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Chapter 1

Danny was thirty and thriving. Lately, he had been telling himself constantly that he and life were in ecstatic cahoots nowadays. He had read the phrase somewhere and liked the usage. It described his life admirably.

The last five years, or the first five years of his working life, had been a series of exhilarating dares. And, happily he had never been found wanting. He had tested himself in many situations against the best and had found that his mind ticked just a little faster than them. He had used the difference to gain critical elbow room to milk willing luck down to its udders. And even whenluck had deserted him for a moment, it had gone away with lingering regret. It had never hid herself; rather lapped up against his door incessantly and Danny, in these five years, had to never wait for her with his teeth set at an inconceivable pitch of intensity. He knew the constant flicker of his mind and events meshed into an alluring twilight that made her to yield him up her person again and again But strangely whenever he used the description –ecstatic cahoots-- he could not help go into deep vacuous laughter. He didn’t know why he laughed. Perhaps, the phrase had a sound to it which inadvertently tickled a funny bone somewhere. Or a sad one; he wasn’t quite sure. He was sure though that it didn’t have the right note to it. He laughed without mirth rising from inside of him.

But his brother-in-law, Anil, the nice lovable bloke who had tried to run up the corporate ladder in one quick burst and had thereafter fallen into corporate disuse because of skill burnout, foundhis laugh charming. He thought it had a nice self indulgent yet modestly deprecating ring to it. It was typical of Danny’s way of looking at things –he could be sardonic but never derisive and he could lay out his laurels without being boastful. And if at times there was wryness in his tone, Anil had ignored it. A successful man should always be forgiven his moods. After all, Danny had climbed while he had faltered on the first few steps of the ascent.

Anil’s vice was he was a virtuous man. He had his own matrix of homespun values that he dusted and aired at regular intervals, little caring that they had become faded and frayed at the edges. Danny had tied to cloak him with a new set when his sister had married him but they had hung around him.