Is it the lacking courage to face the consequences or is truth so boring in reality that we need to season it with some innocent dishonesty all the time?
There was a time when I would be least bothered about what I was saying to whom. If I lied to one person…I would forget the chronology of events and say the truth to the next person. Harmless stuff but it had created so much inconsistency that I decided to use the KISS policy. Keep it short and simple!
I was in college. Dad thought I was the studious kinds. He had reasons to do so. My marks supported his belief. But I was interested in everything but studies. I joined NIIT. On paper it was to give me an honours Diploma in Systems Management. Something other than a graduation degree so I wouldn’t lag behind in the Marriage Market. Gosh…those were the days of COBOL, C++ and endless flowcharts. But it was my fun escape.
I spent more time socializing with other batches, exploring Hazratganj, breezing across to the Taj in Gomatinagar (it used to be a secluded green drive in those days) riding a cool pillion. The highlight was when I was asked to take part in the Fashion Show in the annual festival. Walking down a ramp in Fashion Shows is a sure shot sign of ‘slowly rising in hotness quotient’ in small towns. Swaying down ‘ghisa pita’ songs in godforsaken clothes somehow made u feel wow.
Dad didn't know about all these things.
Then one day the most exciting thing happened. I was chosen to represent NIIT in one of the inter collegiate Fashion Shows. I had never been out of home for such events till then and this was to happen in IET Sitapur. I wanted to go very badly but didn’t have the courage to take permission from Dad. So I fibbed and made a long story of how I might have to stay out late in my IT College Hostel for some function (I was a Day Scholar). All was fine until an hour before I was to leave for Sitapur.
Something inside me didn’t feel right. My parents wished me well for the college function and asked me to enjoy myself. Even gave me 200 rupees so I could spend it as I liked. My guilt knew no bound. I told my father ‘Baba, there is no function in my college. I am supposed to goto Sitapur for a Fashion Show. I really really want to go but I was scared to tell you as you would have not liked it. And if I don’t go now, NIIT Lucknow performance will get affected’.
Dad was stunned. It wasn’t just a confession. It was kinda also telling him that ‘he has no option but to let me go’ as he would never want to jeopardize our performance.
No time, mixed emotions and lotsa gravity in the air. He said ‘OK go but give me the address and the contact number of the place’. I promptly wrote it down and gave it to him. I couldn’t understand his smile then. But I guess that’s how I would smile too when I realize my kids are growing up into their own person.
I reached Sitapur. To my horror, there was no electricity and the whole competition had been pushed by 3 hours. What was to start at 6pm started at 9pm and there was no way I could contact my parents and inform them of the delay as IET office was closed. The Show went on past midnight and by the time the NIIT bus dropped me back home (I lived in Cantonment area), it was almost 3 am.
I was dead scared when I walked in. My mother ran to me and hugged me. I said ‘Mummy trust me it’s not my fault, things just got delayed’. Dad was nowhere to be seen. She said he just took his scooter and left at midnight while she was sleeping.
I was dreading the moment he would be back as I didn’t know how to convince him that ‘it wasn’t my fault’.
I cried as I went to bed coz Dad wasn’t back even though it was 5 am. At around 8am, Mom called out to me. I saw him sitting at the breakfast table, ready to go to office. I was trembling with fear. I ran to him crying and said ‘Baba it really wasn’t my fault, it all started so late’. He just looked at me and said ‘I know. I went to Sitapur in the night and found out. Nobody was answering the phone number you gave so I decided to go when I didn’t hear from you till midnight. Am glad you gave me the address.’ I didn’t have to say one more word in my defense. He believed me and the air was so light all around.
I guess from then on I have found it much easier to be in touch with my core feelings, trust them and share them with people who matter to me. It’s so much easier to just tell the truth and forget, than to remember all the 100 lies that go onto substantiate one single tale of deceit.