PrEm Ji

EVERYTHING HAS A PRICE (Short story)

 

EVERYTHING HAS A PRICE

 

‘The toughest task on earth is to manage a child,’ my colleague Sheela Thomas declared in the staff room that afternoon.

‘I don’t think your younger son is a problem kid… May be you have to change your hostile approach toward him,’ I objected her argument, even-though I knew she was right.

‘Premji… I bet… you can’t even spend a single day with him… he is so naughty,’ she couldn’t continue the conversation as some Students Union leaders entered in.

‘Sir… We need your permission to decorate our college auditorium,’ Arun requested me.

‘What’s the matter?’

‘Sir… We are planning to release our college magazine tomorrow afternoon… Just now only we could confirm our chief guest’

‘Who is our chief guest?’

‘Subhash… The new hero of Malayalam Cinema’

‘Who is he?’

‘Sir… Don’t you know him? He is the hero of one recent hit film… A remake movie… ‘Stone-lotus’… Superb actor, he is!’ The boys kept on praising him while I was unsuccessfully wrestling with my mind to remember his face.

‘O.K… Will he come for the function tomorrow? We can’t completely believe these film actors’

‘Sure, Sir… he will come… His house is here only… and he will be coming to take his parents to Kochi, where he stays now,’ another boy said.

‘So, he is a local boy! That’s a wonderful piece of information… Anyway, is your magazine ready to distribute among students?’

‘Yes Sir… We have to release it soon… You know… students union election date will be announced soon… If we can’t do that in time, we won’t be able to secure enough votes… These things are common in student politics’; current lady vice chairman of our college shared her anxiety.

‘If that’s the case… O.K… You can proceed’

‘Sir, one more thing… You will have to deliver the presidential address… Our Principal will on leave tomorrow’

They walked away coolly putting me in dare straights!

‘The toughest task on earth is to manage our students… Tomorrow, you are going to know that,’ Sheela Thomas laughed loudly and my other colleagues also joined with her.

‘Why do you threaten me like this?’

‘Premji… You are a fresher to our college… You know… Not even a single function had been completed without a clash between students so far… And one more funny thing, they didn’t print even a single copy at all!’

‘How do you know that?’

‘I am the magazine advisor!’ She laughed again. ‘Tomorrow, they are going to release a fake magazine with white paper inside a Magazine cover… Twenty rupees is more than enough to take a colour laser print! Then, do you think that the other Unions will act like mere spectators? No way… So, better inform Police today itself.’

♥        

The chief guest arrived exactly at two’o clock in the afternoon and magazine release function started with a prayer. Sheela prayed almost every God along with those girls! Subhash sat next to me proudly and the young girls told silly sweet nothings about him in between. Arun delivered the welcome speech and later invited me for the presidential address. What to say about him? I stood before them quite nervously.

‘Dignitaries on the dais,’ I couldn’t remember even the names of my colleagues on the dais, ‘Mr. Subhash, the new hero of Malayalam Cinema, colleagues and dear students. What is a magazine? It’s a vault of memories… that you won’t know now… You will feel it so dear after some time… when you might have left this institution… within a flash of a second, it can bring you back here… to this moment… Mr. Subhash… he is a hero now… But, he had also a bitter past, like you all, roaming around in this small village… What made him to reach here? A burning desire… to become a hero… He lived to it and that’s why he is here with you today as our chief guest… The secret of success is constancy of purpose… It’s time for you all to discover what your life’s purpose is… Do it today and live up to it… Invent the dream in you… If a local boy can do that, why can’t you?’

Subhash was listening to my words carefully and later I invited him to release the magazine. His father was sitting in the back row on the dais. Were there tears in his eyes?

After the magazine release, Subhash picked up the microphone and started sharing his wonderful experiences. He quoted some of my dialogues to motivate the students and within no time, he conquered their mind too! 

Felicitations by other colleagues were also over and I announced for an open-forum with Subhash. Young boys and girls, they asked him wonderful questions and he too gave wonderful replies. 

‘You told… it was shot in forty days… Did you not fall in love with the heroine in the meantime?’ one of my naughty students asked.

‘Acting and love… they both are different,’ Subhash laughed.

In the meantime, I made a wonderful friendship with his Dad. The function ended smoothly and Sheela Thomas felt very happy as the expected tension vanished in his divine bliss!

♥        

The boys ran to us immediately after the Chief Guest and team had left.

‘Sir… Please sanction for an immediate advance of Rs.5000/-,’ Arun requested me.

‘But, why?’

‘We had to pay him Rs.5000/- for putting diesel in his car’

‘You told me that he was coming to meet his parents? Then, why should we pay him? Impossible… You people are lying ,’ I got angry.

‘No... Sir… We are telling the truth… Sir, this is the darker side of popularity… We had to pay for that!’ they pleaded again.

‘They may be right Premji,’Sheela Thomas supported them

‘None can understand the Tinsel world!

♥        

One week later, I met his Dad, drunk, in a bar hotel. I wanted to avoid him, but he didn’t leave me.

‘Hello Sir’

‘Hello’

‘Please join me,’ poor man invited.

‘O.K… But, the expense is mine… Is that O.K?’

‘Double O.K.’

We had around two rounds of ‘Mansion House’ brandy in no time, and the intimacy got multiplied in unknown counts.

‘Sir, if you don’t mind, I would like to have a clarification?’

‘Tell me’

‘Did those boys pay Rs.5000/- to Subhash?’

‘Yes… You are right… Everything has a price… this brandy… this chicken… his stardom… everything has a price.’

‘Sorry… I couldn’t get you?’

‘Journalists… all magazine people… they can write anything on him… like… he was picked up by noted director Jose Samuel from thousands of applicants for audition… They can write anything they want… But, the documents of my house are still there, safe, in the state bank.’

‘Sorry?’

‘Premji… I had to pump Rupees one million to his throat to select him as the hero of his movie! Director! Thooo….,’ he spat on the granite floor, ‘That producer didn’t even pay a single rupee even-though the movie was a super hit… Bastards,’ poor man started crying

‘So sad’

‘Subhash is a careless lad… See, how he spoiled his career by accepting all filthy roles in the name of commitments? Idiot! Now also, I have to pay him to for everything… from his expensive jeans… sexy T-shirts to diesel… His stupid burning desire,’he drank another double large without water. (This man is going to empty your ten day’s salary, my inner conscious warned me!) 

‘Don’t worry Sir… Everything will be alright…Anyway, he is a wonderful actor,’ I tried to console him even-though I hadn’t watched a single scene by him!

‘That’s O.K… But, what bothers me is… How can I be able to get my two daughters married… when every boy’s parent is asking for 250 sovereigns of Gold… BMW 3 series car… Luxury flats in Kochi City… five acres of Rubber plantation as dowry! After all they are the sisters of Subhash… the hero! Everything has a price… everything…. Every.’

 

Premji

  • Author: PrEmJi PrEmJi (Pseudonym) (Offline Offline)
  • Published: May 28th, 2021 04:37
  • Category: Unclassified
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Comments2

  • Fay Slimm.

    The truth outs in this interesting account of all things having a price including a film-star's presence - another absorbing read dear Prem and thank you for sharing it with us here on MPS.

    • PrEm Ji

      Thanks dear Fay...

    • L. B. Mek

      an interesting point I observed in your writing
      not necessarily negative, I must stress..
      just that
      when we use ourselves as narrators
      or The: protagonist
      it seems every other character in the story
      but ourselves, is being judged
      a literary Freudian-slip, I presume: what an oddity...
      maybe that's why most
      prefer using fake characters, even in real stories
      or anecdotal life experienced, accounts..
      still, what a wonderful read
      thank you for sharing, dear poet

      • PrEm Ji

        Thanks dear poet...
        Life is very funny. isn't it?



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