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The Genial Genie and the Mere Mortal – A Short Story
The genial Genie:
The genial Genie had a very good life. He liked snoozing in his lamp which was like a haven to him. Plug the mouth and what did you have inside? No sound, no light – an ideal environment for catching your forty winks and more. And if you had the power to make yourself so small that you could make this your home, then what more could anyone,genial or not, ask for? Just like many of us the genial Genie had a comfy bed which unlike for us could be ordered to make itself, roll out or roll in. If his back hurt that day a little more, he could make the bed firmer and if he wanted to luxuriate then you guessed it, he could make the mattress softer. He was the master of his small world and no wonder he was a genial character. He had nothing to be not genial about.
Until unfortunately for our Genial Genie, the mere Moral came into the picture. The mere Moral being a curious creature like many of her counterparts could not contain her curiosity when she stumbled upon the golden lamp as she trekked through the thickest forest on the highest mountain. The genial Genie had assumed that if he hid himself beneath the densest bush underneath the oldest tree of the thickest forest on the highest mountain, there was little chance of anyone disturbing the peaceful little world he had built up with such care using his magical powers generously. But he had underestimated the power of mere Mortals. The power that granted them the ability to uncover the darkest of secrets, scale the highest of mountains and of course trek through the thickest forest and find the oldest tree in there to click a picture of to be shown off to other mere Mortals who did not have the time or the inclination or the stupidity to embark on such travels. It was one such mere mortal who while taking the prized photo managed to stumble over a root or such object and fell headlong into the bush disturbing our genial Genie’s slumber.
The Genie being the genial Genie that he was thought it was a minor disturbance brought about by some animal or bird the former grazing or the latter resting on the bush’s branches. So he turned and went to sleep again. He was not a fussy sleeper. He was snoring the next minute little knowing that the bumbling and tumbling mere mortal was right now examining his abode with 100% of his already high curiosity level. The first thought that hit the mere mortal was that it must be highly valuable. What if it was made of pure gold? It weighed pretty heavy and the workmanship was of the highest quality. But it was pretty dusty and the mere mortal was assuaged suddenly by doubts on the purity of the material used for the lamp’s manufacture. So to set his doubting mind to rest, the mere mortal started rubbing on the surface of the lamp.
I am sure none of you have lived inside a lamp, so you would not quite know the effect of someone vigorously rubbing on the surface, but since the genial Genie was in such a position, he knew instantly. The grating noise reached his ears. He was wide awake now. A panic attack seized him. Gone was the geniality. What remained was stark terror! The grating noise continued to gain horrendous proportions as the mere mortal excited by how brightly he was able to make the thing shine went on to attack it with much more vigor than was required. That is another one of those inherent characteristics of these mere mortals. A case of hyper activity seizes them whenever they are doing something that gets them the expected results especially if it involves making money or spreading their fame.
There was no mistaking it, the genial Genie thought to himself. Duty Beckons! He looked around. The room done in shades of orange and blue after he had peeped out of his hole when the sun was setting and was awed by the beauty of the sky with all its colors of orange, blue and red intermingled. He hurried out of the hole with his hands in his ears whose ear-drums might have been permanently damaged if he had not got out of his abode when he did!
So out he came as fast as he could with a huge whoosh! sound as he grew to his normal size. This was the favorite part of his duty when he would get out of that thing and show the mere mortals what a powerful creature he was, almost giving them a heart-attack in the process. But one gotta hand it to them, he thought considering they would recover pretty well and the first question would be
“Do I get my three wishes?”. So out he came, in all his glory hoping his huge frame would give the mere mortal a fatal heart attack for once. But mere mortals who climb the highest mountains and trek the deepest forests to find the oldest trees are not faint hearted as you can imagine. And that was the case. Though the mere mortal stumbled once again and his eyes almost popped out, to his credit he handled it pretty well.
It is after all not everyday that you see a genial Genie, who by the way you are not even sure is genial, pop out of a lamp though you have been told umpteen stories about it. Fairy tales are hard to believe, aren’t they? Especially for mere mortals like you and me. And since the mere mortal belongs to our species too, he did not particularly believe in them fairy tales too. Not until that particular moment that is. If a 10-ft orange and blue hued genie is standing in front of you, with a not very pleasant look on its face after emerging from a teeny-weeny lamp that you had been polishing, you have no option but to believe in all those stories. So the mere mortal, having stumbled down to the ground yet again, looked at the genial Genie with a mixture of emotions.
The genial Genie also looked at the mere mortal with a mixture of emotions, though the emotions mixtures differed in quality and quantity from the mixtures that the mere mortal’s mixed emotions comprised of.
“Well?” said the genial Genie tapping his leg, feeling as you can imagine not very genial about the whole situation.
“Well what?” said the mere mortal trying to muster whatever dignity she could muster while trying to stand up.
“What do you want?” the genial Genie asked impatiently.
“Well there are a lots of things I want… ” she said.
“Well you are gonna get only 3 of them..” the genie said.
“Screw you” the mere mortal answered.
“Is that a wish?” the genial Genie asked.
“It is tempting… ” she said.
“So… out with them..” the genial Genie said, hoping against hope that this little woman would wish fast and he could have some hope pf salvaging his beauty sleep.
If only he knew how hard it was to ask a mere mortal to limit her unlimited wants to 3!
The genial Genie just hoped that this time the situation was not similar to what had happened when some not so bright mere mortals were involved in the equation. He hoped this mere mortals unlike some of her illustrious predecessors. The I-want-to-be-the-messiah’s of the world with either World Peace or No one should go hungry being the top of their lists. Did they even have a clue as to what they were asking for? Even God seemed to have thrown in the towel over that one, so what could a genial Genie do? And oh! The tantrums they would throw when the Genie would try to explain to them with all his geniality that it was not a possible thing for him to end world hunger, bring world peace and end suffering.
One started to shoot, one started to cry and one hurled the choicest abuses at him. Hastily he shifted his thoughts to the other kind. The vengeful ones – I want my mother-in-law dead, no wait, make that all my in-laws, or I want my boss, no make that all my superiors, dead! Again the genie would explain very genially that he did not control death. Once again the bullets, the abuses and the wails would rush out. The genial Genie shuddered. No wonder he had sought this godforsaken place to hide. The genie suddenly did not feel genial at all towards the mere mortal who had sought him out of what till then he had considered to be the perfect hiding place.
It was with this expression that the mere mortal, who had been occupied with her thoughts all the while that the genial Genie had been reliving his past tragic moments of his interaction with other mere mortals, caught the genial Genie looking.
“What’s wrong?” the mere mortal asked with a dash of ice. Lots of it. She had the power and she knew it!
“What do you mean?” the genial Genie countered trying to replace the menacing expression with some geniality.
“You don’t seem too happy about this situation… ”
“Well I am not!”
“Hmm… is that allowed?”
“What do you mean is that allowed?”
“Aren’t you supposed to be all genial and falling at my feet with I am here to serve you mistress!”
“I grant you three wishes. Everything else is up to me… “, the not-so-genial anymore Genie answered.
“and what is the time frame for these wishes to be granted?”
The genial Genie balked. Now that was a question none of the mere mortals had asked him ever. Somehow he had been able to convey with his rush to the mere mortals that they had to wish and wish fast!
“Hmm… err..” the genial Genie hee hawed!
“ah-ha! I knew it. There is no time limit. How sweet is that?” the mere mortal roared with laughter discovering the full extent of her power.
The genial Genie wished he had the power to choke life out of a person, breath by breath, second by second. He could have used that power, right then, right there! But alas! He did not. So he just stood there morosely as if he had stubbed his toe and he had no one to blame for it but himself.
The mere mortal meanwhile dismissed the genie, packed the lamp neatly into her backpack and continued her trek. The poor genie was in a very bad state. He tried to go back to sleep, but the continuous swish-swoosh of the mere mortal’s boots accompanied by the constant threat of being summoned any time did not let him rest in peace. And so the genial Genie remained, trapped in his own heaven. In shades of red, orange and blue!
The mere mortal meanwhile was feeling things in direct contrast to what the genial Genie was going through. Though these feelings were marred by the constant confusion in mind. What to wish for? More importantly. When to wish for them? What if today she felt that this is what she wanted more than anything else and if tomorrow changed that? After all didn’t wishes change all the time? Would she able to forgive herself if she made a wrong wish? How uncool would that be? To be granted anything and to wish for the wrong thing. She swallowed hard. This was not easy and something told her it was not good either. What if people around her came to know of her power? Considering that she could not hold secrets for long, she was bound to slip. Then what? Surely an expectation to set things straight in their lives. Who would she choose? And who would she ignore? Surely she was going to make more enemies than friends? Boy! Oh! Boy..this 3 wishes thing might not be so good after all. She sat down exhausted.
Just as the genial Genie was drifting to a restless slumber came the thud. Looked like the mere mortal had stopped moving. He could hear some heavy breathing. This might be his chance to pounce on her. She might have run out of water or something. Wish #1, Wish #1 the genial Genie’s mind raced with the thought. He came out with a whoosh – all genial this time around.
“Ahem.! he said.
“oh! hi..” the mere mortal acknowledged listlessly.
“Well wish for it… ”
“Peace” she replied.
“uh-oh! Not world peace I hope!” the genial Genie said rolling his eyes!
“No. I am not that selfless. Peace for myself… ” she said.
“Well no problem there. That I can do… ” the genial Genie steadied himself.
“What are you doing?” the mere mortal demanded.
“Well bringing peace into your life, excuse me” the genial Genie answered exasperatedly.
“and how do you plan to do that?”
“Well I don’t know. That is upto the God above. I just influence him with my power.”
“and how exactly do you do that?”
“Well for example, there is someone in your life who is not letting you live in peace. Now that person is somehow going to disappear from your life… ”
“WHAT?” the mere mortal cried out.
“oh please! Not so loudly. I have a weak heart you know! I am used to living in complete silence. Please!” the genie pleaded.
“I am sorry. So you mean to say that you are going to eliminate this person from my life”
“Person or Persons!” the genial Genie answered proud of his power suddenly. It was always a pleasure to watch mere mortals be awed by his power.
“NOOOOO” the mere mortal screamed louder!
“Why… what… ” the genial Genie almost passed out.
“I am sorry but that is not what I want… ” the mere mortal trailed off.
“Well what is that you want woman?” This was not going good at all, the genial Genie thought.
“If I knew what I wanted I would not be trekking in the deepest forest of the highest mountain now, would I?” the mere mortal answered. She had a point there, the genial Genie thought.
“How about happiness?”
“Well it works the same way – eliminate the people and situations that make you unhappy… ”
“The president of your country suits you?” The mere mortal gulped. No, it did not suit her!
“Create ways for you. Like rob a bank, have a rich man’s dog bite you, or steal a winning lottery ticket or something..”
“Hey you only wish. How to carry out the wish is my prerogative” the genial Genie warned.
“Can I pass?” the mere mortal asked.
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