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




Raj had just reached the departmental store when his phone rang. He did not answer the phone. The street was noisy so he decided he would get into the store first. It was quiet in there. Moreover, once inside his son would get busy walking around and Raj could talk at leisure. Raj often came to this store as this was not so crowded. Most of the crowd went to the newly opened supermarket around the corner. Today he got his son along as the wife needed a break from the hyperactive kid. As soon as he got in, he called back.

Mani was on the other side: "Did you see the news?"
 
Raj took a brief moment to make sure his son was busy in the aisle and then replied, "No man. What happened?"
 
"They bombed Palmyra dude. How screwed is that? Hundred year old heritage site and gone in minutes..." Mani choked.
 
Raj, watching to make sure his kid did not stray too far, upped the ante in his voice and responded, "Hey are you kidding? No way man. Why the hell did they do that? Are they humans or what? These terrorists are scum of the universe dude. They destroyed such a precious piece of human achievement." Once again Raj took a moment to peek at his kid. The boy was in the collectibles aisle, playing with a glass mantle piece. Raj got back to the call again, "The terrorists are human beings too, isn't it? How can they be so childish man?"
 
Right then a store associate swooped down on the kid, plucked the mantle piece out of its hand and placed it back on the aisle. The kid began to wail. Raj noticed the reprimand, "Hey Mani, hang on a minute," and he stormed into the collectibles aisle.

"Mister, why did you snatch that away from my son's hand?" Raj shouted at the associate.
 
"Sir, that is a delicate piece. Also a rare one. The kid could have broken it. I was just..."
 
"Is this how you treat your customers?" Raj furiously interrupted, "If my son breaks anything, I will pay for it. How dare you treat us so cheaply? I do not like your attitude? Please learn some respect mister, we are your regular customers. Where is your manager? I want to speak with him."
 
The associate began to plead and sweat. The manager came running, apologized to Raj, and ushered the associate away. The mantelpiece was handed back to Raj's kid.
 
Pleased, Raj got back onto the phone, "Hey sorry Mani, some irritating store people here. Yeah, so I was saying... what's the world doing about these terrorists man. They are tearing apart such rare stuff. Isn't there anybody to stop them? What's the bloody governments doing man?"
 
"I wonder too. No idea where these cockroaches get so much arrogance from man.. " Mani regretted. Both men let out a sigh.
 
 
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