The Man who knew too many Men

In the beginning, I knew nothing. Then, the only thing I knew was that there was a new man in our colony who knew everything. Then, I realised that it was just an exaggerated truth. Then, I learnt that he knew everyone.

And weirdly enough, he didn’t know me.

I was starstruck. Like we usually get when we meet a star or have a star, such as the sun, blind our eyes. We stand helpless, feeling lost among the crowd, anticipating how we would respond when the human being, whom we fancied so much to meet, finally ends up in a handshake distance. We think of ostentatious statements to polish our ordinary reality. We bite our nails, then realise that it worsens our public image and then immediately stop doing so, only to resume doing the same thing with a different finger all over again. And thank lord, we have got no shortage of fingers. I mean, when I was young, I was a firm believer that I had twenty fingers in one hand. My parents used to disagree, but I knew how to hold on to your ideas from quite a young age. Then I learned counting and it made me accept that I was indeed multiplying the reality by four. Actually, I initially used to argue that the amplification factor was only three, but it took much less effort to convince me otherwise, probably because my self-esteem had already taken a hit with the first miscalculation.

Okay, back to the present. I was waiting clumsily to meet the man who knew everyone, in fact, I have been anticipating this meeting since a week ago, as I found it thrilling to experience meeting an ‘unmet’ human who already knew me.

But, alas, this crazy guy simply walked passed me as if he didn’t even know me. I found it weird. I initially blamed my invisibility cloak for it, but then I realised that I didn’t have one. So, I instead brought out my resurrection stone and resurrected every human who had once lived to test the breadth of this man’s knowledge. But, the server was down. So the resurrection was unsuccessful.

Upset by this misfortune, I ran after the man and swiftly engaged myself in a sliding tackle, which I had tactfully learned from Real Madrid’s defenders. But, below the soles of my shoes was not turf, nor soft grass, neither lush bushes. Instead, the gravel injured me severely and I made a mental note that I shall never attempt to imitate the professionals. I was also annoyed, because when I stood up, I could no longer see that man anywhere.

I turned around and I saw tens of other angry people, running towards me. I immediately knew that they must have been also ignored by the man who knew everybody. I had to discard this however, when the ‘mesmerisingly melancholious’ language of ten indignant voices seemed to be directed towards me. They soon encircled me.

It was then that the ground shook. And from beneath my soles, rose a noble soul. This noble soul was known for knowing everyone. This noble soul was tackled by me and had disfigured his face following the unexpected sliding tackle from behind. This noble soul, may have ignored me earlier, but now appreciated my presence with every bloody breath he took. And the language. Oh the language. This noble soul wasn’t so noble after all!

Few punches and kicks later I realised that the group of angry men had somehow ended up fighting with each other, while trying to be the first one to punch me. I knew not why, but I had a feeling that every men disliked other men who pulled up sliding tackles needlessly upon an innocent victim, the kind of feeling we have for Real Madrid defenders.

I never saw that man ever again. I never heard his legendary memoirs ever again. The myth of the man who knew too many men, vaporised while leaving us, the children of modern civilisation, alienated. I don’t know who he was. I bet he knew me. But, I don’t know why acted like he didn’t. I often regret the sliding tackle, but sometimes I feel that it was justified. For, with knowledge comes power and with power, responsibility. If you are famous for knowing everyone, it becomes your responsibility, to let all know that you know them. If you don’t, who knows when the unforeseen sliding tackle befalls you!

Arkadeep Mukhopadhyay

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