THE MAKING OF A HERO
Continued from last week.
After his non-eventful appearance at the book launch, he became more desperate. It had been two months since he had arrived back home but he was still to make any inroads into the upper social circles of the society.
He decided that the next approach would be to get some introductions to the crème of the society. This, he presumed, had to be done through contacts, something that he knew was quite pronounced in England from whence he had come. The only thing is that he hardly knew anyone who knew anyone of significance.
The family with whom he was staying knew no one of importance. The rest of persons that he knew were in a similar predicament. He soon met a dead end with this approach.
One day he heard about a cocktail at which a number of prominent persons were to attend. He decided then and there that too should be in attendance. He calculated that if he dressed his best, if he wore a jacket and tie he would gain admission easily since he would fit into the crowd.
On the appointed evening, he took a cab and arrived at the hall where the cocktail was being held. He walked confidently to the entrance where there were ushers greeting invitees. He kept his eyes ahead and strode right past of all them. When he heard no protests he hesitated but then continued walking.
The next thing he was in a large room in which there were hundreds of guests. He felt slightly intimidated but stood his ground. No one however looked in his direction. He felt alone and lost.
Then he noticed a bar and the end of the room and decided that he should get a drink. He began to move in that direction.
As he was halfway there, he felt someone come up next to him, then he heard a voice. He turned around and noticed a large security officer standing next to him. The officer said, “Do you mind showing me your invitation.”
He was momentarily lost for words, then he gathered himself and in loud voice, loud enough for persons nearby to hear he replied, “How presumptuous of you. Don’t you know who I am?”
The officer replied, “No sir, I do not know who you are. But if you give me your name, I will check the invitation list to verify that you should be here.”
“I will do no such thing,” he replied. Leave me along.”
“I am afraid that is not possible sir,” said the officer. “This is an invitation only affair and if you do not have an invitation you will have to leave.”
“Or what?” he said sternly
“Or I will have to remove you sir,” said the officer.
Persons were beginning to stare. He decided to call the man’s bluff.
“I dare you. The British ambassador will hear about this.”
Within seconds he was thrown out of the hall.
He picked himself up grumbled and walked away in abject humiliation.
As he was making his way to catch a cab, he noticed a boy selling a newspaper. Then the idea struck him that perhaps he should try writing a few letters to the newspaper. He would be read and taken seriously.
Then he did not have to worry about being thrown out of parties, he would be welcome to all that he attended because he would be famous.
The next day he took out his writing pad and began to write furiously. When he was finished with the first letter, he was quite pleased. He mailed it off to the newspaper. The next few days he checked the newspaper but to his utter disappointment the letter never appeared. In fact none of the letters that he subsequently wrote were ever published.
One day he decided to take things into his own hands. He went to see the editor. He entered the man’s office and inquired of the secretary whether he could meet with the editor. She took his name, asked about the nature of his visit and disappeared behind a door, returning very quickly to indicate that the editor was busy and could not speak with him, but wished to encourage him to continue sending his letters.
He left disconsolate. As he was on his way home, he wandered into a protest demonstration. A man on seeing him pushed a placard into his hands. He looked at the placard and at the man and did not know what to do. It had happened so suddenly. He stood his ground trying to figure out what had happened.
Just then a vehicle with rough looking thugs came up. The rest of the protestors scattered. He still stood there not knowing what all the confusion was about.
One of the thugs approached him menacingly. The thug raised a stick to lash him. Instinctively he lifted the placard. The next thing he knew he was in hospital.
When he came to his senses he saw a large group of smiling persons beside his bed. He asked what had happened. They showed him the newspapers of the day. On the front page was a picture of him, holding his placard, with blood streaming down his face. The headlines read, “ Brave leader stands alone against goons.”
He read on. “Yesterday, one man decided to stand up to the thugs hired by to break up an industrial demonstration. One man decided that he would not yield to intimidation. He refused to leave the picket line. While he was badly beaten by the thugs, and is still unconscious in hospital, his bravery has inspired hundreds of workers throughout the country to go on strike against industrial exploitation.
“The strike has virtually crippled the country. In the meantime prayer vigils are being held all over the country for the recovery of the brave man who defied the thugs”
He was now a working class hero. He had found his rightful place, fighting for the downtrodden and exploited workers.
When he left the hospital thousands of persons were there to meet him. The newspapers were also there. The editor who was too busy to see him was there too. He introduced himself and said that the newspaper would be running all the letters that he had sent. He felt good.
The crowd lifted him on their shoulders and took him back to the protest line where he shook hands before asking to be excused. There was aloud roar when he left. He felt like a King.
The next day a few of his letters appeared in the newspaper. He had forgotten about their contents until he saw them in print. They were in support of the big business, the very big business that had sent goons to break up the protest demonstration.
He was no longer a hero. The very persons who the day before were hailing his heroics were angry with him. Thanks goodness, he thought that they did not know where he lived. The family he was staying with was however not taking any chances. They asked him to leave.
It was time to leave, to go back to his insignificant life in England.