The Stranger in the Tavern


“That’s it! I’m done!” exclaimed Ravi as he thwacked the pitcher down on the deceitful table.

“What’s your story today?” asked Neel saving the beer from falling out of the jug.

“Same old! That selfish brainless boss of mine! Sometimes I wish to strangle her to death with these very hands and spend the rest of my life in jail, at peace” he strangled the jug instead.

“Ah!” Neel interrupted him as he poured a pint out to soothe the daily victim of a horrendous crime, “If you murder her now, you will probably go to jail in your fifties in this country!”

“I don’t have that kind of money, or contacts” he took a quick glance at his friend.

“But I do”, he replied “Cheers to me and my bill paying friend!”

They clanged their glasses hard enough to grab a nearby loners’ attention, who was rather busy, heavily concentrating on the newspaper. He looked at the two in shallow rancour, but the two were too occupied to look back at him.

“That despicable bitch!” he continued, gulping down the ale, “Everyone hates her from the inside, but as she enters the room, everyone is ready with one of those fake vexing smiles and a gentle ‘Good Morning ma’am’. What a bunch of hypocrites!”

“That is such a negative word! I like to refer to it as ‘Worldliness'”.

Ravi refilled the glasses and continued, “When you have a bad day at the office, the entire world becomes evil. I was walking my way to the bus stop, when some moron dropped hot coffee on my shoes, and didn’t even apologize! He picked up the cup and walked away like nothing had happened. I stared at him will bloody eyes, till he was out of sight, but he never turned back.”

“Speaking of a moron, Rakesh got his bag exchanged at the airport a couple of days back. Some idiot left his bag and carried away Rakesh’s! He was called later and said that it was a mistake. A mistake! How stupid can a man be!” he kept down his empty glass, “This world is getting dumber by the minute.”

“No one can save this world, or this country now, because it’s filled with people, who aren’t like you and me” Ravi smiled, Neel chuckled “We should get going now.” They got up and dusted themselves off. Ravi picked up his bag and the two exited the tavern.

The tavern was left behind, but not their talks. They continue talking about politics and child labour and insecurities of the country when a raucous yell yanked them to the pub. A man wearing a red cap
was rushing towards them. It was the same loner from the pub.

“That’s my bag, this is yours”, he claimed, handing over the bag.

“Oh!” Ravi glanced at the bag he held, and the bag that the stranger held, “It must have been a mistake” he said as he exchanged the bags.

He turned around and kept walking, exchanging anecdotes of his encounters, with his friend. The stranger constantly stared at him with a faintly open mouth and lightly squinched eyes, until he was indistinguishable in the crowd. Ravi did not turn back, but the stranger did and walked back into the tavern.


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