Short Stories

Vanity & Modesty

Pride and prejudice were his characters. Pride that consumed him and prejudice that almost killed him. Pride in whatever he did and prejudice in whoever he saw. He could never swallow his pride, rather he dwelt in it as if it were a comfortable abode. His prejudiced opinions about people were rather a surprise for those who knew not well about him. He considered himself as the Creator. The creator of exotic culinary cuisines that beckoned people to relish them and satisfy their taste buds. His hands dished out such heavenly cookery that one could satiate their hunger with just the aroma emanating from the dish. He was a cordon bleu chef. And he prided himself on that. Pride and prejudice never left him. But those two impostors died a slow death when he met her. ‘She’, elegance personified.

Cocooned in her own imaginary world, she spewed words after words on her manuscript diary. That was the first draft of her seventh unpublished novel. She had two published ones under her pseudonym and six unpublished ones under her original name. Yet she kept writing, considering herself as a humble writer. She never publicized her works on her own, though her two published books were bestsellers. She had a rather serene book launch for them, away from the hullabaloo and the prying eyes of the media. She never received any recognition for the name which was given by her parents. Despite being deferential, she was courageous and determined. She would rather die than act against her own decisions. Though this determination of hers demanded flexibility in a few cases, people loved her for standing up against the right issues.

And then they met, stark opposites in nature. Their first meeting was like – the egoistic meets the modest. She hated him and he loathed her. Being at loggerheads for most of the time, they couldn’t find even a single standpoint, where they could agree with each other. Their meeting was accidental. They were at a multifarious workshop where he had enrolled for Lebanon cuisine and she for advanced creative writing. They were at the buffet when a conversation about the Indian politics triggered between them. Soon, the topics navigated to lifestyle and relationships. And they never came to a conclusion with their varied opinions. He was too much proud for her and she was too much headstrong for him. She thought that he must change into TWP (Talented Without Pride) and he thought that she must change into MWR (Modest Without Rigidity). But they drifted apart with every spoken line. By the end of the day, they vowed themselves that they should never meet again. Never ever.

But as fate could have it, they met. Third, fourth, fifth and sixth time. It was at the unusual places – the petrol bunk, the unisex salon, the broiler shop and the fancy store. Though they tried to avoid each other, they just couldn’t keep their mouths shut. And even before they could realize, they were meeting frequently. And deliberately too. Both wanted to release themselves from the stereotyped cage that they were put into. By spending time with her, he realized that he must swallow his pride. And she realized that she must turn more flexible. Yet they just couldn’t turn into someone new, which led to frequent misunderstandings between them. While still they locked horns, they professed their love for each other under unusual circumstances. Though they couldn’t imagine an agreeable and happy life ahead, they decided to take the plunge. Their relationship was a bumpy one with persistent breakups. But they sought each other again, for they just couldn’t live without the bickering of the other. Soon they found themselves changing. Changing for betterment. Changing for their own good. He was transforming into someone who could live without pride and she into someone who could be amenable.

And finally, they broke up for the last time. Yes, they broke up. Though they were at a soulful transformation phase, they were finding it difficult to accept their new selves. They were accustomed to their old behavior. They had almost stuck like a leech to their bygone attitudes. After assuring themselves that they had moved on, they found new partners who matched their tastes and were more compatible. Yet, they missed each other. Their new partners could never fill the void that they had created within themselves. At last, he came back to her as a transformed leaf. The food he cooked was sprinkled with love, rather than pride. She had modified him. This revised version of him was way better than his earlier one. People awed at his amended behavior. And what about her? Well, her acceptance itself indicated that she had thrown away her headstrong self. Though she was determined not to find him again, his love for her proved her otherwise. It was at that moment she realized that she had turned adaptable. Together they had created better version of themselves. If he was the Creator, she was the Alchemist.

Books mentioned in the post:

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.


Kavya Janani.U


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