Kundan was returning home after his monthly entertainment of a night show in the city. It was past midnight and the heavy downpour had put out the street lamps on the village road. But Kundan knew the road like the back of his palm and so neither the pitch darkness nor the battering rain slowed him down.
He was about to leave the road and enter the mud path through his farm when he felt the touch of cold steel on his temple. “Keep your trap shut, else you won’t open it ever again,” said a voice which was horribly rough but perfect in pronunciation. In the flash of a lightening Kundan saw that the burly figure that was holding a pistol against his temple. The figure was wearing a western suit, complete with the blazer and a tie. His suit was drenched in the rain in spite of the enormous parasol he was holding with one hand.
“I’m your boss from now on,” Kundan heard the steely voice. “You’ll obey my orders and be at my beck and call.”
Kundan, not knowing what to do, walked on to his home. His self-appointed boss said that the bedroom would belong to him hereafter. Kundan could sleep elsewhere, he said, in the living room, for example. “Make me a good cup of coffee before going to bed,” ordered boss.
“I don’t need any coffee,” grumbled Kundan. “I’m tired and want to sleep.”
Boss fired two shots from his pistol. They fell in perfectly obedient sequence, one on the left and the other on the right of Kundan’s trembling feet. The shots were followed by a volley of abuses.
Boss began his reign in perfect style. He always wore a perfect suit, always carried his pistol in his hand and used it occasionally to scare Kundan, and was always generous with his abuses.
When Kundan went to work on the farm, Boss was there relaxing under one tree or another. When Kundan cooked the meals in the kitchen, Boss was there supervising it and giving orders when he deemed it fit.
Days and weeks ran into months. Kundan got used to Boss and his ways. Once, just once, Kundan did toy with the idea of complaining to the police. He got down from the bus near the police station. Boss followed him as usual. When Boss saw the police station ahead, he fired two shots from his pistol, one each aimed at Kundan’s right and left. Kundan bent down and picked up a stone which he flung with all his energy at Boss. The stone hit Boss’s forehead which started bleeding profusely. Kundan got scared. If he went to the police station now, he would be arrested for inflicting injury on Boss. So he turned back and went home.
Boss followed him with his usual abuses.
Kundan got used to the abuses. Got used to Boss’s orders. Got used to Boss’s unfailing presence with him.
Months passed. Boss became an inalienable part of Kundan’s life.
Then one day Boss was unusually silent. He just sat on a chair in the living room and refused to utter abuses. There was no pistol in his hand. Kundan felt a sense of emptiness welling up within him. Life seemed absurd without Boss’s abuses and the pistol. Life seemed futile, hollow...
“Please, abuse me,” Kundan longed to plead with Boss. “Please, fire some shots from your pistol. Enrich my life with your greatness.”