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INTENT AND THE MEANS

INTENT AND THE MEANS – Episode 2

A sudden blackout turned red to unveil two hefty men, who were approaching me with a blindfold. One was dressed in white – the colour of a saint, and the other was clothed in jeans and mask. They manhandled and blindfolded me before dragging me to a figure standing about ten paces away. The figure – a pot-bellied man with the pose of an authoritarian – placed a hollow f-shaped metal on my forehead. Death, yes, death was sniffing at my skull.

Once again the blackout returned, but to see the arrival of two women under blue lighting. The duo darted forth with two placards. And they stopped having assumed my original position. Their eagerness was conspicuous from the manner at which they waved their placards in the air. Apart from their gender which was a symbol of empathy, their gestures together with the lighting, symbolised nothing but an earnest call for humanity. The red and blue lighting, white dress, mask, blindfold and the figure which constituted the scene were all together symbolic. But, only time and individual’s discretion would tell what they represented.

Now the tension was high. It was no longer a fairy tale that the presentation would unfold. Even the blind could perceive it was in progress. It was projected overhead and on other screens in the cinema. The backdrop of the stage was dark until lightning flashed on the LED curtain. Thunder resounded in the loudspeaker, with the echo deflecting the acoustics of the hall.

The following transition on the LED curtain depicted natural disaster. It was a touching moment for the audience as they saw a lady at the brink of sinking. She called out for help, but that was an end in itself. At a blink, she sank into the muddy water and disappeared in the flood. Lifeless bodies and property were then seen afloat in the running water, and a dirge eased into the loudspeaker.

One could tell how the audience fared by the silence that abducted the cinema. Yes, this was not a night of laughter. Why would someone even laugh having seen humanity in danger?

Another member of the crew approached me with a book in his hand. He stood upright before me, while I knelt down at his feet. Gesticulating as though he was praying for me, he laid his hand on my head. Then an impulsive man walking by stopped; unreactive, he walked away. Yet another man, thoughtfully observing the activities of the man before me, walked closer and shook his head with pity. His reaction tickled everyone.

Predictably, most of the spectators understood what the dramatic display depicted. They hailed and applauded from the four angles of the cinema. I was overwhelmed although I had been corrected during the rehearsal to postpone any unsolicited smile till it was necessary.

The everlasting cheer of the audience was unexpected. Yes, Zend was right when she was converting my prose to a drama about eighteen months ago. “So long a second of happiness can overpower hundred years of its adversary,” she said, “a bit of comedy can neutralise a lot of tragedy.”

Soon, brightness was restored into the nook and cranny of the cinema. I was alone on the stage with my blindfold intact. Staggering, I stood up and picked a microphone, which was stationed on the ground. It felt great to be there for the fact that I was entertaining the largest audience in my life. Maybe I would reconsider quitting Henka’s for now. My only challenge was I disliked fame to the core. And before you know, the media has stunned you with a new title: celebrity.

The next tick of the clock, I voiced the rhetorical question over the microphone: “Would you like to change the world?”

The hall was quiet. Why would someone even answer in the affirmative while unsure of what to do?

Pointing to the LED curtain, I introduced a video clip to the audience: “Please, pay attention to Nelson Mandela.”

The video featured Nelson Mandela addressing an audience, saying: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Nelson Mandela was a South African activist, who was imprisoned for sedition against the ruling power of the state. On his release, he negotiated against apartheid – a separation of race – and attained his dear goal when he succeeded the ruling power. Having experienced the ups and downs of his aspiration, he concluded that not violence but education has the greatest power to change the world. Unfortunately, the grave summoned him on a cold day in 2013.

“A couple of years ago,” I proceeded my speech, “in my quest to ascertain if an affirmation to this question could be reasonable, I was stuck between the ideologies of the gems in my life so much that I began to question everything around me. It started with me asking my grandpa why he rejected my desire to choose his lifelong career, my mother why she was a devout, my uncle why he was ambitious, and my father why he shunned devotion.

How could a child be so inquisitive? I was curious about learning. But my instructors thought I was a psycho, that I needed medical attention.

‘Sir,’ one of my instructors once said to my father, ‘I suggest you spend more time with him.’

“I believe you understand what he was insinuating. And how would you feel if a paid instructor informed you without tact that your priceless son is a psycho? That could earn him a slap or punch, if not a query from the school management, right?

“This was the reason why the instructor circumvented saying I needed a doctor.”

The audience giggled as they followed the narration.

“‘I hope there is no problem,’ my father asked.

‘Well, his manner of questioning requires special attention. And the problem is most of the questions are unconventional.’

“So my father giggled and laid his hand on the teacher’s shoulder. ‘That is not a problem,’ he said. ‘Asking question is an expression of curiosity. And remember curiosity is the father of invention. We all have this desire to establish the credibility of all we have seen or heard, but it seems the young have more time to do that while the old are carried away by the activities of life.’

“As you have heard from Nelson Mandela, education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.

“So tonight, we will see the connection between education and changing the world in a video titled ‘Intent and the Means’. Thanks to Henka’s Drama Crew for making this film a reality.

“As you watch, kindly pay attention to the diversity in Erick’s family and how this influenced his life. Please, watch.”

A blackout rounded off my first section on the stage as I descended into the underground floor of the cinema. And the film adapted from my prose began playing at the cinema.

There a young boy of seven alighted from his school bus to meet his mother who was awaiting him at the bus stop. “Mummy, mummy,” he sang as he raced to his mother. His school bag was swinging behind him.

“Erick my boy, how was school today?”

Elated, he could not answer his mother. His sweat was drizzling because the school bus barely had a space for breathing. “Mummy, let me show you my report card,” he struggled to remove his bag.

“Don’t injure yourself. Don’t rush.”

Next, the mother walked him down the street, smiling intensely for his son’s performance at the end of the session. It was his last day in nursery school, and holiday was ripe.

His son often spent his holidays with the family, but this holiday posed a question for the mother. She had to demand a favour from his son although this might not suit him. Now she would have to manipulate him with care, maybe with an equal subtle persuasion as her husband did when he asked for her hands in marriage.

“Erick,” she called after he had lunched and napped to his satisfaction, “grandpa is longing to see you.”

“When are we going to see him?” he snapped.

“Your aunt is coming to pick you tomorrow’s morning.”

There she was. Erick shrugged and grumbled. It was obvious the suggestion did not go well with him, but only heaven knew how the mother manipulated him to the point that he was seen getting dressed for the journey the following morning.

The mother tucked in his shirt and fastened his shoes. Next, they were standing by the roadside, awaiting the interstate transport vehicle.

There the young boy was brainstorming. His mother had told him why he was asked to holiday with his grandparent. The grandpa loved him dearly and could not wait to see him after a year of separation since the family’s reunion. He would not want his grandparent to die of negligence. Besides, his mother had told him the grandpa would teach him some lessons even his teachers would never mention in the future. Now his curiosity was at its prime. He was at grandpa’s although he was yet to board a vehicle.

Just then, the mother signalled a bus. She patted Erick as the conductor manhandled the sack containing stacks of foodstuff she had arranged the previous night. Rubbing his head as though she was applying some jelly, she said to him: “Take care of yourself and grandpa. Be obedient. Can you hear me?”

“Janet,” she called her sister-in-law, Erick’s aunt who had visited to pick him, “please, take care of him. And inform your brother’s wife about our desire to visit you people. We have to put some things in place before embarking on any journey.”

“And Erick, one more thing,” the mother held him while he was about to enter the vehicle, “let me whisper it into your ear.”

The passengers on board could not afford patience anymore. In a world where everyone is on the run, would you allow a mother to add unnecessary minutes to your journey?

“Madam, it is enough. We have to leave,” a woman complained. Even those who looked calm were hissing in discomfort, but for some who were smiling to appreciate the motherly affection.

Next, the vehicle was seen driving away as the mother stood aloof, and then a mirage.

Two days later, the grandpa summoned Erick in the morning. He had difficulties reading without eyeglasses, so he said to Erick: “Son, bring me my spectacles from my room.”

Immediately, he strode into the room and walked past the grandpa’s library. Leaning on a table to pick up the eyeglasses, he caught sight of an object hung on the wall. Amazed, he stared forever until grandpa echoed his name. Still, he could not take his eyes off the strange object. And that was how his curiosity started.

Thank you for following this draft. Feel free to critique our work in the comment box, hit the share button to grab the attention of your friends, and learn about our schedule on our homepage. Also, enjoy our latest masterpiece, written with care and titled “All Men: Different Men”. Click here to download now.

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