give me a cigarette”, I said.
-“Why, what’s the matter?” Brother said.
“Ah! Now, even you have started asking me questions. Good grief. Just give me a damn cigarette”, I groaned.
-“You, yourself know it very well, smoking is not good for you”, Brother sounded worried.
“Yes, I know you know what’s good for me but for heaven’s sake, give me a ticket to hell”, I said.
-“Why is it a girl?”
“If it were a girl would you have not noticed? Also, you know it very well, that I am not good at running behind sweet girls. I say things on their faces, and they reject me back, that too on my darn face.”
-“Tell me your stories around girls again”.
“That way I’ll be busy with old memories, and the cremation of a cigarette, will be postponed! Amazing idea, I must say!”
– “Alas! You know me better than I do myself.”
“If you wish to listen to the stories for real, and not just as a mere way to stop me from smoking, then I am prepared to tell the tales. The tales, without a knight, with no evil witches, without a single King, Demon, or talking lions. The story of a boy, a girl, who were, by any means, not in any form of love. A story of two people so similar, they repelled each other!”
-“In that very thought of no characters being magical, in any way, there is tragedy! Is there not? The tales I had heard from you for so long, the ones after narrating which you drenched my shoulders, I know them, and rather I must. Don’t tell me, for they make you sad. And your sadness is what makes me weep at night. Just say me, how is life? What makes you wish to take a plunge near the lava of hell? Life is all about hardship, where no one is a winner, just like a battle, I know it.”
“The life, my dear, is not a battle, it’s a theater. In this theater, on the stage, you act alone. Not a single human sits as an audience, but the living and dead skeletons of the actor himself watch him act. Occasionally, in the spring, come some humans remove the dark skeletons, to seat themselves in front of the stage. But Lo! You realize they were just playing the role of audience. Once, their scenes are over, they depart, and the skeletons dance with joy, but never on the stage, happy to claim their seats back. The light on the stage kills them forever.”
-“Who brings back the skeletons?”,
“Invisible vultures dig up their graves, pick up each and every bone of theirs, assemble all the skeletons with great care, and fly them back to the theater, where I am doing the playing the role of a comic relief.”
-“Any remedy to chase the vultures away?”
“Yes, I know the best, rather the only remedy.”
-“Then why do you let the damned vultures, the prisoners of hell, trouble you?”
“The remedy is to slit my throat!”
-“Here, my dear, smoke it. I lit it for you. The weather is cloudy. It may rain any moment now. The skeletons are impatient and hungry.”