A Passenger’s Dream (Part 3): The Old Banyan Tree

“When I was a child, we used to live in a small village around 50 kilometers from Indore. It was a typical Indian village with a few pucca houses, belonging to zamindars, and many mud houses belonging to poor villagers. In the middle of the village was a big banyan tree. It had been there since last two centuries and was the center of numerous village legends and tales.

Since it was an ancestral tree, none of the villagers thought of cutting it down, not even the rich zamindars. Besides, there was a rumor that the tree was cursed and whoever cuts it would bring bad luck to the entire village. So villagers had constructed their houses around the tree in circles. Over the years, the village expanded in concentric circles, with the banyan tree at the center. This gave a rather ominous look to the village.

Since my great grandfather was among the first people who decided to settle in this village, our house was closest to the banyan tree. It also gave us the privilege to use that area as a veranda. It had become a tradition, in our house, to worship the tree first thing in the morning to keep it from cursing our family. My mother woke up at 4 am each day to do it. She would first take a bath then clean the veranda and then go around the tree several times while chanting the Gayatri Mantra. However, even all her worshiping could not protect our family from the ill-fate that that tree brought us.

I had a sister, two years younger than me. She was very mischievous and liked to pull practical pranks on everyone. Often, she would climb up the banyan tree, despite our mother’s several warnings, and tease her. She would then pretend to jump which would make my mother hysterical. I don’t know what kind of pleasure she drew out of it.

Then one day, the banyan tree decided to take it’s revenge. In one of her usual pranks she climbed the tree and as she was pretending to jump, she slipped and fell face down. She suffered a major hemorrhage and died instantly. My parents were shocked by her death. It was then they decided to move out of that village and settle in the city.

It was her laughter that I heard in the dream..”.

The passenger had tears in his eyes. This story had brought back the memories of his sister. But the tears were of something more than remembrance. He felt guilty for her death. Each day prayed to God to let him go back in time and erase that mistake of his. Though what he told Akrit was true but it wasn’t the entire truth. What he, intentionally, left out from the story was the fact that he was responsible for his sister’s death.

To be continued….

———————

Part 3 of this story ends here. Can you guess what his mistake? How the passenger was responsible for his sister’s death? I would love to read your theories. Do leave them in comments. If you like the story share it with your friends and help it evolve further.

 

A Passenger’s Dream (Part 2): The Red Medusa

And then she did something unexpected.

Slowly, she walked up to an antique, oak, wall hanging cabinet with hinges in the shape of dragons. It was located on the wall opposite to the clock. She opened it with a key, hanging on the gold chain around her neck. For a minute or two she stared into the mirror, attached to the backside of cabinet door, as if admiring her own beauty. 

cabinet

 

The clock announced the time as 4 am. The loud noise broke her stare. She moved her eyes towards the shelves, five of them, all filled with masks of some kind.

She picked one from the second shelf and placed it on her face. The moment it touched her face, she transformed into a handsome young man, wearing a three piece suit with a bow tie. He had a thick, well-groomed mustache that gave him ethnic appearance. A look in the mirror told her that it wasn’t the day for this appearance. She removed it from her face and placed it back. She picked another from the third shelf and tried it on. This time she transformed into a blonde transgender. This didn’t please her either.

She chose another from the bottom-most shelf and put it on. This mask made semantic changes to her appearance. Her hair turned into thick red tentacles which seemed alive. The color of her lips changed to black, her eyes turned blue. The towel disappeared and her body got covered with tattoos. A pair of black framed spectacles appeared on her face. Her nose, ears and belly button got piercings. A look in the mirror told her that she had found her look for the day. I named that look The Red Medusa.”

Akrit was hooked. He got a sudden rush of feeling as he heard the passenger’s description of the lady. He felt weird, excited, frightened but most of all turned on. At the same time many questions rushed through his mind. What did the tattoos depict? What was the significance of the time? and so on. He thought the passenger must have found answers by now, at least to some of them. He wanted to ask but he decided to let the passenger finish his dream first.

She closed the cabinet, turned around and walked up to the clock. One of her tentacles reached out to where I was hanging and grabbed my neck. It lifted me up and brought me face to face with her. She smiled. Oh! that frightening wicked smile of hers. Gives me goosebumps every time I think about it. She brought my left ear closer to her mouth and whispered, “Shall we? Master.” and then she started laughing. I cannot forget the sound of her laughter for I have heard it in real life, many times, in my own home.

To be continued….

———————

Part 2 of this story ends here. Can you guess whose laughter could it be? I would love to read your theories. Do leave them in comments. If you like the story share it with your friends and help it evolve further.

A Passenger’s Dream (Part 1)

If you could control your dreams, what would you dream of?  And remember, you’ll get only that dream for the rest of your sleeping life.

A fellow traveler had asked him this question and it was all he thought about in the last three days. It was as if he had to make the hardest choice of his life. He forgot about daily chores. Newspapers and milk packets collected outside his house. Nothing in his life, up to this point, had bothered him so much.

Akrit was traveling from Indore to Shirpur in one of those yellow-red buses, run by Maharashtra State Transport. The bus seemed as if it was in use since the time Britishers ruled India. He had bought two tickets, one for himself and other for his luggage. For some reason he didn’t trusted the storage compartment of that bus. His audacity to reserve a seat for his luggage has made him the target of vengeful stares from standing passengers. It was getting difficult for him to stand by his decision.

At Thikri, a passenger boarded the bus. He had to push his way in. Being in late fifties, he knew he won’t be able to stand that long. He had to find a seat. But to his disappointment he found none until his eyes fell upon the seated luggage. He was amused. He approached the person sitting next to it and inquired about the seat. He was soon acquainted by the logic behind reserving a seat for the luggage. What a fool, he thought but he needed the seat so he had to be polite. He offered to hold the luggage on his lap. After a minute of reluctant argument, he got the seat. He didn’t mind holding the luggage as long as he was getting the free seat.

As the journey continued, they started a conversation. Well, not a conversation exactly. It was more like a monologue. To Akrit’s despair, the passenger turned out to be a chatterbox. Initially, Akrit pretended to ignore him in the hope that he would get the message and shut up. He didn’t. So Akrit, out of sheer boredom, started taking an interest in what the passenger had to say.

The passenger was narrating his life-story. He had just finished his childhood and was now entering his teen years. That was where Akrit heard something that caught his ears. The passenger was saying something about having the same dream recurring since his childhood and how he had spent better half of his life in finding it’s meaning. Akrit had missed the part where the passenger narrated the dream so he asked him to do it again.

It’s one of those dreams which make it difficult to distinguish reality from imagination. It’s always been that way, every single night. Usually, people don’t remember their dreams when they wake up but when you only get one dream throughout your life, you not only remember it, you can tell even the minutest of details. For example, I see a wall clock which appears to be running but for some reason it shows the same time, 3:23:45 am, every time. It’s appears to be an ancient clock but instead of a pendulum it has a hanging man who screams out the seconds“.  Akrit was intrigued, he had never heard or read such stuff even though he was an ardent bibliophile. Initially, he thought that the man was making it up but soon his doubts cleared as the passenger continued.

I know people think I am making this up or that I am crazy when I tell them about my dream. At first, I had a lot of trouble convincing people otherwise which is why I created this.” The passenger reached inside his bag and took out an A4 sized folder. It was thick. He handed it over to Akrit.

As Akrit browsed through the folder he couldn’t believe his eyes. The folder contained a certificate from a renowned psychiatrist validating the passenger’s claim. There were several reports that depicted some kind of brain activity and their translation and observations. So the man is telling the truth, thought Akrit.

He continued browsing and saw various hand made drawings depicting particular scenes from the dream. Somewhere he saw the clock with the hanging man. To his surprise, the hanging man was none other than the passenger himself. The wall clock appeared to be in a room. Not an ordinary room but one that is found only in huge mansions. It’s walls were adorned by heads of exotic animals. There was a cabinet that contained expensive liquor from different parts of the world. All of it, sealed.

Convinced, Akrit requested the passenger to continue with the narration of the dream. “Do you know why I remember the exact time in that clock?

You mean there’s another reason besides the fact that you were the hanging man? Sure, do tell me.“, remarked Akrit.

The passenger gave Akrit an annoyed glance. He wasn’t a fan of sarcasm.

Yes, there’s another reason. I remember it so distinctly because right at that moment a door opened and a woman walked in. The door belonged to the attached bathroom and the woman had walked back into the room after having a bath. She was wearing  only a towel. Oh! what a beauty she was. Wait, see this. It’s her.” The passenger opened his folder to a specific drawing and pointed to the woman in it. Vaow!, Akrit thought. She was indeed out of this world.

And then she did something unexpected……

To be continued..

—————

Part 1 of this story ends here. Can you guess what the woman did? I would love to read your theories. Do leave them in comments. If you like the story share it with your friends and help it evolve further.

Image Credits: Deviantart

 

An Old Man by the Window

Whoosshhh….Whooooooooshhhhhh….

Paatttt!! came the sound as doors banged loudly against their respective frames. The plant pots, kept on the railing of balconies of nearby houses, couldn’t pull their weight against it’s ferocity and got shattered as they tried to resist it. It seemed to have an intoxicating effect on trees, they waved as if possessed. It was hard to tell whether they were dancing or playing it’s puppet. A stroke of bright light flashed in the sky, creating a day that lasted no longer than a second. Usually, it spoke in thunders but it was mostly silent that night. The dark of the night made it even more ominous.

An old man, sitting in a corner of his silent room, was watching it through his window. At 90, life had taken away much of his rigor and left him physically weak and fragile. Sitting in that chair or lying in his bed were the only activities that made up most his day. Having lost the energy and will to carry himself around he was dependent on others for almost every task. Even though it agonized him there was little he could do about it. Old age does that to one’s spirit.

For him it wasn’t just a gust of wind but a reminder of days when he was as strong and fierce. It reminded him of the time when he could take on whatever challenges life threw his way. The time when he lost his father at an early age of 19. The time when he didn’t have enough money to even pump up his bicycle tires. The time when he left his hometown, along with his mother and Rs. 500 as his sole inheritance, in search of work. The time when he embarked on a journey to create a legacy for his future generations. But little did he knew that no one can win against life and time.

Though he was sitting alone in that dimly lit room on that thunderous night, he never felt lonely. Not until that night. He was missing his wife. He was used to her presence. How could he not, she was always by his side, taking care of his tiniest of needs. She kept him company. He wasn’t just missing her, he was concerned for her well-being. She was in the hospital, for the first time in many years. Though she was strong and took good care of herself, age didn’t spare her either. The day before she had a mishap and suffered a major fracture. Even in that condition, she was worried about him. Worried that he was upset because of her condition. Worried that he wouldn’t be able to get by without her. Such was their love.

On any other night, the old man would have ignored the thunder and enjoyed the cool breeze. That night the wind seemed to mimic the turmoil within him. It roared when he lamented, it shattered pots when he felt lonely, banged doors when he cursed his helplessness and waved trees when he missed her. That night the wind was a puppet of his feelings.

A Sombre Situate of an Invisible Man

It was the busiest street in the city. It yielded to an intersection of roads leading in five directions. Cars, scooters, bus, rickshaws, tempo, bikes, cycles and people on foot were flowing from all directions only to be headed in their own. During the day it was almost impossible for a vehicle to not touch at least two others. Often, this was followed by a minor incident of road rage. Yet the traffic flowed non-stop. The intersection was manned by at least 7 ‘mamus’ and a Police Chowki but to a casual observer their efforts would have appeared to be in vain. The so called travelers would usually be in utmost hurry and too tortured to give a hoot.

While all this was happening, in the center of the city, an invisible man was walking in the middle of the street, close to the divider but not on it. He wasn’t invisible invisible, he was made invisible by the incapability of the busy travelers to give a hoot. Like we all do every once in a while.

This man, there was something odd about him. He was walking very slowly. As a person with sorrow would walk. He was walking barefooted on that piping hot asphalt, in the middle of the day. His hair were long and shabby as if they hadn’t been washed and combed in ages. Similar was the plight of his face. He had only one piece of cloth on his body, an old fashioned jangia. Even that was loosely worn, such that it failed in it’s purpose to hide his rear. He didn’t appear older than 40. His eyes, his eyes, there..there it was, in his eyes. His eyes were half-red, sunken and they bore enormous pain.

He seemed lost, physically, mentally and spiritually. Imagine what could cause a man to walk almost naked, in the busiest street of the city, in the middle of the day and not giving a hoot. Even the best of us on our worst of days would be much better placed than him. Then what could cause him such misery? It wasn’t just lack of money. It must have been something more. Something that robbed his soul and left the living body to wander alone.

Alone. Yes, probably that’s what he was. In the world full of 7 billion people, on the busiest street of the city, he was alone. No one to call family. No friends. It wasn’t the pain in his eyes that I saw, it was the loneliness, the feeling of being neglected by the world. The feeling that no one wanted him. How would that feel? Scary, frightening, presence of a huge hole where there should have been a heart, massively depressing. How a child would feel when left alone in the dark to face his demons. But eventually, numb.

Isn’t that the worst a person could feel?

This nameless man, he wasn’t as invisible as he thought for he caught my eye, got stuck in my mind and I created this. If you read this through, now you know him too. We may never know this man’s identity and that’s on me. But we can do this. Next time, when we see such a man, let’s buy them a cup of tea and get to know their story. It might cost us a few minutes but it might mean a world to them.

Do think about it!

If you have such a story and would like to share, please do share. Don’t hold yourself back.

The Time Machine

It starts with a bead of sweat on my forehead. Then a tinge of pain in my chest. Gradually, it affects my breathing. Soon, I am gasping and fighting hard to keep my heart bursting through the rib cage. My stomach contracts and shoves up it’s contents, if any, up my throat.

At this point, my head is covered in sweat and my vision is replaced by white light. A sense of panic takes over, my muscles spasm and I start to shiver. On some days, my otherwise calm and compose bladder becomes overactive and leaks. My body is not in my control anymore. It refuses to listen to me. I feel like I am falling. I am not actually falling, just what I imagine it would feel like to fall from a 60 storied building. The adrenaline rush, the sense of uncertainty and an overarching fear of impending pain. You get it..don’t you?

What is happening to me? You, being a first time observer wonder. He must be in the midst of a terrible nightmare. Should I wake him up or wait for him to wake up on his own. You can see my wet pillow, my shivering body gasping for breath and probably the wet bed, if you happen to catch me on a bad day. What would you do? For all you know, I might be fighting with death at that very moment.

You choose to wait and allow me to suffer. Why would you do that? I don’t know, probably you want to see how it ends or may be you find it funny and decide to continue being entertained. Ask yourself, why?

Luckily, for me (and probably unluckily for you), I wake up, SCREAMING (imagine the loudest scream you’ve ever heard)…AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA……I take a  minute or two to realize that it was a dream, a bad one at that, but for some reason the panic continues. I am still gasping for my breath, my muscles still spasm, my heart is pounding like a Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 CC and I am still screaming…AAAAAAAAAA…AAAAAA.

Meanwhile you, the silent observer, are trying to calm me down. I hear your voice but your words are lost on me. You pat my back, hand me a glass of water, shake me violently and do everything else you could to bring me back. But your efforts go in vain. Frustrated, you decide to get physical. You hold me in your arms, look me in the eyes and bring your hand closer to my face.

TAADAAAKKKKK……

Nothing. TAADAAAKKKKKK…….

Finally, I stop. I Look around and give you a tight hug. I hold you like a drowning man holds a wooden piece. You try to sooth me. It works.

You apologize for slapping me. That explains why my cheeks sting.

I am gaining my senses, slowly. I look at my bed and I feel ashamed. Ashamed that you had to see that. Ashamed, for it was a bad day. Ashamed, because I can’t control it. Overwhelmed, tears well up in my eyes. Unable to face you, I bury my face in my hands.

Things calm down a bit but there’s something, something that’s bothering you. You ignore it and we talk. But that something doesn’t go away, it snowballs. Then you place a finger on it. With great courage and overcoming the fear that you might send me back into that panic state, you ask…

“What was that about ?”

I look you in the eyes. Surprised by your question. For a moment I think how could you even ask that question. I look away and walk to the window to get some fresh air. I stand there wondering, how can I explain the horror, lurking behind those four words. There are no words..no words to express what I had been through..no words to explain What was that about.

I know I have to give you an answer, for you have done the mistake of asking the question. I know it would be cruel to keep the truth from you but I also know that telling you the truth would be crueler. Aren’t there things you wish you would have never known after knowing them? That kind of truth I am talking about.

I try to dodge your question by silence, hoping that you would understand. But your inquisitiveness gets the better of you. You walk up to me, place your hand on my left shoulder and say…“You can trust me.”

Oh! I know I can trust you but I can’t trust the truth, it may ruin you. If only you would understand that. I know someday I’ll have to answer that, but why now?

“Fine. If that’s what you want.”

I shift my focus to the moon, my quantum of solace in such times, and with a heavy heart and a long sigh…Huuuhhhmmmm…I begin…

“Around two years back, I was out celebrating with my friends. It was my birthday. We had gone out to dine at a nice place in suburbs. Of course, we had drinks. Probably, too much. After a point, I don’t even remember what all we drank. I was dead tired when I came home so I went straight to my room and slept.

Next morning, I didn’t woke up. I was alive but I didn’t woke up completely. I could hear, I could feel but I couldn’t move, speak or see. Initially, I thought it was all a dream but then my alarm rang. I wanted to snooze it but to my frightening surprise I couldn’t move my arms. I knew I was awake for I could hear the sound of  the alarm but no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t move.

As the realization sank in, I got frightened. I got afraid. I wanted to scream. I wanted to scream so bad. But nothing came out. Tears flowed down from my eyes, but without emotions they were just salty water.

It was probably the first time in my life, I felt so scared and alone.

Later, my parents came in to check on me but their efforts were in vain. For a moment they must have thought, I was dead. But I was breathing so they were confused and shocked. Oh! I could hear it all…I wanted to tell them what was happening. But I couldn’t. In that moment, I was helpless. As helpless as a person can get.

After the medical checkup, doctors said I might have consumed something that had elongated my Sleep Paralysis. Fortunately, they said it’s curable but it would take time. I took me six months to recover.

There are no words in which I could explain the horror of those six months, all I can say is that it was the living hell. Even that’s too mild. Ever since, I am scared to sleep. What if I don’t wake up?

On most days, I calm myself with a drink or two or a sleeping pill but some days I sleep without them. I sleep knowing that that would occur but I do it anyhow. I do it to keep the hope alive. The hope that one day I would sleep normally. 

They say time machine don’t exist. You can’t go back in time. I say they do. On days, such as this, I travel back to that day and live through the horror all over again. All in the hope to find my way back again.”

—————————–

There, my dear Silent Observer, is the truth you wanted to know, so desperately. Now that you know, tell me.  What would you do next?

 

Anne Frank: Dear Kitty

Annelies Marie Frank. I am jealous of you. Of course, one, who knows your story, would wonder why and what am I jealous of. On the contrary, one might say that it should be the other way round. Little did they know that that’s exactly why I am jealous of you. Because with you, there would be no other way round.

The time in which you lived and the place where you were born, had they been different, the world, and more specifically I, wouldn’t have known Anne Frank. Your sixteen years in this world taught you things that I, having lived a decade longer and still counting,  am still struggling to come to terms with. If anything, the more I read about you the more I realize that life, as we live it, is a mere illusion. For some it’s heaven, for some it’s hell and for some, like you, it’s a heaven in hell.

What is required to make a person happy? Of course, you know the answer but billions and billions of us, the current unhappy occupants of this world, are still having a hard time. How can it be so simple, we wonder. You know they have reality TV shows these days where 12-14 people are locked inside a house, much bigger and luxurious than your hiding, for 90 days. The challenge is same as yours, to survive (in the show). Yet they fall, one at a time. For some reason they can’t rise above their petty ego issues and narcissism. I guess it does take a World War to force the ego and narcissism out of one’s self.

The life of today has everything one could imagine, yet it seems pale in comparison to yours. Partly, because it was handed to us on a silver plate and we never had the misfortune of a war taking it all away. It’s almost comic to observe, how a devastating and destructive thing as war can shift one’s perspective on life to a gentler one. A wise person has rightly said, the value of things taken for granted is only realized when they are taken away or rather snatched away mercilessly, as in your case.

Oh! Anne Frank, what a pleasure it would have been to live with you in those troubling times, to know you beyond the pages of your diary.

A Dance with Death

I close my eyes. I see her.

She’s wearing black. That’s how I’ve always imagined her. It adds a sense of mystery to her aura.

“How much longer?”, I ask.

“A bit more”, she answers.

“I’ve waited long enough”, I reply.

“I know dear……..I know”.

And this is how it goes, every time we meet. I then put my hand forward as an invitation for her to dance with me. She always accepts. I love that about her.

We dance on one of Beethoven’s symphonies. They are her favorite. As we dance, we loose ourselves in each other’s eyes. I see only my reflection in her eyes, which otherwise held the memories of countless souls.

I ask her, “Did you miss me?”.

“No.”, she replies.

“Why?”

..know that I knew
how much you loved me.
When life was sweet
and when life was dark.
When you told me,
and even when you didn’t.
When it was easy
and when it was hard.
I knew.
Every minute of every day.
I knew.”,

she answers.

“Will we ever become one?”, I ask.

“Yes. One day the body will wither away and the soul shall be free. That’s when we’ll be one.”, she answers.

I stop thinking, pull her close to me and embrace her in my arms. I let the silence cover us. We become one, even if only for that moment.

Why does she love a mortal when she herself is eternal?

Bring me your suffering.
The rattle roar of broken bones.

Bring my the riot in your heart.
Angry, wild and raw.

Bring it all.

I am not afraid of the dark.

She replied.

——–

Note: The quotes used are by Mia Hollow

On a Pyre of Books

The following is the last conversation between a father and his son.

He’s old and has been ill, of a critical disease, for sometime. His body has withered with time. He’s now in his final moments. He has called his only son to have the last talk and say a final good-bye.

His son is a young man who has just stepped into the adulthood. He loves his parents, especially his father who was also his best friend. He knows why he’s there so he reluctantly goes inside the room where he had spent his entire childhood….

——————————————————————

Ughh..Ughhhhhhh..Ughh….

“Please pardon me, my lungs are giving me a hard time.”

“It’s okay Dad. Let me get you some water..”

“No…No…. Stay. I want to tell you something. I don’t have long and I won’t be at peace if it goes unsaid.”

“What is it Dad?”

“Here! grab that chair….and help me lie down. Its difficult to sit anymore.”

 

“I want to tell you about my last wish. I haven’t told anyone about it, not even your Mom. I am telling you because I know if someone can fulfill it, its you.”

“Dad! please…don’t say things like this….”

“Its alright son. I know my end is near. I can see it…” ughh…ughhhhh…

“Son…look around and tell me what you see.”

“Ammm…I see your table and chair, the painting on the wall that you made for Mom on your first anniversary, pictures of us on the table, my childhood drawings and two walls covered with cabinets.”

“What’s inside those cabinets?”

“Books.”

“Son…from where you see they appear to be books but to me they’re my closest of friends. Friends with whom I’ve shared some great memories. I want them to be at my side when I am cremated. That’s my last wish.

You’re probably thinking that I’ve gone insane. I haven’t. At least, not yet.  I ask this because its the only way I can be with them even when I am gone.”

“I must confess Dad..that’s the strangest thing anyone has ever asked me to do. But I am curious. If you think that’s how you’ll be able to take them with you, why not consider more valuable things like money or your collection of paintings?”

“Oh! son…money and other valuable things are of value to the living only. Dead have no use for such things. After all, God doesn’t sell a loaf of bread for Rs. 20.”

Ughhh..Ugghhhhhhhhh…Ughh…Ughhhhh…..

“Here..have some water, Dad.             Okay. Then by that logic wouldn’t these books be better used by the living? You can donate them to a library or leave them here as your memory to us.”

“I used to think along the similar lines too, son. But one day your mother accidentally broke the earthen pot we used in summers to store water. As she was cleaning it’s remains I wondered what will happen to them. Probably they’ll be grounded back to earth and reused to make new pots. Then it struck me. These books will have the same fate. No matter what I do with them, eventually they’ll be destroyed and their remains will be recycled.”

“Yes, but what about all the people who can benefit from them before they’re destroyed. Honestly Dad, don’t you think they will be more valuable to the living than the dead? I am sorry if that hurt your feelings, I am just playing the devil’s advocate.”

“That’s fine son and I am happy that you are. Because if you don’t believe it yourself how will you convince others.”

“Truth be told son, if someone wants to read any of the books from my collection they can most certainly find a copy somewhere else. Libraries probably have most of them in their catalog. But that’s not why I want to take them with me.

Over the years, I’ve grown intimate to these books. They became my father, imparting me the wisdom of ages and telling me about the truths of life. At times, they became my siblings, my partner in crime. Occasionally, I found myself in their pages. Many a times they took me to a completely strange world, the kind that I couldn’t imagine even in my weirdest of imaginations. I made friends there, lots of them. I fell in love, broke my heart, found my soul-mate, only to be parted at the end. I cried with them, I laughed with them, they made my angry, they cheered me up. But above all, they never let me feel that I am alone even when I was alone.

I don’t know what awaits me at the other end. I don’t know what will become of me. However, with them at my side, I can cross over to their world and reunite with my long lost friends, my love. For when I am ash and they’re ash, everything becomes real.

Uggghhhhhh….Ugghhhhhhhhh…..Ughhh….Uggghhhhhhhhhhhh

So son…will you do this for me…will you do your father this last favor?”

“Yes Dad………I will.”

The Incomplete Game…

Phuff! and it was over. It was like one of those dreams you see during night but forget when you wake up. Only, it wasn’t such a dream in this case. It was similar to it but this was surely no dream.

The other day I was playing with my friend. You may call her my special friend but for me she was just another female friend. Classifications like special friend, girlfriend, wife etc. do not exist in my world. We are not governed by such “sophisticated” nomenclatures.

I was merrily playing with her. Not “playing” but playing, as children do. We were playing a game where either one of us runs and other has to chase. I’ve heard some local children calling it Pakdam Pakdai, but as I said words have no meaning in my world, so we don’t have a name for it. It was her turn to chase me.

We were in one of those jungles that lie on either side of the flat grey surface.  I think it’s called sadak in your terminology. It has some strange magic because during day time many objects run over it, at speed far greater than mine, but come night all of them disappear. It is very difficult to predict when one might come running, so we take special care not to step on the grey surface unless necessary.

That day fewer objects came running than usual. I think it was because the Sun was bit cloudy and it was cold. These objects must be affected by cold. Given fewer number of objects, I and my friend found it reasonable to play the chasing game. I started running at my fastest speed and a few seconds later she started chasing me.

Unknowingly, I stepped on the grey flat surface. No sooner than I stepped, something hit me. I can swear to God it wasn’t there when I started running. It was one of those objects that run on two black round things. It hit me on the side, at my stomach and ran over a leg. I wasn’t bleeding but I felt pain. I couldn’t move. I could only cry.

From where I lay, I saw someone lying ahead of the object. He must have been on the object, for he seemed hurt. He was lying face down. Soon, many people gathered near him. Some helped him get up. Some consoled him. Some offered to take him to a doctor. For a minute he seemed oblivious to all, as if he was trying to grasp what had happened. Some people helped him get into a car and he drove away.

I saw this while lying there, in pain, crying for my friend to come and help me. But she was afraid, afraid of stepping on that grey flat surface. I saw tears in her eyes, as she stood there. Tears for my pain, tears for her helplessness, tears for betrayal by my “best friends”, tears for watching me die, slowly and painfully.

Soon I passed out for I couldn’t bear the pain and Phuff! it was over. Like one of those dreams you see during night but forget when you wake up. Only, it wasn’t a dream.

———————————————————–

Dedicated to a dog, who I know is hurt bad, alive or dead, I know not but I am responsible for his state. I know he can’t read this, but you can. Next time, if you see an animal hurt on the road please take a moment to help the poor soul, at the least give it the gift of dying with dignity. No one deserves to die under tyres.