The trend of not writing any article in the month of September, urged me to write it for the sake of it. Just going to the root of it, which happened to be on October, 2014. The long weekend that could be remembered for one incident that might started it all. Started going to that god damned gym nearby and the Saturday night of the long 2nd October weekend stirred things up. After talking to philosopher friend on call, opened the Facebook and wrote a well-crafted and read-over-hundredth-time message to an offline personality. The girl from the college. I became vegetarian on 25th April for many reasons and one of them was her. Could be a very small reason overwhelmed by compassion being the strongest one. Next day I wasn’t able to find her. I was blocked.
Also other reason of becoming a vegetarian could be leaving a message on a social site, that pointed to the chicken in me, thus, couldn’t eat chicken as it will refer to cannibalism, right? So, I guess, from Sunday, it started and had been a while. But September month always went blank, when checked all the articles from the root month-year. So, here it is.
Taking a vacation from work for a week is comforting. But the society doesn’t let you. They would try their best to give suggestion, the most infuriating being and latest in their to-do list is, get married. I have handled many stuffs as a grown up in my life, and thus don’t need this extra piece of advice. The intent doesn’t look that out of love or concern but just bring out the one “basic” need that is missing in your “perfect” life as per them. But it isn’t that I have turned 28, that made a big difference but as long back as I can remember, when I was an undergraduate, I heard the same suggestion that gave me shock.
Sitting in the Lawyer’s chamber with my mother, to talk about the next strategy before the court hearing regarding a very old property claim case that my Grandfather got into or pulled into by the State. It was a formality, as the opponent would never care to show up in court but take leave of absence and request the Judge to move the date. Still, we need to show our presence to our lawyer one day before. He greeted my mother while we waited, sitting on the sofa placed in the same office room, while he was discussing a case with another client who came prior to us. Then, after getting some time while the client was busy going through some papers handed over to him by the lawyer, he examined me and inquiring about my educational, marital and order of my birth relative to other grandsons of my grandfather, he surprised me with the same suggestion. “Get him married.”, he devoured. “He is still studying.”, was the reply of my mother. “Many people continue their study even after getting married”, he defended him like a lawyer in front of a Judge. I got many thoughts and arguments to oppose him, but thought to restore the idea, of having peace without getting argumentative with the best lawyer in town, who certainly got to such stature due to having cordial relations with all the Judges, was overwhelming. But that influence never helped our case, which didn’t resolved but get elongated over time. His arguments and statements looked stupid to me. The thing is you need to be responsive rather reactive on such people.
Still such people haunt me, lately yesterday when I fell sick, I needed to see our family doctor. Out of maturity, I very much expected the same thing. The conversation went on and after he gave medicines and I paid the consultation fee, got up and guess what. You guessed it right. “When he is getting married”, the most curious question that other known people also share, came right behind my back, to which I gave a sly smile.
As most of his friends were using a popular app for booking cabs, he used Uber. The reason came as a shock to whoever, he told this story. It was on a fateful day that he downloaded the app and tried registering but failed. He called the support centre and they, very politely, told him that his number is blacklisted. He thought for some time and ended the call. He went into nostalgia. Standing outside the office, he was waiting for the rain to stop on that dark evening. It was then Rehan also happened to come out, leaving office. Thinking of Rehan, he went into the second level of nostalgia. They both met in the recruitment drive of the company, where Rehan got eliminated in the second round. But Simr got selected. It was later next year that Simr saw him in the office elevator and inquired. Rehan told that he was called back as there was wrong evaluation on the company’s part in that second round. He cleared the consequent third round and came to Bangalore.
So, coming back to the first level of nostalgia. Rehan invited him to come with him to his flat in a cab that he has booked from the office. Also later his flatmates were going to a nice Punjabi restaurant present in Frazer Town, he was again given a courteous invitation to join them. They went by same cab and while coming back the flatmates used his phone number to register and use it for the first time as this gave them free ride upto a specific charge. Looks like this was misused as per policy. And he never knew, until that fateful day.
The summer of ’07 was harsh. Taking up science added to the woes. School education wasn’t enough for two of them or all of them in their class. Thus, all went to different tuition centers after the school. One was at New Road, another at Vasant Vihar and the last competitor was at T.G. Road. They chose the one at New Road. It was hot and the teacher knew it. Simr and Adrien would sit in the front bench pretending to be studious which they never were. Going one hour back in time, it is when school got over, and they went back to their homes. Post lunch, Adrien would come to Simr’s house at VIP Road and they both will head toward this class. After 15 minutes into the class, the awkwardness starts, as Adrien will not able to control himself and go into sleep while sitting. And this is not any kind of sleep but deep sleep. Simr will try to be calm and composed but hit him gently with his elbow, so that he wakes up but he won’t budge. Looked like teacher saw him, but ignored.
Gradually other three classmates in school also joined the center. The trio would come flashing in their tripling ride violating traffic as well as distubing the attention of the “studious” guys. Adrien’s proposal to one of them was previously rejected. And Simr had a secret crush on another. Third girl being already committed. The warmth of the room enhanced as seen on Adrien’s face that turned red. Finally the day came when the teacher planned to install AC in that dreaded classroom, whose every inch was occupied by the students. The window AC was put up at the back of the room, and that gave rise to a change not only in the temperature of the room but also in the attitude of these two. They started to sit on the back benches to make better return on the investment they made on the class in the form of fees that they wouldn’t give up untill asked by the instructor himself. So, life somehow became better. But Physics haunted them still.
He found himself sitting with three other people in a Godforsaken eatery at Tibetan market. It was dark inside where in the other table a middle-aged man was drinking rigorously. It all started one hour back, when Simr was riding with one of his friend towards Physics tution center. But met the other duo, who had different plans. From there the trip took a different direction and stopped in between to buy liquor. The journey ended at this eatery where he ordered dimsums and the other three started drinking. His abstinence was palpable and was already understood by the peers. The place was smelling with the combined effort of alcohol and vomit. On top, the dimsums tasted weird. The nature of it was doubtful and that doubt got deepened when one of the other guy, whom Simr disliked a lot, told that there could be a possibility that it is pork instead of chicken. Simr didn’t touch the other dimsums’ integrity and felt contented and disgusted at the same time. The other three were drunk enough to start narrating their emotional love stories. The scene grew from disgusting to pathetic.
Things started to heat up, and in no time all three stood after a decision was taken by one of them. One of the three became so emotional that he wanted to barge into the villain’s house who presumably took away his girl. All got ready, and all were drunk. Simr didn’t knew riding bike. Even though he was worried about drunk guys driving, he took a leap of faith and sat behind his original rider. They started their voyage and in no time reached Race Course area. Unfortunately, they met that girl on the way. The guys stopped, and the emotional friend waved in front of her to stop her ride, but she sped up. On the other hand, Simr’s rider got into fight with an elderly couple. Sober Simr tried to calm him down. The expedition started again and stopped at villain’s home. They went in and his parents told that he is out for Chemistry tution at Sir Chawla’s. The three were disappointed but Simr was happy. The fight was averted and they finally started for their respective homes. Everyday, there was a new learning for him, it appeared. He went home and sat for a while to absorb the incident.
If this wouldn’t have happened in the primary school, Simr would not have felt a need to tie shoe laces ever. Even though he was studying in class 3rd, he was helpless looking at those strings. He couldn’t tie. His mother or mellow sibling would do it for him. But one fateful day, there happened sports day in school, where one of the game involved untying the perfectly tied shoe laces and running in a race, reaching point A, tying the shoe laces and come back to the starting point. Five students ran to point A, including this helpless guy, but for the teachers’ amazement, one student never returned and went in eternity. They looked at the distant point A and there was our guy looking at the shoe laces, not even trying to get it together. The maid finally came for the rescue and he was able to return with the tied shoe laces. That day he learnt to tie those and moved on.
Coming back to the present time, he knows how to do it but it becomes irritating to tie shoe laces. This is kind of a chore, he feels should happen automatically. The solution he found was to buy lace less shoes. But those have their own set of problems. It becomes loose after a while and without laces it cannot be brought to the right fit. Shoe lace tying looks tedious and he takes considerable time to tie those still.
The call went for an hour. And after it concluded, he was shocked and awestruck. Contemplating it for sometime, he became self critical. Didn’t he also fantasized about her? She had a curvy figure that made many people dumbfounded. And being her friend, he had a chance to explore her more often. He was not pretentious when he showed that he had pure thoughts, but owing to the moments that suppresses the logical whereabouts and get into the voluptuousness of physical attributes, his imagination flourished. He has to make himself a confession out of neccessity that demanded answer for his treachery afterwards. He felt an immediate urge to call her back and confess his sin. That he has same thoughts that were expressed aloud by other friend of hers. Only difference, he never spoke it out. Without that action he felt helpless and sinful.
But on his defense, those thoughts were momentary and never impacted his behavior towards her, being it face to face interaction or over the call. He never crossed his line and remained a good listener. And as he thought, she would be proud of her perfect body and it ought to get that attention of her followers and thoughts in her followers’ minds. Moreover, he never approached her sexually. Nonetheless there was no harm done to anyone by his thoughts. He kept those to himself. So, he averted calling her back, after thinking more on such line. It is better that everyone keep such thoughts to themselves, he thought.
The news spread like a wild fire. He was found burnt in his separate room. The weird thing was, he was discovered in a sitting posture. What would have happened to him, was the question popped into everyone’s mind. There was no sign of struggle in the room. He looked calm and composed, even in that dreary condition. Rumours rose from every nook and corner. Some said he had super powers to transcend and send his spirit to help the needy. And during such feat, his body got fire due to the burning of joss stick. Without spirit the body is dead. Some suspected a fishy business, and were skeptical about a conspiracy of his murder by making him unconscious. But they didn’t figured out the motive of the murder. My personal thoughts over the incident relied more on the fulcrum that supported the initial findings but ignoring the super power thing. This was based on the meeting I had with him.
Jai Singh was my grandfather’s friend. No doubt he had spiritual aroma around him. Dressed in white, he had a saintly outlook. He was free from all ills and evils. The old phase was passing in reading the holy scripture. Sharing and discussing religious thoughts with the old and the young, became his pastime. He used to meditate for long hours in his room. But to which degree he practiced it and achieved some enlightenment, was a mystery. Did he really transcended beyond the level of a human capability? Or is human has that immense potential to open the doors for such a feat? No clear or solid answer came regarding his causes of death. It remained and will remain an unsolved puzzle.
4th Nov ’97, twenty years back, outside the Safadarjang Hospital in Delhi, a matador was standing as still as a dead body lying inside, the body wrapped in grey and white blanket. Outside there was a rush of relatives, that was sorrounding a woman who was sobbing and crying uncontrollabely. He arrived there later, and was unknown of the fact that he has lost his father. Two hours back on that day, he was asked to get ready to go to the hospital. He searched his black school shoes in his relative’s home in Malviya Nagar and sat in the car. Along the way, he thought “Why they are going back to their native?”. “Is his father’s health recovered?”. The worst case scenario never passed his mind until he reached there. The matador started its 7 hours long journey. He recollected, the ambassador car that drove his sick father, and them to the dreadful hospital on Diwali day of 30th Oct ’97. His father went in coma right after he was operated in the godforsaken OPD. His father was alcoholic and the liver grew weaker over the time and gave up eventually.
After reaching home, the hue and cries started. He went inside his grandpa’s room and slept. Never came out of it, but was listening to the turmoil inside and outside. He never cried and didn’t bid last farewell to his father. He remembered the sick lady lying on the opposite bed in the OPD, whose son use to pray to Goddess Laxmi’s photo attached on the hospital’s wall. The whole scene of that OPD recreated itself in front of his eyes. He remembered the rude nurses who treated patients as animals. The following days remained sorrowful and upsetting with occassional cries on the arrival of the relatives from the far flung Rajasthan, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh towns. He remained absent from school, to which, his teachers led by Principal Mrs Dashmana came one day to visit and offered condolences. When he went back to the school after a long time, his close friend Parvesh Joshi, in his utter innocense, suggested that might be his father was not dead but just lying down. He listened, as he didn’t have words. The quietness prevailed thereafter. The careless nature turned into careful personality. The calm and composure withstood carrying the evergreen volcano inside that erupted every single day.
After the events of Nov ’97, the trauma built up inside. The whole family was in sorrow and the sad darkness was enthralling. The repercussion of it were to be seen in the later months, when he started checking the locks of the house repetitively to quench his compulsion that stated that he is insecure. He started mumbling a special customized prayer cum ritual every night before sleeping that took almost half an hour of his time. He was worried about the safety of his other family members when he lost one in the event of Nov ’97. His careless nature that was present earlier, vanished somewhere down the road. He was careful now and didn’t believe in taking risks. His obligations and responsibilities haunted him so much that he was in the grip of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
His prayers were the product of the statement that “God giveth and God taketh away”, which was outspoken by the weaker society. He feared him, when it, in fact wasn’t existent. He surrendered himself, and thought the things are happening out of his own control but only because of the puppet master. The OCD was everywhere, being it putting documents in the envelope and checking it again and again, or reading the email hundred times before pressing “Send”. His mind was so worked out that, before even going to some place, tens of scenarios were rerun in his mind including worst case ones. His confidence, being under the watch of God, was crushed. Before speaking, he rehearsed the statements hundred times in his mind and still stammered at the final take. It gradually reduced but still palpable.