Sunday, May 1

Candid in the Love City - V (Last Part)

Click here to read previous part of this story.
Candid turned silent, image of beautiful Jane appeared before his eyes and rendered him unable to speak for a few minutes, then he said slowly. “I’m ready to pay even this price. I want my freedom and candidness back.”
 “Good luck with you, the moment you decide to get free is the moment you get free.” Countess said cheerfully

 “The second thing you need is to not let the old man convince you that being tied here is good for you.” She advised. 
 “I can't be convinced, having realized his cruelty and cleverness, nothing can convince me now.” Candid announced. 
Countess smiled. “Remember, old man is an ordinary person like anyone else although he knows the laws of Love City. Success of his secret lies in knowing those laws and the confidence with which he recites the laws. It’s very easy for reasoning to deem itself inexistent and make others believe that it is something above itself. It’s difficult to sort out truth from lies in this world when a learned person can mix his illusion of self-grandeur with his learning. Such a person can easily formulate sound reasoning for his inhumanity and also make others believe that his acts of inhumanity and oppression are meant at something nobler that is above comprehension of mediocre minds.”    
Candid breathed a deep sigh. “I’m ready to do anything and understand the danger fully. Tell me what I have to do to get free?”
“Look, I have a plan.” Countess said and then a series of whispers started that continued several minutes after.

Next morning, when old man came with his sharp knife, Candid didn’t say good morning to him. Old man was pleased by this. “You are improving fast, Candid!” He said happily like a child. “You are rapidly over throwing the false-self burdened by society on you and that’s all what I want, revealing your true self to you.”
“Sir, how did you come to know your true self?” Candid asked.
“Indeed it was the sacred pain that led me towards my true self. There are very few people those recognize the importance of pain, you know.” Old man replied.
“Have you known your true self fully?” Candid inquired?
 “It’s a lifelong process” Old man smiled. “I’m still getting to know myself.”
“It means you are still in need of pain?” Candid asked again.
Old man got cautious. “What’s matter, why are your questioning again and again? I told you to not ask too much questions, you have started thinking again and it’s not a good thing.”

“Do you speak without thinking, sir?” Candid asked yet another question.
“I speak with an inner light that’s above thinking. I’m not like ordinary flock of sheep.”  He said proudly.

 “How should I know if you have truly got an inner light or you mere live in world of your illusions? Why don't you untie me?” Candid kept asking questions. 
 Old man got furious. “Are rebelling against me?” He shouted. “You’ll be kicked out of Love City immediately after you got untied from this pole and you’ll never be able to see your Jane again. Remember, I’m gate to your love and only through me you can get your love.”
 Candid didn’t pay attention. “How will you feel sir if I give you some lessons today instead?” 
“What? What do you mean?” Old man began to get nervous.
 “Just that what if I tie you with this pole and give you some cuts with this same knife? As you are  still on the path of knowing yourself like me, I’m sure it’ll be as helpful for you as it has been for me” 
 “Devil has touched you and you are going to ruin your life. You are about to waste everything. You are getting back to darkness where you have been wandering.” Old man murmured and this was the moment when he realized that Candid’s hands are no more tied to the pole. 
Candid rushed to snatch the knife from hands of old man but he stepped back quickly. Candid’s feet were still tied with the pole therefore he couldn’t move forward to snatch that knife. 
“You are gone mad!” Old man exclaimed.
“No, old rascal, I’m coming back to my senses. You have wasted many precious days of my life for the sake of you cursed ego.” Candid said bitterly.
 “Stop it, stop this madness.” Old man said in the furious tone which was used to frighten Candid but today entirely different. He was old Candid that didn’t care for anything once he was determined to do something and he didn’t pay attention to threatening tone of old man.

People passing by were stopping to look at them and it was a good number of people around them now, though no one tried to interfere.
‘OK, here is a deal.” Candid said; he was getting calmer. “I have some questions, you have to answer these questions and I’ll get my hands tied back to the pole. Otherwise you have to untie my feet too.”
Old man looked at people gathered around and considered the mischief in voice of Candid. He realized that questions are going to be tough and most probably he’ll fail to answer and people gathered around will laugh at him.”
“No, spare me sir! I’m not going to answer your questions.” He said bitterly.
 “Viola!” Candid exclaimed inwardly, though he and only he could hear the exclamation. Old man was trapped in his own trap.
“Ah, sir you always said that being not true to oneself is hypocrisy but don’t you see that being false to others is higher and worse form of hypocrisy. If your inner light says that pain and humiliation are good things, why are you afraid of them?” Candid asked.
“I don’t want to even talk with you nor am I going to untie you. You’ll die tied here and no one will untie you because laws of Love City don’t allow helping a stranger being punished by a teacher.”
 “But they of course allow a friend to help other friend regardless the circumstances.” A melodious voice penetrated through the mob. 
“He got no friend here and how did you dare to speak in matter of a law teacher in Love City?” Old man replied, turning his face to see from where that voice came.

 It was Countess Le Rire, as fresh and cheerful as always. Old man’s face distorted with rage and fury. He looked at countess and then at Candid. “So all this blasphemy was plan of this cursed witch? You are destroyed, Candid, you destroyed yourself by listening to this witch.” 
“I’m not willing to listen to you and neither to stay tied here anymore.” Candid didn’t care for his rhetoric.
“Of course, it depends on Jane’s consent and she’s not here these days.” Old man said with a clever grin.
  “I don’t care for Jane, thanks God I didn’t receive those flowers from her and law allows me to get free any moment I want.” Candid replied in a victorious tone. “Had I got those flowers, of course I was bound to return her flowers before getting free but I don’t need her consent because I got no flowers from her.”
“You are destroyed, Candid, you are destroyed” Old man started chanting hysterically but neither countess pay attention to him nor Candid. Countess moved forward and untied feet of Candid.
“Because long period of inactivity, you’ll face difficulty in walking at first but you’ll be OK soon.” Countess said, “You can walk with support of my shoulder until then.”
Candid looked towards the gate of building from where Jane was used to appear but when saw countess smiling, he got ashamed.

“Never mind” Countess said softly “I know it’s difficult but you will recover from this all.”

Old man was now turned silent and just staring at Candid.
 Candid and countess started walking together. 

“I’ll never be able to forget the experiences of Love City.” Candid said sadly. “It taught me how deceptive the world can be.”
 “No” Countess warned. “You’ll not make any assumption about world from this experience. That’s what old man wanted you to do. From all the bitter experience you had, you’ll make only presumptions about old man himself, let neither his lessons nor his actions affect how you see the world.”

"Whatever, I'll never forget the Love city." Candid shrugged candidly.  

 “You’ll return to Love City again” Countess said “And then you’ll find that Love City is really city of loving people those don’t give even a single scar to anyone.”
Suddenly they were stopped by two police men. “Halt, young man! Are you in love with someone or not?” One of them shouted.
“Don’t you see his miserable condition and these scars all over his body?” Countess said angrily. “What else proof do you need of his being in love with someone?”
Police man bowed to countess. “Graceful countess, I didn’t knew this is you with him. I beg pardon for stopping you and my silly question.”

 “Me and Candid are acquaint of old times.” Countess explained with a smile. “I hope you have no objection on his going with me.”
 “Of course not, madam” Policemen said and bowed again. 
“You seem to be very popular here!” Candid said.
 “In fact, I’m more popular than mad scholars like old man.” She said proudly. “Love City loves me and I love Love City.”
They had arrived at gate of love city. 

Candid in the Love City - IV

Our Candid  fully accepted the suggestions of old man and instead of groaning or screaming or trying to talk with people passing by, he kept his eyes closed most of time and stayed focused on his inner self, believing he’ll see the rays of light any moment and that moment will be moment of his freedom. Of getting untied from this pole, of learning the laws of Love City and meeting fair Jane to never depart her again. But that fortunate moment seemed slept far away in some cave of future and there was nothing in sight that Candid could name as “light”.

There was just the pole, tied Candid upon whom people passing by daily had started laughing and more and more cut from old man, an occasional glimpse of Jane that every time appeared after an interval longer than previous and daily lectures of old man in praise of sacred pain that opens the gates of heart for enlightenment. Candid was unable to understand how much pain he has to endure before that light could awake inside him, but
his natural cheerfulness was fading away gradually, an irritated and pessimist behavior had begun to replace it and Candid became more and more used to old man’s knife. He spent most of his time grumbling in low voice of all the wrongdoings world had done to him.  He again and again remembered the owner of tea stall, who didn’t return his 50 cents because Candid had asked for an extra spoon of sugar. He remembered the polish-boy who broke lace of his shoes while trying to remove them for polish and 10 cents he had to spend for buying a new lace for his shoes. He remembered even the Countess Le Rire who often accompanied him in travel but never paid for his ticket, wasn’t such an act of cruelness enough to break heart of any human? He was thankful to old man who showed him true face of people and with wise wounds led him to know his true, angry and sad self.
One day, tied with pole, and dreaming of the light to-be-awakened very soon, he saw Countess Le Rire again. 
“Oh my, you are still tied here Candid.” She exclaimed.
Candid remembered old man’s advice to not let even her shadow touch his shadow, he was embarrassed to observe that shadow of countess was directly touching the shadow of pole with which he was tied and slightly touching his own shadow too.
“Be off, be off you witch!” He screamed. “Keep your cursed shadow away from me?”
 Countess was surprised. “Hey, smiling and singing Candid, what happened to you? You never spoke with anyone in this harsh tone, let alone with a lady?”
“Be gone, be gone!” Candid shouted. “I don’t want to talk with you.”
People passing by laughed, Candid didn’t know whether they laughed at him or at countess, for him both cases didn’t make any difference. However, countess wasn’t as indifferent as Candid, she turned red with anger.
 “Well, well, I got it.” She said angrily. “That devil has turned you into a melancholy copy of himself and you stupid …..” She stopped for a moment. “Well, I’d not blame you for this; it is nature of men to become complete idiot at glimpse of a fair lady and sadly very little can be done for this. But I’ll not let him kill your candidness anyway, if laws of love city allow him to do this all, they can’t stop me from helping an old friend.” 
“Don’t be blasphemous to sacred pain!” Candid resisted. “You don’t know the highest of enlightenment hidden in pain.”
“Well, how long do you think this pain will take to awake that so called light?” Countess asked.
“Hmm, I don’t know.” Candid replied simplistically.
“Well, ask the old man this question today. We’ll meet again tomorrow!” Countess said with a smile and disappeared in a blink of eye.
 Countess’s words penetrated the barriers of all the spells casted by old man. He couldn’t stop himself from thinking about her question all the day. When old man came to lecture him on the sacredness of pain, Candid asked him the question candidly. “Sir, how long this pain will take to awake the light inside me?” 
“Why are you asking this?” Old man distasted his question very much. “Whole world sees the sun once rose. You’ll witness the light yourself once it awake and you’ll not need to ask any question then.”
Candid wasn’t satisfied with this rhetorical answer. “I want to know how long it will take in your opinion, how many weeks, months or years? I believe you have helped many people to awake this light inside them and your experience might have an idea for the time required for whole process.”
“Ah, you naïve Candid! Haven’t you read poetry, poets spent their whole lives in bitterness, suffering and pain. It’s their light that turned into master pieces and helped a number of people see the path in jungle of life. Do you know? None of them complained of their pain or tried to get rid of it. They accepted and embraced their pain and earned the respect of ages. For them, pain wasn’t an accidental happening but a lifelong process that helped them live more enlightened than others. Seeing these facts, why do you hurry to escape from this pain? Don’t you see, you haven’t accepted this pain yet and isn’t this the reason of your suffering and being tied here? Look inwards, ask this question to yourself”
 “I want answer from you!” Candid insisted, the wise question of countess wasn't to be satisfied with this rhetorics. 
“Unfortunately, I have no answer for an obstinate and willful student who doesn’t pay attention to lessons of his teacher and keeps asking silly question.” Old man stood up. “No lecture today, you have spoiled my mood. We’ll meet again tomorrow and keep your questioning machine turned off while learning the laws of Love city.”
Countess Le Rire appeared immediately after old man departed.
“Where you around?”
 “Of course, I was around. I care for friends.” Countess smiled. 
“He refused to answer my question.” Candid said with disappointment.
“I knew he will not answer your question because he has no answer.” Countess seemed amused by Candid’s disappointment. “It was silly of you to expect any answer from him, do you know why he has tied you here?”
 “Because I don’t know the laws of love city and laws of love city are not ordinary laws, they can’t be taught an ordinary way. We have to suffer and endure pain to learn those laws.” Candid repeated old man’s words like a learned parrot.
 Laughter of countess was louder than Candid expected but it didn’t include any bit of contempt in it, it was a pure joyous laughter,  particular to countess ,that does not provoke irritation or anger, . “This time let me call you “O naïve Candid” but not in the sense of naivety in which old man calls you” She said. “But never mind it, we are always naïve in a foreign land no matter how learned we are in our own country. If you were free to learn the laws at your own behalf, you’d have learned everything by now. Tied here with this pole, you are very cunningly kept from learning while deluded to believe you are learning."
 “Oh my God!” Candid screamed, words of countess had quickly made sense. “ Do you mean he made me believe first that I can’t learn the laws of Love City myself and then tied me here with this pole to make sure I’ll not try to learn these laws myself? Now I look towards him all the time and endure all the cuts he gives me.” 
“You got it right!” Countess smiled. “I expected you to understand this. Look, Candid! This is the only way of learning, you got questions and you seek answers. There’s nothing mysterious to that”
“But you also said that laws of Love City can’t be learned ordinary way of learning.” Candid pointed out.
“That’s true, but do you know? Laws of Love City don’t allow harming anyone. They don’t allow even making a scar on back of one’s hand.”
 “What?” Candid shouted so loudly that everybody passing by stopped for a moment to look at them. “Then why old man says that laws of Love City give him full authority over me including the authority of giving all these cuts everywhere? How can he wound me this much in presence of such a law? He should be jailed for his inhumanity.”
“But unfortunately, laws of Love City don’t allow jailing anyone who teaches the law. This is how cunning people exploit law.”
Candid’s head was now swirling. “I’m enough with these God damned laws now. They allow everything evil and yet don’t allow jailing a criminal, what a fraud in the name of laws.”
 “Don’t rush on decisions.” Countess said. “You are far from understanding these things but you’ll learn everything soon once you got your freedom.”
“Can I get free? Can I get my hands untied and walk on the ground with free feet?” Candid got excited. “If it’s possible, dear countess, please do it for the sake of friendship and humanity. I’ll be grateful to you for the rest of my life.”
 “It’s possible but it’s not going to be easy.” Countess said with a smile. 
“I’m ready to pay any price for this.” Candid said quickly. “Any price, I assure you.”
“Don’t be so quick to announce that, may be you are not ready to pay that price.” Countess wasn’t as excited as Candid was.
“How can it be? I’m Candid the free soul; I can pay everything, do anything, to get my freedom back.” Candid uttered in amazement.
 “Try to remember, you were more excited to do anything for your Jane sometimes back.” Countess laughed her friendly laughter. “What do you think about her now?” 
 Candid got sad. “I haven’t seen her for a long time. I miss her but I can’t forget the fact that she is the reason behind all these wounds.” 
 “What if the price of freedom is her? What if you have to forget her in order to get free?” Countess inquired.

Candid in the Love City - III

It was afternoon and Candid was almost faint after screaming and crying in vain. Blood on his cut had dried and turned black. He tried many times to talk with people passing by, in vain again, people looked at Candid with sympathy but didn’t dare to talk to him. Candid was sure about some cruel law being behind their behavior again. A charming lady passed by the Candid whom he knew well. 
“Countess Le Rire” Candid exclaimed with the joy that you get at seeing an acquaintance in a foreign land. “Countess Le Rire! Do you recognize me? I’m Candid.”
Countess stopped and gazed at the person tied with pole. “Oh my God, is this you Candid? O dear, how miserable this city has made you.”
 “Countess, countess! You can’t even imagine the suffering I’m undergoing.” Candid cried. “Look at this cut and this dried up blood, I’m hungry and tied with this pole since morning.” 

 “Poor Candid!” Countess said with pity. “I know no one in love city can tie other without his will. If you are tied here, your consent is included in causes.”
“Do you know the laws of love city, countess?” Candid asked.

“Of course I know” White teeth of countess shone for a moment as she chuckled.

“Then please teach me all those laws” Candid begged. “I’m tied her to learn the laws of Love city, to win the love of Jane, the most beautiful possibility of Love City”
 “Hahaha …” Countess chuckled again. “O naïve Candid, laws of Love city can’t be taught as you want to learn them. They aren’t ordinary laws and it’s not an ordinary city.”
 “Does this mean I have to stay tied here and receive wounds from old man to learn those laws?” Candid asked with disappointment. 
 But before countess could answer, face of old man appeared from the door of building and his face got distorted at the sight. “Rascal, who allowed you to talk with this cursed witch?” He roared at Candid and then at countess. “You, lady with cursed face and damned fate, get away from here within a blink of eye. This person is tied here with his own will and you know the laws, they give me full authority over him …”
He didn’t need to complete his rebuke, countess really disappeared within a blink of eye. A glimpse of expressions that Candid could see on her face before her disappearance told that she hated old man more passionately than old man hated him.
“Do you know who is she? How did you come to know her?” Old man asked Candid.
“She is Countess Le Rire, known everywhere for her cheerfulness and grace she maintains, I have met her countless times, in cities, villages, inns, carts, on roads, in green fields and colorful gardens, she is such a lovely lady and respected by everyone.”
 “I didn’t ask you to sing the hymns of her.” Old man said with contempt. “I want to know how you came to meet her?” 
“What if I refuse to answer?” Candid inquired.
 “This is, only in case sir, if you don’t need this.” Old man showed him a bowl full of porridge. “I hope your stomach can recognize this even without help of your mind. This is your dinner.”  
Candid surrendered without a single moment’s delay. “I met her during my journey and like her, she also liked me and we have been good companion since then. Countess, like me, is always on travel and that’s another common thing between us. That’s all.”
“Good boy, have your dinner and keep in mind that She’s a witch, her magic turns people insane and render then unable to understand the sacred laws of Love City. Stay away from her; never let even her shadow touch your shadow.”
 “I’ll abide by your commands, sir” This wasn’t the answer that Candid intended to give but when he opened his mouth to answer, he saw beautiful Jane, fairest of all maids in Love City, and couldn’t say the words he intended to say. 
“Well, we’ll start our lessons by next morning. You seem ready to learn now.” Old man said, patting the aching shoulder of Candid with his wrinkled hand. With the power of porridge and waves of wisdom emitting from that wrinkled hand, Candid felt himself getting joyous and hopeful. He didn’t realize whether it was shortly after that or hours after that when he fell asleep tied with that pole.

Poor Candid, he didn’t know he had made a mistake again. Next morning when he woke, he found old man stood before him with red eyes, red enough to terrify Candid.
 “You're worst fool on the stage of life ever, how did you dare to sleep despite my warning. Didn’t I tell you that law of Love City doesn’t allow lovers to fall asleep? Wasn’t this crime that tied you with this pole?” Old man growled. 
 “But how can I resist the kind embrace of sleep that covers us like a loving mother to save her child of troubles?” Candid protested. 
 “You can never learn, never learn!” Old man said with a pity that held more of disdain. “But for the sake of Jane, I have to achieve this hard goal anyway.” He pulled out his knife and attacked Candid like a lunatic, escaped from asylum, wounding him here and there, on cheeks, on arms, on palms, on ankles and knees. Candid screamed, cried and shouted at old man but he didn’t care. After making every cut, he get a step back and looked at the newly created wound as an artist looks at his painting then stepped forward again with his knife like a painter with his brush. He didn’t stop until he got tired of this game though at first it seemed like he’d never get tired of this. Until that, Candid had lost ability of speaking and all his throat could produce was groans and moans.
 “Do you know why you are having this pain?” Old man said, looking into eyes of Candid. “You are having this pain because you are an idiot wandering in darkness, because you are not what you it takes to be. You are a shadow of yourself.” 
 Candid gathered all his courage and stamina to speak, he wanted to shout but obviously he lacked the vigor needed for this “Please tell me how I can get rid of this pain? I want to get rid of this pain, at any cost .... at any cost.”
 “Just accept this pain, let it dig deep into your soul." Old man at once turned soft. "Let the sleeping light of your inner self awake. One you got that light awoke, all your pain will fade away itself. Without need of any external remedy, without need of any bandage, your wounds will heal themselves.” 
 Candid nodded his head. When in pain, our minds are quick to accept anything that’s presented as remedy.

Candid in the Love City - II

 Click here to read the first part of this story.

 Candid had good confidence in his 6th sense, constantly warning of a danger, but  fragrance of Night Jasmine was so enchanting even after fading away that the 6th sense needed collaboration of at least all other 5 senses to make any sense. Mysterious laws of love city, wisdom woven in wrinkles of old man and beauty of fairest of all maids were powerful enough to give a shut up call to any sense.

 Old man returned with a bowl in hand. “Eat it and remember, don’t fall asleep after dinner. Lovers can’t sleep!! Listen again, lover don't sleep, it's law.”

 “I’ll abide by law!” Assured Candid with all his sincerity and started eating, old man departed. 

 Candid couldn’t abide by law, however, his long journey had taught him to fall asleep contentedly after dinner, without fearing what will happen tomorrow or caring what happened today. He had learned that it’s among great blessings of life to fall asleep happily after dinner and not all people in world have this blessing, even if they have knowledge of whole world in their heads or gold of whole country in their lockers. So poor Candid fell asleep on the same chair where he finished his dinner and when old man returned with the book of laws, he found Candid smiling in sleep as though receiving again the bunch of flowers from her sweet damsel in dream.

 Next morning poor Candid found himself tied with a pole outside the same gate where he received flowers from Jane. He was shocked. “What the hell this means?” He shouted. “Who tied me here?”

“Don’t scream, it’s me who tied you here.” A calm voice replied. It was the same wise old man with wisdom of ages woven in wrinkles of his face.

“But why?” Candid screamed with all the might his throat could afford to scream with.

 “Because you scream ‘But why’ with all the power of your throat and laws of Love City don’t allow this.” Old man replied with rage. “You are a willful student and will not be able to learn the laws of Love City any other way.” 

 “I don’t want to learn these God damned laws!” Candid answered with more rage. “If I have to get my hand tied anyway, I’ll like to get them tied in violation of law instead of in learning the law. At least I’ll have contentment that I did something before getting my hands tied. Untie my hands, I say”

 “I have no objection, I’ll free you and you have to get out of city immediately after that or you’ll be arrested.” Old man said in relatively calm manner. “But I need consent of Jane for this. You vowed before her to follow me and you are under my authority by her consent. If she allowed, I’ll release you without any hesitation.”

 Meanwhile, beautiful face of Jane appeared from the door. “O my dear Candid! What have they done to you!” She rushed towards Candid and hold his hand in her soft hand. “How miserable you are looking over just span of a night, my poor Candid! But believe me, this is all for your own good. Once you learned laws of Love City, you’ll be free and I’ll be with you never to leave you again. Learning the laws of love city will endow your life with unthinkable and innumerable blessings.” 
Candid felt all his rage and fury fading out. “But I can learn the laws with free hands too, believe me, I have always been a good student and I’ll not disappoint you. I promise, please ask him to free me.” He protested.
“O dear, you don’t understand anything here.” Jane said bringing a sweet smile on her lips. “Look at these flowers, you forgot to take them from me when I waved you good bye last night, they are for you and will be in your hand soon. You promised to bring water from river of eternity for sprinkling on these, did you forget? Do you want to leave these flowers to wither and your Jane to miss you forever, to get punished by law authorities?”
 “I didn’t forget but ….” Candid started saying when old man interrupted hastily and harshly. “When you’ll learn to avoid this annoying repetition of “but, but” then you’ll find your hands free even if tied with a pole.”
Candid felt his confidence is his candidness shaking. He looked at the wrinkles of old man’s face and at Jane’s sweet smile and gave up finally. “Ok, I think really I’m naïve and inexperienced here. I need to learn the law and how unfortunate of me is that I even don’t know how to learn the laws. I beg thee o wise old man, please teach me all laws of Love city. Let me drink from the wine of wisdom that you are intoxicated with.”
“Good boy!” Old man smiled. “You have put the first step on way of learning.”
Candid’s eyes tried to look for the Jane but she had already disappeared back into the building.
“Take the first lesson!” Old man said with a grin and took a knife out of his long robe.
“What this old man is going to do?” Candid thought but didn’t get a chance to utter his thought in words. Old man, like a skilled butcher, drew a deep cut swiftly on back of Candid’s left hand and it started bleeding.”
“Oh, it’s bleeding.” Old man exclaimed with surprise as though spilling of blood from the cut was not expected.
“What do you mean?” Candid screamed in agony. “What do you expect from a cut? Are you insane? Why did you cut my hand? Do something to stop the blood immediately.”
“Don’t worry, I have first aid ready.” Old man informed him in joyous tone. “Let me bandage this cut.”
“I say why did you make this cut?” Candid screamed.

“What? You are being blasphemous to sacred pain of love?” Old man began to get furious again.
“What the hell this sacred pain is?” Candid asked angrily, his face was turning pale with the pain and sight of still bleeding cut.
 “Aw, you are such an ignorant fool, you don’t know the pain of love and how it opens up the heart for enlightenment. In fact you don’t deserve being in love city for a single moment had I not assumed your responsibility for the sake of Jane.” Old man said with such contempt that for a moment Candid felt himself the worst possible stooge on the Earth for crying on the cut of his hand. 
“Ok, I want to know more about the pain and how it opens the heart for enlightenment but please bandage this cut first, it’s bleeding so fast.”
“How can you learn the lesson of pain in absence of pain?” Old man shouted. “You have to endure it to understand the law.”
“For God’s sake” Candid implored “I’m ready to listen you but I think no one can pay attention to anything fully when in pain.”
“I think.” Repeated old man with a distasteful countenance, as though “think” is a slang that is used by a student during lesson of scripture. “Who asked you to think? This is against laws of Love City.”
“By God” Candid’s resistance was exhausting now. “Please tell me at once what is allowed in Love City and what is not allowed?”
 “Be patient Candid, you have got a very naïve personality. You don’t know anything about the world even though you have spent whole life wandering and traveling, but don’t worry. You have stepped on soil of wisdom for the first time and you need to abandon yourself to deserve the flowers of this sacred soil.”
 “For God’s sake” Candid couldn’t tolerate more and shouted again. “This was a simple attempt of abiding by law to rent a room in a hotel which you have already stretched unnecessarily long and you keep revealing more foolish mysteries in every second line of your dialogs. I can’t keep up with this anymore, free me and let me go.”
 “You don’t deserve any mercy, God damned pathetic creature!” Old man shouted with more rage and fury, putting back the bandage in hand in first aid box. “Die here in your darkness, Jane will allow you to be off soon. I’m not willing to teach a fool like you.” And he went away.  

Click here for the third part of this story.

Saturday, April 30

Candide in the Love City - I

It's said that Candid, the singing and smiling traveler, arrived in a new city en route his journey. The city was called Love City and it was law there that no traveler was allowed to stay there without proving being in love. Candid didn’t know that law; he entered a hotel whistling carelessly as he was used to and asked the cleric at reception for a single bed room. 

“Are you in love with someone?”  Cleric asked.

 Candid got nervous at this unexpected question. “Umm, no, I’m not in love with anyone.”

 Cleric stared at him with displeasure. “Do you really mean that? Have you never been in love ever?”

Candid’s confusion grew. “Perhaps” He tried to remember “It seems like I have been in a love, or I thought so at that time. Let me think, was that love? Umm, no, that was not love or perhaps that was love. More probably that wasn’t love and I have never been in love. But what this all have to do with my checking in?”

 “Don’t you know the law of city?” Cleric said angrily. “This is love city and no traveler is allowed to stay here without being in love.”

 “This is very strange” Candid said in surprise. “Would no hotel of city book me a room without being in love with someone?” 

 “No” Said the cleric harshly. “Now you can go, better leave the city or fall in love with someone before sunset. Even if you tried sleeping on footpath without being in love, you’ll get arrested and jailed for violation of law.”

“One minute.” Candid implored. “Does this mean that I can book a room by just saying: Yes, I’m in love with someone?”

“No!” Cleric replied. “You have to prove this sir, and it’s your own headache to prove your claim. Law just wants you to prove this anyway.”

“Then it’s better for me to leave this city as soon as possible.” Candid soliloquized. “My free nature can’t tolerate strain of such laws.”

 “Good bye sir, wish you good luck.” The tone in which last words were said, didn't resemble the word “good” in any sense of its real meanings. 

When Candid got out of hotel he found the sun descending down fast behind the jungle of towers that surrounded the scenario of city.

 “Damn it!” Candid growled. “I have to fall in love with someone and request her to help me booking a room in a hotel. What a foolish task to do and what a foolish law. I wonder how the legislature of city came to pass such an absurd law, but it’d be better for me to fall in love first. Hunger has started murmuring inside my stomach and soon it’ll be shouting at full voice. I don’t now if laws of this city allow to buy the food without falling in love or not but it’s better for me to try falling in love first. These jumbo size mosquitoes, hovering above my head in clusters, spending a night with their love doesn’t seem to be a good idea. Mosquitoes are always merciless and I’d not wonder if mosquitoes of love city proved to be crueler than mosquitoes of anywhere else. I can’t expect anything good from a city with such absurd laws.”

 A beautiful maid appeared from the door of building next to hotel while Candid was engages in that self-talk. She was one of prettiest girls Candid had seen ever. Her curly black hairs were shining in last rays of sun so magnificently that, given the choice, rivers of world would have preferred that black magnificence over their colorless purity. Clad in white gown, with a glowing smile on pink lips and a bunch of red flowers in hand, she looked like a garden turned into a girl by some kind of magic. Candid  forgot to breathe until she directly addressed him. “What’s matter stranger? You look in some problem.”

Candid couldn’t believe at first that he can be so lucky. “Eh, it’s ok … I mean, so kind of you to ask me … Umm, I’m ok, yes, there is some problem. I’m new to this city and laws of this city are kind of strange … I mean …..” He smelled the sweet fragrance of Night Jasmine coming from lady as he breathed his first breath after seeing her.

 She laughed. A laughter like the jingle of a thousand silvery bells in royal garden, though Candid was sure all bells of world together couldn’t produce the sweetness that seeing such a heavenly laughter on lips of a beautiful maid can cause to heart. 

“I know the laws of city well.” She replied. “And I can help you, you want to fall in love with someone?”
“Yes, but unfortunately … I mean …” Candid hesitated, it didn’t seem reasonable to tell a girl that he needs to fall in love with someone.

 “Misfortune is good fortune in disguise,  good side can appear any moment, stranger …” She smiled again. 
“D… Do you mean that …. That!” Candid stammered.

“Stranger, as it is law of city for strangers to fall in love with someone, so it is the law for all girls of city also to fall in love with strangers.” She replied in a soft, low tone. “Do you think lawmakers of city didn’t know what they are doing when they passed the law for strangers?”

A sudden idea came to Candid’s mind. “Do you mean the law punishes the girls if she can’t make at least one stranger fall in love with them?” Candid asked.

“It is so, we are given these red flowers at a specific age and if we can’t make a stranger fall in love with us before the flowers wither away, we are punished. I have been unlucky to wait too long for meeting a stranger but I’m lucky that these flowers are not withered yet. Will you please accept these flowers from me?”

 “Of course my dear!” Candid shouted in excitement. “I’ll consider this to be the luckiest thing ever happened to me. I wonder how an angel, a fairy, a flower like you can remain hidden from eyes of lovers for that long. What a bliss it’s to accept these heavenly flowers from pretty hands of a maid like you; I’ll put these flowers in vase of my heart and will kiss them every morning, smell them every night. I’ll bring the water from river of eternity to sprinkle on these flowers and will never let these flowers wither.” He kissed the hand of girl with a passionate kiss. “Just a few minutes ago, I hated the laws of this city and this city was the most disliked place on Earth for me. Now I appreciate the wisdom of lawmakers those endowed this city with such wise laws and this is the most beautiful place on Earth for me.”

Girl blushed. “Stranger, you have to learn all laws of this city to complete your love.”

“I’m eager to learn all those laws!” Candid declared. “But before that, I’ll like to book a room in any hotel of city and have dinner. O most beautiful lady on the Earth, will you not please help me booking a room? We’ll have a splendid dinner afterwards and I assure you that I can write beautiful poems when I’m not hungry.”

“Stranger!” Girl said with a frown. “We are not that inhospitable to let a lover wander on streets in search of a room in hotel, you are coming with Me.”

 “Aw, who doesn’t love a love with a built-in saving plan!” Candid exclaimed. “I’m ready to follow you even if it leads to hell fire.”

“You surely don’t need to go in hell fire!” Girl replied with a smile. “Come follow me”

She entered back the building from where she appeared. Candid followed her.

Inside the building, in a semi-dark room, lit with feeble yellow light of a small candle, Candid met a white-headed old man with wisdom of ages woven in wrinkles of his face. Girl introduced both to each other. Old man welcomed the Candid warmly. “So you fell in love with Jane? It’s very wise decision, a decision that will make your life as happy as was Adam’s life in heaven.”

 “So, name of my sweetheart is Jane.” Candid thought. "What a fool am I, falling in love with someone without knowing their name, but how can be a person not fool abiding by such laws as of this city."

“Jane! Did you tell him what the first thing is according to law to do after falling in love?” old man inquired.
“Oh sorry, I forgot that, in fact …” Jane tried to explain but old man didn’t care to listen to her explanation. “Never mind, just tell him.”

“Oh yes, stranger! According to laws of city, first thing to do after falling in love is the first thing that I’d ask you to do.” Jane said to Candid.

  “I’m your Candid, not strange anymore.” Candid replied cheerfully. “I assure you that I’ll do anything you’d ask me. Even if it’s stealing the big diamond from the crown of ghost realm’s tyrant, I’ll do it for you.”

 “I’m not going to assign you any such task.” Girl was amused by his reply. “I just ask you to pay attention to wise saying of this old man; he is an authority on laws of love city and no one knows laws of love city better than him, do whatever he asks you to do. Once you learned all laws of love city, the rewards you’ll get are beyond your imagination.” 

 Turning to door of building, she waved good bye to Candid. “I have to go now but very soon I’ll return to live forever by you. Pay attention to laws, and, to nothing else.”  

 She went out like a sudden current of wind laden with fragrance of Night Jasmine.  Candid  took a deep breath to catch the last particles of fading away scent and to soothe the nervousness arising. 
“Ok, now look towards me young man! She is gone and I don’t know whether you will see her again or not!”  Old man began to say.

Candid got shocked. “What do you mean?” He asked in a furious tone, standing up from his chair.
“Calm down young man! Calm down and sit down!” Old man said without getting any impression from Candid’s passion. “Listen, don’t try to reach any result or make any move without knowing the laws of love city first. Your success or failure depends on your learning. Do you know how sacred love is? Do you know why lawmakers of love city passed all these laws? Do you know what it means to be in love? Without knowing the answers to these questions, don’t hurry on anything.”

 Candid felt his excitement and passion of love abating like the sea foam after a tempest. Feeling of hunger rose again. “It looks like learning the laws of love city isn’t like learning ordinary lessons in school therefore I’d better have dinner before listening to old man’s lecture.” He thought and addressed old man. “I’m very much thankful to you for your kindness. I owe for the wonderful fact that you assumed the responsibility of teaching me laws of love city. But, may I have dinner before learning the laws of love city? I mean, it doesn’t seem probable that I can understand and memorize all laws with an empty stomach. My mother was used to say that I have to take my lunch to school if I want to do well in studies and I believe in her wisdom very much.”  
He saw the expressions of old man’s face changing but couldn’t fully get what his changing face means, though he got a slight idea when old man grumbled. “You small minded people can never pay attention to noble things, you slaves of your stomach. Come with me, I’ll arrange a meal for you.”

Click Here for Part Two of Candid's adventure in Love City.