One more unplanned restart of my server machine. I don’t know what is happening. There must be some stupid update installing and prompting to restart in 5 minutes. And even if I get notified telepathically by the OS, I in no condition can reach my cube in 300 seconds. Why? The dual bag checking. Firstly, they check it when am about to enter the campus. I take the walk around the fountain and go inside through the main entrance. A metal scanner beeps off. I am asked to take off my bag. They ransack it again as I fiddle with my irate patience. I ask one question; why not check it just once inside the building. Then I realized the area in between that security roundabout and building had some vital vulnerable venues. I was about to move on, when a guy who had come after me strolled in front of my eyes; playing with his backpack. He had escaped second screening. I hate back door beavers.
I still remember the Friday night. The excitement had been building whole day. I was kind of stuck up with the InfoTextBox control. There was no light at the end of tunnel, just prancing shadows. But as someone said, presence of a shadow means there is light somewhere out there; sigh, life and it ironies. It was nearly 6pm, time to leave. Fate had other plans, inconsistent with my own. All the FTE’s (I am one tooL) had to fill up their Commitments at MS Performance Portal. My mind was totally blank on what to fill. I later found out it was more about the cheesy stuff. And people say am really good at cooking it up.
So much to say, so less time; I hate the corporate world, all the pool tables, the Sprite dispensers, the cafés, the HydChat, the cheerful cubicle walls, the cricket pitch before the Street, the discussion rooms and of course, whatever work we do. My Blog-at-will thing doesn’t seem to work. I still don’t have time for myself. I mean, actually I have been doing all the things I want to. But it is never enough; maybe a hundred lives won’t be enough.
I was late because I had to be. I can never pass the opportunity of a casual chat, occasionally liberating the dynamic thoughts trapped in the sheepish dungeon of a beautiful mind. On that eventful evening, I got more than one chance; perhaps more than a dozen. I called up my contact in IIIT Hyd. I noticed that I had more than 450 entries in my contact list. No wonder my mobile phone acts over-killed. I called up Randeep. He was waiting for me. When he assessed the situation, he decided to come to the Gachibowli chowk. He was with Ranjit. Now Ranjit reminded me of someone, some very close acquaintance. He was tall, fair, bit slim and had a shine in his eyes. Yes, shine in both of his eyes. I acknowledged God’s design patterns, thought non-documented; it still ran through the best of us.
It is tough to type when you have sweet onion sauce on your finger tips, but I will go on. By the way, a veg. Shammi kebab sub goes great with mustard and southwest sauce, not to forget lots of olives, pickles and green pepper. I wish I had packed a couple when I left for the local rail station. We got off the rickety bus (a frequently used expression! I can’t recall the source of the phrase) and walked towards the station. There was no sign of any significant illumination; the authorities had relied on the perennial moonlight without considering the simple test cases of a no-moon night or overcast sky.
Oh I forgot to tell you about my excess baggage. I basically keep a few extra pairs of clothes lest there is unexpected rain or something like that. Apart from that I keep some extra tees so that I can have them well matched up. Of course, I am confused about what to wear during night so I stuff everything in. I must have been carrying enough clothes to last a fortnight. At least I won’t have a problem during the weekend.
J There was a gap between the washed down fence. I jumped over lumps and chunks, hoping not to slip with my massive luggage. The rest of the group was waiting for us. I was excused for being late, but not for my packing histrionics. Never mind! We got on the train. I was told the Hyd local was as good as Delhi Metro. I hate liars and hypocrites.
Isn’t it a usual scene in the train, a too-friendly passenger and an overconfident leader of the pack? Err in this case it was a pride of lions! One discussion in an Orkut community compared Sikhs and the lost brethren to the Lion and the Sheep. It was a mindless use of metaphors, no matter how hard one tries, flowers don’t grow on asphalt. Let me get back to the train journey. It so happened that the Hyd local had a Y like route. And we were aboard a train planning to traverse the wrong arm of the Y (why!L), but there were still a couple of stations to go before we crossed the point of no-return.
Now the old lady who helped us out executed sadistic torture on the Jasprit for taking her help. She told him all about the stations, the best trains, the cheapest fares, the bonus card etc. He thanked God like anything when we got off to board the correct train. The train to Bangalore was on time. It was actually going to Vasco, the beautiful town in Goa. I once thought of skipping Bangalore. As is the norm, there was a lot of confusion, mostly unnecessary, regarding the seats. We had one in waiting and two of them, though confirmed were in another bogie. We made grand plans on how to fool the TC, make him give in, relinquish to our demands. For the next few hours all of us sat awake. The TC never came.
I at once gave up the regret of not bringing along food. Ravneet had a pile of paranthas packed from Dhaba. Sadly he forgot pickle or curd to go with it. Never mind! We relished them religiously. When the jokes and gags ended, everyone went to sleep. In the morning we got up at 5 am and did out Nitnem. The train was to arrive at 10 am. We still had a lot of time at our hands. But no food. I was sitting on that half-bed seat, parallel to the compartment. I was lost looking at the sky, the once majestic hills and the vast green cover of the fields.
We were in Karnataka already. And the next station put some kind of stamp on it. The tea guy called it udku udku chai. There was Bhel Puri with Shah Rukh Khan masala. I don’t know why but I felt yes, it was the breakfast I was waiting for you. Seeing me, a few more from the group indulged in that
little crime. I don’t know what it tasted like, but it filled my empty alimentary canal till the very bowels.
Fast forwarding a little, we were standing at the gate of Yeshwantpur Junction. The train was 20 mins before time. We were very pleased. We had no reason to be so. I got my first taste of the acidic Bangalore traffic. Satnam had to receive us. He was late. Six times late as we saw it. He said he will be there in 10 mins. He took an hour. I was told that a bus was coming. Correction. He came in a bus. And we were going to our destination in a bus. A public transport bus. Well for one thing, the people here had a sense of art. The private travel agent buses had a unique design and a theme. We saw one themed on wild life and other on the heaven. I was reminded of the jhaankis in our colony. They used to be so intricately decorated, much used to be the creation of those with palpable little hands. My thoughts got broken when the bus went out of sight and ours got stuck in a traffic jam. Period.
I looked around dumbstruck after my reconciliation with reality. Everyone wore that now-what-to-do look. I sighed. Let out my bated breath. My neurons were pulsating with spectral energy. I did what was best to pacify the turbo mode of my ugly mind; I fell asleep. When I woke up, we reached our final destination. The Gurudwara was a short walk from there. We saw the Park hotel was nearby. I now remember I had decided to eat out there L and I didn’t. When we got there we got some more surprises. Firstly there were no rooms, just a visitor’s lounge, or more appropriately, a hall. Secondly, there was a common bathroom K
I was doing sewa at the Jodhae Ghar in the afternoon, when Aditya showed up; met him after quite some time. He had not changed. His silent demeanour never underplayed his genius. We went to a mall. There I got another surprise. The mall had been inaugurated a few moments earlier (hypothetically!). There were one or two humans down at the food court, we ate at McDonalds. I had a Chocó-swirl with French Fries and Coke. I skipped the main course J
We went around the city, saw his flat in the area connected with kachcha roads and smuggled stuff from the Brand Factory. It was 8 pm and I was late for the very thing I had gone there. Thankfully there was no traffic and we got at Gurudwara Kalgidhar in time. It was near the Marathahalli bridge. It was double storey building with the Granth Sahib on the first floor and the open air Langar place. Some people were already practicing their Kirtan there. The whole Sangat ensemble and the Kirtan started. In the mean time we were told to go and have Langar, one by one. After eating Langar, Aditya stayed on till 10 pm. Then he went back coz he had … well, appointments.
Many families had shown up. It was the Prakash Utsav of Guru Granth Sahib, so large numbers were expected. The ladies also took active part in Kirtan. The Langar stock was more than enough and time to time, people were coming up for Sewa. After 11 pm there was tea in Langar. It was really a need of the late hours, it was unusually cold in Bangalore, cloudy and windy. The arrangement inside the Gurudwara was good. They had put up the Shabads on the laptop and distributed printouts, so that the Sangat could sing along. Each Shabad was sung once slowly and then the Sangat repeated along. And of course there were phases of Naam Simran, intemperately supported by all. I recited the Shabad Mitra Piyare Nu, it was sung by Guru Gobind Singh when he was separated from his family and stayed in the thorny jungles; where there was no food. It goes like this:
The Kirtan got over around 6 am. We then had Chhole and Pooriyan in Langar. It was early morning and our hearts were still reeling in the delight of overnight Simran. We bowed in front of the Granth Sahib and called Fateh before leaving. As soon as we left the Gurudwara, our spirits broke. We suddenly felt tired. One might never believe in divinity, but not after the experience we had. While the Kirtan was going out, we felt a little cold time to time. Or we came out to straighten our legs and re-instigate blood flow. But there was a force pushing us on and on. We wanted to repeat each and every word with the Sangat over and over. Once we were out and the program was over, we felt crushed.
The ride to bus never got engraved on our memories. Well at least not mine. But some people made use of it and took snaps of us. I look a little horrifying when I am sleeping. Even once back in Gurudwara, I slept. Sadly the bed was a bit damp, I ignored it while sleeping on. And when I got up I was mildly feverish. Soon Thassu came and we went to Garuda mall. He bought me Salman Rushdie’s Fury, I always wanted to buy that book; long back when the Darkness began. He also got me a big bag of dark chocolate. Yes, that was my lunch. Versata pay check is too cool. People there become overnight millionaires. We met Kamya at Central, though it was only for a short duration; I could access the gross changes in her. And the fact that she wasn’t in a hurry the way she was showing. People act thinking they can act.
The journey back to Hyd was more fun than before. We could play jokes on each other, and were more comfortable with the fact… that it is not important to be smart or funny, but it’s important to laugh; larger than life. I had proclaimed that I will complete Fury. I planned to stay awake all night. But I didn’t. That night I slept, waiting for the perfect dream. And it never came… I forgot that the story of my life had transcended the limit of the perpetually perfect dream world. Now it was all real. Like the dusk, sky becoming a blanket of darkness. Somewhere far away there was still light. It doesn’t matter how dark it is, you just have to walk up to the tranquil brilliance of the Self. The life is full of both happy and bad experiences. We have the choice to be happy, not to waste our precious moments repenting. But the question is to be or not to be J