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 .

Monday, July 13, 2009

Interlude :: Chapter 1

au revoir à Aéroport

“But what difference will it make?” Rahul thought, staring out at gurgaon skyline through the glass wall of airport coffee shop.“Its just 9:00PM right now. even if it keep on raining for next two hour. There is still four and a half hour before my usual time to bed ”. He paused for second and said to himself “Time to bed ? Huh? Where did that came from ? When was the last time I went to bed for the purpose of sleeping? That’s not my thing.

I Lay, I Smoke, I sulk.

He returned his gaze toward the skyline dotted with massive concrete structures. Rain drops were trickling down the glass pane .Lights from those buildings were shimmering through the droplets. Those distant buildings, some of them offices, some residential, each having a different purpose, a different function and Of course a different occupant, But once you put a glass pane and few droplets of water all of it becomes the same. All differences becomes superficial .Few concrete blocks with few threads of shimmering lights. That sight has its own beauty and its own horror. Beauty of being part of serendipitous, collective collage and horror of losing individual identity.

Suits well to Delhi, Life in this city is very much like this only . People come here with different motive , ambition and characters. Gradually they loose their identity but never really come to realize the loss because the placebo of being part of herd is always there to compensate for it. He thought and continued staring. Looks on his face grew intense, It was hard to tell what it was .Was it the rigidness of a seeker who is trying to hard to search something ? or was it the look of an escapist who was hell-bent to deny the objective finality of the fact which was staring him on the face. Or both . No body knew.

Are you feeling all right Sir ? ” Waitress asked , bringing him back to reality “ something wrong? Can I help you? “ a polite voice enquired . Outside of uptown coffee shops, that kind of politeness was hard to find in Delhi. Polite tranquility of her voice was nothing in front of Rahul’s agitated mind. “ Yes . You can do what you know best .you can bring me another cup of Black Coffee He replied with a shade of sarcasm , which according to him was defining characteristic of this city . He felt bad for behaving like that but didn’t had courage to apologizes , specially when he can get away with that. Gone are the day when, upon realizing his mistake he used to feel no shame in apologizing to anyone by his own free will ,without any need ,force or compulsion. He was a mature man now and this was a transaction. “Sure Sir Waiter said and returned . “Watch it Rahul, City is taking toll on you “ He made a mental note of it and returned to what he knew best. He continued staring at the skyline.

He refused to admit what He was looking for. Partly because he knew that the thing he was looking for was not there and partly because he didn’t wanted to look in the direction where He knew it really was . He was looking for her plane. Couple of hour back they had bid their good byes, He stayed there for a long time , his eye trailing her as she struggled with her luggage tipping out from her trolley. Her luggage was overflowing like her enthusiasm.

Forever the clumsy . I am sure she will give a hard time to airport staff, flight attendants and god save her soon to be teachers at Stanford .Thank god She is going away . I can live in peace for next two years “ He had said to himself and a smirk had erupted on his face .This false reasoning hasn’t worked for yet another time . He sighed

Admit it “said a faint little voice in his head. “Admit What ?” He found him self replying reflexively. “I don’t even know What it is? And THIS is surely not the time for it.So Shut up, Will you ? “ He snapped at the faint little voice as He watched Her vanishing amongst the crowd standing in line for security check.

Now What Mr.Rahul ?? She is gone. What’s next? “He curled his lips and exhaled a long breath, as if with that he was trying to flush all the turbulent thoughts form his mind.

Wait Mr.Idealist, Who knows , There might be a thunder and heavy rain and her flight might get cancelled” the faint voice said with a mocking ,sarcastic tone.

He felt angry and amused in quick succession or better still .. Her plane might get hijacked and I will rescue her from the bad guy.” Both of them laughed in unison. He knew that faint voice wouldn’t bother him for sometime now. Humor never loose its power to sedate that faint voice, no matter what .It worked , even in situation like this.

He sauntered toward the exit , A Big plasma TV was playing “ Ho gaya hai tujhko tou pyar sajna ..laakh kar le tu inkaar sajnaa” on screen . He jerked his head in vivacious frustration of a soldier fighting a tough battle. “ You will be happy to know that you have got allies “ he said , addressing to the faint little voice . No response came . He continued toward the exit gate , trying not to look at the screens which , suddenly were everywhere on the airport. “ Man ! they have put them on every god forsaken wall here .I didn’t knew these plasmas were that cheap. I should buy one too “ He said trying desperately not to think what His brain has been thinking all along.

Outside, it was a BIG mess, cars were honking , people were stumbling on to each other in a chaotic harmony .cops were failing miserably at managing the chaos ensued by the downpour . It took him few minutes to realize the situation . When weirdness of situation hit him, he was afraid . It was raining , It was raining like Armageddon , in the month of December.

He was freaking out like a man witnessing the cosmic forces aligning to make him face the destiny which He was trying hard to escape. “ No , This can’t be true. It means nothing. Its all in my head. She is gone and that’s final.I shouldn’t have come to drop her to Airport. …Where I parked my car? ” . He tried to make his way toward the parking . Compound was so stuffed with commuters that he felt claustrophobic ,

Should I ? Shouldn’t I . Its too late. I will be OK by tomorrow What can be done now. ? “

Jane Tu ..Ya jaane na “ said the faint little voice in his head , modulation of voice was betraying the fact that it was trying hard to suppress the urge to laugh hysterically at the thought of upcoming event.

“ It’s you , Its all a Game , a fucking game for you . isn’t it ? Why are you doing this? Tell me What should I do ? and No! that Jane Tu stunt is not my cup of Tea“ He shouted in his head .

Faint voice was rolling with hysteria enjoying every moment of it “ Well , I don’t Know What else to do. Hey ! Do it Dude ..You know you can . What are you afraid of ? Cops ? Come on..You can handle that ?? Do it “

“No I can’t I am No fucking Teenager …..Please Help Me .You are my friend ..aren’t you ?” He tried to negotiate his way out with the faint little voice .

“Ha! Friend. That’s your Fave tactics . No ?” Voice said . Enjoying the position of power in a negotiation…” But when was the last time you listened to my advice ? So Why Now ?? and BTW …. as Far As I remember lately you have cultivated few more friendships . What happened to them ??“

“What are you talking about ?You are my only friend “ He was one step short of pleading.

“ Ah...Which friends ?? That “Know- it- all” geek named Google. Ask him to help you. You always said He know everything . and about that New Omnipresent Lady friend of yours : Universe . Who keeps on giving you Cues for every problem. Ask Her dude, Ask her to deliver solution by that godforsaken Serendipity Postal Service of her. You don’t need me “ Faint little voice said , It was adamant to settle all accounts today.

Rahul was not happy with faint little voice’s choice of timing.”Not again , Not today of all the days”. He said in a voice carrying half a shade of pleading and half a shade of authority. It was hardly the first time they were having this argument. Funny thing was that both of them used to enjoy that . at least that was He assumed . But like most of things in life He never cared to double check his assumption. Faint little voice didn’t liked them much. Though they haven’t done anything to deserve that but somehow he felt that ever since Rahul has stuck in the company of Google and Universe he has been more greedy in a weird harmless way. Thanks to their company now Rahul wanted to learn new new things all the time and truth be told some of the things were to wonderful that it would have been a pity if he would have missed them. But problem was that Rahul never tried to look inside himself and sort out the mess .

Google and Universe were good friend but they were very impervious , they never give him wrong advice but never encouraged him to face his inner demon and shine to his full potential. They assumed that Rahul can take care of himself He don’t need their intervention. And now his dear friend Rahul was trying very hard to live up to the reputation which his new found friends had bestowed upon him. Last couple of years has seen him always finding a pattern and sequence of cause and effect in every little thing, trying to figure out the algorithm which governs the world. Initially Faint little voice was amused and left him alone with his toy. He assumed that eventually he will get bored by his new toy and then both of them will take a long hard look at his life and sort out the mess.

Rahul was six month in to his new found obsession when Faint little voice took notice .He realized that his obsession was anything but healthy . It was evident that Rahul was not sticking to it because of the love of it, instead because it offered him a escape from the other thoughts which would have rush to fill the vacuum the moment He get rid of his preoccupation. He was never in mood of doing that . But faint little voice decided not to intervene , it hoped that sooner or later Rahul will get tired of all that , it will loose its appeal. After all it has happened so many times in past . You just need to wait and watch . He will be back ,faint little voice reassured him self. But it never happened . One year down the line Faint little voice got worried and in an attempt to solve the mystery it started examining the nature of Rahul’s action. More it get to know about google and Universe more it got worried . It was evident to him that Rahul will never be able to come out of it on his own . reason was clear. Both of the things were feeding his brain with the a placebo by reinforcing his perceived notion of things and blinding him from a simple and obvious truth which each one of us always knew but never act upon.

Universe was full of stories of people like Rahul, suffering from the same problem , same pain and same mental construct . to make it worse, Universe possessed a quality of presenting these stories in the form of a colorful and enchanting collage . such was the spell of that collage that anybody could have spent hours looking at it and Many did. His friend Rahul was one of those people . Google was always there to help him discover such anecdotes about everything .

In the theater of Rahul’s Life .Universe and Google are running the show and I must admit some scene were very interesting ” faint voice thought on one distant summer after noon “There main problem is that they think that they are watching it from a safe distant They never realize that unconsciously they are also becoming a part of it . Without their consent or knowledge.” This oblivious surrender to an invisible enemy was not acceptable to Faint little voice. This was the reason Faint little voice has developed a pseudo hostility toward them. Its not that they ignore him .No . on the contrary ,Rahul did tried to introduce them to him but they never really clicked. Perhaps because Faint little voice felt very small in front of them . They had so much to say , so much to show that gradually Rahul started drifting away and started paying more and more attention to them. And Faint little voice lost his effect and resigned him self to the task of watching Rahul’s rapid and uncontrolled descend in to the spiral of denial and waited for seemingly inevitable climax of this drama where it will loose his best friend.

If only I could find someone whom he would listen. For He will surely not listen to me “Faint little voice said few months ago. “Is there no one who can do this for me ? where would I found such person ?? “ He even thought of googling for that person but chucked the idea after a pitiful laughter directed at himself .

If there is any such person , I hope and pray Rahul Find him before its too late. ” Faint little voice said to god as he resigned to sleep one night.

God must have answered to his prayer. For Next day Rahul meet her.In most unusual of circumstances.