Monday, May 24, 2021

The Politician and the Soldier – Story

Short Fiction










Dear Reader – before I start telling you the story of “The Politician and The Soldier” – let me first introduce myself – the narrator of this story.

Yes – I am the narrator of this rather curious story.

I am the politician’s “manager” – his “right-hand man” – his “major-domo” – his “all in one” assistant – or – if you wish to use more uncharitable terms – I am his flunkey – his lackey – his stooge – his minion – you can call me what you like – but I have become indispensable to him.

My “Master” – the politician – he is the “uncrowned king” of the place – wealthy – powerful – he controls everything – and – nothing moves here without his approval.

Everyone is terrified of him – including me.






One evening the phone rings – the landline number.

I recognize the voice – it is the “Soldier”.

“Is he there…?” the soldiers asks me on the phone.

“Yes…” I say – and I connect the call.

The “soldier” speaks to the “politician” for around 5 minutes.

Then the “politician” summons me inside his office and says to me: “Is there anything in the evening…?”

“Yes…” I say, “you have to attend the party meeting followed by dinner…”

“Tell them I am not coming…” he says.

“Sir – it is a very important meeting – top party leaders are coming – the general-secretary will also be there – you must go there…” I say.

“Nothing is more important than my friend – I have already told him to come for dinner – you call up my wife and tell her to make something special – get whatever she wants from the market – and organize some good snacks to go with the booze…” he says.

“Sir – should I arrange some “Single Malt” Whisky…” I ask him.

“You have been with me for 3 years now – don’t you know – my friend will be getting a bottle of “Military Rum” for me…” the “politician” admonishes me.






The “Soldier” arrives at 7 PM in the evening.

The “Politician” is genuinely delighted to see him.

“What have you got for me…?” the “politician” asks the “soldier”.

The “soldier” pulls out a bottle of rum from his bag.

“Ah…” the “politician” says, “let’s go inside and open the bottle…”

The “soldier” goes inside.

I look at the “politician” and say: “Sir – I have got all types of snacks – chicken dry fry, mutton kababs, fish fry, peanuts, pakoras etc. – and – I have briefed the servants how to serve them…”

“Good…” the “politician” says to me, “did you tell my wife…?”

“Yes, Sir – she is preparing a special meal…”

“Wonderful…” the “politician” says.

“Sir – I have informed them that you won’t be attending the meeting as you are indisposed…”

“Ha – Ha – “indisposed” – you have become an expert at inventing excuses…” the “politician” says, “you can go home now – if I want something – I will call you…”

“Thank you, Sir…” I say – and – I turn towards the office to lock it up.

The “politician” goes inside his house to join his friend – the “soldier”.









“How was the evening, Sir…?” I ask the politician.

“We really enjoyed ourselves till the wee hours of the morning…” he says.

“Sir – I have been wanting to ask you something for a long time – but I don’t have the courage to ask…?” I say.

“Come on – you have been with me for over 3 years now – you can ask anything you want…” he says.

“Sir – it is about your soldier friend – you always give him an immediate appointment – and you cancel everything – however important – just to spend time with him…” I say.

“He is my best friend…” the politician says.

“But, Sir – he is just a soldier – and – you are such an eminent person – so wealthy – so powerful – and – you only move in “high-society” – and – you eat and drink the best – but – when your soldier friend comes – you drink cheap military rum with him…” I say, “and yesterday – you cancelled a most important appointment – a crucial political meeting…”

“I told you once – my soldier friend is the most important thing to me – so – when he comes – other things just don’t matter…” the politician says.

The politician pauses – looks at me – and says:

“Okay – I know you are curious – today – I will tell you about our friendship. We – the soldier and I – we were classmates in school – best friends. After finishing school – both of us wanted to join the Army – so – when there was a recruitment rally – both us went there – we both wanted to join the Army…”

“Oh – so you too were in the Army – Sir…?” I say.

“No. He was selected – but – I was rejected…” the politician says.

“You were rejected – why…?” I asked him.

“Till today – I really don’t know why the rejected me…” the politician says, “they made us do all the tests – and – they selected him and rejected me…”

“You must have been disappointed…” I say.

“Yes – I was terribly disappointed – but – my friend was even more disappointed than me – and he said that he would not join the Army since I was not coming – you see – we had been inseparable friends since childhood…” the politician says, “but I convinced him to go and join the Army…”

“And you…? Sir…?” I ask him.

“Well – I did odd jobs – here and there – for a few years – and then – a political party asked me to do campaign work during elections – later – I joined that political party – and – the rest is history – as they say…” the politician says, “but throughout my bad days my friend would write to me and boost my morale…”

“And your friendship remains as strong as ever…” I say.

“Yes – whatever happens – we will always remain friends…” he says.

“Sir – if you don’t mind – I wanted to ask you if your soldier friend mentioned that he was in a bit of trouble – and – did he ask your help…?” I say.

“No – he didn’t say anything – what is the matter…?” the politician says, looking surprised.

“His family had taken a loan from the cooperative bank for their farm – they couldn’t pay back the loan – so – the bank had declared them as defaulters…” I say.

“Defaulter…? How do you know all this…?” he asks me.

“Sir – he is your close friend – and it is my job to keep track of such matters – I knew he would meet you when he came on leave – and probably ask your help…” I ask.

“You have not understood him – he will never ask for help – it is a question of dignity – he is a man of honor – a soldier – and – you have not understood our friendship – obligations can destroy the best of friendships…” he says.

“So – you are not going to help him…?” I ask the politician.

“Of course – I am going to help him – but he should not know that I have helped him – do you understand…?” the politician says, “you do one thing – pay off the entire outstanding loan and interest amount – and tell the bank manager to tell my soldier friend that his loan has been waived under some government scheme. No one should know that I have paid the money – do you understand…?

“Yes – Sir – it shall be done in a most discreet manner…” I say to the politician.

“That’s good…” the politician says, “you have done the right thing to inform me – keep a track of his family – in case they have any problems – especially when the soldier is away – in case they need something – but – remember – whenever you help them – do it quietly and anonymously…”

“Yes, Sir – may I go now…?” I say to the politician.

“Okay – keep be briefed…” he says.


 On my way out – I smile to myself – even ruthless people have a compassionate side.


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1. This story is a work of fiction. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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