“But please, sir,” I requested our department’s HOD to consider, but from the looks he threw towards me and from the tone of his voice I was sure he would never have considered it. ‘Letting me go’ was never an option it seemed. Through his heavy spectacles, he glanced me and graced me with his final words “Get out”. Saying this, he delved back into perusing through his books. “My parents are not here, sir,” I said, finally shelving out the final card in my sleeve. “My mother is sick and my father is out to Delhi on a meeting.” I intertwined my index finger and forefinger- a common superstition that would mean reversing the lie; bending it to match the truth. “Look, boy,” said an authoritative voice, with an air of finality; “your local guardian was of no use, he could not satisfy me with his answers, better lies. He could not take into account your whereabouts…”

“But sir, I reside in a hostel!” I protested.

“In fact, I strongly suspect that you paid him a hefty sum to ‘be’ your local garden.” His face coupled with his voice reeked of patronization and contempt.

I shook my head, red with guilt. For 375 ml of rum, cost a hefty hundred and thirty rupees.

“I have a local guardian here, sir,” I said, my face contorted as my grey matter, desperately prepared for the last and final defence. I trusted my brain to conceive a last minute plan.

“So what did you do all those days when we missed your gracious presence on the premises?” the question came abruptly and I could not dodge past it. As a result, I was left perplexed, desperately searching for tangible answers.

“I… I..” I fumbled badly as he proceeded to his next question without any precedent.

“What’s that?” he inquired as he pointed his green coloured use and throw pen towards my right hand where an unfortunate and foolish incident with a cigarette left its mark on my sunburned skin.

“You do those things, they show on television?”

“Are you having Ganja (weed), Dendrite or pills of some sort?”

He asked gravely. A smile accidentally escapes from my lips. I’ve a bad tendency to smile at the most precarious moments.

“That mark is something I did out of sheer stupidity sir”. I smiled, only in my mind this time. ‘She was not worth it.’ I pacified myself again. “And regarding the intoxication, I try to distance myself from them.” My mind played a mental image of myself spending hours drooling over leftover alcohol or marijuana. Lying had never been this easy.

As the conversation drew to an end, I realized that I was standing right where it had started. I was thinking of whether to dive for his feet and plead forgiveness, but I gave up that option. I had to preserve whatever little self-respect I had.

“Thank you, sir”

I barged out of the room and no sooner had I opened the door, I saw two much-known figures standing in front. My parents.

“Oh, I almost forgot, I called your parents as well,” the voice behind me said, almost whispering.

© Biswadeep

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