The Confluence

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

The story presents a different perspective of darkness and eternity. The central idea is, like darkness erases or clouds the aspects such a direction, distance and shape of beings so does eternity; span of life is endless then, time loses its meaning, age becomes irrelevant and most sadly the anticipation of freedom or death vanishes. We always choose to live longer but what if one lives forever? Just like darkness you don’t know where or it would end. Both of them represent an endless hollow and it is their confluence. A man discovers that a close friend of his has traded something much valuable and that deal will last for duration longer than usual with a distinct being. This makes him transcend into another dark realm where eternity is more a curse than a boon. The man tries to get in touch after a long gap and to his melancholy it’s his last.

Gautam and I had sustained our friendship for 25 years since our days in school to the day I last met I him or it in 2028. Gautam was a spirited and industrious man. He was into construction and real estate business. His wit and labor enabled him to take up initial projects from small clients and he accomplished them commendably. His dedication was remarkable and relentless in pursuit of bigger endeavours. He adapted being strategic day by day but never corrupt or manipulative. I must say not only was he iron willed, but also patient .Capital was required to expand, scale and take on bigger, innovative and more rewarding projects. He had already analyzed his efficiency at handling and executing projects. He did them almost flawlessly.  After a couple of years he became financially sound to start a family. All these years we were in touch and never missed to call each other on weekends. I was stationed in Mysuru, an extension of the silicon valley of Hindustan. My job in the IT industry had got me there. I always adored the view of the Chamundi hills at sunset.

Once I was reading a piece of article that drew parallels between immortality and darkness. Deep thought of the both as per the scope of the article. Have you ever imagined immortality or being eternal will feel like? It would be same as imagining the expanse of the universe, depth of emotions and intensity of darkness. Darkness is most closely associated with immortality, may be a never ending curse of life. As many wise people advise that, everything should be done in limit and moderation. That explains immortality better; as an overdose of life and vitality. A never ending quest to attain salvation may be.

Gautam married Shilpa in 2014, I was in attendance the marriage and it was good to in hometown after long years. I was happy for Gautam. After a week of his marriage, we went for lunch. We talked about here and there things of past, future, money, dreams, fantasies etc. Gautam was still the same as of childhood; curious and creative. But by then had made commendable name for him in the corridors of business locally. The stay was over in matter of days and while parting I asked, “What next?””I am going to build a big corporation out of this small business house one day soon”, he replied. I was jealous of him at times, because he was living and realizing his aspirations in career.  

 

5 Years passed hence; I was promoted to a senior role in my industry and then switched multiple jobs landing finally in a big MNC. I was then sent to Luxembourg for an offsite project for a really long time. I kept on ascending in the corporate hierarchy, becoming the VP of the product department in my career of 15 years. This shouldn’t go beyond this or I will feel that I am boring you with my professional stuff rather than where this story goes as it has intended or indicated for the start. I lost touch with Gautam except for social media. That too I was able to access only on weekends due to massive load of professional responsibilities. Then there was my family, children and other responsibilities. I personally thought I had drifted far away from my life what it used to be in India. My children being groomed to become European citizens, my wife has all the modernity in her kitchen and home but always craved for India, then there was I far away from my ageing parents, friends, relatives of immediate and extended family, acquaintances and the surroundings where I grew up. This ongoing fit of dilemma that I faced everyday inside of me made me anxious, restless and some time full of rage. On such an occasion I had a very ugly fight with my wife and past that I realized that not only fault was mine but my anger issues have gone through the roof. I remember that after a week or so I reconciled with my wife Maya; told her what I was going through and also that I am finding it hard to cope with. She took me to a friend of her who was a therapist for a counseling session. I had to do multiple sessions with her beyond that in the frequency of a week’s time. At the last one she revealed that I was just feeling alone and that the professional things are making it worse. She suggest me to take a month’s leave and go wherever I felt the least vulnerable of being left out or alone. I repeated the whole conversation to Maya and asked her of what should be done. To my wonder she came up with a fantastic Idea, she said, “Ravi, you should go to your home town or catch up with your old friends”. I replied,” but you and kids?”” I can go with you and visit your as well as my parents and we will return back together.” I nodded to that in affirmative. So, finally we were going home. Three days after the conversation above we set out for India.

We landed in New Delhi, Maya and kids flew to Bhubaneswar and then on pre-determined course. I caught up with my friends who were from there itself and we used to study engineering together, there were also a few people from my childhood acquaintances who were now settled in the national capital. Lastly, there were a few of my maternal relatives, meeting them wasn’t on my list at first but then I decided to let go of old feuds and reconcile with them, at least from my end. The trip lasted for 5 days in total. Then I flew to Bhubaneswar on the sixth day. In that 2 hr flight I wasn’t even calm for a second, thinking of my schedule in Bhubaneswar, where to go, whom to meet first; the list in my mind won’t end anyway. Then I remembered Gautam, although I had texted before I left Europe but he didn’t revert any and so I was not sure of his whereabouts. On the following day of my arrival and the next to that, I caught up with everybody, one by one of whom I was certain of being in Bhubaneswar. On the third day I decided to go to the last known address of Gautam, which he had shared in 2018, some 2 decades ago.

We never know what awaits us the next turn, it is much like going to sleep; we never know whether we will get up or not. Uncertainty is much of real demon in human life. Whether short termed like weather or long termed like poverty or permanent like bodily disability, uncertainty truly exists. And we are pretty helpless do something of next moment precisely. What if somebody has the intellect to see future or to power to change an upcoming misfortune and turn it into a beneficial event? It would be a pure fantasy to think of someone or something would have such powers but nonetheless this thought is also uncertain and what if such a being exists?

Zaid Jalal, was the managing director and partner of Gautam’s construction and real estate company; who was previously his most trusted aide and cofounder during his firm’s initial days in real estate, told me that in 2016 years after Gautam’s marriage he got investment from a venture capitalist and the following year took on a very lucrative project in terms of both development as well as marketing.” That would have been the game-changer for our startup but things didn’t go as planned.” He said. “The funds from the promoters were frozen on the account that money from fraudulent and dubious sources was being funneled into that project. The project got stalled and there was no positive news in near sight. The assets of the company were monetized to pay the bills and salaries. Revenue couldn’t sustain the expenditure, profit became dream. Gautam was depressed and broken mentally for loans were piling up every day and the investors too hadn’t received their interest payments for two and a half years. And last he disposed his house.” Zaid’s anguish couldn’t be veiled then. I was in complete awe and shock. He resumed, ”Gautam moved into a small rented house. But lord of misfortune located him soon enough. His wife died while delivering his daughter.

Then on an unfortunate evening in winter of 2018 he rammed a road block in drunken state, he was in coma due to spinal injuries following the incident for nine months. Our company went bankrupt during that period”. ”After he came out of coma and recovered he left his daughter to me and asked me to take care of her as if she were my own daughter. He then asked me for some money and vanished”. Now Zaid’s countenance showed signs of ambiguity. I asked,” what then? Did he return?” He softly said with wide eyes.” Of course, he did in 2020.”

Z (Zaid):” he was completely changed, had become secretive; all he did was studying and research about laws, company’s financials and other business related things.  In months, the Company was turning around; we were winning law suits, recovering payments, making double digit growth in each venture.  Eventually we paid off the outstanding capital interests but also acquired fresh funding and went into break-even zone in 4 years. A year more down we were making large yet sustainable profits. I was in total awe that what made him ‘the success machine’”.

Z: “Then one day in 2026, out of the blue he called and said that he is transferring the ownership to me, he would like his daughter be adopted by me and all he will need is a monthly pension of ten thousand Indian rupees. I enquired why he was saying all that when we are doing good in the market but all he said was that, some commitments are to be kept. He vanished after that but left a phone number and an account number to wire the aforesaid sum. That’s the last time I met him.”

R (Ravi): Do you still have the number Zaid? Can you give it to me?

Z: Yes, I can. Whenever in trouble I turn to him and he helps me out with the solution always. But he forbade me to share his number. Since you are his close friend I don’t think he will have any problem.

 

Hence I set out in the search for my old friend; he was residing in Haflong, Dima Hassao in Assam. Haflong was took me five hours from Guwahati to reach and another two to trek to the place where Gautam lived. I reached an old colonial home on the hills, the view around was breathtaking; serene, quiet and green. Responding to my knock an old man probably in his 70s came to open the door. On asking about Gautam he nodded and led me to a room. He indicated me to have a seat. The space was undoubtedly old and rustic yet charming. The Gautam came, in simple Indian robes, looking delightful as ever. It was almost dark, the sun had disappeared leaving the sky in shades of mauve, bright peachy yellow and vermillion. We had tea after that and then he asked me to rest till dinner acknowledging that my body after the arduous journey needs a bit of rest and told that we would talk over dinner.

True it was he was completely changed, behavior, attitude, gestures, language may be everything from interior and exterior. On that day in late evening, I entered a dimly lit room guided by the old butler where he was waiting for me at dinner table. Through that translucent ambience he spoke in a grim and unfamiliar voice.

G: the person you have come looking for isn’t here.

R: then who are you?

G: enjoy the food and it would be better if you don’t ask anything.

R: where is Gautam if you aren’t him?

G: he is in the eternal woods?

R: eternal woods sounds like a tale?

G:  I wish it were but it is true as the sun and may seem like a tale.

R: I don’t mind listening to one.

G: If you insist, Mortal. I am a Nekrot from the supernatural and invisible realm of Nekrois. Nekrots were banished from heaven to reside in Nekrois, an alternative invisible realm coinciding with your world with confluence points we call as “The Eternal woods”. We were punished by the Almighty for a mistake following which a maleficent resident of hell entered and brought chaos in heaven. And to return to heaven to serve The Almighty we must die and to do that we need corporal being to inhabit till it expires rendering salvation to us.

R: how do you do that? I mean acquire a corporal being.

G: By trade.

R: Trade?

G: Yes, the one who takes the deal takes the curse of Nekrots onto himself becoming one and we in return get his corporal being to reside and die with as you mortals do to return to heaven. The one taking up the curse waits for somebody else to come and trade his/her soul in the same way.

R: Why would somebody do that?

G: We are timeless beings we know the infinity in directions, knowledge of entire universe, and every discipline that humans know and beyond. We appear in various names in the spiritual literature across your world. Your friend was about to commit suicide when I got him and made him this offer to turn all his misfortunes into prosperity again in return for his corporal being and he agreed. I didn’t lure him and also cautioned him to think again of the consequences. And that was it. He took the curse of Nekrots and eternity upon himself.

R: if you are saying the truth, where is he then?

G: I said in the Eternal Woods, places that are confluence zones of Nekrois and your world. Sadly, He won’t recognize you nor will you even if you come across. I understand your emotions Human but that’s the obligation that the curse imposes.

I cried before him. Whatever it was for heaven’s sake. An ageless creature inside by beloved Gautam’s body. I shouted on him though but he was still like Mount Fuji in Japanese philosophy.

G: I can help on whatever you wish even to contact Gautam’s soul and deliver his message if any to you; as you are his close and concerned friend. But you must leave and never seek me again. This would be the last meeting and last wish that I will entertain, “sapien”. I will send you his response.

R: how?

G: Don’t worry, go home to your kids Ravi and wait.

 

The next morning I found myself somewhere else. In a rural dispensary on outskirts of Guwahati. Upon enquiry they revealed that I was admitted there by a man in unconscious state due to chronic food poisoning. I was discharged two days later, the number of Gautam that Zaid had given didn’t exist on telecom grid anymore, the Haflong house where I met Gautam had been abandoned and was for sale in a week’s time.

Time passed by after that event and then on a winter evening two years later I got an email from a strange email addresses promise2028@nekk.com and it read, “Greetings Ravi, I wish all the best for you and your family. I am fine and would remain that way for a century or so; joking. My friend told me about you asking for me; sorry I couldn’t make myself available to meet you. I have chosen this for me anyway and you need not worry. I would be always your friend uncompromisingly but I think the barrier of my choice won’t let to be together like the old days. Stay blessed we’ll meet someday may be…………..your pal Gautam.”

The next morning the mail had vanished from my inbox. The mystery of eternity closed on itself into an undefined state as darkness. These kinds of instances reinforce our belief that something beyond our understanding may be existent. And that what we think about something it might not be necessarily so. Hence, I have a new perspective on eternity and its confluence with darkness. It might be strange but that’s what I know. Anyway, I miss Gautam and that’s how this ends.


Submitted: November 22, 2021

© Copyright 2021 guruprasadbrahma2. All rights reserved.

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