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Fiction

THE DOUBLE

That evening, Prakash, a youth in his twenties, was getting ready to go out to meet his friends. He looked in the full mirror of his room just to see whether he was presentable for his stroll in the garden. He saw his reflection had an extra smile on its face. Prakash was surprised. In a moment, Prakash saw that his image had disappeared from the mirror. He was terrified. But soon, he ignored the happening.

Prakash, properly dressed up, came out of the house. He was nearly ten minutes late. He went to the spot where all his group usually got together on weekends. But that day, there was no one. Prakash was surprised. He had a round in the park all alone. After half an hour, Prakash returned home. He entered his bedroom. Standing in front of the mirror, he again noticed that his image was absent. He rubbed his eyes. And again, tried to look for his image. But he could not see his reflection.

Wondering how it could happen, Prakash had his dinner. After washing his hands in the basin, he stood in front of the mirror. He saw his image having a grin on his face. Again, Prakash was shocked. After some time, he went off to sleep.

The next day, when he came across his group mates, no one expressed their annoyance for his missing the weekly get-together. On the contrary, they behaved with him as if he was present at the previous day’s meeting. Prakash was surprised. He tried joining the dots to understand the evening’s happening.

The previous evening, when Prakash was getting ready to meet his friends, he noticed that his reflection in the mirror had a smile on his face. Then only he must be planning some mischief. After some time, when Prakash looked in the mirror, he noticed that his reflection was missing. The reflection met Prakash’s friends and had a nice evening with the friends. So, when Prakash reached the meeting place, the entire group had left. Prakash’s doppelganger had joined the group instead of Prakash. Unaware of this, all the friends thought actual Prakash was with them. And they all enjoyed the evening. Prakash's reflection had fun having pulled a fast one with Prakash.

 Ignoring the unexpected response from the group, Prakash continued his day activity.

After a couple of weeks, Prakash looking in the mirror realized that his reflection was a bit irritated. Confused, he went away from the mirror. 

The next day, he received a call from his friend Ramesh.

"Thanks, Prakash. Your presence yesterday cooled down my father and he could think over the situation from the proper perspective. And finally, he has approved my choice of Surekha as my life partner. Thanks, Prakash, once more for helping me out," Ramesh said.

Prakash was astonished. He had refused to be with Ramesh to convince his father about Ramesh's choice for his life partner. He had not gone to Ramesh. But then who visited Ramesh and convinced his father? Prakash was baffled.

‘Was it my reflection that had disappeared from my mirror, yesterday? Probably it did not like my not offering a helping hand to Ramesh. That is why I saw a little irritation on my reflection's face. And to act according to his thinking, he left all alone and went to Ramesh. It must be him who persuaded Ramesh's father to agree to Ramesh's choice of life partner. So, my reflection has enacted on my behalf against my line of thinking.’ Realizing this Prakash was angry.  

A few weeks passed by.

Prakash received a communication. He had won a lottery of a grand four-wheeler. Prakash was amused. He wondered who bought a lottery ticket for him when he personally never believed in taking chances. Not bothering about who performed this act on his behalf, Prakash collected the automatic vehicle.

After reaching home happily, he was planning a long tour to North-east India. But Prakash was disturbed that someone had acted against his principles. 

When Prakash was in front of the mirror, he discovered that his reflection had a pleasant smile on him. It ascertained that his reflection was responsible for his winning the latest model of the car. That had made his image smile with delight. Exasperated Prakash was thinking over how to handle his reflection’s behaviour against his own thinking.

After a few months, Prakash fell in love with a nice girl, Leena. Their relationship was getting thicker day by day. Once, Leena’s father called Prakash to finalize the details about their marriage. He had to go to Delhi and Prakash needed to take a leave for at least a week. After getting the leave sanctioned, the meeting with Leena’s father was fixed. But just before the scheduled date, there was some important happening in Prakash’s office. It was vital for Prakash to take care of the emergency by being present himself. He decided to inform Leena’s father to postpone their meeting.

But Prakash was so much involved in the office matters, that he failed to communicate to Leena and her father about his problem.

Prakash realized that his reflection in the mirror was missing. He was wondering what mischief his image was contemplating.

 After a week, Leena called.

"Prakash, as decided, my parents are visiting your parents on coming Monday. I hope you have informed them accordingly."

Prakash was aghast. What? Who decided? Prakash was confused. Without giving any indication that he was not aware of any meeting with Leena's parents, Prakash said, "Yes, Leena. No problem. We will meet my parents on coming Monday in Pune."

Satish was lost in thoughts.

“Oh, God. Once again my image from the mirror has created trouble. When I could not go to Delhi, my image reached there and went through the entire decision-making. He has started making decisions in my absence that are going to impact my complete life. No. This is too much. I do not want my reflection to take control of my life.”

Prakash entered his room and removed the mirror from there. Using a hammer, he shattered the mirror and threw it in the garbage room.

November 21, 2023 16:55

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