Killing two birds with one stone!
An old adage I had read in my remote past of childhood days where the teacher simplified the meaning of the same as harvesting two benefits undertaking one venture or more frankly, to solve many problems with a single action.
Now, I think what a powerful line was that? Whoever told this – whoever – must be a very wise and cunning person; I can assure, else it would not be possible on part of an ordinary people like me or you to tell such a tactful line, easily. We’ll have to make a clean breast of him that he must be a ton times capable person, altogether as compared to us.
Then how will it be possible?
After all, it is not an easy task ever to hit two flies with one slap in a real world, I thought. Life is a real game, not a miraculous sequence of a cartoon film. It is not like the epic serials displayed in the televisions where a magic arrow can slaughter successively tens of hundreds of enemies at a single stroke.
It is mid night and I am writing the story. The wall clock, in another room in which my lovely child Pipi was in deep sleep with her mother, signaled it was 2 A.M. But I can’t sleep even though I am trying hard. Sitting before the computer, I am rather thinking that how one can slaughter two preys with one bullet? How one can get two or more benefits undertaking one venture? A dirge fighting is running between my sleepless-eyes and me. The essence of the adage is hunting me. I ponder over how to implement it in reality.
“Is there any way out? If yes, then how?”
“Yeh! There is a way out!!”
Uma had told me, once. We had already completed two bottles of whisky and devoured a few plates of chicken masala by then. He belched and advised while crunching a bone piece –
“Yeh! There is a way out!! I can assure of it.”
“But how?” I frowned.
“Stratagem — trickery! He whispered intoxicated. “Yaar, lets entrap a well off person having interest in music and coax him gradually to make a music album. If fortunately he agrees than make sure that our problem is solved. There will be hardly any difficulty in harvesting two targets simultaneously in one bullet. Rather, that will result in two benefits for us. Benefit one- we will make some money out of it and Benefit number two- we will earn some name and fame in the market too.
“But is it as easy as you think”? I questioned. Some strenuous problems also are there. The person who will invest his hard-earned money to make an album with our songs must not be a fool or stupid fellow bearing the intention of consign his to water. He must have some aspiration of weaving certain returns from it. But who will be the guarantor for this? Me? No, not at all. This is not less dangerous than committing a serious mistake for me? Besides, it is definitely a sinister plan.
How will we ensure that our songs will click in the market and harvest dividends what we are expecting for? The market situation is deteriorating as piracy plays here a vital role; what you know better than me? Even after our album breaks into the market evading vigilance of the pirates, it is ok or otherwise the principal will be gone.
I don’t have less experiences of that kind. Some years back, we four friends started a literature magazine. We had the expectation of making huge profit out of it. I personally assured them that the venture will yield huge dividends. But alas! That did not work as I thought. On top of all this, many people promised to arrange some advertisements to be published in the magazine which would have earned us some money. But, when the moment of truth came, nobody was there to our rescue. Everyone proved them as a serpent under the flower. Finally our entire investment was thrown into water. I still don’t muster the courage to face those friends who have lost their hard-earned money following my commitment. After gaining such a bitter experience, in fact, I have no courage to instigate somebody else assuring him of sure return?
Then, how is it possible to shoot two rabbits with one shot?
Someone most successful in biz world once remarked, I recalled. First, strategize your plans and with clear strategies step into the market. Try hard as per plans and success will be rolling on the ground beneath your feet. Of course, you can’t assure that there will not be any loss. Business tycoons like Lehmann Brothers in America can turn bankrupt and fall. There is no count of business suffering losses and perishing in the current day’s market. Even after knowing the cruel reality, people do business. Many a marriages becomes unsuccessful, relations fall apart in love marriages too, that does not imply that people don’t get married or people don’t fall in love. Life has got to go anyhow.
Strategy! Strategy management is the key to every success.
Still I can’t convince myself. Everybody can’t be successful in business. You need to have special qualities for that. My father is a great example of that.
He undertook a number of steps, many adventurous steps in his life. But what he got is nothingness and nothingness. First started a paddy crushing machine – failed, a ration shop – failed, then he started a poultry firm and that also ended in vain. He has a long list of futile business to his dubious credit. Hence, he has cautioned me from the beginning-
“Dear son! Never think of doing a business in life. I admit there is heavy treasure hidden in it, but not for all. One has to forget oneself for that. I don’t think that you are capable for that; in fact neither was I nor my father, I mean your grand pa! So it will be prudent my son, anyhow search a job and survive and let your family manage with that.”
I have done exactly that. Like an obedient son, I have taken up a job in a press. I am working there as a proof reader. That is not sufficient for sustenance. So, in addition to this I am undertaking a part time job of teaching music in a nursery school. This job is on contractual basis. If there are classes, there is payment, unless nothing.
All of a sudden my thought got derailed. My wife woke up and punched a little on my shoulder. Perhaps the disgusting sound of the computer key-board might get her sleep disturbed.
“Hello, what are you doing, man?” She murmured disgustingly. “It is already mid night! Are you suffering from insomnia? What are you doing here, exactly may I know?” She asked and yawned.
“I’m drafting a story!” I mumbled.
“What..! Story….!” She gazed astonished and wrinkled her nose. “What will you do with that?”
“I’ll hang it around my neck and dance hopingly.” I replied sarcastically.
“Hish….! If you don’t want to tell, it’s ok. Why are you getting angry?”
“Angry! Else what should I do, then?”
Ok. Ok… Leave it. She again told, while rubbing her hair with eyes closed. What I wanted to tell is tomorrow there is going to be solar eclipse. There will be no cooking, so no food. My brother warned me yesterday; the eclipse starts at around 7 am. So don’t ask me for food.
“No cooking! …No food!”
I got shocked. How can I manage to go to the school tomorrow and sing for around three hours with the children? Will my empty belly permit me to do so? Can I really manage to work in office after the school when the empty belly will be started playing guitar using my entrails as its strings?
Instantly, I feel someone emerged within me and slapped and asked- whether your school is going to be closed tomorrow?
“No!” I replied
“Whether the press is closed tomorrow?”
“No!” I said.
“Then is the general life going to be paralyzed tomorrow?”
I too replied- No… no… no… absolutely not!
“Then, why there will be no cooking? Who the hell is that lady to proclaim article 144 (prohibition) on your food? Since her brother prohibited her, she may not take food but what right does she have to prevent you from taking food. If you don’t take food, then how will your fingers dance on harmonium rid?” He snorted in disgust.
I grimaced. You are right brother — hundred percent right. I should take food and I will. Why would she prevent me from enjoying my right?
I thought to say upfront that I will take food tomorrow. Let me see who stops me? The man inside provoked me to go and tell her that at any cost you need food tomorrow. I turned to her, too. However, found her in deep sleep again.
Once again the man inside me instigated me to wake her up from sleep and teach her lesson that you, not she, is your boss.
I rubbed my head reluctantly and told modestly to him- look man! She is already asleep. It is not justified to awake her now. Then, once I open my mouth, it’ll create a chaos so that neighbor will awake. There will be a lot of fuss about us in the colony. Let the matter be buried here. After all I am not quarrelsome, per se.
Perhaps he did not get satisfied by me. So furiously drew my hair from all sides of my head and yawned himself. I shut the computer down and went to bed. Actually, the night did not pass on smoothly. I can hardly sleep.
The mobile screamed. I took up it irritatingly though there is not a bit interest within me as I was dozing off.
It is Uma! I surprised.
“Hi! You are still in bed!” He astonished. “Did not you remember that we’ll have to go to a music sitting? They will be waiting for us. We will have to let them listen our tunes. It is already 8AM. Get up man, hurry up!”
“My goodness! It is 8AM? Is it really morning!” I exclaimed
“Who the hell told you it is morning?”
My wife teased me while combing her hair in front of the mirror. By nature she was like that. So I did not pay a bit attention to her. Actually, I had no intention to off my mood in this early morning as I was preparing myself to go for a musical performance. Ultimately I scared that quarreling with her might affect my vocal cord and my sense of singing as well.
I turned my gaze to the window and replied to Uma, “get ready; I am meeting you within half an hour with my harmonium, bye!”
“By the way, where are you readying for? School? But it’s Sunday!” She pleaded like a prosecutor’s cross-examination.
“My god! This lady is planning to kill my mood, today.” I enraged impatiently, but said nothing. It is wise to keep self-control and move away from her by hook or crook.
So with the intention to get rid of her I started flattering her accumulating all the sweetness in my voice-
“Darling, actually a few people has come with an idea of making a music company and I am going to meet and let them listen my tunes. That is what Uma reminded me of. I have to set out within half an hour. Sitting will be held at Cuttack. Ok.”
“Whether they are paying for this?” –she quizzed clinically.
“Why not!” I replied un-interestingly. “Moreover, if they like my tunes and finally agree for the album, then…”
My wife’s face bloomed in delight. As if, the sun dazzled scratching the darkness of eclipse. I recalled what a friend told me once that only two things are barely required to please a woman: one is money and the other is love. But remember the later must be an anatomical fight. He whispered later.
I now realized what he told. See! How pleased my wife looks after listening about money.
I prepared hastily. Tied the harmonium in the bike and started off there where Uma will accompany me. My wife waved her hands. But I got a different meaning of the gesture. Perhaps she was telling me- come home with money, unless stay there.
By the time I reached Uma. He was already waiting for me by our destined avenue with his tabla (drum).
“Where is his bike?” I stared here and there.
Perhaps He guessed what my eyes were searching for. He grinned and told- I have not brought mine. Actually no fuel avails for that. After all, why two bikes as we are for same destination? Moreover, if we go together, we can save both our time and expenditure, easily.
I stared at him helplessly. My eyes were drenched in loneliness as if a great cyclone had destroyed my home – snatched my happiness away. No one is to lament for me. Everybody is prepared to plunder.
“Why can’t I do what others do easily with me?” I told myself irritated. How can people become so protective like that of the turtle which get into the carapace as quickly as possible to hide him? How Uma could clarify his points for not bringing his bike. Why could not I tell him, otherwise? He is newly married and does not have much responsibility as I do. I am a poor father of a two years girl child. I have fuelled my bike up with the money meant for buying my child’s Horlicks. Why can’t I persuade him to do so?
“No, I can’t pretend myself as a tortoise. I can’t cheat me, ever.”
I got a push from behind, while I was absorbed in such useless thoughts. “Move a bit ahead” – told Uma and asked- Are you comfortable?
He was on the back seat, keeping harmonium in the middle and I was literally on the oil tank of the bike. If there will be a slight more push from behind, I will find myself on the handle of the bike. “Yeh, absolutely.” Still I replied. “Hold the harmonium carefully.”
I geared the bike up.
On the way Uma asked- in which scale you are going to sing. I have had the G-sharp tabla.
Ok, it will do. Well-, I continued –
“The people who have come to apprise us can only listen, don’t have knowledge to judge. But keep in mind that don’t speed the tempo of your rhythm so that songs will be detested. Be careful for that. Remember perfect rhythm leads a vital role to make a song melodious. Unless it might kill a singer on the spot.”
He bobbed his head.
We reached finally at our pre-specified destination where they were waiting for us. Without consuming a second I prepared myself to perform. Uma with his tabla by my side.
“Should we start?”
Uma asked while hitting his fingers on the round surface of the tabla, unmindfully.
“Yes, but songs should be attractive as well as trendy.” Said the fat man, one of the hosts.
“Of course… of course! You, the gentlemen, just listen!” Said Uma twinkling of his eyes. “We swear, our tunes will pierce into your liver.”
( Continued on…Next Page )
Rajendra Prasad Roul is a senior journalist.