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Equanimity

Tags: greed, crime, karma

I had set a friend a plot: Sand Mafia, Royal Enfield, Beer Pitcher, Pigeon Racing. My take on it

His mind was filled with very churlish thoughts as he willed his 5 year old, rickety motor bike to scale one of steepest bridges in the city. He cursed life for being unfair, his parents for being just and honest and cursed himself for being a spineless coward. He wanted to be filthy rich. This he knew even before he had learnt to spell the word poverty. But he had to take the longer route to get what he wanted. Study hard, work hard but spend less and enjoy less to save more. On the other hand, his cousin who didn’t complete high school has now bought a very swanky car, and was treating him today in the poshest pub in town. It was an open secret that his cousin was operating on the wrong side of the law. But it was a revelation to him, that his cousin was at least not a curmudgeon, and was willing to share his fortune with the less fortunate.

His cousin was already there, at the pub, waiting for him. He had not ordered anything and gave him the drinks menu as soon as he sat down. Being a finance professional it didn’t take him much time to spot the most costly drink, which is always featured on the top right corner of any menu card. He ordered a pitcher of lager. This was his revenge, making his cousin shell out as much money as was decently possible. A pitcher has 1.5 liters. When .25 liters had been consumed, he realized that his cousin was as greedy as him, and he would do anything to make even more money. At .5 liters down, they both decided to get into a venture together, a new bold venture, where risks were high and the rewards were higher. Another .5 liters down the ideas began to get outrageous.

“Let’s cultivate marijuana “- “Humph! I don’t even have enough place in my dingy single bedroom apartment to keep a single pot of cactus”

“Let’s cook Meth”- “I am a school dropout and you were so bad in chemistry that your science teacher made special arrangements to change you to Humanities stream”

Another .25 liters down, and two ideas where shining bright and orangey- “Pigeon Racing and Sand Mafia”

The cousin already on the wrong side of the law, had no second thoughts, he wanted to get involved in sand smuggling, and he knew that this was his ticket to get into city council politics.

But he, being the coward he was, had his doubts. His profession made him prudent and conservative. He didn’t know a thing about sand mafia and he didn’t want to squander his hard earned money. He liked the idea of pigeon racing as he only had to invest a little money and there were professionals to take care of other aspects. The promised return on investment was very attractive.

The last drops of beer were consumed and the course of action was finalized.

The alcohol induced courage lingered long enough and he did wager his money on a pigeon. Proper due diligence was conducted before selecting and investing. In the process of his research on the World Wide Web he realized that dietary supplements were available to boost the stamina and endurance of the bird. A week before the race he bribed the watchman of the dovecote and ensured that the bird he wagered upon, got the imported supplements. Once you decide to make money illegally, it doesn’t matter how little or how much you act immorally. Here he exploited the ignorance of all other competitors, all of them school drop outs like his cousin, and were not aware of the dietary supplements that could be given to the contending birds.

The race was held and he won. His investment doubled. He reinvested, kept bribing the watch man and won again. Soon, he had enough money to realize his first dream which sprouted out of avarice. To own a Royal Enfield motor bike. His bike of 5 years was unceremoniously discarded. And an olive green monster of a bike was purchased, and he became the object of envy in his very middle class neighborhood. It was his turn to treat his cousin, and as he was still new to the “being rich” club, he decided to take his cousin to a modest pub, and ordered reasonably priced drinks, even before his cousin arrived.

He learnt that his cousin was doing extremely well in his chosen line of well. Er. Business. But things were not as simple as bribing a watchman with money and few packets of cigarette. Lot more money had to be spent to “eliminate” and “exploit” competitors and regulatory authorities. He felt a little uncomfortable and did not press for details of how things worked in the sand smuggling arena, and focused only on getting drunk on cheap liquor.

He had trouble waking up next morning and was much disoriented. He was very angry at being woken up. He realized that the incessant ringing of his mobile phone was not going to stop unless he gave the caller a few minutes of his attention.

After hearing what the caller had to say, he became sober immediately. He was no longer angry, rather he was anxious. He deleted all his call logs, message logs, and also his Whats-app chat history. He thanked his deeply ingrained habit of spending less, since it made him choose a modest pub for treating his cousin and he was sure that his outing would not have been captured on any security camera. He wrote a hurried mail to the HR manager of his organization, he did not care which relative he killed to make his mail sound desperate and believable. He had a hurried conversation with his parents about going on an outstation work assignment and gave them an alternate number to reach him. He took the first bus out of the state. And for the next 25 days, the man was off the grid.

3 months later.

The promotion list was out, his name was not there. But his teammate who was 2 years junior to him in the organization was promoted. She had nicely exploited his sudden absence for 25 days, three months back, to cement her position as an indispensable member of the team. She had passed off all his work as hers. And she had beautifully usurped his position and was still as flirtatious with him as ever.

But he was stoic. He knew that he exploited the less learned and made money in an unjust manner during the pigeon race. So his promotion getting denied was just an equal and an opposite reaction.

He also knew that his cousin, who was responsible for “eliminating” a city council officer, was going to spend the rest of his life, with karma taking instantaneous revenge at each step.

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