Carvind, belonged to the world of naughtiest kids. This image of innocence, a pure-hearted spirit, was always found involved in some sort of mess by his parents, who were quite a character in themselves. Naturally, Carvind was natural ally for all disturbing elements. One day, the Lord appeared in his dreams at an unusual hour and said:” My son, I want to visit earth to see how it fares in Kali Age.” “Lord I have heard that you give darshana (appear) at auspicious hours and so I am really surprised to find you at such an odd hour,” said Carvind.
Carvind had slept late in the night. “Vatsa (my dear son), what can I do! You people have given way to strange habits, which defy my system. I waited for you to sleep at proper time but you never did so,” answered the Lord. Carvind felt really embarrassed. “My son, I would come tomorrow and be visible only to you. Though you have often entered in nuisance of all sorts and defied my mode of life as mentioned in the scriptures, it’s quite pleasing to see the temple of innocence prevailing in your heart. I am glad that you find time to remember me.”
Carvind was now fully awake after being in that trance like state. He started recollecting the episodes. How beautiful Lord appeared! The one infinite blue-bodied Narayana was clothed in his “yellow garb”. In his four hands, he carried the conch, the discus, the mace and the lotus. A soft but impressive golden light environed the Lord. He soon became sad as he failed to greet Lord with folded hands and also did not bother to touch his feet.
Carvind decided to rectify his mistake. This morning he extended the duration of his pooja, performing it with greater concentration. He planned to greet Him methodically on His arrival. Carvind got involved in preparations to receive Him and the day soon gave way to evening. He went to bed soon but since he never slept that early, the sleep remained elusive. Anyway, his mind was full of excitement-something that kept sleep at safe distance from the eyes.
He woke up at 3 am. It was dark outside and others were still in deep slumber. Carvind had his bath, which created noise sufficient enough to awaken his mother from deep sleep. She saw Carvind shivering and lost her cool. “So it was not cat but you who were producing such strange sounds in the middle of the night!” “You have become the agent of problems for us” she said before marching towards her bedroom.
Carvind ignored her wrath and sat down for meditation. Today, he attained the divine state very soon. The various zones of his brain got filled with divine consciousness.” Now I have attained a perfect state of mind to receive Him” spoke Carvind to himself as he waited for the Lord’s arrival. He was becoming quite impatient. “Has the Lord forgotten his promise? By now He should have arrived.” Then under the impact of past tendencies, his mind got focused on beautiful girl, whom he had seen at magazine shop near his home.
“Dear son! Please regain your sense. It’s time to break your sahaj yoga (spontaneous attunement), “a familiar voice hit the ear drums of Carvind. The Lord was standing in front of Carvind and His smile said all! Carvind, for a while said nothing, just the way a child gets caught by the mother stealing food from the kitchen. He bent down and touched His Lotus feet, offered some flowers which he had stolen from the garden of his neighbor guarded by a dangerous Doberman, and then washed his feet with holy water, which her mother had warned not to use at all; after all, she had brought it from quite a distance.
The fragrance of His body left him spell bound, rejuvenating his dull senses. “Will Lord, tell me the name of the perfume He uses? If I get hold of this brand of perfume, it would make him instant hit amid his boring girlfriends, always complaining about his choice of clothes and perfume.”
“ Won’t we move out, little angel?” asked the Lord in pleasing voice. “Oh! Definitely Lord” said Carvind, once again found caught on the wrong foot by the Lord. They were now on the road to Sangam(Confluence of three rivers at Allahabad: the Ganges, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati). The tempo in which they were sitting was nearly chock-a-block with passengers. The record player was on and devotional songs, based on latest chart-busters echoed inside the tempo. “If I am not wrong, these songs in some way seem to be connected with me,” remarked the Lord with displeasure. “Lord, very few people in the world remember you in the ways prescribed by you in ancient times. Human beings of modern times have attained new means of attaining intimacy with you. They are no longer interested in going by your likes and dislikes.”
“My son, I find iron rods on every roof top, connected to strange Chakra (discus) like round object. What purpose do they serve? Are they some sort of safety device, which prevent you people from dangers?” “No Lord! They do not save human beings from dangers; instead, they drown them deeper into ocean of heinous crimes and problems. This is known as dish antenna, which is connected with a device called Television, watched by human beings the way Yogis fix attention on your form during meditation!”
They were now on the banks of the Ganges. The unhygienic condition that prevailed there left Lord in bitter mood. Dead bodies, bones and waste material were floating on the water. “Whom are you trying to locate?” asked Carvind. “Vatsa, in my previous incarnations I always found people meditating and performing tapas at the banks of Ganges. I am really surprised that nobody is engaged in such pious activity. Where have these people disappeared?” “Lord, they are all sleeping. They are all lost in deep sleep after having watched late night movies, and people like my father and mother, who usually work till late hours of the night, and then go to sleep, just cannot leave bed too early.”
The Lord was pleased to find a Shiva temple. They entered inside the temple and found dogs roaming there. One of them was busy in searching leftovers there; another one was comfortably sleeping over the Shivalinga. I looked at the face of Lord to notice His reaction but He seemed to be lost in some different world.
“Lord, it is not the fault of these dogs. These hungry dogs arrived here in search of food, and entered inside the temple” The compassionate Lord produced food and offered them to the hungry dogs. Carvind’s attitude towards animals had please the Lord. After performing pooja there, they moved out of the temple. In the way, they met some cows. The Lord rushed towards them. He was visibly very happy on seeing them. “Do you love cows?” asked the Lord. “Yes, since they remind me of my mother. She has cow like eyes and when she is angry I also notice same pointed thorns on her head as I come to notice in these cows.” These cows had very little fat on their bodies and most of them looked quite weak.
“Don’t you people take care of creatures? Have I not provided you enough resources and, in some cases, more than enough? In fact, the case is that you people have become greedy and do not believe in charity at all.” The cows standing there suddenly vanished. The Lord sent them to unknown destination, having grass and safe water in abundance. The Lord had suggested Carvind to take him to the needy people. They moved towards slums located close to the rail tracks. The Lord was eager to cross these tracks to reach to the other side but Carvind prevented him from doing so.
“But why?“ asked the Lord. “The signal lights are bright green and so let’s wait. Let the train pass.” He thanked Carvind for providing such valuable life-giving information. The train passed and they moved to the other side. Carvind was amazed at the simplicity of the Lord. The Lord was moved to see the bare bodies of the starving children. The labourers living there were getting ready to leave in search of work. It was a noisy scene. The pungent smell of garbage, scattered around us, entered inside our nostrils, which forced us to leave the spot.
The Lord seemed to be lost in some thoughts after witnessing such a scene. “Lord, that‘s the condition which prevails in the whole nation. The wealth has been distributed in an unequal manner. The rich people have got everything; the poor people have been left at the mercy of fate. The poor person always finds himself in all sorts of troubles. Lord, you sound right that greed is cause of sufferings. “Is nobody working for the cause of poor people?” inquired Lord. “Lord, nobody is working sincerely for their cause. Some organizations, which in the beginning worked in whole-hearted manner, became political in their approach, and thus, deviated away from the cause of the poor people.
They had now arrived near a school. God wished to see the activities inside the school. Unfortunately, it was a government-run school. The teachers were nowhere in sight. The blackboard was barren like a dead river. Some senior students were busy in discussion revolving around good and bad points of latest movies running in the theaters of city. The junior ones were seriously trying to make their paper aircraft attain the maximum height, and also attain the perfect aerial route! Some girls have already opened their Tiffin boxes and were in great hurry to finish the lunch! We found one section of boys getting ready for cricket match and so heated discussion regarding the format of the match was in full flow.
They had moved out of the school and now walking on the road in leisurely way. They came to anticipate a large gathering of people and they turned towards it. It was a meeting organized by the rationalists to create awareness in society and motivate people to develop scientific spirit. The chief speaker asked loudly, “Has anyone of us seen God? No. Then why do we believe in His existence? My friend, you people should not waste time in adoring abstractions by strengthening faith in Lord. I request you all to be more realistic by giving way to scientific explanations.”
For a while they listened to him with great attention but they soon gave way to peals of derisive laughter. They said enough is enough and made sure, as they moved away from that spot, that his words fail to hit their ear drums. Carvind was now feeling hungry as he had not eaten anything since morning. The sun was now shining above their heads. Carvind brought two cups of tea and some pieces of bread from nearby tea stall.
“Vatsa, I find its taste unique. I wasn’t offered this flavor during my previous arrivals on earth. I need nothing, and, therefore, I come to taste this drink, sheer out of grace, as an offering on part of little Bhakta (devotee) like you” said the Lord in a hilarious tone.
“Lord, please forgive me! I am ruled by my desires. That‘s why I dared to offer you tea. However, Lord, if tea vanished from our lives, millions of people across the globe would never get out of their beds! We have become slaves of very things we have discovered!”
They did not drink the tea even as the Lord was eager to empty the cup totally. They arrived at a juice corner and sat there on a bench in a relaxed manner. The staff at the juice corner was asked to serve the juice. The person, who was told to serve the juice, was surprised that I needed one extra glass even as I was all alone! At a close distance was a busy bus stand. Some college going girls had been waiting for the arrival of buses. Like previous days, arrived some youths and started making obscene gestures at them. There were many people present at the bus stand but they preferred to remain mute spectator. But toady something unusual happened. Some men in uniform appeared from nowhere and beat these youths black and blue. They were arrested and taken to police station. The girls and others were quite taken aback as they never found men in uniform intervening in such a timely manner. They like, filmy cops, were used to arrive only after the criminals have left the crime scene.
Carvind stared at the face of Lord and a big smile appeared on his cute face. He realized why the cops had appeared all of a sudden. “Lord, these grown up modern youths do not believe in living life based on values and principles. At next corner, you would find girls and boys consuming cigarette and beer. The cut throat competition has murdered their sensitivity.”
“ My son, every age has got its own peculiar tendencies. The cycle of good and bad actions never stops and as it rotates, it unleashes various effects. You are an enlightened soul, Carvind! You must be aware that Gunas(attributes) constitute character of a human being. When Sattva increases, it brings peace and knowledge. The increase in Rajas creates desires, leading to hectic activities and rise of Tamas creates ignorance, bringing pain and misery. One should always try to increase ones sattva portion in the personality. That also ensures peace and stability in the external world. The change is inevitable and so one should not worry too much about particular condition or happening.”
“Vatsa, now I wish to return back to my abode but before I disappear I would love to meet a real devotee. Carvind took him to home of man in late 40s. He had a wife and three daughters. Though he wanted to have a male child, he had only daughters. He had no source of income and yet he and his family were always found smiling. The girls went to government run school and were talented in many ways. Since the person had gone outside, Carvind and Lord were welcomed by his wife and daughters. His wife was always delighted to find Carvind at his door step and sudden visit has surprised them all. Lord had a close look the home. It lacked many articles required for sophisticated living yet the home looked complete. It had traces of bliss in the atmosphere. Meanwhile, his wife told Carvind that his husband is retarded in terms of worldly understanding. He has no idea what it means to live life in practical terms. The people around him treat him to be a fool but it appears he doesn’t feel bad about it. Meanwhile his youngest daughter, Gauri, interrupting the monologue of her mother, sang for us a beautiful devotional song. Her amazing voice left all of us spellbound. What Carvind really liked about her was that she never said no to singing, even in front of strangers. However, she disliked film music unless it had classical base or really sweet melody. His father has now arrived and seeing Carvind became really happy.
Carvind told him that Gauri had just now sung a beautiful bhajan for us. His father seemed to be pleased but said that she was least interested in refining her voice through regular practice sessions. He stated that Lord has given him enough and though he cannot manage all, he is always in a relaxed state of mind. He never felt he is the actual doer. Lord is driving this body and he noticed that instead of me, Lord has taken better care of his family. Lord’s effort brings greater results than his own individual effort. And so whenever he has to leave home all of a sudden for a long distance journey, he leaves leaving everything on Lord’s shoulder and when he returns he finds home in lesser mess. At that point, his wife informed him that, like always, person acting as in-charge of their fields has cheated them by giving less share of the produce! He received the news with smile. At that point, Carvind and Lord left his room after seeking permission from his family. However, before leaving, this man didn’t forget to compliment Carvind about his eyes and smile and told him that today he found him unusually attractive! “My mother called me this morning son of monkey,” said Carvind. Hearing that not even Lord could prevent himself from giving way to loud laughter! Others were naturally in grip of incredulous laughter.
“Before leaving do teach fitting lesson to my mother. No time for me and not even for herself. She all the time works and just works. And my father! He is like you in a sense that he is always lost in some thoughts. When he is not thinking that way, he is always writing something. They are always pretty conscious about my monkey business. Is it a crime to steal guavas from someone’s trees? If I do not steal them, they soon fall on ground and become unfit for eating. I am preventing the fruits from getting wasted and they all perceive it as a monkey business and give me a bad name.”
Lord heard the tale of Carvind with great attention. He noticed that Carvind has become extremely sad on hearing that he was about to leave. “Do not lose heart. I promise to reside in your heart forever. I would always remain one with you. I know everything, and, therefore, such visits do not mean anything to Me. I come on earth to meet extremely cute children like you-monkeys with sensibility found in cows! So promise me that you would not act as monkey with a razor not only for this world but also for your parents!”
“ I had to say something to you. You would never drop me from your memory and your heart as you come to live a life based on virtues. In nutshell, move in this world freely with an unbroken remembrance of mine” said Lord as He embraced Carvind in His divine arms.
Carvind bent down to touch his Lotus feet and soon forgot everything. Carvind regained normalcy after few hours. Carvind desperately looked for Him but in vain. Lord had returned to His abode. As he closed his eyes, Carvind, felt deep peace within his mind and heart. It was sign of His eternal presence. He had vanished to become one with Carvind!
Pic Two (Internet)
I was once again with Radha. When all others have lost their relevance in my life, she continues to serve me like dutiful wife, opening new zones of vision each day. Who is Radha? Obviously, she cannot belong to this earthly plane. She represents my chamber of mind, which has been personified to provide it a bit of tangibility. And named Radha? To show its origin.
Night was towards its nadir. Only Radha and I were there in the dingy room, arguing over merits and demerits of certain aspect, staring into nothingness during moments of silence that too often interrupted our conversation. Of late, it has become extremely difficult for me to appease Radha. With her strange notions, she always manages to put me on the knife-edge. Later, she repents over her harshness but by then damage has become irreparable. As a damage-control measure, Radha, for few days, distances away from too much of twisting but as I am about to regain equanimity she is back to her usual business with a bang. These days intense debate is going on over the place of marriage in my life.
“So you have decided not to get married,”
“Will you please let the cat out of the bag?” she demanded with a stroke of sarcasm.
“I thought that by now you would have guessed about it. If you haven’t let me tell you that in absence of right partner, I have put this issue on the backburner”, I replied in a cool and calm way.
“What a pity! Yaar, can’t you be little pragmatic? Why are you always hell-bent on emulating a self-destructive logic? You are now well past marriage age. Think about your anxious parents…” she said before being interrupted.
“Well, lend me your ears,” I said, seeking her attention. After a moment of silence I said: ‘ Just like other obedient sons and daughters of present age! They pretend to be close to their parents but on their back care a damn about their reputation. They are always up to confrontation but for the world’s sake they project a sober picture of their maddening lives, keep marrying in the name of providing relief to the parents, but once this tamasha gets over, they immediately abandon their parents. And for rest of their life parents live a lonely life; neither the society not their faithful children show up their faces. Only the other day I read about a lady who died after fighting a long battle with a dreaded disease. Do you know what their sons were doing when her heart must be burning with a desire to see them? They were relaxing in their apartments in Canada, came back seven or eight months later after so many reminders?
“No, I did not mean that, what I am trying to convey is that your parents be greatly relieved once you get married. After all, haven’t they raised you up amid comforts? Aren’t you ashamed over your callousness which has burdened their hearts with additional pain besides those emanating from worldly concerns?”, asked Radha stubbornly.
“Do you understand, Radha, do you anticipate the real motives in the words flowing out unconsciously from the bosom. You are mistaken if you find this sort of thing fit for casual execution; it’s not as simple as it appears to be. Listen, children should never be made vehicle for carrying out ambitions of the parents. Since you have brought them up it becomes obligatory for them to serve your interests, such uttering sound blasphemous. When such intimate relations are build up to ignite selfish considerations, no matter how noble your intentions may be, what is the need to carve place for lofty ideals in our lives? To rope in your bogus expectations, all in the name of rituals would only make the values redundant, existing in our life like lightening in the clouds!
“I understand it all! You are trying to make suspect myself. But remember, you could no longer fool me by spooky versions, “said Radha caught in whirlpool of contradictory emotions. I was smiling being aware of the fact that she was on the brink of losing ground.
“Radha, at least you should not be mindless in criticizing my stand point. Parents, Chachas*, Mamas*, friends and other near and dear ones, have put to sleep their analytical faculty, drugged their discrimination, having given way to compromises. It doesn’t hurt me at all as I know well that such relations are guided by second-rate convictions, frequently changing color to remain in sync with the world. Don’t you think concerns like marriage, job and etc. must be perforce choice of an individual, more so if he or she has attained a level of maturity? The only factor that should be given utmost importance is that whether or not it leads to beneficial changers for people around. If it doesn’t violate the above-mentioned condition, I don’t feel anyone has the right to question about its worth.”
“Now look at the fate,” trembling with passion I said, “of married couples, those who in the eyes of world have been sincere in honoring the wishes of their parent. Be sure, I am not trying to pass a moral judgment on one of the most respectable institutions established by our forefathers with great care. But one cannot ignore the degeneration that has wiped away its finer aspects. They quarrel over trivial issues, hurl choicest abuses at each other, emotionally and intellectually so wide apart yet living together for fulfillment of physical desires, meaningless union but could not separate owing to societal compulsions and yet in the eyes of the world they belong to honorable class of people. Why? Just because they are the by-product of time-tested institution! In other cases husbands and wives are living shattered lives, thanks to the ups and downs of the realistic life, existing merely as instruments with no time to exchange compliments. In some exaggerated examples, both the partners are found trapped in immoral affairs. Reason-not satisfied with each other desperately and now need a change coupled with experimentation! I wonder in age of so many revolutionary isms, it would be highly unfair to treat immoral as immoral. Give it a respectable place, or, simply vanish.”
I said all this with a provocative smile. Not willing to give her room to cast stones at me, I went ahead with my views “What hurts me is elders stubborn refusal to learn lesson from their past mistakes. Having witnessed the consequence of pursuing faulty line of action, they come up with another set of perverse notions. The most shameful thing is that they don’t regret at all. I am horrified over the dullness of these ‘experienced’ brains, which are so cocksure about efficiency of their worn-out ways and means. It was indeed grave mistake that I came to assume repentance unleashed wisdom in their consciousness.”
For some reason, this greatly moved her. Refusing the emotion let loose on her head she said: “Forgive me, I wasn’t aware of the seriousness of the crises. Yes, you are right that one should not expect anything worthwhile from people with a very limited vision. But I am more concerned about you. In all this drama, it’s you who have suffered the most, being the victim of events, which were not entirely your own making. Let them resort to such desperate remedies, at this point of time, I would like to know about your steps to diffuse the crisis.”
“Radha, it’s never has been a well-guarded secret. In fact, the very clarity of my purpose has often allowed others to sabotage it. The likes of worldly experts have left little room for bringing in better choices, yet I have not lost hopes. One thing is crystal clear that it’s not going to fall in the same bracket of affairs like gambling. Instead of being dictated by hazy vision, personal complexes and inflated egos of aberrated minds, the decision should emanate from deeper realm of intellect, leaving no room for setbacks in the future.”
“But suppose such a holistic version refuses to materialize in your life?” she questioned thoughtfully. She was aware of the fact that rudeness of life does not provide humane approaches many chances to germinate.
“Radha, you are now loosing your sense of proportion. Is it sin to go beyond the dictates of people whose thinking abilities are covered in cobwebs? It is crime to provide life and vibrancy to your prized affairs? Perhaps it’s better to move alone than to be part of nightmarish experiences all your life, under the veneer of traditions and rigorous social customs.”
Radha half-whispered to herself and for a while allowed the silence to reign. She was unsuccessfully trying to conceal her tears, something that prevented her to go ahead with the conversation. Being absorbed in the same state of mind she exclaimed, “ I am afraid you would not be able to survive for too long in the world reserved solely for dogs! I know well that sensitive souls like you cannot survive without a companion. When that was the case, why didn’t you find one molded in your perception?”
“Well, a chance encounter had dragged me towards such a soul, but before it could blossom, it succumbed to the primitive-thoughtlessness of the pseudo-crusaders of the society. These perfect spoilsports who are mired in unspeakable affairs attain a sacrosanct position in these matters; on their verdicts innocent souls are mercilessly butchered without given a slight chance to communicate their intentions. As the days pass away, souls like us slowly get reduced to ashes amid gross activities of average everyday life.” “ I am eager to know her name, my dear fellow” Radha insisted.
“What is in the name? For me, she was simply your reflection! That’s all,” I suddenly said, looking straight at her face.
“Hm-that’s all right- but what about your friends? Why didn’t they conceive a strategy to pull you out of the mess?” she asked, blushing with gloomy eyes.
“It’s a sad reflection, but I could not resist myself from making a confession that they were enemies masquerading as friends. It seems strange but they left no opportunity, like bunch of cheap crooks, to create nuisance at defining moments. Worse, after causing the debacle, they were little ashamed in delivering absurd suggestions, to view the whole episode as hand-work of destiny! It was indeed misplaced trust on these determined liars, who with help of their half-truths, spelled doom for me. Though I wanted to retain the illusion of recognizing them as friends for a longer time, however, their sincerity towards shrewdness made it impossible.”
“So now you are all alone! Being burdened with awesome grief how are you going to remain on the right-track, one that makes the journey of life fruitful? You are in terrible state of loss!” burst out Radha with restless anxiety. Evidently, she was quite out of her wits, all the time eyes were glued on her feet, momentarily rising up to stare at my face with sad and severe look that left me horrified.
“Radha! I find myself trapped in the body. I don’t want to get identified with fifth of this sort, an identification that has now little meaning for me except initiating cycle of meaningless cause and effects. Give me blue, for survival” I said in a distinct tone.
“Blue? What does it stand for?” asked Radha in a trembling voice with a cold smile.
“Radha, you seem to have fallen in league of present day politicians, who so easily forget their promises! I am surprised to find you so forgettable a person. Just a little while ago, haven’t I attributed it to you as your intrinsic nature?” no sooner had I asked this I found her giving way to strange look.
Later, a smile dipped in divinity, flashed across her face. The night has changed her tempo, inviting the dawn to unfold its magic. Meanwhile, Radha has embraced my consciousness, placing me in her domain – unending stretch of blueness that came to annihilate our distinction, making us one forever.
Chacha: Brother Of Father
Mama: Brother Of Mother
The wait for her was proving to be a nasty one. As usual she was late for the meeting, turning me into an impatient kid. Meanwhile, I had a close look around the place I was sitting. It was evening time so I could see old couples walking in the park with pets. Some of them have come with their grandchildren. I can see some of the kids creating scene for cup of ice-cream. Well, the kid inside me compelled me to buy one for myself.
The park was also full of students, who have gathered there to study amidst total silence. In fact, one reason I loved this park was that it had greenery spread everywhere marked with deep stretches of silence. These students were now preparing to go back to their homes. Who knows how was destiny going to reward them for this hard labour of theirs? Some would emerge victorious while others would get lost in sea of life as insignificant creatures. Some would be hailed as bringing good name to their families while others be seen as failures- a blot on the bright family history. One can never rein the movements of time. Anyway, it was time for me to embrace the moon. I saw her coming towards me with the same mysterious smile that was now so commonplace for my eyes. “Hey, what’s the excuse for today? ” Aditya asked.
“That’s okay. You have every reason to be sarcastic. However, I was right on time but last minute reminder from my boss acted as spoilsport. I had to spent some extra moments, which kept on multiplying even as I tried to draft the letter fast and get it typed ” Aparajita replied sounding genuine.
The best thing about Aparajita was that she never concealed her emotions. She loved to unfold the details even about the issues considered taboo. In fact, frankness was her hallmark. Nothing odd if I re-named her Miss. Frank! Today I found her unusually silent. That was bothering me a bit. Quite unusual for a girl who loved to speak like a newsreader reading the news on television.
“Hey, it’s not good for a beautiful lady like you to be lost in deep thoughts this way! It’s ominous” Aditya chuckled as he said that.
That brought a huge smile on face of Aparajita but her eyes remained lost in some grim image. Eyes didn’t match with smile.
“How was your day? Look tired after chasing news and views. I told you so many times to take care of yourself but you are determined to do just the opposite to what I suggest to you” she said.
“Oh! I had just a cup of ice-cream remembering you within with your words that I should eat well ” he said with child like innocence.
Just then I saw vendor selling lai chana (eatable). A regular fellow like both of us in that park. He was happy to hear my call.
“Look I am going to demonstrate how I sincerely follow your advice by buying something to eat. Never say that I ignore your words. Company changes the beliefs. Now I eat well ” he said that as he handed the money to the vendor, who was in all smiles after sensing the state of affairs.
“Oh! You follow my advice quite well. That’s why you are thinner than a skeleton for past so many years” she said.
“The packet is too hot to handle unlike you who is so cool” he said as Aparajita spread her dupatta on the bench.
“You will always remain a kid. A kid who has bypassed the process of evolution” remarked Aparajita in a tone that my ears loved to hear. Aparajita was madly in love with him. Not because love happens in such age. Not because love is necessity in this phase of life when realities of life have yet not wiped out the the thing called life from our beings. She loved only because he was the one of the rarest of rare souls who was far away from the darker elements that give birth to ironies. One who still evoked faith that life is beautiful despite its cruel ups and downs.
“I have been given the eyes by Lord to stare at you. What makes you add new dimensions in your beauty each day? Is there some secret beauty clinic inside your office ? Your clients must be pretty satisfied on finding you on your seat. These days all corporate offices have beautiful ladies even as they are not competent that much.” he said expecting her to exhibit shade of anger. However, she kept on making silence play with her face.
“I am getting engaged the day after. May be it’s our one of the last meeting as lovers. Or, probably the last as intimate friends ” she replied staring into nothingness.
” Wow! Great revelation. Who dared to embrace the tragedy personified? ” he asked.
He said,” I hope that’s a nasty joke. Well, don’t test my patience as I am no woman who is bundle of patience. Is that true ?I am feeling hungry so let’s move to the newly opened restaurant in our city. I have heard they offer wide range of dishes at affordable prices. Let’s taste them before their prices touches the sky.”
She said,” I am not in league with powerful expressions the ones you use in your writings. I am not going to justify my decision with help of those expressions. I have this much guts to say that I am marrying to a rich business tycoon. He proposed to me a day before and I couldn’t say no. We are mismatch in so many ways. He is much older than me just close to age of my boss. That’s okay. I have no problems with such differences. I have conveyed my wishes to my family and they have endorsed it. May be I would be leaving the city as well and settling in foreign landscape.”
She stated all that in one flow. I heard that with usual smile on my face. Hearing such harsh words at regular intervals had been my fate. Nothing new for me to see dreams getting crushed so often. I didn’t react sharply as I used to do in past. I knew Aparajita for quite a long time now. In fact,I had stopped entertaining faith in women. It was she who restored that lost faith of mine by coming in my life in a strong way. In all these years, she was the source of bliss. She never gave me an opportunity to complain. She had a wonderful ability to read the mind. An ability that helped her to walk with ease with a complex soul like me. My thoughts that appeared as intellectual gibberish to the beautiful faces, kept them away from falling in my company. Acting as powerful repellent, the thoughts close to my heart, kept the beautiful faces away from me. A very simple life devoid of show of wealth was another asset that acted as barrier for the pretty face to anticipate me as probable friend.
However, Aparajita was an exception in many ways. She showed no sign of discomfort with my love for grim images that flowed in my life as news and views. On the contrary, her pretty face amidst the naked truths of life helped me to forget the pains and tragedies. She was a whiff of cool breeze in desert.
Breaking the heavy silence that gripped us she said,” You know it’s hard to erase your memories even as I leave you for forever. However, the decision would remain unchanged. You know my family is already dependent on me plus the previous debts on my family are beginning to deepen the crisis. My meager salary is not enough to make both ends meet. May be my marriage with you is going to lead both of us to sorts of catastrophe. And..”. Her speech got interrupted by Aditya’s sombre reflection.
” Wait a minute! If I remember well, you never had problems with our union. The financial issues were never part of plans. Now all of a sudden how come this be the determining factor to close the chapter of our relationship?” he asked.
” I know that. There is no point in remembering the old promises in this regard. In all these ears, the harsh truth that it’s not beauty and intelligence but money that dominates the world is pretty clear to me now. At every stage we need money. If you have money then even death is glorious. Or else, even ceremony to conduct the last journey of death is also no less than another death. I feel if I am going to marry with you, I would only prove to be another sweet burden. Another source of pain, which you would keep locked in your heart always.” she said.
” I need to remind you that we had planned differently. Forget about the plans, I need to ask what would happen to my unfulfilled wishes, my dreams, my desires and my share of happiness which I need just only from you ? Have you lost your senses? In all these years, all the free moments that I had I spent in shaping plans to make our togetherness a reality. Now you are brutally murdering all these dreams right in front of my eyes. There are so many couples, who are living amidst penury with no grudges at all. I see no reason why can’t we follow in the footsteps of these couples unless you have decided to be slut whose hunger for money increases with each passing moment?” he said as disappointment and agony began to rule the roost. He never imagined that she really meant what she uttered just now. However, that’s the way determined and bright ladies behave. They rarely deviate from their line of action. That’s the hallmark of such ladies in league with virtues and principles !!!
Aditya said,” Well, if that’s what you think is right course of actions then go ahead and accomplish your desires in league with your line of action. And please as you move away say nothing as to how I am going to live my life in your absence, how I am going to cope up with haunting images of yours. No lectures in this regard. Just go away silently. ”
“It’s better that one spends time with company of sluts than walk side by side with a thinking beauty like you with loads of dreams and promises. At least, it’s not going to pain that much once they leave you. Not that much as it pains now.”
Tears rolled down her cheeks. ” I am going away from here. In fact, away from your reach, at least, in this life. Anyway, I wish to be in your arms for one more time as we part ways ” said Aparajita as she looked straight into my eyes.
” No. I need not moments of bliss from you, when for rest of the life I have to live without such moments. I refuse to entertain your last wish” said Aditya as he looked at the bright moon playing with dark clouds in the night sky .
Aparajita had a deep look at him as she left the park. All these years she was in deep love with him. He was her world. A world that she was determined to keep above the upheavals of life. She knew well that souls of his type refuse to compromise with life. Had she lived with him, she might have moved side by side him but eventually the money oriented world would have sabotaged her world. She wasn’t sure how were uncertainties going to shape their togetherness in wake of financial shortcomings? It was quite possible that lack of money was going to turn them into icons of mediocrity. As far as she was concerned, she was pretty ordinary girl, which the eyes of lover had granted an unique height. She had nothing special in her as imagined by Aditya. That she knew quite well. However, she was quite aware of the fact that Adityas rarely become part of earthly life. It’s easy to conceive Aparajitas but its difficult to conceive Adityas. Something matters when such souls enter and leave the world.
In all these years, she had realized that what he needed was a stable life and not her company. That was only possible when he had enough money to translate dreams into reality. The man with whom she was about to get married had huge unused wealth going down to drains due to bad utilization. For girl of her intelligence it was quite easy to utilize such wealth in proper way. Now when the destiny had brought her in touch with this rich guy, it was nothing short of boon. May be she would lose his love but in losing was hidden the greatest victory. She realized that he was to become much happier and also much closer to her with this loss. Exactly the same thing happened.
Many years later so-called happy episodes hit the lives of both these separated lovers. She played with her kids in bungalow in some unknown foreign landscape while Aditya owned everything that makes a man hailed as successful. He neither bothered nor he came to know, who enabled him to attain the material heights in that easy way. It was another thing that Aparajita stayed inside her all the time if not in the external world amidst display of wealth. It was hard to tell by having a look at him that he was happy or not even as the world always found him smiling. Who can tell he is happy or not? Who can tell was Aparajita happy in her world or not? In the end it was only the world that was really smiling. Love, like always, was weeping.
(The Short Story Was First Published In Northern India Patrika 06 February, 1999 )
I don’t know how it began and why we were forced to enter into each other’s life. We remained strangers but strangers who came too close to each other. I don’t know why destiny brings two people close to each other when the end result is nothing but separateness. In all these years the only thing I could observe in Seema besides her tortoise like ability to cut off from the ongoing happenings was love towards me-a secret well-guarded. An inherent simplicity that environed her mannerism added in her persona a magnetic charm. The love that she had for me remained embedded in her heart like pearls found in the depth of an ocean. It never surfaced on her face. There was never any external gesture that confirmed the presence of such a love that germinated inside her.
In the beginning when I had the first glimpse of her I kept pestering her for few months to tell her name but she would not. To most of my gestures she maintained deep sense of inner balance which matched brilliantly with calmness on her face. She was damn serious soul. To an extent that to my eyes she appeared to be the personification of seriousness!! Smile on her face like electricity in my house never lasted for long. Anyway, an occasional smile of hers always gave rise to deep bliss within my being.
In all these years there were some occasions which brought or rather produced chances to have some sort of intimate conversation but my habit to introspect kept my wishes in check. Probably, that was one of the prime reasons why I never tried to adopt a straight forward attitude in giving expressions to my feelings. Anyway, the years of so-called togetherness with her opened before me the unseen facets of a real and noble woman’s life. Tears, innocence, great will power to resist any gesture offending to one’s self respect and the great ability to prevent her identity from being dragged into unwanted controversy. She always maintained a safe distance from such distasteful experiences of life which are born out of lust and selfish desires.
In such an ugly and rough atmosphere I cannot say with conviction that she ever gave way to desire to read the feelings that lurked inside my bosom. I was far more determined not to let my face become mirror of my heart!! Perhaps I wanted to see whether she had the ability to go beyond the obvious or not. Often we judge a person on basis of their external mannerism. I wanted to see whether she understands and analyzes in stereotyped way or she gives way to unusual methods to arrive at the truth. In fact, that would have also given a fair idea of devotion and sincerity towards this strange love between us. I must confess that she, to an extent, failed have an insight of my real being and that had a pretty devastating impact on me. I gave way to certain depression.
However, I soon gave way to normalcy, realizing that her failure not to read my actual emotions is not the result of her lack of sincerity on her part. It’s because the atmosphere she was currently placed in muted her abilities to perceive the reality. Above all, I also realized that like an overloaded ass she was carrying bundle of unnecessary problems on her head. However, prior to her failure to intercept my real persona I always believed that she possessed the power to look beyond the obvious. Now I realized that she didn’t.
On a few occasions during chance face to face encounters I had to bear her anger arising out of my attempts to make room for conversation. Her face mired in anger did bring in open that a ray of hope existed. That she did love me. So her anger, instead of developing frustration, sowed seeds of submission in both the hearts towards each other’s beings. Perhaps it was this strange bond or strange likeness on her part, which she always wrapped within her negative gestures that persistently forced me to develop acquaintance with her. This always encouraged me to devise new methods each day to attain her trust, not letting my mind swayed by the negative and dull attitude of hers.
Why I wanted her love and closeness she never came to know. The way she understood me allowed her to merely gain insignificant set of outward emotions. However, I did not commit the fatal blunder of knowing a person via such casual approach. My eyes all the time tried to intercept emotions that she guarded quite well. So it was no mystery for me to trace the roots of her thought patterns even as we remained complete strangers.However,I was really taken aback by the fact that though she was mired in host of complexities she almost looked cool like ice. Her miseries had made me develop a deep sense of pity and sympathy for her
Inside her was going a fierce struggle to uplift her crushed identity, a fight to give her rejected beliefs their due place. She was living a life full of burdens. Her eagerness to get involved in studies in unusual manner often revealed her desire to have a secure future!! Her gloomy eyes clearly reflected the pains that possessed her life.
These were the real reasons that increased my affinity towards her.I had till now seen many hearts wiped out by the cruel hands of destiny. I was now making all efforts to prevent at least this soul from becoming victim of vicissitudes of life. Something that really made me sick was that even knowing well the tragic circumstances that were constantly chasing her I was simply reduced to being a spectator of these unfortunate developments. What else a stranger can do amidst such a scenario?
In this world we had given larger than life importance to things no better than pebbles fit only for a crying child. We never realize in this rat race to turn into a VIP soul that material things we chase in short human life have no happiness to deliver all by itself. Yes, they do provide happiness but it’s a short lived happiness that in the end leaves us more bitter and broken. She was chasing these very things. She was attracted to fanciful ambitions of life which might never provide her real happiness –the thing she really desired. In fact, they were going to multiply her woes.
An eventful life full of glamour and cheap idiosyncrasies are the things that guide the course of actions of people of our times. People are in the race but destination for most of them remains unknown!! The peace of mind which people seek sitting inside rooms that look like showroom of a multinational company remains an unknown entity for most of us. What a pity that we can’t locate cave of peace that exists within us!! The people have developed unconditional love for things that give us impermanent pleasure but permanent pain and frustration in the long run!!! Everyday I saw her inner perfection shrinking under the stress of problems that she carried with herself under the urgency to be something in life.
Sometimes I wished to say all that which I felt about her but then an unknown power reduced me to statue of silence before her. Perhaps a sense of fear that my outburst in that way could lead to serious misunderstanding prevented me to give voice to the emotions. I did pray to Lord to provide me deepen my bonds with her, enabling me to unlock my emotions in front of her. Oh! We both came to sing the same song all by chance in one of the practice sessions meant for farewell. A song attributed to strangeness of life. I am not angry but I am really puzzled over your affairs life-the song revealed.
However, the life followed its own predestined course of action .It never provided us desired moments to confess our hidden emotions. Soon she was to slip away from my eyes and memories to become a dead symbol of the past. Even after making best efforts I failed to change her course of actions, signifying that I had never any role to play in her life at all!!
Though I could not shape her life I feel that life would itself do that as it does all the time. It would give her a chance to discover inner happiness and prevent her from deteriorating in the harshness of life. Or else, like others, she would too get lost in the dark labyrinth of life. Today when I am alone I feel her presence even more .She was, indeed, phantom of delight.
The Echoes Of Dumb Love
-By Arvind K.Pandey
(The story was first published in a prominent newspaper Northern India Patrika on November 17, 1996)
It was towards the evening that I had confined myself to an isolated corner-a regular phenomenon which has now become part of my life, whenever her memories haunt me.
Ten years ago when I first landed in Lucknow I had little realized that the role which the city was going to play in my life. For past two years, due to my father’s transfer at Allahabad, I was staying as a paying guest in my friend’s house.I had stayed back in Lucknow to complete my class 12th.
However, the event that had brought bitterness in my life was the moving away of Ashmita from my life. Ashmita and I were classmates and we studied together nearly for five years. For the past two years we were in different schools. In these two years I never got an opportunity to meet her. So there was the possibility of her having forgotten me. In this modern world you should not expect someone to remember you for long, more so if it’s a casual friendship. The hardships of life seldom allow friendship to attain maturity. When we were together we hardly thought of anything else other than discussion related with studies. Our chance encounters between the periods were centered mostly on the studies. We never got an opportunity to sit together. Shyness always prevented us from expressing our hidden emotions, if any such feeling ever struck our hearts. So if we ever tried to muster courage and give outlet to our emotions, we checked ourselves at last moment, postponing it for some other suitable time. That time never came! I joined other school, leaving her alone.
The one opportunity when I was able to meet her came at a time when her examinations were just to get over. My twelfth examinations were just over. However, hers was to end one day after mine, being enrolled in one extra subject. I was at my old school to bid adieu to my old classmates before being back at Allahabad. Needless to state, the real motive was to have a brief conversation with her. In my heart was concealed a desire to have a deep glimpse of her. My friends were engaged in last minute revision so they did not notice my presence. Those who did notice my presence were bit amazed to find me there at such an odd hour when paper was about to start. Curiously they enquired about my presence. “I wanted to see you people before moving to Allahabad,” said I putting an end to their speculations about my untimely presence. Then that glorious sight for which I had been waiting for so long appeared before my eyes. She was sitting in an isolated corner far away from other students as she liked the least interference of not so close friends. She had few close friends, whether I was one such friend I never bothered to find out.
This was our first meeting in two years. The beauty of a woman increases with time. The more refined beauty of Ashmita confirmed this fact. With added seriousness, the maturity of her face sparkled like clear water, which had increased the serenity of her face. Barely preventing the emotions to go wild, I moved towards her. Being overwhelmed by her sight, I failed to realize that I had gone too close to her. Being lost in her textbook, she failed to notice my presence. I greeted her meekly. The fear of rejection has suppressed the tone of my voice. Two years were enough to wipe out old memories. She looked up and found me standing near her with sense of joy mixed with surprise and wonder. She responded warmly after taking some time to reconcile with my presence. I tried to give this meeting the shape of a chance encounter but could not hide the feeling for long that I was there to just have an interaction with her. Her feminine instincts hardly took time to intercept that. Unable to speak anything further, I gave my autograph book to her which I kept with me lest she enquired about the purpose of such meeting.
Reluctantly she took the autograph book from my hands and went on to fill it. This seemed to displease her as she hoped for a conversation. Realizing her feelings, I took back the autograph book hands from her leaving her bit puzzled. We did talk but the conversation remained stuck to formal issues, interrupted with periods of silence. The examination bell could ring at any moment. Valiantly I tried to give words to my latent emotions but once again the words got stuck inside my throat. I failed to muster enough courage. The reluctance in speech stood in the way like always.
Realizing my plight she tried to uplift my emotions which did provide me encouragement but it was not sufficient enough to break the jinx. I fixed my eyes on her to guess what was she up to. The thought of leaving her had already made my senses numb. I just couldn’t move my eyes away from her for even a moment. Yes, I wanted to arrest her image forever in my eyes and heart. Then I remembered something, about those letters that I had sent to her in last two years but which were not acknowledged. The real purpose (in which I failed) was to judge her reaction as in these letters I had to an extent revealed my hidden feelings. Her cold reply that she received none brought an end to this little hope as well. Either the letters did not reach her or her parents destroyed them before they could reach her.
And while I stood engrossed wondering if she heard my silent voice her plain face devoid of any reaction did not at all seem to respond. I could not bid her goodbye because when I regained the sense of reality after being lost in deep thoughts she had already left the spot and entered inside the examination hall. However, she was the last person to enter in the examination hall as while I was rapt in my thoughts I had heard some voice instructing her to be inside the examination hall. She was waiting for me to say something which I was never going to say!! On seeing no chance of mine getting back to conversation mode she was left with no other option other than to respond to the call to be inside the examination hall. Later when I realized that she has left the spot I was left in deep pains. Another opportunity had gone.
The bright aspect of the conversation was that I came to know that she will be at school the next day as well. She had to complete some formalities related with the school project. I had advised her to be present in the school earlier than the scheduled time of the start of her project demonstration.
The stars were not in my favour as next day I got up very late. Hurriedly, I dressed up and dashed towards the school. When I reached the school gate, I found that her project demonstration had already started. I was deeply frustrated. High expectations when dashed leads to high frustration. She came out of the examination hall after the end of the demonstration session but instead of coming towards me she moved in the direction of the gate. I was so involved in so many thoughts that crossed my mind like waves in a disturbed ocean that I failed to take note of the presence of her father’s presence. I tried to catch her attention but to no avail. From school I returned to home.
I woke up from my thoughts as I found someone knocking the door. I found my friend there giving me a strange look. “Why have you shut yourself in the room? Are you all right? You have to leave day after tomorrow and your things are still lying unpacked?” he asked. I felt ashamed over my laziness. Next day was Holi festival. I had postponed the journey to Allahabad for one more day and instead planned to play Holi at my friend’s house.
Next day I found people of Lucknow caught in the colours of Holi. However, I had lost all the zest for the festival and kept myself involved in making arrangement for the journey next day. The preparation was nearly complete. I suddenly realized that Holi could be an ideal chance to meet her at her home. Her parents would then be compelled to take my sudden arrival in a lighter way! The thought of visit thrilled my dull senses. The noon was at its peek and soon evening was going to follow. I had to make a formidable decision in this regard or else it would be too late again!!! The idea of the visit had provided a new lease of life to my sagging spirit.
I was now worried how would she react on finding me at her home in this unexpected manner? How could I have informed her when I myself was not aware of such development? I really wished to inform her, only if I could.
Even if Ashmita responded positively her parents I was sure were never going to like my presence. Nervousness gripped me as destination came closer. Darkness had prevailed so it has become hard for me to locate her house. I had never been to any girl’s house before, forget her home. At last, I located it. The nameplate flashed her father’s home. Mentally rehearsing how would I behave and what I would say I gave a knock at the door with trembling hands. Her house being located in remote corner of the city was wrapped in absolute silence.
The room opened and a face peeped from behind it. He seemed to be her younger brother. On learning that I wanted to meet Ashmita, he closed the door with bang after having a deep look at me. Then after a few minutes another door opened-the front door. This time it was her mother who without asking anything asked me to come inside. She was visibly upset but was trying hard to hide her true feelings with a forced smile. “In our family girls are not allowed to meet with boys. No boy is allowed to pay visit in this manner,” she said without giving rent to her hard feelings.I was prepared for this polite rebuff. The only thing I prayed for was not to be provoked into saying something foolish in the heat of the moment.
For a while there was deep silence. That did not deter me from asking where Ashmita was? I came to know that she had gone outside to exchange Holi greetings with her friends and now she was about to come back anytime. Her mother went into another room, leaving me alone in the drawing room. I noticed that the room had a very simple decoration and the simplicity that prevailed in the room resembled the being of Ashmita who believed in life of simplicity. The elegance that prevailed there was symbolic of spirit of Ashmita who hated lifestyle mired in pomp and show. Her mother came back with refreshments. I never thought of being treated in this grand manner!! However, the harsh tone of her mother had started to take me in its grip.
It had soured my mind as well as the taste. “Why do you want to meet Ashmita ?,” she asked raising her tone. “I am leaving the city and I came here to have her autograph,” I replied. This answer was a cover up but for the time being it perfectly served the purpose. Nevertheless, it raised doubts in her mind.
Her career related questions met with dry answers on my part. She might have formed a poor opinion of me –a lad devoid of substantial purpose in life. Well, I was here to meet Ashmita and not to disclose secrets of my life. Fifteen long minutes have by now elapsed at her home. Ashmita was still nowhere in sight. I did not dare to enquire about uncle’s absence. Something has to be in order! I wished if Ashmita’s brother was involved in our conversation. That would have helped to lighten the situation. He might have been ordered not to enter in the drawing room where something unwanted was taking place, not respectable enough to be witnessed by someone of his age. The atmosphere got on my nerves. It was pretty suffocating.
Both of us were engaged in proxy battle. While she was trying to pin me down, I was defending myself from scathing comments as much as I could. I had come here with decent emotions but her mother suspected my emotions. Certainly, I could not tolerate to see pure emotions being crushed in this crude manner. At one point, I did think of speaking out what I had in my mind but then I controlled myself. It is very difficult to convince someone who had preconceived notions. It would be exercise in futility.
How I was related to Ashmita only I knew. Ashmita and I were careful about the bond that held us together.We did not give it any name but deep inside our heart we knew that what exactly it was. So to preserve the sanctity of that bond I decided to keep quiet.
The mother, on the other hand, was suspicious. Definitely it was love which forced me to pay visit to her house but at the same time I was quite aware of the fact that it was not a fleshy love hovering around basic instincts. Her eyes, however, failed to see within my heart. Her eyes just couldn’t locate the reality, observe the innocence that existed in my eyes.
I suddenly realized that I was getting late and that she might not return soon. I had not told anything to my friend and therefore he must be anxious about my return. I could no longer pretend now that her words did not affect me. The frustration inside me caused by her spoken and unspoken words had taken the shape of volcano inside me. If I stayed there any longer, I would only be risking an outburst. The visit had already sown seeds of misery for her. Now by displaying the feeling of rejection I would further increase Ashmita’s problem. The fact that this might be the last chance to see her now haunted me. From now on I would only see her in dreams. Unable to look directly into her mother’s eyes I asked for her permission to leave.
She probably wanted to see us together to measure the intimacy of our relationship. After a slight display of hesitation –a superficial gesture-she granted me the permission to leave the room. I had a good look at her drawing room and recollected all pleasurable feelings of being at her home-the golden treasure that will help me to pass days and nights mired in loneliness!
Her house was now out of sight. I looked back only to find long stretches of darkness. The darkness of nature shall be penetrated and removed but one which has just gripped my heart shall exist always. One who could remove it had moved away from my life. My eyes had now turned moist. Do those who dearly love their beloved meet the same fate? Who will tell me where I erred or faltered? Why I failed to meet her? The God within me was also silent today. He too did not have any answer. My heart that was now rebellious was telling me to return back to her home. The poor heart!!! It never realized that game was over. It was a predestined affair in which I had to emerge as a loser. Yes, we together traveled far and this was the U turn which placed us on separate paths. And we separated to never meet again!! Or have we?
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