The invisibility factor
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The invisibility factor

I tried to speak to him but he just shot a stream of betel-stained spittle over my head and popped out of vision. This was the first evidence of my invisibility as a common man.

There are numerous stories where you have a character who wears a cloak that renders him invisible to others of his kind. Or in some cases it is wearing a ring on one's finger that does the trick. Of course there are tales where just waving a wand or snapping one's fingers achieves the same objective.  However, experience has amply demonstrated the fact that the average human being alias the common man does not need all this mumbo jumbo to become invisible, the very fact of his ordinariness ensures that he stays invisible for all purposes. 

I am a common man (as common as they come!) and my recent experiences at this government office amply demonstrated this theory of invisibility. Something to do with my house required me to apply to this office for some documents. Accordingly I sat down to write an application in my best handwriting to the concerned authorities and the next day I proceeded towards the concerned office to submit the same. Now it is no easy task to locate a government office these days because not only are our public servants shifty but our government offices too fall in the same category as they seem to be shifting their locations every now and then. 

After calling at a couple of addresses I finally found a decrepit signboard with the department's name in faded lettering. As I tried to open this door which was topped by coils of barbed wire a helmeted member of the security forces popped his head above the wall. I tried to speak to him but he just shot a stream of betel-stained spittle over my head and popped out of vision. This was the first evidence of my invisibility as a common man. After making two perambulations of the wall I was finally able to find another small door almost hidden by an overgrown creeper. Thankfully this door yielded to my push and at last I found myself inside the office complex. 

Looking around, my eyes fell upon a couple of guys seated beneath a tree. I went towards them and stood at attention waiting for a pause in their conversation. It came after around fifteen minutes and I took the opportunity to enquire about the concerned official's office.  The guys however did not even notice my presence leave alone responding to my query. I made several attempts at getting their attention but these fellows just continued their conversation totally oblivious to my presence. This was another proof of the theory of invisibility of a common man. 

I somehow managed to locate the room of the concerned official by myself. I had to bide my time for an hour or so because the official was yet to come. Finally near about noon the official made his appearance. I greeted him but my greeting remained unheard and the official looked right through me once again confirming the theory of inherent invisibility of a common man. I cleared my throat so many times that it must have been worn thin yet the sound did not register with the official who remained busy in vital activities like filing his nails and performing an autopsy of his pen. Finally some fellow who had all the trappings of a VIP including the mandatory SPO entered the official's room. Of course this one not being a common man was not an invisible man either which was evident by the reaction of the official who leaped up, extended both his hands, smiled, giggled, curtsied, blushed, sweated and stammered effusive greetings, all in one breath. 

Now as you know the moon doesn't have any light of its own but it is the sun that shines its light on the moon making it visible. Something like that must be true of invisible men. When a pretty visible man with his brilliance bathes an invisible man he becomes visible because that is what happened with me. No sooner the VIP was seated that the official seeing me for the first time said, "Yes what is it?"

I proffered my application and the official without even looking at it scrawled a spider on it and without looking at me as well mumbled almost to himself, "Submit this in the receipt section."

The lady sitting in the receipt section took one look at the application and with a grimace on her face and without so much as a glance at me for I probably stayed invisible, took the application and stamping a piece of paper shoved it approximately towards where I stood. 

Once outside the office I went to a nearby shopkeeper. It was not that I wanted to buy anything. I just wanted to confirm whether I existed at all. As I fingered various articles on display the shopkeeper asked me what I wanted. I was overjoyed on being visible to someone at last. "Can you see me?" I asked the shopkeeper. There must have been too much excitement in my voice because he just gave me a strange look in response!

(Truth is mostly unpalatable…but truth cannot be ignored! Here we serve the truth, seasoned with salt and pepper and a dash of sauce (iness!). You can record your burps, belches and indigestion, if any, at snp_ajazbaba@yahoo.com)

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