Written in response to: Write about someone grappling with an insecurity.... view prompt


Contemporary Fiction Romance

Get lost, you swine...You do not two are poles are from another Planet...Kriti deserves much better...she is in a different league...get lost...get out of the frame, you gold digger...

For a long, long time Prasad stared, vacant eyed into the screen.

Darkness fell, long arms of the night enveloped the room in a tight clasp. The deep black of the massive window curtains did their job, rubbed in further his misery by accentuating the sense of forlornness and utter deep dungeon like despair that he was experiencing.

A bell chimed somewhere in the distance, it's slow, metronomic metre, came in periodic intervals to send thundering reactions in his already stretched out diaphragm.

Needing a drink like crazy, the 27 year old extricated himself from the sofa and walked upto the kitchen.

His hands pulled out the lone beer bottle (the remaining 11 lay emptied out in the sink, its contents vanishing in the space of a mere 48 hours!).

Prasad took the chair by the window, and held the bottle to his mouth. As he felt the coolness slide down his throat, he felt a sting in his heart. It was as if a knife stab to his heart. In a fit of discomfiture, he downed the entire bottle, and closed his eyes. The evening summer breeze wafted in from the skies into his 24th floor sea facing apartment.

The pleasant weather worked its magic, and soon Prasad felt at ease. His mind now steady, he turned his attention towards the damning messages.

He was no good. Not a match. A gold digger!

Now that was the most damning.

Was he a gold digger?

The phrase hit him like a ten tonne iron brick.

His mind a turnstile, and still unable to fathom what exactly the Twotteratti and the chatterati meant when they accuse him of being a gold digger, Prasad googled the term.

noun: derogatory- informal

A person who forms relationships with others purely to extract money from them, in particular a woman who strives to marry a wealthy man

There it is! So that's what the world is calling him. Accusing him of hooking up to Kriti purely for the money.

Was he? Is it the truth that he was with Kriti for her wealth?

The question bamboozled him no end. Staring out, Prasad felt the salt of the sea on his lips. It was close, the waters, close enough for him to hear and watch the umpteen crests and troughs of the waves. The sea was rough this hour.

Rough and in turmoil not dissimilar to his own emotions.

The slow wind that had formed a while ago had now morphed into a steady storm and now threatened to turn into a massive tornado.

He extricated a cigarette from its case, and inhaled a few furtive drags of the burning stick.

His heart still at great stress, Pradad decided to take the services of his mind.

His mind ran over the developments of the recent past.

For better perspective, Prasad began to refer to himself in the third person.

Who was he? He was Prasad Yadav, a small towner born and raised up in a rural village some 1500 kilometres from tinsel town Mumbai. What was his education? Prasad was the fourth among nine siblings-three sons and six daughters born to a landless farmer who barely managed to eke out a living tilling on others' soil.

Where did he live? In the open fields. A mere apology of a tatty hut made of discarded twids and leaves was home. Home till his teens.

That was when he had run away, walked out of his back of the beyond village. He had taken a train, the only one that passed by his village. Travelling ticketless, he had hidden himself in a smelly general compartment lavatory and only alighted when he had heard the massive chug of the iron wheels come to an ear splitting halt.

It was the last station.

Filled with fear, the thifteen year old had gingerly stepped out of the train. Soon he was out of the gargantuan station, out on the streets, pulled and pushed and shoved and shoved around, joining the teeming mass of humanity that skittled in and out from all directions and moved around all over in a massive 360 degree arc.

Alone and new to the big city, this was the young boy's first interface with the real world.

The smell of the sea beckoned, and he found his steps heading towards the dockyard. He found a job the very same hour he had landed in Mumbai. An old man sidled upto him as he sat amongst the rocks, and after asking a few obligatory questions offered him a roof over his head. In return he was to watch the sea, day in, day out, 24 hours a day.

He did that for the first 90 days. He would wake up to the sound of the azaan, perform his morning ablutions in the open tap near his chawl, and head to the beach.

There he would sit all day, gazing at the froth filled waves, and beyond at the distant boats and the odd ship that passed by.

'Tell me the moment you see a white motor boat, his minder told him. He was taught the alphabets, and within a week he knew that every time he spotted a boat that had the legend INDIAN COAST GUARD emblazoned on its hull, he had to rush back and inform Salim Kaka, his benefactor.

Prasad did this for one whole year during which he learnt what he had never learnt in his entire dozen odd year in the village. Foe one whole year, he lived in a five by five hell hole, ate whatever he could out of the meagre salary his employer gave him.

And exactly after one year, after his employer died of a massive heart attack, he found himself promoted to chief spotter, in charge of 20 others, all young like him but new to the city, and in dire straits.

The next five years Prasad did his job well, so well that not only did he learn everything about the smuggling business, he also managed to earn the respect and confidence of the don, a 50 something stark bald knife wielding Abdul Langda, the undisputed king of the dockyards.

The next seven years were spent in further honing and sharpening his skills, and by the time he celebrated his 20th birthday, Prasad had become the second in command, and a full fledged smuggler in his own right. The next five years were his- by a fortuittirn of events, Prasad found himself anointed the don, the supreme lord of Mumbai smugglers, thanks to the gunning down in a police encounter of his boss Abdul Langda.

He made the most of the next fourteen months, amassed a lot of wealth, and quit the smuggling business, or rather the smuggling business ended on it's own, thanks to a far reaching paradigm shift in the gold import policy that overnight rendered unproofitable the illegal smuggling and trading of gold bars.

So, what did Prasad, suddenly out of a job, do. Simple- he turned film producer. The next 36 months saw him bankrolling no less than 14 Hindi movies, all commercial potboilers, the last three turning out to be silver jubilee hits.

As if by a magical wave of the wand, Prasad found himself anointed as the man with the midas touch, a hor shot hit producing much sought after movie mogul.

Young men and women, starry eyed and aspirational, including some of the most beautiful of heroines made a beeline to his massive sea side bungalow Prasad's every weekend. Parties, wine, music and dance were the staple stuff.

And that's how and when Prasad, the once poor, illiterate rural boy laid his eyes on Kriti Desai, the reigning queen, the diva of Bollywood.

It was love at first sight. At least from Prasad's end.

Soon, the two started to date. The pictures of the two, arms entwined, began flooding the internet.

Their Twitter handle read Prakrit.

As the two started to paint the town red, rumours of their impending marriage began to gain ground.

Will they marry, will they not? If so, where will the marriage be held? Who would be invited, would not make the guest list? Speculations reached a frenzy. It seemed the world and its nanny had no other business.

But, then, came the backlash. Unannounced. Sudden. Vicious. Deeply hurtful.

No meets beast...match made in hell...gun toting bf...serial murderer shoots his way into civil society.

And the most painful, of them all...GOLD DIGGER.

Prasad, first time he read it, had asked Kriti what that meant.

She had turned beetroot red.

On cajoling, she had replied, "Pra (she called her so!), if there is anyone who can be labelled a gold digger, it's me. I mean, who doesn't know- I am just an actress, albeit a successful one, but still one who is a mere five years old in this increasingly fragile industry where fortunes flip every Friday. On the other hand, you are rich, unimaginably wealthy. So, who is the gold digger in this relationship?"

Prasad gave her one hard look; both knew what the public was alluding to.

The gold digger epithet was a not so veiled reference to Prasad's hoary past- his good old bad days as one of the most notorious gold smugglers of the country.

As if reading his thoughts, Kriti proffered, "Let these motor mouths, these no good people say what they want. The important thing is that I love you and you love me. Rest all can go to hell".

All Prasad did was nod his head.


The incessant beep of the phone broke his thoughts.

Prasad rubbed his eyes, turned around and looked at his phone screen.

"Off to London. Shooting. Not sure when back. Kriti"

The familiar stab in his chest returned.

This was so unusual of her.

No call. No explanation. Just a cryptic text.

Was this how they all end?

Was this her breakup message?

Was this...

The old insecurities began go come back.

Only this time, with a feral, renewed intensity like never before.


October 08, 2021 18:23

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