He was distraught with confusion and fear. It felt like his feet had grown roots into the ground. What could he do now? Could he do anything at all? This battle was taking on the hues of one with an inevitable conclusion – his decimation.

The enemy advanced with ominous intensity, threatening to devour the remaining warriors on the field. Yes, a few warriors who were yet to face the wrath of the enemy. Of the countless others who had ventured before, some had fallen in a debile manner, some had used cunning and yet others had actually succeeded in escaping with their strategic plans.

Strategy. Yes, if only he had been geared up for this battle more carefully, he would not have to be looking at last-minute options. It was not as if this was his first time in the line of fire. Could desertion be the answer this time? Well, it really was not a desertion as much as it was freedom. Moreover, you had to be in an army to desert it. Here, each warrior was on his own against the enemy. No team-work, no troop morale and no assistance.

There lay ahead of him that one door of opportunity to flee. To escape his terrifying enemy who would annihilate him in a hopeless battle. He looked at the enemy once more. It was hazy but he could make out that all signs of malevolent intent were very much present. As a fellow warrior engaged in a losing cause, the urge to bolt away to the sweet sounds of freedom was over-powering. How his life would change after that act was anyone’s guess. But, he would be out of the enemy’s clutches forever.

Time was running out. A war cry, calling him in to the combat would ring out anytime now. “Decide quickly”, he told himself. He had just about managed to sever the imaginary roots in one leg when hell broke loose.

“Shreyas! Get your homework here!”

Epilogue: The warrior, in fact, did not flee. Instead, he went on to face many such battles that has evenutally led him to be an inexpert writer of nondescript prose. In hindsight, he regrets he did not dash out of the door. He believes he might have been a street vagabond, roaming the wide, big streets of a wild city. Or, a famous right-hand of Dawood Ibrahim. Or, the school watchman who had the power to close and open the gates to the low lifes.

Post-Script: Inspired by Miss Annie, who taught me Social Studies one unforgettable year and of course, Miss Wormwood.


2 thoughts on “Froth

  1. That’s actually a joke between me and my colleague. His first remark, when I showed him the story, was that, “It was a lot of froth!” And lo!, the title of the story formed :)

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