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Archive for the ‘Dreams’ Category

I missed the train

I was traveling by train somewhere and there was this station where I got down to take a pee. It must have been less than a minute but when I turned back there was no train in sight. In the distance there was this red indicator behind the guard unit blinking and getting smaller every instant. The train had left all of a sudden without a whistle. I ran fast… I ran hard but in vain. I crossed the over bridge walked out of the station to the other side with lots of things going on in my mind. My luggage was still there under the lower berth and I didn’t have much money in my wallet. There weren’t many people around or perhaps I was too worried to think about strangers. I found a sardarji with a scooter. An idea struck me.’ What if I could reach the next station before the train reached?” I thought. I introduced myself and narrated my fate to him. Gurjeet agreed to give me a ride to the next station so that I could catch my train from there.

I got behind him but he was slow… very slow.

By the time we reached the next station the train had already left.

The scene changed.

I was talking to this gentle man… never seen him before and I was telling him that how ten years back I had missed a train and then started fresh from where the train left me. I was a driver. I was married and had kids.

He asked me ” What about your folks”?

I said “Don’t know.  I don’t know the way back.”

I could see that his eyes were beginning to get wet.

He asked “Do they know you are still alive?”

I said “Maybe not. Ten years is a long time and they have taken me for dead certainly…”

As I was talking my wife came out of a small hut with a kid in her arms.

She gestured me to get inside. Tea was ready. There was smoke in the small filthy place. I made some place for the gentleman to sit. Tea was served in small aluminum glasses. It tasted more like kerosene than tea.

He knew we were poor… he knew we were struggling… he knew we were broke.

He asked me a funny question.

“Do you remember English?” he asked.

I said “yes” and then narrated a few lines of the poem “I shot an arrow into the air… it fell on earth I knew not where…”

My wife gazed at me with a puzzled expression. She had always been a village girl…

The gentleman said “I wish I could do something for you. Seven years back my family took all my money and threw me out of the house. Now I am a teacher in a small town and I teach Moral science.

“I owned a cinema hall then” he added.

“How times change…” I thought.

The whistle of the evening train broke up the conversation and I realized that I had to go out for work again. The gentleman bid farewell to us and walked towards the station. After the train left I looked at the platform.

It was empty… almost empty… no, there was someone sitting on the bench.

“He surely missed the train” I told my wife…

Soon dense layers of fog engulfed the town and a station which no one has ever seen and which looked less real and more like a set they use in movies, surrendered itself to isolation. And in another part of another world, destiny engaged itself to build another dream in time…

When I woke up it was already 10:00 and it was already noisy outside. I wondered where was my wife, my kid, that sardarji with the scooter and that gentleman who taught Moral Science in a small school in a small town.

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A Dream

It was another rocky shore… as usual. And it was raining. I was all alone. All of a sudden I noticed an orange glow on the horizon.  I couldn’t believe my eyes when I witnessed a huge machine making its way thru the sky. There was a faint hum of motors and it seemed to be moving towards the sea.  After sometime it disappeared from view. The rain stopped and it was bright once again. Chrome glow. The sky wasnt blue anymore or overcast and the sea looked shallow.

I waded through the water and it sent a tingling sensation up my spine. I heard someone calling my name. I turned to look at a figure approaching me. It was Dipankar my schoolmate. As he drew closer I could see his ear to ear grin.

‘Where have you been ?’ he asked.

‘Where were you ?’ I asked.

Shailendra has been looking for you. Santosh told us you had gone out for a walk. The bell would ring in another 5 mins. We got bio practicals after this. Then we made our way for the schoolgate but I didn’t have to reverse my course. Went on wading through the frothy foaming waters for quite sometime. We talked abt homeworks, PT sessions and NCC. He told me that I was going to be nominated for the captain’s position of Shivaji house. We were all excited about the sports events for the following month. And then I noticed something starnge. Grey hair. His hair had turned grey. I didnt have to ask. I knew. It had been a long long time.

We found the gate open when we reached near the campus. and there was this whole group waiting. There was Shahid, Ranga, Chitra, Rajesh & Brajesh, Pijush, Nitin. I went to Nitin and hugged him.

‘ I missed you’ he said.

‘Did you marry ?’ I asked.

‘Yes’ he replied.

‘A Bengali girl ?’

No’ he answered.

I remembered… Nitin always wanted to marry a bengali girl. His was a painful childhood. With just a mom who almost couldn’t see.. almost blind he had to fend for himself and his mother at an early age. His relatives had cheated the family. Once when I had taken him to a bar a couple of years back and sat at the table to order something I noticed tears in his eyes.

‘You know Sourav ?’ he managed to say. ‘People have no have respect for others.’

He had taken to auto-driving. And then he had told me how he always wanted to fall in love with a bengali girl. He was Gujarati.

..and now marrying a bengali girl was too far fetched an idea… something he had stopped dreaming a long time back.

Everything came back to me when I saw him.

A few feet from him was Mohd. Asifuddin. We always called him the biggest story teller.

‘kaisa hai Asif ? ‘ I asked

‘tera baap ab bhi personal plane mein fly karta hai kya ?’ I said jokingly

..and then everybody burst out laughing.

‘Arey Mainak ? where is Arpita ? ab bhi uske ishq mein diwaana hai ?’ I said

‘nahin yaar. uski shaadi ho gayee hai.’ he answered.

It was a strange happy kinda feeling with all of them..the same group.. the same school… but in a different time

‘suna hai tu bahut software bana raha hai ? ‘ Rajesh asked me

‘zyaada kuch nahin.. bas pet paal raha hoon’ I answered
‘aur tera sister’ ?
‘shaadi ho gayi’ I answered
‘aur teri ‘ ?
‘pata nahin yaar.. ab chod bhi.. sabhi to yehi poochte hain’ I asnwered

we went to the classroom after that. somebody had managed 2 crates of beer. We poured drinks into each other’s glasses..

‘To old sweet old times’ I cheered.

‘To old sweet old times’ Everyone followed as we lifted the glasses high up in a gesture of celebration.

there were strange experiences shared across the table… some told us sweet experiences… others had tears to share.

I remember Ranga saying that he had got into a job where he had to work so hard that he got ill  and and after battling it out for a quarter he recovered.

Brajesh had another story to tell. He was selected for the Ranji but dropped after a couple of months. Someone with a better backing had obviously made it and knocked him off his place. He had taken up a job as a salesman.

Dipankar was doing well inspite of the market recession for architects. He said that he always had enough to design and eat.

…and then everything changed. One of my clients entered.

Then the afternoon saw us discussing some serious project …over a cup of coffee. I don’t really remember how it tasted.

All I recall is that it was something hot.

They ought not to have left so early..

I woke up late in the morning only to realize it was a dream. I smiled at myself in the mirror as I washed my face.

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