Disclaimer: The following story, Dear Reader, is entirely a work of fiction. Any resemblance, to the living, the dead, the real or virtual is entirely the result of the workings of your mind.
We all thought Don and Hillary were rivals, and in many ways they were. They fought and gnawed at each other all the time, coming (as they were) from different view points. He bit, and she scratched, and soon they were both bloody from their battles.
He could not believe that a woman could put up such a fight. He was a boorish man, misogynist, obnoxious and intolerant of others. That a woman could challenge him had never even crossed his wildest imagination.
She, neither, could believe how fierce the battle would be. She had a formidable war chest at her disposal. Included in her arsenal was money; the rich, conservative and powerful establishment of which she was the centre piece. We must not forget to include her charming but faithless husband. He too had tasted power, and it lingered. She was a dour, sneaky and ruthless woman. Her tactics were those that others deemed unfair, but she did not care. There was a surprising strength behind his bombastic exterior and she had under-estimated this.
Their rivalry had spawned a whole army of men and women dedicated to fighting each other, and defending the cause of their Chosen One. Whole industries had been spawned to feed this rivalry. Advertisers, cartoonists, writers, memorabilia makers and newscasters all rose to the challenge and the opportunity. The fighters changed camp at the blink of an eye.New mercenary armies were born, and old ones resuscitated.
Don and Hillary, however, beneath the rivalry, shared a mutual, grudging respect for each other. They shared a camaraderie for each other, and a realisation that each would trade principles for power.
In lust, they were one.
Whoever would win the bloody war was – at the time of writing – unknown. Yet, the protagonists knew one thing – that they would share the booty. The ‘victor’ and the ‘loser’, each would get a fair share of the spoils. They would have each others back in the end; and, each would be a keeper of the others darkest secrets.
Where scoundrels play at war, there is reality and there is Maya – illusion. The Great Game is played out, and a curtain pulled over the real machinations behind. Doing like the magician does, a spell is cast over the audience, and the world is pulled into shadow.
The blood is spilled in the arena, but is it real? Do we feel the pain that the rivals feel, or are we made to believe in the pain. We feel the pain, the emotion, the joy and sorrow at each turning of the tide. We imagine that Don and Hillary feel as we do. It is our Maya.
The play of war is often more important than war itself. Today one wins, and the other loses. Trades are made, and pleasantries exchanged. The winnings are divided between the two.
We, the spectators, follow their moves, but do we know the minds of the chess player? Are we the pawns who are moved on the board, for the merriment of those like Don and Hillary?
When the bell finally tolls and the game is done, is it for us that the bells have tolled?
Does Maya then, remove the veil?