The dilapidated three storied building was abuzz with activity and commotion. The air was replete with volatility of sorts and the three men sat on a worn out couch which stood majestically in the living room of one of the houses. Each one waited to set the conversation rolling and put things in motion.
The room cut a sorry figure. A lone window peered at you as if it would whirl in fresh air any moment. But, there was hardly any greenery in the precincts of the building. The air was heavy. The residents had got accustomed to their surroundings and though they cribbed, nothing changed. But, today they had raised an issue, which needed to be addressed as a battle it could ensue.
Lokesh, Keshav and Shankar had come together for an emergency meeting of the residential society which was usually held once every month. But, owing to some unforeseen developments here they were.
Lokesh was your quintessential brooder. He seemed level-headed and smiled at the other two who appeared both cruder and shrewder. Nevertheless he exclaimed in that husky baritone, “So, Keshav, why are we here today? I thought the society meeting was due next week. I am a builder, a contractor. I do not have all the time in the world to come here and listen to your wayward rantings”.
Hearing this Keshav smiled. He was quite a looker this man. He could easily make you swoon and make your heart croon. He turned towards Lokesh and uttered, “Yes, we know you are a busy man. But, this matter needed your intervention. There is utter chaos. Belligerent forces are at play. The people of this society have turned quarrelsome, meddlesome and I no more have any say. I am the President of the society but seldom any heed they pay to what I say…nay”.
Hearing this, the third musketeer Shankar, who sat at the distant edge of the couch, exclaimed, “What exactly is wrong, would you elaborate? I could set things right in no time. Do we need to use force, let me know I could coerce and bring these people on the right course.” He had quite a persona. He wore a tiger print shirt and his unruly hair fell till his shoulder and a grotesque tattoo near his forehead lent him that ‘cool’ look.
“See the thing is that the residents of these apartments are unfortunately at loggerheads. There is a vacant piece of land just outside the building. Now, one of the residents on a whim announced that a temple ought to be built here. But, some people from a different religious sect urged to build a mosque at the said spot. This caused a rift and people grew adrift”, Keshav said frowning a little.
“Why do they these people have to fight over such a petty issue and pray tell me how do we navigate a breakthrough? I cannot stand them casting aspersions at each other. Why not destroy the bone of contention, let us plan an intervention and mete out a fool-proof solution”, Shankar said looking at the other two questioningly.
“Religion cannot be tampered with here; the sentiments attached to it go beyond the sensibilities of anyone. When I had built this housing society people loved peace and lived as amiable citizens. But, slow and steadily, brotherhood gave way to forces like staunch devotion, greed and a gamut of filthy notions. At times I wonder, are these the same people who moved into the then shiny homes of the building that I so lovingly built. I often marveled at this project of mine with a hint of pride and thought that I had woven a colourful and exquisite quilt. But, wings of change blew so hard and today my beloved people are falling apart”, Lokesh took a deep sigh and got lost in introspection.
Both Keshav and Shankar looked at each other and instantly knew they would have to take the matter in their hand and restore peace in the erstwhile la la land.
The meeting was called off that day and it was decided that soon they would talk to the people and make the discord feeble.
Two months later…
The same room. The worn out couch. Three men sat smiling, boy they seemed happy one could vouch.
Lokesh started off, “So, I believe peace has been restored in the land and people no more gang. But, how did you trample the hostile voices and left them with a dearth of choices?”
Shankar answered, “They were busy fighting for the said land and looked at each other with scorn while we wondered how to take the bull by the horn. Just then, consumerism spread its wings. The place where religion was to find a seat was now taken over by a rich businessman to erect a swanky mall, with all the shenanigans and blings.”
Keshav laughed heartily at the irony of the situation. Nevertheless, he was happy that the people were no more fighting over religion; in fact they were already dreaming of the luxurious mall and saw a glorious vision.
So, the matter stood resolved. The three musketeers stood up and grinned.
Just then, a smoky halo of sorts surrounded them. The boorish men now metamorphosed into the holy Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh and within no time disappeared into thin air.
Tomorrow would be another day in the alleys of the ‘Bharat housing society’.
We appreciate you rating the story out of 10 along with your comment in the comments.
The above story is an entry into the writing event(Feb. 02nd – 20th) hosted by ArtoonsInn: #PullTheRug #UniK-3
Event rules and guidelines: https://writers.artoonsinn.com/pull-the-rug-unik-3-writing-event/
Check out Meha’s space here: https://writers.artoonsinn.com/author/meha-sharma/
Photo by Markus Spiske