Saturday, August 15, 2009

Interlude :: Chapter 4

In Search of Good Samaritan

“In order to truly enjoy the gifts of nature We need to be in sync with it , We need to look around us and understand that Evolution, the prime mover of life on earth is everywhere around us . If there is one thing I want you to take home with you tonight , its this . We are Free and We are in control of our life . We don’t need an god up there to govern our life . With that I would like to thank you for your Time and attention .” Professor Dawkins concluded his speech .

There was a brief silence ,when crowd was too spell bound to react . A huge sound erupted from Siri Fort Auditorium after that. people were clapping vigorously, their heart thumping and palms sweating. Glow on their faces was telling that after a long time someone has restored their sense of child like wonder ,their curiosity , their sense of self worth. They knew that this euphoria is temporary and it will vanish with the first brush of reality outside of this auditorium . That made them clap hard to feel it more intensely, to savor it while it last .

Professor Dawkins bowed , requested them to settle down . after a minute or two when audience was settled HE invited questions. He always hated that part .his aversion was for many reason . He had delivered the same lecture at more that 50 places in last 3 months. Answering same set of question. More than the redundancy he was annoyed with the superfluous-ness of questions. For a thinker- author like him , questions were not just an opportunity to clear any possible doubt or ambiguity in reader’s mind .for him at least the real joy of answering comes from the sort of vindictive pleasure It offers. The joy of knowing that there are people who think about what he write and try to implement it in their life . To know that he is not alone . that feeling of intellectual stimulation was the only high known to him . But sadly such question were few and far in between. His book has sold more than 2 million copies worldwide but He knew that most of them were gathering dust of shelves. They never got read .

such is the nature of this business sir” his agent told him long back “ they buy your book based of review in some paper but chances are that they won’t be reading it beyond first few chapters. unless they are stuck in some godforsaken trans Atlantic flight and have nothing else to do. Most of your books will end up on a book shelve next to some hardcover binding of Shakespeare .”

“Is it a good thing?? “ he asked, amused .

“ are you sure you want to hear my honest reply “ His agent asked him

“I would like to do that very much indeed . Why are you even asking ?” his eyes were focused on his face .

“you might not agree or you might dislike them” he replied

“ I am well accustomed to both of the situations . so you can feel free to speak your mind “

” Well, in a way good and in a way bad . Good because you are respected like them, you have secured your name in history. Bad because your respect comes from the very fact of being like a person who didn’t belong to our time . Long since dead or born ahead of its time . it doesn’t matter which way . What matter is that you are labeled “Not One of Us” and that will fail the very purpose you write .because that “not one of us” label is a guarantee that your writing will fail to bring any significant change in world “.

Professor Dwakins nodded in agreement

“is there any way to bring that change ? for real “

“I don’t know , but I know that if there is a way than its not based on logic . people don’t want to think logically as you want them to . its way to hard for them . Specially when they have an easy alternative at their disposal “

“and what is that ?”

“GOD ,Religion and Mysticism. These constructs Shift reason –cause-accountability to God. You see, God might not be a best solution but it work in most cases “

“Like a Dope. A sedative Keeping you in ignorance .In denial “

“So is your work. Prey tell me Sir , how does reading your book will help me worry less about the mortgage I have to pay next month , my son’s college Fee next year or the Annual vacation which I am missing for past three years? They won’t.”

“And church can ?”

“Church will tell me that “Its god’s will . I have no control over it “ so I will give up . once you admit that you don’t have control on your life . you seize to be responsible for it . your work try to instill that sense of control thus make them responsible for their own life .That’s why they are uncomfortable .they won’t have any one to blame. To put it logically they choose Fate inflicted pain over choice inflicted responsibility “

“so you suggest that any change in society can be bought only by mean of a sedative ignorant faith not by an informed logic”

“ There are audience for both. but sadly for you, the size of former is way too large than the later . you see its human nature to choose path of least resistance. when you are fighting an adversary who thrive on faith . Logic should not be your weapon of choice”

“hmm it makes sense ..but that what should I do “

“ Wait…OR Ask Pope to endorse your views” agent said in sarcastic humor

“ I will prefer to wait “ Professor Dawkins replied smiling .

For some reason Dawkins was thinking of his conversation today . May be because he was too tired after a long haul flight . the conversation remind him about the futility of upcoming Q&A session so he was not very inclined . He has to do it any way. He sighed silently and invited question.

Rahul was first one to raise his hand . A volunteer brought a microphone to him . He cleared his throat and spoke . His question was related to the last line of lecture “

‘Toward the end of your speech you mentioned that Evolution is the driving force of Life in planet .and as we all know that since every species which has existed will be extinct sooner or later . so what kind of evolutionary challenge do you see human race will be facing in next 50 , 100 or 500 years”

Professor Dawkins was somewhat intrigued by his question .

“ How is this related to my talk ?”

“Well . In a way it is Sir . Because As we are making more and more progress we are more and more in control of our environment . its very unlikely that Like Dinosurous of Jurassic era we will be face any existent threatening Evolutionary challenge in the form of physical danger . My thinking is that our next evolutionary obstacle will be in our head . We will be needed to undergo a mental or psychological adaptation. At that time religion can come handy . we can fall back on it .Since Religion has a track record of being far more efficient in controlling the mental behavior of masses. Don’t that validate the need of religion “

Very few people in audience understood the question but those who did .they looked at Rahul with an appreciative glance . Now their eyes were fixed on the man on stage . stakes were high.

IT was a good question . The one which he has never faced before . He wasn’t expecting it here . not tonight when he was tired .There was a pause. He tried to think but he was unable to do so He looked Rahul from the dais. He can make out that Rahul was a young man of medium built . with a denim trouser and green sweater . He thought of his agent and the conversation he had with him . than He spoke

“ It’s a very good question young man, I m impressed . Anything which survived for centuries must be having some value .I agree. However if you are trying to make a point that need of religion is validated because of its efficiency in controlling our independent autonomous mind. Than so is true for things like Hypnotism.” He took a pause , catching up on his breath and collecting his thought than he started again

“You are right .Evolution is a strange game . it never finishes , some species looses it but no one ever win and no one is ever evolved enough that they can be exempted from playing the next level . But Ladies and gentlemen, more strange than the dynamics of evolution is our approach to it . Human race is the only race who is aware of the game and its rules but time and again we fool our self by believing that we are evolved, We are arrived, our struggle is over. Time and again we are in for a rude shock of reality check .We will not be here forever. we will vanish someday in future. How will this happen I don’t know . Will it be a failure to adjust to a mental adaptation which will bring us down ? May be .But relying on religion to save us doesen’t sound like a good plan to me . I guess we will have to live with the uncertainty that When our time will be up we will be extinct. “ Proff .Dawkins stopped.

Who decide when is the time ?” Rahul asked

No one .

No One ?? really ?

What do you want me to say ?? God ? “ Professor Dawkins joked

No . I thought you would say Pope Jhon Paul II . that would have been more like you “ Rahul Replied

There was a roar of laughter on stage followed by a laughter in audience . Many of them didn’t get the joke but laughed anyway. Proving once again that Professor Dawkin’s agent was right about them.

§§ §§ ----------------- §§ §§

It was only 7 :00 PM on a cold winter evening but a blanket of fog had already started taking Delhi in its fold .Streets were full of people stumbling over each other on zebra crossing , stepping on fellow commuter’s toes on pavements, Riding bikes while talking something inconsequential on their cell phone tucked between their head and shoulders , Crammed in buses , stretching lazily in their cars. Honking aimlessly at red lights just to remind themselves that they are alive. There were all sort of people . But in spite of their superficial differences these people were similar in one respect . they were clockwork robots . Drifting through their lives mechanically. Most of them were rushing home. Where a hot cup of tea will be awaiting them to help them fight the menace of winter. This cup of tea will be followed by a god hot meal and when all that fail to help they will resort to the oldest method of fighting cold known to man . the way of flesh . they will hump, they will sweat, they will exhaust ,they will sleep. Only to wake up to yet another day of aimless drifting . Never in their life they will realize what they are missing and it won’t bother them . Rahul didn’t wanted to be one of them. He didn’t hated them but He hated the fact that he was, in spite of his ambition still one of them. An Inconsequential cog in the machinery . He always believed that he was different .He was special. He was here to do something . To accomplish something which has not been done by anyone before him. His problem was he didn’t knew what it was . with every passing day he used to think that he has lost 24 hours . He has lost 24 hours and he was still not any better than men on street. He wanted to rise above them. This inertia was something which used to make him restless in evening and keep him awake in night .

“But today I might be able to sleep peacefully . Today is a special day . I had made some definite progress. I have got validation “ Rahul thought as he looked down from Banquet hall on the 7th floor of Hotel Hyatt Regency .

Banquet hall was bustling with activity . Hotel staff was busy serving its guests. And they were very special guests. Party was full of VIPs from all walk of society. Everyone from Academicians to bureaucrats , and Politicians to industrialists were their .Rahul Knew most of them and if they talked he would have shocked them with his knowledge about their life . But contrary to his usual out going talkative nature He was standing quietly in a corner today. He was enjoying this moment . He was thinking about the funny event of the evening which brought him here. He remembered how when he was on his way out after Proff. Dawkin’s speech. He was approach by a bloke named Lawrence who told him that that Dr .Dawkins wanted to have a word with him and invited him to a cocktail party which some academics from India were giving in his honor.

Rahul Agreed …He was elated to know that his intellectual hero whose work gave him much needed intellectual friction wanted to meet him . He never thot of himself important enough. He was happy to see him from a distance , ask a question . But never in his wildest imagination he had thought that he will be guest of Dawkins. He was special tonite ,

"Would you like to have a beer sir a young girl from hotel staff asked him . She was of medium built , her delicate frame was wrapped in a in starched saari , uniform of hotel staff. She looked at her for a sec. She was pretty . more charming than most of the girls in room . If it was not for the obvious truth that she was a hotel employee . perhaps he would have loved to talk to her. But somehow she wasn’t seemed like a worthy conquest . All Thanks to her uniform. But He kept on looking .

“A beer sir ?? “ She asked again smiling

Yes , Of course “ Rahul said with a casual air and picked up the glass with a smooth swing of his hand .

He didn’t looked at her. He acted as if its just another day for him , that he is totally at home at the most expensive hotel in NCR. And his new found validation gave him confidence to put up a realistic façade to his eagerness. Many people passed by him , some smiled to him some nodded . some shook hand with him , congratulated him for a good question . But he sensed they were fake. It was not his question or the quality of question that was making them talk to him . He knew that they were talking to him because He was there , He was different from them . Standing alone , confident in a dirty jeans and sweater . That confident aloofness was something which was attracting people to him . but he knew that this was kind of confidence was not his intrinsic , default state of mind . On any ordinary day he was a ordinary guy with some extraordinary thoughts . full of self doubt and uncertainty. Every single one of the people who talked to him would not have given him a second glance .

they can identify the effect not the cause . they are here for result not for potential .only a wise man can identify the potential and respect it He said to himself and mentally thanked Dr Dawkins. He knew he won’t be meeting many people like him .

“But isn’t the same thing YOU did sometime back” Faint little voice said in a sarcastic tone.

“You mean that waitress ? “ Rahul said

Yes. You dismissed him . inspite of witnessing the same flare in her which the Proff saw in you .You failed to pay back Rahul faint little voice said .

Pay back ?? what should I have done ? ask her out for date ? “ Rahul replied defensively

No . but you shouldn’t have projected your self as someone different from her . You are not Faint little voice said .

You know you are actually right .I will try to correct my mistake tonite if she come across again .Happy ??“ Rahul said

“ You better “ faint little voice said as she trailed off

Rahul started looking for the girl again . very soon he found her . His eyes were locked at her as he navigated his way toward her .He noticed that Her hairs were neatly tied ,not a strand was out of place .Her lipstick was neatly done not a stroke was flowing out from liner . Lines of her eye brow were making a perfect arch . She moved in measured steps . On his way he passed by a giant mirror . He looked at him self . he was looking like a de shelved student . his hairs flowing in different direction . his shirt un tucked . he hasn’t even shaved his beard for two days.

The stark contrast made it clear to him . “ She always color with in the line , she always try to live up to the expectations bestowed upon her by her surrounding .In my office I am not very different from her . I can afford to color out of line here because over here my stakes are low , she can’t because she do a job here

He understood the nature of her existence which was not very different from his own. Once he figure out the essence of people they don’t interest him anymore . walked past her. He abandoned his plan to give her the ray of hope , her validation .

He stood behind the pillar and looked at her “ I know you need that validation . I know you need it badly to reinforce your believe that you are special . but I won’t be giving it to you . I am not good enough to live up to the role. May be I will be doing it someday , for someone else . But not today not for you . I hope you find someone better to reinforce your confidence. Till than good luck my friend . you have a tough battle ahead .”

“Mr.Rahul . Proff Dawkins , is waiting for you at coffee shop .” Lawrence said breaking his chain of thought .

“Thanks .I will go at once “ Rahul said .

He looked at her for one more time and headed toward Coffee shop . Expecting to see Proff. Dawkins , looking forward to a good intellectually stimulating conversation. Not knowing that there was something else in store for him .

Monday, July 27, 2009

Interlude :: Chapter 3

Boy Meets Girl

Whatever I did and Whatever punishment I deserve for doing that , Loosing my eyes won’t be thatRahul said with a hint of his long forgotten determination .” I can’t Loose my identity . I must do something. “ He thought. But what He could have done ? He had already used every trick in book to get himself out of this mess. He had done what he knew best He has searched for every keyword in Google .”How to survive breakup ? , How to deal with withdrawal symptoms ? How to survive lonesomeness? How to make new friends ? pick up lines ? starting over again . what women want ? Secret of happiness? Rahul and Nakshatra ? . You name it and He has done a search for that.

He has tried every thing he could have , everything out side of discussing it with someone. He has never talked to any human about his problem. When it came to his personal life He was a close shell. This was ironic since He was not uncommunicative by any stretch of imagination. On the contrary, many a time He had played the role of agony aunt to his friends. His advice to them used to be nothing more than refurbished knowledge which he had acquired thanks to Google. But He actually believed in what he advised , at least until he was forced to apply them to his own life. All his knowledge was proving to be useless.

So , Its time to seek outside help. “ Rahul thought. “But whom can I talk to ? ? Who will understand my situation and will it be the right thing to do ? “ He wasn’t very inclined to talk to his friends about it. Part of the reason was that He was concerned about the effect it might have on people’s perception of Nakshatra .Most of his friends knew her or heard about her form him “ They are my friends , they will naturally be sympathetic to me and might be judgmental of Nakshatra. I don’t want that to happen “.

But other and main reason was something which He didn’t wanted to admit even to himself. He was afraid to be looked upon as weak . This was last thing he wanted . “ Funny , there was a time when my definition of friends used to be someone before whom you can THINK aloud.” He smiled “ How things changes. You have come a long way Rahul and You haven’t chosen this road . Have you ?? ” He asked himself but didn’t tried to find an answer. There was no answer.

After thinking long and hard He came up with a solution “There is only one way out of this situation .I should consult a professional. A psychiatrist may be .” He thought “I will fake names but tell the true story .” He reinforced his logic by his own approval. Next step was easy .He fired his laptop and connected to internet and searched for “psychologist in gurgaon” . results were not good . So he refined his query for “who is the best psychologist in Delhi ? “ First result in listing was from Yahoo Answers , a Q&A site from Yahoo. Where netziens helped each other by answering Question about everything from Pet care to bike fixng , and Dating tips to meaning of life .Webpage showed that around an year back someone has posted a question there enquiring about “who is the best psychologist in Delhi ? ” . Best rated answer was 5 lines in the praise of one Dr.R Basu , Consulting Psychologist ,Apollo Hospital. This answered was provided by someone with the funny name: romeo_must_die007.

“Romeo will surely die my friend “ Rahul Chuckled , launched another browser window and typed the weblink of Yellow pages. He searched for Dr. R Basu in yellow pages .First entry in the list was the right one. He called the number , a chirpy female voice answered the phone

Good Afternoon. This is Dr.Basu’s Clinic. How can I help you? “

“ Hi I am Rahul, I seek an appointment with Dr.R Basu?” Rahul replied

“Sure. Are you an existing client of Dr.Basu?” She Enquired.

“Client ? since when Doctors begin to call their patient as client . sounds very transactional” Rahul thought .

No . I didn’t have that privilege in past. Its only now that I seek to avail his expertise” Rahul said with a hint of sarcasm. Like most of the females he meet in life Lady on the phone too didn’t understood his humor. She continued with her well rehearsed line.

Oh Ok . Than I am afraid it will be difficult as Dr. Basu is going to Mumbai tomorrow and will be back only after a week. Should I book a slot for Next week? “ She Enquired

No. a week will be too long to wait . I need to consult him immediately.” Rahul said, trying hard to hide his dispersion.

Oh is it ??” she said , He could hear her smiling .

“ I can see him in evening today , at his residence ,if that’s possible “ He suggested, making an unwarranted but accurate assumption that most of the doctor love their private practice and can’t deny an extra buck

“ I won’t take much time. My story is short and not very complicated “ Rahul stressed.

“ I hope …” he clarified himself after a brief pause.

It was not clear whether She didn’t heard the word due to the noise on the street or she had heard them far too many time during the course of her job that it had stopped effecting her. But It was obvious that she understood the pause. Eloquence of silence acted as biggest indicator of gravity of pain.

Let me try .Please hold on for a sec…“ she said hurriedly and proceeded to doctor’s chamber. She came back after a couple of minute

will you be able to make it at 5 o clock today , Dr.Basu will see you for 15 minute. should I make an appointment ? ”

Sure. I will be there “ Rahul Said and started noting down the address.

He hang-up the phone and lit a cigarette. He sucked a deep stroke and exhaled a thick cloud of smoke.

Dr.Basu, You better live up to your reputation “ Rahul said


It was 6:30 PM and Rahul was sitting in the backyard of Dr.Basu’s bungalow at Noida. Dr. Basu was not home yet. He was stuck in traffic. Servant told him that it would take him another 40-50 Minute to reach here. Rahul insisted on waiting and requested the servant to bring him a cup of tea.

He was worried , He was worried that whether he will be comfortable enough to tell his life’s story to a complete stranger. There weren’t many people in world who can make him open up .this was not due to his inability to communicate , Rahul was an excellent communicator but He always maintained a clear distinction when it comes to his personal life . He hardly discussed his problem even with best of his friend. Doing it with a stranger was something out of question .

“I just hope that he is not some , god forsaken jerk who put too much trust in clinical method of enquiry and don’t understand the importance of making me feel comfortable. I don’t know if I will be able to tell him everything… “

There was a sound of footstep in the background. Rahul turned toward the it. He saw nothing. There was darkness all around him . a strange anxiety overwhelmed him . He was not afraid of dark. But suddenly for some reason he thought He has lost his eye sight ..Again . He was on the verge of shouting when He saw a shimmering light .

“Thank god I haven’t lost my sight completely. Thank God ”. Rahul said . It took him a couple of minute to realize the truth . As his eyes got used to of darkness he realized that the darkness was due to dusk. His eyes were OK. He took a sigh of relief .

“ I am getting paranoid a bout this stuff. And what could be a better place to be paranoid than a psychiatrist’s clinic . Perfect Timing …” He thought and a smile sprouted on his lips.

Sound was coming closer , in the dim yellow light of blub, Rahul saw a Silhouette of a person walking toward him .

“There is something ODD about the outline of Dr.Basu’ body “ Rahul thought.

As the shadow walked past the bulb He saw HER for the first time. She was holding a White lab coat and a stethoscope in her hand.She stopped at a distance from her and , looked around . As if She was looking for something . or someone ? Her eyes scanned the landscape with a sense of urgency and uneasiness than she hurriedly walked away toward the chamber.

Rahul was sweating . paranoia was returning , his mind was pacing fast ,

“Who was She ? Dr.R.Basu ? Why didn’t She stopped than . and where She has vanished Now ? “ There were too many question in his mind. And as always, the moment his mind stopped throwing imaginary question, It started working on constructing equally imaginative answers.

“I bet that was the ghost of the Doctor who resided in this building before Dr. Basu. No . She was too young to be a doctor. This bungalow is allotted only to Sr. Doctors. She can’t be that Sr. ………Or …… She might be one of his student from Medical School. Look how carefully she was holding the Coat and stethoscope. Just like the way I used to hold laptop in the start of my work life. Man I even used to shut down the damn thing . I guess Old man would have called her here for extra class and raped her and buried her body underneath the garden .Now her ghost is haunting this place trying to kill his patient so that Dr. Basu’s name ends up in mud. I will be her victim today. .Its my destiny in life to be the collateral damage. God Save me .This place looks spooky“

“You are waiting for Dr.Basu ? “ A female voice enquired . Rahul turned toward the direction of voice and found her there . standing right next to him .”Why didn’t you switched on the lamp ? “ She said and pushed the button . backyard was illuminated with the pale light of sodium lamp . there was a strange comforting warmth about that light .

“I asked , Are you waiting for Dr.Basu ?” she repeated her question ,

There were moments in Rahul’s life when he didn’t knew the right answer, There were moment when he knew the right answer but he wasn’t able to express it in words than there were situation when he wasn’t able to make out what’s being asked ? this surely was the third case.

“But her Question is fairly straight forward and I am suppose to say YES” Rahul thought.

“are you ok ?” she said leaning toward him .

“oh ya.” Rahul said wiping sweat from his forehead “I am fine . A bit Lost I guess, Yes I am waiting for Dr.Basu. can I have a glass of water ?

“Sure “

She handed him the glass , her eyes were full of curiosity on his strange conduct

“Old man is home ?” Rahul asked ?

“What ?”

“Oh I am sorry , I was thinkng aloud “

She smiled

More water ??

“No I am fine “ Rahul responded and gulped the glass emty

And You are?

My name is Roshni , Dr.Basu is my uncle , I am here to tell you that Dr. Basu won’t be able to see you ? . He has already left for airport . He apologized for making you wait”

“ Oh I C “ Rahul said , and got up from the chair

Please wait a minute . Let me switch off the lights and close the clinic. Than I will escort you to the gate “ She said . the composure of her tone was gone , there was a sudden inexplicable anxiety in it .

“All Right “ Rahul said . His mind was already at work thinking for the reason of this sudden anxiety in her voice . “is it because of me ? I mean she find me interesting or attractive ? and walk back to gate with me l because She wants to have few more sec with me. Should I ask her out ? “ He smiled at his imagination and banished that thought for more sane ,rational and probable alternates .

“Should we proceed ? “ She said pointing toward trail

They started walking silently . after few moments , Rahul reached a conclusion for the cause of anxiety .

“You are afraid of Darkness. Right??” He said with the excitement of a six year old who had just solved a difficult riddle .

What ?? What are you talking about ? She replied bewilderment in her tone was obvious.

I am saying that all this “Let me escort you to the gate” thing is crap . You are not doing it out of courtesy. You are doing it because you are afraid of dark” Rahul said

She burst out laughing. No.. They burst out laughing. They high five-ed Like two kids who are co conspirators of mischievous scheme.

May be it was his infectious excitement of discovering a hidden law which did the trick or may be it was the manner in which he said it which forced her to bring down all the guard of social formality . or it was an award of admiration a fighter award to his adversary when he genuinely admire his skill . What it was she didn’t knew and surprisingly, It didn’t matter .

How the hell you guessed that ??” She asked. Her head still shaking with amazement

it was very simple . there was a sudden anxiety in your walk when you stepped in the garden . First thing you did was to switch on the bulb and there was a eagerness in your voice in suggesting that you will escort me out “ Rahul said , with the air of Sherlock Holmes explaining to Watson how he cracked the mystery . he always enjoyed doing that

Now given the circumstances there were only two possible explanation “ He said and paused to look on to her face.

“Go on tell me what were those explanation “ She said amused and astonished.

First You are afraid of dark and using me as a guard to cross the dark patch of garden and second .. Rahul paused . his eyes blinking with the joy of overture .

Tell me what was the second explanation . I am VERY curious now She said

Well …let it go ..its weird . its just my mind . I should move out “ Rahul said trying to escape the embarrassment of sharing his thoughts.

you are not going anywhere . OK ? now tell me ? “ She ordered

“ Ok . if you insist . Other explanation was that you have a crush on me and want to steal few more moment with me . you wanted to walk up to gate with me so that you can have a look at my face in proper light or note down the number of my car .so that you can trace me out later “ Rahul said, in a single breath ,knowing fully well that he won’t be able to say such a stupid thing if he paused to think.

Her eyes were wide in amazement. They stayed like that for a few seconds than she burst out in loud laughter . she was in splits . she laughed for a long time .than after a while When it begun to hurt she sat down on her knees holding her stomach . Covering her lips with her palm . She occasionally looked up at his face but when she that her laughter grew more intense .

Rahul’s face had a look of a man who would prefer to jump from the cliff and die than face the embarrassment of the situation .

Finally after 5 minute of laughing riot . she gained composure . She was still on her knees . She gestured him to sit down , he obeyed . than she laughed again

“Dude are amazing “ She said

“I told you its weird .Now you know why I want to meet Dr.Basu” He said , trying to change the topic .

“Why ?? I guess every guy would have thought something like that . its just that you are verbose enough to put it in so many word and innocent enough to tell me the truth” She said .

“But tell me how you decided that this crush theory of yours is not right “

I noticed that you are in a relationship .when you gave me galss of water I noticed the R+N scribbled on the flip side of that Livestrong band on your wrist.”

He stopped to let his word sink in her mind. She was silent now . her eyes fixed on him

Furthermore I decided that the crush theory was wrong because you don’t look like a grl who will look out of a relationship. Randomly for just thrill .you have a aura about you

There was a deafening silence between them . She stood there trying to make sense of what she just heard . Every single word he said was right .He was reading her like an open book .She should have been afraid , but surprisingly she was not alarmed at all . She was elated to hear his word.

“Thank you . I am flattered . you are very observant . what an analysis .I must say you are Genius”

“ And you are stupid enough to be afraid of dark . specially when your name is Roshni “ Rahul said smiling

“that’s just habit “ She said as they resumed walking toward the exit.

“Whats your name “ She asked

“Rahul . “ he replied

“Rahul “ she repeated “ Its really very nice meeting you . you are a funny man “


They were at the door . in a act of reverse chivalry she opened the door for him . he stepped out .

“My bike is parked around the corner .in case you wanna know the number ? “ He said smiling

She laughed .

“No I don’t want to know that .Good Night Rahul “ She said

“Good Night . Roshni “ He replied and turned around He walked to his bike . thinking about the event of the day.

“Roshni …She is a Nice Girl” he said to himself adjusting the windshield of his helmet.

He was not sure why , for the first time he was aware of the vibration in his vocal chord and why he felt a strange lump in his throat when he spoke her name . that was the night when , after a long time Faint little voice had spoken to him .Once Again .

Monday, July 20, 2009

Interlude :: Chapter 2

Ghosts From the Christmas Past

It was a lonely Friday after noon in the month of February. Rahul was laying exhausted on his bed. Fully dressed up in his favorite Travel attire ,Docker’s Khakhi Pants, grey full sleeve cotton T shirt and Woodland shoes. His feet were resting on his backpack, On the table next to his bed there was a small shoulder bag containing his photography gear. Half eaten pizza and an empty beer can was lying on the floor next to his sandals. There were cigarette stubs all over the place, as if human race has never invented Ash Tray.

The mood in the apartment was that of a ship about to lift its anchor and start a long awaited sail into the deep sea. Only there was no one to steer the ship. Rahul was exhausted even before starting the trip. He had spent much of last three weeks waiting for this trip only . ever since he got to know that its gonna be a long weekend , he decided that he will be heading out to Manali. “It’s a long overdue and much needed escape. Finally I will be Far from the madness of Delhi. May be that would help me to sort out this mess.” But like it happened for many time in past.When the moment came he failed again. His memories had this unforgiving habit of arriving unannounced whenever He tried to board the train to future and evry time He was not allowed to board because of all excess baggage He was carrying.

As fate would have it that night He stepped over an old cardboard box . There was a crackling sound and floor was smeared with wine. It took him couple of minutes to realize what he has done. He has broken the bottle of wine. He had bought during Nakshtra’s last trip to Delhi. There was Red color all over the floor . His feets were heavy and eyes were glistening with tears as he walked toward kitchen to fetch wiper . which he knew he won’t be using . “Not that wiper ,Not on THIS wine .Not tonight. “ he said to himself .

He pulled a pillow from bed and carefully placed it close to the pool of spilled wine. He rested his head on pillow into a position where he can see reflection of his face in the pool. He wasn’t sure for how long he kept looking at it. Than view started to distort . He wasn’t sure if it was due to the ripples or shimmering due to tears in his eyes. Either way it didn’t mattered . when shimmering stopped the reflection was replaced by the event of past few months of his life . He was unmoved , a stiffness covered his face like a man facing firing squad. Pain was not an option , it was a finality .He was trying hard to act brave and remain normal and as always He was failing miserably at that. After a few minutes of futile resistance He broke down and buried his face in pillow . he made a whisper , incomprehensible even to himself . he said “Why ?

Soon He dozed off due to exhaustion .He was intoxicated without even touching the alcohol.

Its been 5 month since Rahul had broke up with Nakshtra, His Girlfriend for 6 years. “She was my girl, for most of my Life but not rest of my life“ He used to say whenever he used to get drunk , which was often ,To whoever he was open enough with, and such people were few . His relationship with Nakshatra hadn’t ended on a good note. She was bitter. He failed ,No matter how hard he tried to explain it to her. Much in the same way as he failed to make the relationship work.“ I hope you suffer all your Life for what you did to me. I hate you” She wrote in her last SMS to Rahul . Rahul read that SMS for may time since than . He made a silent vow to himself that he will make her wish come true. “ I can do that much for her” He said to himself as he read that SMS everyday .

He woke up by the sound of his cell phones ringing . His Mom was calling . He always answer mom’s call.

Hello Rahul Beta ! are you on your way to Manali “ She asked

I am not going Mom “ Rahul Replied , gearing up for the string of question to follow.

Why ? are you all right ?” his mom asked.

Yes Mom . Just some headache “he said and started creasing his forehead with his finger as if doing that will somehow produce the hitherto non existent headache.

Than something spooky happened . He felt a streak of pain rushing through his forehead and his fingers were smeared in blood .

Headache ?? Why ?? are you taking too much of black coffee ? how many time I have told you not do stay awake all night . but you never listen to me “ His Mom continued , oblivious to the event on the other end of phone line.

Mom I will call you back in a minute“ Rahul said and disconnected. His voice had an panic which he didn’t wanted to reveal to his mom.

It took him couple of minute to regain composure and drag himself to wash basin . He looked and his face in mirror.There were streaks of blood on left side . running down from forehead to chin. He touched his forehead again and a stream of blood erupted . He lifted strands of his hair and looked at the wound . It was a small cut and there was something underneath it . He knew what it was. It was a tiny piece of sharp glass from the broken wine bottle.”So I rolled my face over in broken glasses ? Probably I deserve it” . He said and removed it carefully. He regained his composure. Only to loose it again a minute later . As He was washing his cuts with antiseptic He noticed that it was just marginally above his eyes. A little down and glass would have entered and hurt his eyes. This thought freaked him out . His terror was not solely due to the horrendous possibility of losing his eye sight . His terror was rooted in the fact that for him his eyes were not just eyes. It symbolizes what He really was.

“You have lovely Eyes….” Someone has told him. Someone whom he had meet long before Nakshatra came in to his life.


There was something about Rahul’s eyes . No one disputed that . He had big black eyes. The kind of eyes which wanted to suck everything . Long back when he was in college He meet someone while traveling back home in train She was a lady in her early 40s.

Her face was having visible sign of ageing. She happen to have her seat reserved in the same compartment where Rahul and his gang was creating a ruckus . They fell silent the moment she had stepped in. “ What happened ? Continue guys . I don’t mind the noise” she said and start looking out from the window . When nobody spoke for next 10 minutes,she sighed , zip opened her big purse and pulled out her iPod . “Hey you !” she said to Rahul “ ask your friends to be normal and return to your F#$* slang like you were doing a minute back .I am won’t be listening “ and showed them her ipod .

They were normal after a while and started their ruckus again . Their journey had lasted for 7 hours , when her station arrived She collected her stuff and started heading toward gate. En-route she took a somewhat improvised stoppage next to Rahul’s seat and said “ I noticed You have intense and lovely eyes. Last few hours when you were chit chatting with your gang , I have seen them showing colors of curiosity , enthusiasm and naïve ness of seeker struggling with a peace of logic . I hope they never loose that quality . Take care“ and patted on his cheek.

Rahul didn’t understood He was stupefied . so was his gang . the spell lasted for complete 60 sec till she got down from the train . what happened next was nothing short of Rahul’s 15 minute of fame. All of sudden he found himself showered with glances of envy from the fellow passenger and voices of cautionary advice from his gang.

What are you doing ? Go ask for her number before it’s too late? “said Mukul . His voice was filled with the anxiety .

Are you crazy ? Look at her age“ Venkat had protested in his tone of moral righteousness.

“Well ….you never know her daughter might be of our age”. Mukul explained .

You know you actually have a point. “ Venkat agreed.

Rahul was listening to their conversation . He raised his eyebrow in an amused astonishment at Venkats response.

It’s not everyday that Venkat and Mukul agree with each other easily. Looks like planets are aligned tonight . I must do something or I will always wonder what could have happened “ Rahul said to himself as he leaned down to tie laces of his shoes.

Gentlemen ! its time to action “ He announced and started walking toward the exit. He didn’t looked back , He knew they will be following him and He was not wrong..

But something has changed by the time he reached to the gate . Naive kid inside him was replaced by a celebrity having his long awaited 15 minute of fame .He jumped out of the boggie ,walked to the tea stall and bought him self a steaming cup of tasteless brown water . His eyes were looking for the lady and than he spotted her .She had Her back toward Rahul and She was busy negotiating with collie .

Got you “ He said and leaned over Venkat who was standing next to him .

Dude ! What you gonna do next ?” Mukul enquired.

Nothing…” Rahul said .

Nothing ??…than how will you go forward from here?

“ Hmm..good question ”

If She has some feeling for me . She will turn back and look at me “ He announced quoting shamelessly from ShahRukh Khan of DDLJ .

All heads nodded in unison.

Dude That was a movie , girl was from London and story was set in Europe . are you sure it’s a good analogy ?” Venkat said with the analytical sincerity of a student in third year of engineering .

Mallu !!! Keep your statistical models to yourself . These are the matter of heart

Someone snapped at him and rest of the gang agreed .

She had finished negotiating with collie and both of them were heading toward the other end of railway platform .

“Palat (Turn Back ) ..” Rahul said , She didn’t turned

“Palat” he said again but to no avail.

Script demanded him to repeat it once more but he noticed that suddenly there was a panic amongst his friend. Train had started moving without the mandatory warning whistle and now it was gaining momentum. Rahul reluctantly rushed toward it.

“What the fuck is this ? Wasn’t it suppose to stop here for full 30 Minutes “ Rahul shouted as his friends pulled him inside the train.

“Yes . But the train is running late tonight they need to make up for the lost time “ said an old man on his way to bathroom .

“Uncle Jee . You don’t know the meaning of word Loss. I am the one who have lost something tonight ” Rahul murmured. Old man gave him a weird look and continued with his pilgrimage.

Its not the time to panic Guys .” Mukul announced as train started picking up speed “We need to find a way .”

What can be done now ?” Venkat asked ,His mind was racing fast

May be you can throw your Identity card toward her as train pass her by . If she has something real for you . She will have enough info to contact you.“ said Abhijeeet the silent one among the gang.

“I love you Abhi “ Rahul said and Kissed him

He quickly pulled out his ID card and threw it out as train whirled past her. It was dark outside but he could make out that She was stopped by the sound of something falling near her feet . He wasn’t able to confirm if she found it and picked it up . soon she was lost in darkness . only to reappear in his memory from time to time for many months to come.

I believe that She will find it “ Rahul turned to his gang and announced .

“yaaaaaaaaaaaaaay” they shouted in a make believe euphoria . Reconfirming for yet another time.Man kind’s need to believe in those miraculous , serendipitous fairy tales.

This story became something of a folklore in his college. Many people stopped him and confirmed the lady’s observation . some mockingly .some sincerely and some after checking the meaning of word from dictionary . Rahul thanked them all.

With the passage of time as He grew wiser. Rahul came to understand the deeper meaning of that lady’s words. “She was the one who recognized my inner streak , my core value , my one single strength . Long before I ever realized I have one “ He once told Nakshtra . Many a times He wished and prayed that She had picked up his ID card and come to see him one day. But his reason of longing were different now . He wanted her to be back again to help him rediscover himself . He never got to saw her again. But when ever He was depressed and bitter in life. He looked at himself in mirror , his gaze focused on his eyes. Searching for something which SHE was able to notice effortlessly . It always helped . I can’t break the promise I made to my faceless admirer . He told himself often as he passed through the life.

And He always took good care of his eyes .