The Untruthful Liar  




“Fudge the numbers, Rahul,” ordered Mr. Gupta. “That’s lying, boss.”  “Winning the deal is more important, my boy. Let’s show our commitment and truthfulness in carrying out our business with them.” “But...” Rahul’s voice trailed off at the menacing look from Mr. Gupta.

***

“So, how do I look today, sweetheart?” asked Nisha. “Huh?” Rahul looked up at her as he gulped down the food hurriedly. “You look exhausted and that sweatshirt doesn’t suit you. Bad choice,” he replied matter-of-factly and continued with his lunch. “Can’t you even lie for the sake of your girlfriend’s happiness?” Nisha’s eyes welled up as she walked out of the restaurant in a huff. “Hey, wait!”  Rahul slapped his forehead at the twisted turn of events that day.

***

“Ganpati Bappa*, teach me how to lie!”  “Tathaasthu, putr*!” “Ganpati Bappa Morya*!” Rahul tossed and turned in his sleep chanting the verse nonstop. The alarm screeched and jerked him awake.  “Was it just a dream, or, did Bappa really bless me?” he kept asking himself a million times until he got ready for the day and stepped out of his house. He was going to find that out soon.

***

The plush conference room was abuzz with discussions when Rahul entered. Mr. Gupta gave him a brisk nod and gestured to him to set up the presentation.  Sealing the new client’s contract was as important for the company as was for Rahul’s promotion. He took a deep breath and faced his suit-clad audience. He projected his slides-deck and began explaining the merits of awarding the contract to his company. His coherent elucidation and presence of mind while handling questions improved their winning prospects. But, as the deck progressed to the financials, he swallowed and stopped. “Proceed, Mr. Rahul,” called out a gentleman. Rahul smiled nervously and gave an account of the falsely prepared financial statements supporting the company’s viability assessment for the bid. He managed to maintain his confident composure until the very end. “Brilliant.” One of them clapped. “How do you do that, folks?” Another questioned. “I’m amazed at the way you had the guts to cook up numbers,” said an elderly gentleman in the group. “Dear Mr. Gupta,” he continued as he stood up and walked to the door. “A lie may take care of the present, but, it has no future. In my case, not even the present. Good day, people,” he slammed the door shut behind him. Rahul wanted to vanish into thin air.

***

“Why didn’t you pick my calls?” Nisha was at Rahul’s doorstep, worry writ large on her face.  “Sorry, I didn’t notice them,” he lied. “Not even one of fifty? Liar!” Rahul smiled weakly. Even Bappa’s blessings couldn’t make him lie. “So, how do I look today?” she asked him. “Mismatched outfit. Dishevelled hair. You look ... terrible, but, I love you for what you are,” he finished with a grin. “Now, that’s what I love about you, Mr. Truthful!” she smiled and hugged him tight.

***

Glossary:
  1. Ganpati Bappa – Lord Ganesha
  2. Ganpati Bappa Morya – a chant in praise of the lord
  3. ‘Tathaasthu putr’  translates to ‘So be it, Son.’
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