Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Seen and unforseen

Me and my parents were going to some pilgrim, where i don't recollect. (This happened a long time back). We left exactly as we planned in our car (okay, okay, my dad's), maruti 800. The trip was somewhere in plains as far as I remember. After reaching our destination, we left the car in the car park and went walking from there on. After some time we were crossing through a street. This street was unique in itself. One sight of it, and I fell in love this road. I told my parents to go on and I will meet them later. I wanted to check this road out for my novel. My parents agreed after some time and they moved on.

The story starts from here. Let me describe the road first. The road had two distinct parts. The right side was ultra modern and left side was typical Indian village. The right side had all the flats, bungalows, Kothis(as they call them in India) etc. They all exibhited modernization. They were adorned with proper drive-in and perfect gardens, bejeweled with Ferrari's, merc's, etc. They were all equipped with proper security systems, gas-lines etc. I saw a few of them also had robots to do work like gardening and sorts. All the discos, malls, metros, air-fields etc were on this side. Schools and colleges were also at this side. I roamed around aimlessly seeing the beauties of this side of road. After some time I felt like I have somehow been transported to some other country and am no longer in India. It felt good to see India as such. After some time, I left this side and went to other side.

The left side had all the slums, children in rags ran here and there. A lone barber sat under the banyan tree. A little ahead I found some earthen-ware seller under the peepal tree. I kept walking on. After some time I saw a little change in the overall background. From typical slum it became a farmer's paradise. There were lush green fields of all sorts. And good natured farmer were there as well. I liked it very much. I was happy for this part of India as well. I went a little further on forgetting all about time and that I had to follow my parents and again I found a change. Now the single flat residential area had started and I could see some children riding a bicycle or playing hide and seek. I remembered my own childhood. The time when I started riding the bicycle and how I used to play hide and seek with my friends. I found a small kid which was exactly like me. He thought himself as king when he started riding the bicycle and rode fast over slippery area as well. And then he fell, he scratched himself real bad, exactly like I had done a few years back. I observed the child a long time and each time he did something I was reminded of my own childhood. The evening started and his mother called him. "Ankur, Ankur come home now, its getting darker" she said. (he shared my name as well) And the boy reluctantly took his bike and trailed toward his house. When he reached front-steps of his house, his mother started telling him off for falling and not telling her. "You should have come straight to home, what if infection spreads" she scolded. And yet again I was reminded of my own similar incident. After the boy went home, I went backwards towards the road again with a mind to start searching the other side a little deeper as well. And while I walked, I thought about the boy "Ankur" and his similarity to my childhood.

After a while I reached the road. And crossed it to go to the other side. I just loved it even more cause now the sky was lit with various kinds of lights and buildings were shining. I now started to roam this side of road. I went to several places and talked with many people. I came to know that this place was called "Agla" and opposite to road was "Prakruti". I had been also been thinking about the difference between the two. The right side looked like 2020's or even further into the future and the left side looked like 1990's. I came upon a house which looked like it had been in state of neglect for many years. And there were several letters strewn about tht place. Some where hanging outside from the letterbox and some were on the ground directly below the box. And upon closer inspection, I found out that there were several packages lying just inside the threshold as well. I was highly amused and wanted to check further. I casually saw here and there and upon finding nobody, I picked up a letter from the ground. Surprisingly, it was addressed to "Ankur". Now, this is second time in a single day that I had heard someone else called by my name. I opened the letter without knowing what I was upto. I read the content, it was from Ankur's girlfriend. I read the date and it mentioned 18th November 2020, and now I was really intrigued because even today, at time of this writing, the date is 18th Jan 2008 and I went on this pilgrim sometime in September 2005. I thought it was a bit of joke. But upon looking the delivery date I found that it mentioned 23rd November 2020. And now I thought that even the postman is involved in the joke. I picked another letter ripping it open I found that it was dated 4th October 2020. Next one was dated 11 Jan 2021. I picked several letter but all were dated ranging between 4th march 2020 to 15 march 2021. A man was coming toward me, he was riding a kind of vehicle I haven't seen before. I stopped him and asked him the date, he told me tht today was 16 April 2022, with that he went on his way. It was all totally absurd. I silently looked back at the locked house again. I stood there in the middle of the road and didnt even move an inch when another vehicle passed me. Slowly I came to my senses and moved out of the road and sat down beside the locked up house. I was feeling scared now when another musty and dirty letter attracted me. I picked it up. It said Happy birthday to ankur and wishing ankur good luck in future. I read many more letters and read the names of those who had posted the letters. And to my horror all those tht had posted the letter were known to me and I felt dizzy. There Mira mausi had wished me happy b'day on 22nd September 2020. Ajay chachu and his family wished me new year 2021. And all the others I opened had been posted by relative or known person. My head swam. But then I became eager to read more. I found that i was looking at my own future and loved it. I read letters from surbhi who had became my girlfriend, sometime later I married her and there were many letter wishing me a happy life and all. Then i became chief engg in my company and then I left the job a month later and started my own buisness. I read many things and at last only one letter remained. It was from mehra's. I ripped it open and was happy to know my future thus. But as I read the letter my senses failed and the letter fell from my hand. The letter read as follows :-

Dearest Surbhi,
We are extremely sorry for your loss. Ankur was a good friend and extremely kind and generous human. We are really sorry for his departure at such a young age. The lung cancer spread really fast, none could have operated upon such an infected area. But who can defy the God. Be brave, u have whole life in front of you and it wouldn't do if u didn't moved on in life. We are with u always. If u need anything just give a call and we will help in any sort possible. We meant to be there at the death ceremony but because of some urgent call couldn't come. We wish u a good luck and that u be brave and don't be dejected.
yours ever
Mehra and family

I couldn't stay there any longer. I ran away. I came to the road again. And remembered that I had come on a pilgrim. I continued running in direction my parents took and ran till I had no more breath. I walked a little more then i halted. And then i fell out of dizziness. Then I heard my mom calling, "wake up aankurrrr" my mom called, "hey wake up dude, its morning" said my sister while shaking me. I came to senses and found that i was still at my home and that we still had to begin our journey. I took a deep breath, that dream was too real for me to handle. But I consoled myself that it was only a dream. I felt better after that. And enjoyed my journey with my parents. The end.


Sushma said...

This it one of the most beautiful thing u ever wrote...and i ever read :)

eq said...

Wow. That was really cool. I enjoyed reading this, and I want to thank you for sharing it with me. :)