That evening Parth was a little more buoyant. A couple of more large ones would have made him measure the floor.
He and his colleagues were having monthly drink party in the “License To Grill” bar. The expenses were usually shared on TTMM basis. So, some of the colleagues were always cautious as not to go beyond the individual limit of money and alcohol. But, Parth had decided that he would break the ice.
“Hey folks” he clapped his hands to draw attention. “Since we are going to pay for our drinks, I shall show you how we would decide who should pay.” He asked the waiter to bring a glass tumbler, its brim moistened with water. He placed it in the center. Then picking up a paper napkin he placed it firmly on the brim of the tumbler. Due to moisture the napkin became a tight cover over the tumbler. Then he placed a small coin at the center of the napkin.
“Now, all of you, please light up fresh cigarettes. One by one each of you will tenderly touch the napkin with your cigarette to form a tiny hole. Thus the napkin will turn into a cobweb, with the coin at the center. The one who makes the coin drop into tumbler shall pay for our drinks. Right?” Parth looked at his group members.
They were in two minds. But curiosity won.
One by one they came forward to participate. Once they grasped the technique they all started enjoying the game. Shouting and clapping brought other Diners around their table, who in turn started cheering up. That increased consumption of alcohol. The Bar manager took special interest and asked the waiters to circulate snacks around, but his experienced brain cautioned “IF YOUR HEAD IS IN THE CLOUDS, YOU’RE BOUND TO STUMBLE UPON THE PEBBLES”.
Now, the napkin was full of tiny holes and could hardly support the coin. Suddenly, Parth decided to be a Smart Aleck. He marched forward and touched his cigarette to the napkin. (Well, he thought he did it deftly.) Alas, the napkin gave way. With the chink of coin falling in the glass there was a big clapping and laughter. His colleagues joined the uproar.
Somehow, Parth could not take the clapping and uproar sportingly. Neither had he thought of paying for all the drinks.
“Could he refuse now ? No way!” Parth said to himself, “Sometimes there is no happy choice, Boy, only one less grievous than the other”.
Parth paid for their drinks. But while leaving the hotel, his colleagues jeered and taunted. One word led to another and the quarrel began. The effect of alcohol aggravated the situation further. He vowed not to see them anymore. With anger, bitterness and desolate feeling he departed.
Thereafter, Parth started avoiding his colleagues and his parents. Consuming alcohol on any flimsy excuse became his regularity, and thus, Parth became an alcoholic.
TTMM means in Hindi ‘Tu Tera Mai Mera’ I.e. You pay yours, I pay mine.
The above story is an entry into #TheChoice a Five00 entry.
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Photo by Drew Farwell