He woke up groggy; alcohol at the party. And she was there, his ex, but he felt nothing for her, just an indifference.
And sure enough there was a message from her, “Hi, was nice seeing you yesterday. I saw no hate in your eyes for me after what happened. It should have felt good but it hurt me deeply. I realized that i wanted you to hate me because then i would have meant something to you. You made me realize the opposite of love is indifference. Hate is also holding the person close to your heart.”
It brought tears to his eyes.
“Are you scared of ghosts?” she asked him.
“I am more scared of the living dead.” he answered promptly.
“The living dead?” she probed further.
“Have you heard the news of people killing animals for fun? Crackers in a fruit that killed an elephant? Dogs strung by a rope and dragged around? The ones who do this are the living dead. They have no feeling. Now tell me what is more scary, a soul without a body or a body without a soul?”
She stared at him speechless.
“It’s easy for you bro!” his friend said to him over a drink.
“What do you mean?” he countered.
“You are successful, i am not. I have to prove myself!” the friend explained, deeply melancholic.
He took a sip of his scotch and then lovingly said, “You know, this proving thing does not end. First you prove yourself so that the world takes notice of you, then you have to prove yourself everyday so that they don’t stop noticing. Believe me, the fight to attain will pale in front of the fight to retain!”
The moderator told the students, “We have time for only one more question. Our guest needs to leave.”
A girl in the back row raised her hand and was handed the microphone, “Sir, you are one of the most successful entrepreneurs of our time. What would be your parting message?”
The guest smiled and said, “I will tell you a secret, i never believed in destiny. Life is all about choices. Chose wisely. The future is nothing but a consequences of your decisions.”
The old Sufi lay on his bed, slowly dying, and yet through all his pain he could see her pain.
“What troubles your mind?” he asked her.
She sighed and said, “You had forseen that i would find my soul mate but so many years later, nothing.”
The Sufi had a raspy laugh, “You are not looking” he said.
“Of course i am, everywhere!” she responded indignantly.
The Sufi shook his head, “To look for the soul mate, you have to look with your soul. All around me i only see bodies looking for bodies.”
“Why have you stopped meditating?” the master asked his disciple.
“Cause it did not help.” the disciple replied.
The master was appalled, “Did not help?”
The disciple nodded, “I figured that meditation, intoxication, entertainment, these are all ways to escape this life. The answers to the problems of this life are in this life. There is no escape.”
The master found himself unable to respond.
The little girl climbed on to her father’s lap and said, “Dad, i am afraid of the dark.”
The father looked at her lovingly, “That is natural. But the dark is God’s gift to us.”
The little girl stared at her father, confused, “Why a scary gift Dad?”
The father laughed, held her close and said, “You are not afraid of the dark, you are afraid of the unknown in the dark. And the dark is like life, filled with the unknown. So God gave us the dark to get ready for life. When you vanquish the dark you will be ready for the challenge called life.”
“Both you guys work all day and he travels a lot and yet it seems like you just met. So much romance?” her friend asked a tad jealous.
She nodded, “That’s true. It does feel like that.”
The friend probed further, “What’s the secret. Please tell me.”
She giggled like a school girl and said, “He tells me he loves me when i don’t expect it. Out of the blue.”
The friend could not believe that.
“That’s it?” she asked surprised.
She smiled and blushed a bit, “That’s it.”
“Dad i just hate this watchman, he is so lazy!” she complained to her father.
“You don’t hate him. You dislike him. Hate is too strong a term.” her father adviced her.
“What’s the difference?” she asked with shrug.
He put his newspaper away and said, “When you grow up you will know the difference. You will know that more often than not, hate is a kind of love gone wrong.”
She rolled her eyes and disappeared into the room but the father did not pick the newspaper up.
She tendered her resignation to the news channel editor.
“Why? You are very good. You can go places.” the editor said.
“I wanted to be in a news channel sir not in an entertainment channel!” she said summoning her courage.
The editor laughed, “Of course its entertainment. The juicier the news the more entertaining it is.”
She shook her head, “No sir, not juicier, the more tragic the news. Being here i have realised that one person’s tragedy is another’s entertainment.”
The editor was stunned into silence.
“I am sorry, i really am but…. ” before she could finish her friend cut her off,
“I don’t think you should apologize.” she said.
“Why not, i love him.” she emphasized.
“That is the point. In a relationship when you apologize, to keep the peace and not because you are wrong, you empower the other person to continue being the asshole that he is. Don’t do that. Don’t be wrong willingly when you are right.”
She knew her friend was right.
“We were ready with the concept, why did you say we would brain storm and get back?” the young advertising executive asked his senior.
“It was too fast. Wouldn’t have value.” the senior responded.
“What does that mean?” the young man prodded.
The senior smirked, “In a quiz contest if you answer fast you are clever. When asked for advice, if you take time you are wise. In this world the time you take to answer denotes intelligence, not the answer. So we should be intelligent enough to sell the perception of intelligence.”