Fuzzy clouds would let up as the seconds tick down. They were bone
tired, but still the enthusiasm engulfed them like never before. They
were only a few minutes into dust spewing paths of an ancient
civilization. It makes sense, yes perfect sense.
And finally they touched down the land of Pharaohs.
Following the customs procedure, master and disciple pressed forward
to the arrival lounge. The Egyptian, who looked as old as master, hugged
"It's quite a time since we met last, master. Things have changed a
lot, you will see."
"Yes, I could sense that. And by the way this is my disciple. Son,
this is Estaben Ghaly, a very old friend."
The Egyptian stretched out his hand with a warm welcome smile, but
did not hug. They walked ahead silently towards Estaben's Jaguar as
their luggage were conveyed separately. They all had seatbelts fastened;
Estaben in driver's seat, master in front passenger seat and disciple in
"I'm sorry to have to break this to you, master, but I don't think we
can tour Pharaohs. It's raining heavily and the Met Department forecasts
heavy showers at least for another three days. But you are staying for
10 days here, yes?"
Estaben's guests did not believe him, until they actually witnessed
rain as the Jaguar snaked out of the Airport. He carried on.
"Anyway I have my reference library. It's the third largest in Egypt.
You can do some research, if you like."
Rain pattered against shutters, and thoughts splashed about in
disciple's mind. He fished a book from the backpack. Little did he know
the Egyptian had tabs on him through the rear-view mirror.
"Your disciple will sure make the maximum of my library. So what's
that book you are reading, son?"
Now that was sudden. Too sudden.
"Oh... you mean the book I have with me now? Ah well it's a book by
"And that picture in the cover frightens you huh? Yes it does."
Estaben said with a grin. Disciple nodded to the rear-view mirror.
"Well in that case, don't get scared. It's not a real Pharaoh.
Haggard has written a good deal about Egypt. But honestly the man is all
"What?" disciple could not fathom the thickness of his response - the
word spat out even before he could catch his breath. But then it's not
nice to be rude, especially to your host.
"I mean I didn't quite get you."
"I don't want to offend you son. He may be a good writer. But his
tales of Egypt are..." he fell into thought, shifting the gear from
second to third, "not that gracious. Real life and imaginative work are
two different things, don't you think so?"
Of course they are..., even a kindergarten would know that, you goofy
hat. Disciple was battling with his temper. It's hard, but a tad
"True, Mr. Estaben. But life itself is the source of imaginative
work. And that doesn't mean any Tom, Dick and Harry could weave it
nicely into a creative work."
"What's the use, if the story is unreal, sonny?" Asked Estaben. "What
we want is real life portraits in real circumstances."
"Well... I think fantasy should have its share now and then. I mean
if you always read reality, it will be boring like hell, right? What do
you think master?"
"It's like this. Now..." Master cleared his thought.
"I think Haggard took the Egypt's self to Europe. He pioneered
excavating Egyptian literature and myths buried for long, we make no
bones about that ok Estaben?"
"But if only you knew some stains he had put on us...." Estaben
fluttered. "No use telling you, only we Egyptians feel it."
"Now, now... chub, that's enough for now! There are worst things
happening right now, and who knows may be right here. So think of the
here and now." Master did not sound funny - nor was what he said - but
it went along for laughs. The old men laughed till their aging bodies
ached. As if they have remembered something others are not privy to.
Disciple watched them, obviously bemused. Life is not only serious
living, but fun too at intervals, he realized. Although it may seem
trivial, very trivial, that is. He tried to get into Estaben's shoes and
rethink of Haggard. But it didn't go right for him. Long-lost friends
were now coughing after their deep long laugh - that much disciple could
see from the rear seat.
And then everything fell into silence.
Estaben Ghaly was wrapped up in the steering-wheel of his majestic
creature. Master stared ahead into the boulevard illumed with raindrops
scattered all over. Disciple was happy, feeling the splash of frozen