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Palace Intrigues by Dibyendu Ghosal

Palace Intrigues by Dibyendu Ghosal

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Published by Dante Newton
A novella.
A novella.

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Published by: Dante Newton on Feb 28, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Palace Intrigues
By Dibyendu Ghosal
Having solved the case of Newark Bay Railway Disaster not as a professionalresponsibility but only under the influence of my passionate and inquisitive mind, I was planningfor some vacation to rest my body and mind, of leaving the American continent for the easternside of the Atlantic ---- I wanted to fly down to the European mainland. The land of Leonardo daVinci had always attracted me since my childhood and the recent controversy surrounding thebook “The da Vinci Code” and the movie based on it, has reason to fire my desire to visit Italy.With Alexandra managing it well on my behalf, I had no problem in my firm. With myprofessional responsibilities in my firm Messrs Berliner Hathaway being shouldered off for a fewmonths, I decided not to waste this opportunity.I swiped my access card and pressed the elevator button. No more was said on the rideup, all the while I watched the floor indicators changing, looking intently in blank, resolutesilence.My thoughts drifted back to my last vacation as I leaned even further back, crossing myarms, embracing myself with a warm and comforting feeling of bliss and relief from the realitythat was my life. My last real vacation was three years ago with my girlfriend. My girlfriendOindrila and I drove down to Sandbanks and rented a room at a bed and breakfast. We didnothing constructive for that whole week, choosing to sun and swim, all the while resting notonly body, but mind.The remainder of the day was uneventful and Oindrila went home as usual in a bland,unfulfilled mood.I closed my eyes and squeezed them tight as I tried to shut out the world. It didn’t workas other phones rang. It was enough to make Oindrila want to bring up our hasty breakfast of anegg on toast with ham.”Even my breakfasts are boring,” I thought.I opened my eyes in time to see a picture on my laptop screensaver. It was somethingthat I downloaded, an image that gave me some hope for summer and the end of the snow andcold and slush. It was a warm and inviting picture of several thatched huts, large and round
sitting on thick bamboo posts hammered into the sandy bottom of the Pacific Ocean. We had along walking jetty leading out to and passing each hut with a short walkway. The water wascrystal clear and even on the computer screen looked warm. It was clear enough to see the twoor three meters to the bottom where the sand was a creamy white and small tropical fish swamamongst outcrops of coral.When I arrived at my desk, I tossed my lunch bag under it and plopped myself in mychair with a grand sigh. The open concept floor was empty at this time of day except for threeother workers, but they were at the other end of the floor. I reached over, silently moaning, andswitched on my laptop.There was that image on my screen, tranquil, clear, clean and peaceful, the tropicaloasis that was my sanctuary.It didn’t take long for me to feel the breeze, and hear the gentle ocean waves. Ithappened so fast it caught me off guard. As I stepped back I felt something different - sand, itwas sand at his feet. I couldn’t explain what happened, what was happening, but the smell of the tropics and salt air continued to entice me to explore these new feelings and senses for justa bit longer.”I could get used to this,” I thought lightheartedly.Nothing else mattered to me now and soon the life I had at the office was just anightmare and a lie. This was reality, a reality that was as real as the sand I was lying on. Irejoiced in the fact that I was awake now, forever rid of that life that never happened and thatthe ringing of the phones and complaining clients would never again intrude into my truth.I blinked several times, thinking that this was too good to be true. I was after all, in hisoffice - how could this be my paradise? It was a question that I couldn’t answer. That morning, Iwas sent to my boss Herr Wilhelm's private room.“I don’t quite know how to explain it to you,” he said, ”but it was the very fact that your performance on the job had a spice of intelligence, it was just your exceptional sharpness. Idon’t read the things in the newspapers unless they’re thrust upon me. At any rate you missedmy little point.”The little point was – when they patted me on the back as when they kicked me in theshin.Our company boss Herr Wilhelm told, ”No one who has not had personal experience of the complications that arise out of your job could believe how far these spread and howentangled they become. You know it very well that great acuteness as well as caution is calledfor.”
“Ya. I know it, sir,” I replied.“During your last assignment, you shirked your responsibilities and gave everything upona younger lady’s shoulder. Am I right?””Ya. You’re absolutely right. But it went off well and cent percent perfect.”“But we can’t allow this every time. We can’t allow your attention to veer to another matter while on an assignment on behalf of the company, Mr. Corvick.”I left the room in a huff and asked Alexandra if she is ready to fly down with me toEurope. But her reply shocked me: “I can’t endanger my life every time for your whimsicalattitude, sir. My family won’t allow me this luxury.”Without further speaking a single word, I came out of the building in anger.I left the U.S. of America for a long absence and full of brave intentions. It is not aperversion of the truth to pronounce that encounter the direct cause of my departure. If the oralutterance of the person had the privilege of moving me deeply it was especially on his turning itover at leisure, hours and days later, that it appeared to yield me its full meaning and exhibit itsextreme importance. I spent the summer in Switzerland and, having in September begun a newtask, determined not to cross the Alps till I should have made a good start. To this end Ireturned to a quiet corner I knew well, on the edge of the Lake of Geneva: a region and a viewfor which I had an affection that sprang from old associations and was capable of mysteriousrevivals and refreshments. Here I lingered late, till the snow was on the nearer hills, almostdown to the limit to which I could climb when my stint, on the shortening afternoons, wasperformed. The autumn was fine, the lake was blue and my mental faculties took a new form.These felicities, for the time, embroidered my life, which I suffered to cover myself with itsmantle. At the end of two months I felt I had learnt the lesson by heart, had tested and provedits doctrine. Nevertheless I did a very inconsistent thing: before crossing the Alps I wrote to MissAlexandra….she was aware of the perversity of this act, and it was only as a luxury, anamusement, the reward of a strenuous autumn, that she justified it. She had asked of me nosuch favour when, shortly before I left the continent, barely five days after our official dinner party, I went to take leave of her. It was true I had had no ground – I had not named hisintention of absence. I had kept his counsel for want of due assurance: it was that particular visitthat was, the next thing, to settle the matter. I had paid the visit to see how much he really caredfor her, and quick departure, without so much as an explicit farewell, was the sequel to thisenquiry, the answer to which had created within me a deep yearning. When I took the liberty of calling her from Clarence I noted that I owed her an explanation (more than two months later!)for not having told her what I was doing.

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