This tale and the tales to be followed are series of incidents which are taking place in the Land of Mendacius, a country in dystopia masked as utopia.
It’s 12 in the noon and the corridors were filled with kids running out of their classrooms holding lunch-boxes. Teachers were relieved of their duty, they seemed pleasant as they can now rest awhile. But Margaret, she doesn’t look relieved at all; she looked like she just saw a ghost. She was heading towards the dean’s office and was looking at little David who was walking along with her. David looks confused, as if he doesn’t know what’s happening. Soon the corridors and classes were empty as the students rushed to the lunch hall. David is looking at the students having their lunch while they were crossing the lunch hall. The empty corridors and stone walls echoed their footsteps as they approached set of stairs. All the way down, David started thinking what might have irked his Teacher. “What did I do, Miss?” he opened his mouth finally looking at Margaret. But she didn’t respond she kept on walking until they finally reached the Dean’s office. She opened her tight lips as she was about to say something, but closed them again, she just didn’t want to speak to David. So, she gestured David to wait outside. She wasn’t even looking at him when she signalled him to wait. She entered the Dean’s office and David started peeking in through the glass door. Margaret looked frightened and it looked like she was complaining, she pointed to David while speaking to the Dean. David hid as Margaret was pointing towards him. The school peon approached David, played wih his chubby cheeks. “What’s the matter little dove?” the Peon asked. David just shrugged and Margaret rushed out. The peon looked at Margaret “Good afternoon, Miss” he smiled. Margaret smiled back “How’s your day Ganesh?” she asked. “As busy as it could ever get” Ganesh sighed “Some kid has brought unapproved food in his box…. the quality tester was going all nuts on the kid. I had to call the kid’s parents to inform their kid would starve till they bring him approved food. I never understand why few parents don’t check the list before they prepare meals for their kids. I even memorized every item in that list by heart for my kids…” Ganesh kept on complaining. “Ganesh, Sorry but I have something to take care of. Can we talk about this later?” Margaret interrupted him and looked at David. “What’s wrong Miss? Did the little dove do something?” Ganesh asked curiously. Margaret looked around for a while and asked Ganesh to come a bit closer. Margaret was whispering something in Ganesh’s ears and all David could hear was air. As soon as she finished whispering, Ganesh turned towards David and he looked like someone used a stun gun on him. “This never happened before… not with people of his age!” Ganesh exclaimed. “Exactly, Ganesh! I happened to be his counsellor! Now it’s on me!” she sighed. Ganesh left but he was looking back at David in shock. Margaret called David’s father “Hello, Am I speaking to Mr. Albert Ross?”. “Yes, who’s this?” Albert responded. “I’m Margaret, your Son’s new counsellor. You need to come down here” Margaret was biting her nails and scratching her head while speaking. “Any trouble Ms. Margaret?” Albert sounded worried. “Yes, Mr. Albert and please understand what I’m trying to do here! It’s not something you convey in a call! It’s a regular interaction session” Margaret hinted him subtextually. “I get it! Thanks! I’ll be there in few minutes, my office is just 3KM from the school” Albert cut the call. Margaret was looking at David helplessly. Seven minutes passed and Albert was there all tensed and worried. “Can’t mention on a call, you said! Because you didn’t want them to know what happened. Is my son in a huge mess?” Albert asked interrogatively. “Yes he is, Mr.Albert!” Margaret looked very serious when she said that. “Look…Mr.Albert… I’m new here! Even the Dean wanted to help you, you are his close assosciate he said. I just want to keep this under the radar. I’ll forget this ever happened. But I’ve never seen someone of this age do the thing he did!” Margaret exclaimed. Albert remained speechless, opened his lips curiously and shook his head a bit. “I’ve seen people do this, people voluntarily choose to do this at certain age. But what is he? 7? 8? I’ve never seen people of this age do such a thing and again it was involuntary, he didn’t know what he was doing! He was doing it instinctively. How did he develop such an instinct? That’s what bothering me in the first place. What if he developed those instincts? He’d turn to be a threat to the Mendacius!” She was gasping and Albert was so confused “Cool down, Ms.Margaret! I always make sure we pack approved food for him, he even wears approved and tested clothes. I don’t seem to understand the problem over here!” he exclaimed. “Mr. Albert!” Margaret took a deep breath and came a bit closer “Your son, unlike all the other kids, spoke unapproved words. He was speaking..” She looked around to check if anyone is listening “Truth… He was speaking raw and brutal truth Mr.Albert! He was expressing what he felt in this piece of unapproved paper!” She gave a worn out journal to Albert. “I picked it from the woods on the way to home” David shouted to defend himself. “It isn’t marked! It’s unapproved!” Albert exclaimed and gulped while opening the journal.
Why am I not allowed to eat chicken while my cat eats them? Does it taste good?
Why am I forced to speak nicely when I want to yell my lungs out? Does it feel good to yell?
Why am I forced to wear Red, when I love to wear Blue? Will I look good in Blue?
Albert’s eyes were wide open and he shut the book close. “Where are these coming from?” Albert asked David. David just shrugged and looked down , his eyes were filled with tears, he was ready to burst out. “Thanks for letting it under the radar, Miss! I will take care of it! I never thought I’d have to teach him what’s approved and what’s not. Kids these days are just grasping it automatically. He’s either too dumb to catch up or too smart to follow them! Either way, I’ll make this right! Just grant him a leave for half-day” Albert assured Margaret and held little David’s hands “I’ve already done that” margaret passed a slip to Albert. Albert smiled and started walking out of the school holding David’s hands tight. Albert scanned the pass and his ID card at the gate and it was all glowing green, the gates are open now. Both of them got in to their car, they were going home. David was looking at Albert, his face was filled with guilt and fear. But Albert looked calm, he remained silent for the rest of the journey. They reached home and Albert picked up a ladder from the garage, looked at David and smiled. David felt relieved and followed Albert into the master bedroom. Albert climbed up to the attic and was searching for something. David was looking at the ladder and was scared to climb up, he sat on the bed instead. Albert came down with a big book in his hands. He brushed the book to clean the dust off it and sat beside David. “All devices off!” Albert yelled. *System shutting down* the home assistants were turned off. “Now, when we were young, our dad gave this book to us. There was a rule that we should rote learn all the phrases and rules in this book. It’s the foundation of Mendacius! As generations passed, it wasn’t necessary because kids learned approved behaviour from their parents. But you! You seem to be a rebel! A free thinker like your grandpa! Which is very dangerous in here! Now I want you to rote learn this book, report to me everyday about what you’ve been learning!” Albert gave the book to David. “I’ll let you write in your little journal here” Albert gives David the journal he was writing “But, you should never take it out in public, never read it out to people, it’s a secret you’ll protect with you! To the outside world, you are what the world says you are! Promise me!” Albert said while rubbing little David’s cheeks. David smiled and said, “Promise!” and snatched the journal out of his dad’s hands. On the bed lied the book which Albert gave to David. APPROVED WAY OF LIFE IN MENDACIUS was written on the cover page and it had a picture of a kid holding a board stating SAY NO TO FREE-SPEECH. David opened the book and the first chapter was EUPHEMISMS AND UNHARMFUL TERMS TO SPEAK.
*20 years had passed*
It was a customer service call centre, David was speaking to a client, his desk had a picture of him and his dad. There was a separate picture of his mom. “Yes, sir! You’re absolutely right! Yeah! You’ve an interesting point of view, sir!” he told his client. There was a chart posted on his desk, SUGARCOATED TERMS TO REMEMBER it read. There was a list on the chart.
YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT = YOU ARE TOO DUMB TO ARGUE!
I’D HAVE TO FORWARD YOUR CALL ,PLEASE WAIT = I CAN’T TAKE YOUR BULLSHIT ANYMORE
YOU’VE AN INTERESTING POINT OF VIEW = YOU’RE AN IDIOT!
There 745 more Euphemisms to help David speak to his clients. David was scribbling something under his desk and it looked like a worn out diary.