The cellphone's ring tone was pleasant but both of them stopped their discussion in between. They were smoking in the balcony.
"A" located the phone and handed it over to "B". It was for "B". It was from the office and that made him little uncomfortable. "You are leaving for Chicago tomorrow morning", the voice from the other side informed.
"Business trip for 15 days", "B" gave explaination to "A" who was in the balcony again, taking the golden puff. "A" showed no interest in knowing. He has always envied "B" for he always considered "B" to be inferior to him. But here is "B", visiting places and earning handsomely.
"B" had to reach the airport at 4 AM next morning. It was obvious that "A" would drop "B" at the airport by his car. But "A" wanted "B" to say so - request him for it. It would satisfy his ego. "A" has always been an egoist. Without it, "A" doesn't exist. Finally "B" had to request to be dropped at the airport.
His ego was inflated.
For the last few hours, since the phone call arrived, he was feeling diminutive.
This all had been suffocating for him. Everything "B" said or everything that belonged to "B" had been irritating "A".
Now suddenly his ego is inflated.
Both of them were silent while leaving for the airport. None of them spoke. All the way to the airport they remained silent. In the car they have been sitting hardly 6 or 8 inches apart. "A" was wearing tough looks while "B" was enveloped in the guilt of having troubled him in that early hour.
Both of them looked at each other at the airport but none of them uttered a word.
For "B" it was liberating. Leaving the guilt behind he was galloping towards security check like an agile lamb in the sheer excitement of the journey ahead.
"A" was feeling heavy while returning. He was thinking of "B". He was scolding himself for not talking to "B" even on the way to the airport. He suddenly felt like going back and hugging "B" and to cry like a child. But No! Again the tough alter ego overpowered him. He diverted his thoughts, lit a cigarette and switched on loud music.
He sensed a saline taste when he entered the house. He touched his eyes. They were wet.
Hindi version of this story is written next....