"A profound unmitigated loneliness is the only truth of life"
- R.K. Narayan




While Sarnath lay on the couch watching his daily dose of late-night news, he stole a moment to glance at his lovely wife. She sat there, reading a novel, unmindful of the two men seeking her attention - one, the newsreader blaring on the television, and two, her husband ogling at her. Sarnath watched her satin nightie complement every juicy curve on her body, and couldn't stop himself from moving close to her. He flung an arm around her, gently resting it on her bosom. And cupped his palm on her breast, like an emperor clasping the jewel of his sceptre. Sarnath liked to feel that sense of owning her - it always turned him on.
 
Sarnath's wife was indeed a beauty and many in the neighbourhood lusted after her. But she never seemed sensitive towards any of that. Yeah, she would be seen chatting with the writer guy once in a while, but that was only because she was an avid reader. Sarnath had seen her chat with him too, but he did not bother much. He earned much more than the writer, and he knew that was enough to keep his wife faithful.
 
Sarnath was a car salesman, an awesome one at that, so much so that his friends at the dealership would, sometimes, admiringly call him 'Car-nath' (The Lord of cars).
 
As Sarnath fondled his wife's breast, a debate raged on in the television. "Delhi is now competing with Beijing," imploded the news anchor, who was also the debate moderator, "in being the most polluted city in the world. Every night there is a thick blanket of fog covering the city. It spells doom to every citizen of the city. What is the government doing? The whole country is watching this..." and the camera shifted to the minister in attendance.
 
Sarnath looked outside the window; there was no fog visible as such. He turned and kissed his wife, then tickled her breast, as if cajoling her to get to bed.
 
The minister replied, "the government is doing its bit. We are taking action..."
"No sir, you are not," the environmentalist on the panel angrily interrupted, "where is your chief minister and the environment minister? Why are they not speaking to the press? This is such a shameful moment for Indian democracy. You know that most of the pollution comes from the cars. What has your government done to regulate the number of cars on the road? Wha..."
"Madam, we have done much on that front.." justified the minister in interruption, "we run ads requesting people to car-pool, don't we? We are also mulling an act to port all cars to CNG as it is a cleaner fuel. We will be subsidizing public travel so that people can stop cars and start using the buses. We are doing our best to reduce the number of cars on the road. The people have to understand that bigger cars do not necessarily mean a better life. They have to focus on being good citizens."
"No, don't blame the people. It is the fault of your government," jumped in another panellist, "Your party has always been playing vote bank politics."
 
The anchor intervened, "Madam, please don't politicize this issue. We need to see how to reduce the number of cars on the road. That is really the crux of where the pollution starts from. Minister sir, have you ever thought of.." Sarnath's wife smiled at him and got up to go to the bedroom. Sarnath quickly turned the television off, and hurried after her.
 
He would make passionate love tonight; it was a celebration, and he so much deserved it. Earlier that day he had been awarded a hefty bonus at office, for being the best car salesman of the quarter. He had sold a record 100 cars. Now Sarnath was so enthused, that he swore to sell another 100 in the coming quarter. After all, more money always meant better life, which meant a happy family, which meant a healthy country. Oh! and yes! a higher salary also made sure his wife stayed faithful.

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