A House of Lies
by Gaurav Joshi
(Mumbai, Maharashtra, India)
Aditya had come home a bit late today. ''Traffic", he said when his parents asked him for the reason.
Without wasting any time he went to his study. He wanted to register his bitter-sweet day in his journal. Day 1
Today, it was my practical exam of Biology and I was expected to perform well. I had done thorough revision yesterday. I reached the college half an hour before the exam.
But to my consternation, I realised I had made a blunder! A serious blunder in noting my timetable. The exam was scheduled yesterday! I had missed my exam! Too scared to talk to my father, I had no idea who could help me out of the mess! Gathering a lot of courage I told my teacher about the crisis I had landed in.
"What??" she reacted as if I had bombed a city.
Since this was no medical case, I couldn't even get a doctor’s certificate. After begging for over half an hour she finally agreed but on one condition. These terms and conditions should have better been reserved for life insurance policies, I thought.
"Call your parents. I want to meet your father. Write a letter giving explanation. You can appear in the exam with the next batch," she said condescendingly.
Luckily, there was one more batch whose exam was to take place on the same day. But there was one word, one person who was standing in my way, 'my own father'. I couldn't imagine myself explaining this mess to him. And then, an awesome idea struck me!
"Madam, my father is out of town. He won't be able to come today." I replied.
"So what do you want? If your parents aren't bothered, you’d better get lost" she frowned.
"Would it be alright if I call my brother? He will surely come within an hour." I requested.
The college was keen their students performed well in the exam, as that would raise the standing of the college, she gave a pale "Okay". My job was half done. Day 2
"Hello, Joy...." I called Sujoy, my friend and explained the situation to him.
"So what do you want? How can I help you?" he asked, his tone suggesting that he wasn't very keen in helping me.
"You are my big brother for the day." I ordered.
"Are you crazy? I am younger than you by a year, how can I be your big brother?"
"I am not requesting you. I am ordering you. And everyone says you look like my elder one. Just come here immediately or else ..."
"Okay I am coming right away." he cut short my conversation and ended the call. Thanks to social networking, I blackmail him for almost everything. I had once, caught him with his girlfriend and clicked him. Too scared of losing his 'clean reputation' he came immediately.
Sujoy, the epitome of lowbrow street smart, cool dude came in a completely different look.
"What have you done?" I asked him, looking at his shaved beard, well combed hair and horn-rimmed spectacles.
"She wouldn't doubt me now. I need to take care of my identity dude! I study in the same college. And who is the teacher I need to meet?" he asked.
"It's Shilpa madam," I replied.
"Good Lord, she teaches us English!" his eyes popped out of his heavy spectacles.
"Don't worry, I bet you haven't attended any of her lectures. You are too busy with your girlfriends." I taunted him. He threw a dirty look. Day 3
"I think I have seen you before," she kept observing him minutely.
"No way. I don't attend college," he replied without thinking for a moment.
"I mean I have recently completed my graduation," he tried correcting himself only to dig himself deeper.
"You don't look that old," she replied. He tried faking a smile.
“Madam this is not a viva exam, to keep bombarding my friend with awkward questions,” I wanted to
"Do you know, why you have been called?" she asked without wasting any time.
"Yeah I know. This idiot has told me everything. Please give him one more chance."
I couldn't believe he called me 'idiot' in front of her.
"Alright, even the college doesn't want any mess. Just write a letter giving the explanation and he can in appear his exam," she said.
I had already prepared the letter as I knew she would ask for one. Thus, I finally appeared my exam.
God, I still can't imagine what I had done. Till yesterday I was an honest nerd and today I had turned into a scamster just to save an embarrassing insult from my father.
Aditya finished writing his journal as he heard his parents talking about something. Day 4
"What's the matter Sujata, where are you lost?" Aditya's father, Prashant asked his wife inquisitively.
"I heard a shocking story from my friend today. Where is Aditya? I want to tell this one to him." Sujata replied with her eyes looking for her son.
"I think he is busy with his work. Tell him later. In the mean time you can tell me." Prashant replied.
"I have a friend, Shilpa, who travels with me in train. She is a teacher in some college. She told me, how she was fooled today.”
"Rascals! Who do they think they are?" Shilpa frowned, her face resembling a fleshy tomato.
"What happened?" I asked her.
"These morons who study in my college are nutcases," she shouted.
"What are you saying? Can you please elaborate."
"Today a boy came to me in the morning and said he had missed his exam. I thought I could help him. So I asked him to write a letter and call his father to meet me," she said.
"So what's the matter" I still couldn't figure out what she was saying.
"That rascal said that his father was out of town, and requested me to call his brother instead. Going against the procedure I said that it was fine. And you know what he did?" she said.
"What?" I asked the question I was expected to.
"He called his friend who posed as his brother!" she said with red hot eyes.
"Come on Shilpa, how do you know that?" I inquired.
"Thanks to my luck dear. I had already suspected foul play as he never looked five years older than him. Later today, I went to the staff room to check, who hadn't submitted their English assignment. I was just noting their Roll numbers, when I saw an idiot's name who hadn't even attended a single lecture of mine this semester. To know who he was, I asked his class teacher about his details. And heaven! I realized he was the same one, who came and posed as the brother to meet me! Look at his guts. He doesn't attend my lectures. But comes to meet me as someone's big brother, though he is actually a year younger than him." She felt relieved as she had finally vented out her frustration.
"So what is the college planning to do?" I asked.
"Obviously suspend those two morons. What else do you think we should do?" she replied.
"You are right. These spoiled brats think they are very smart. Blame their parents, who don't inculcate any values in them," I said and got ready to leave as the train was about to stop at my station. Day 5
"Can you imagine their guts? They attempted to fool their teacher," Sujata said as she ended her narration.
"Not everyone is like our Aditya," Prashant said with bright eyes as he felt superior for being a father of a 'good boy'.
"Yeah. You are right. I feel proud of him for that," she replied.
"Actually I feel the parents are more responsible for this fiasco. Don't you feel so?" Prashant asked her.
Indeed, they were living in a house of lies. ****