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Most people cannot give you an authentic account of happenings even when they have had a ringside view of things. Not even if their life depended on it. They add at the very least a pinch, and in some cases the whole goddamn bottle and then some, of their personal brand of masala as garnish before presenting the concoction as the real deal.

How do they do it, I wonder. More importantly, why? Do they do it on purpose or unknowingly? Mysterious how their minds work, how they see things that never happened, but steadfastly refuse to take cognizance of what indeed did unfold right in front of their eyes. Is sticking to facts such a difficult proposition? What makes them embellish? Why the frills?

This whole matter is a source of amazement, and much concern, for someone like me who will always, but always, present facts as they are, or if not, easily admit inability to recall things correctly. Where’s the shame in that? ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I don’t recall’ are such easy things to say. The concern for me is this that I am unable to believe or trust the person(s) doing the spicing up act. Once the masala-adding tendency of someone has revealed itself, I find myself trying constantly to second guess how much of what they are saying is the unvarnished truth. That sort of puts a spoke in the smooth running of any sort of relationship.

Well, I do have my other side too, where I let facts take a backseat and add frills to my heart’s content. But that is only when I sit down to write fiction. That is the one time I willingly let go of the facts-as-they-are persona of mine and merrily ride imagination to its logical – or illogical as the case may be – conclusion.

© Shail Mohan 2019

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