Saturday, July 11, 2009

Chapter $

4.a

“And yes…..please reach station on time…train isn’t Aparna…” I am sure she must’ve smiled cheerlessly after this sentence.

“Yes ma’m!...Roger will be there ma’m!”, A lame attempt to cheer her up.
“Over and out Roger!” She laughed forcibly. Bloody technology has always been unreliable. You can’t trust it to veil your emotions. You always expect a reason like bad connection or low voice output or something like it to conceal your emotions during a conversation. But like a strong electric current, emotions reach the person on the other end of the line, overcoming all obstacles in its path.

“Over and out Charlie” I held back my emotional upsurge. What comes strongly to you than the feeling of the loss is the realisation of their impending incurrence. The realisation that such moments would be rare henceforth stings the composure of the serenity, driving it to fall apart.

“Bye Ani”

“Bye Apu”

“……Love you!”

“Love you too…”I feel like breaking down and crying over the phone. But I resist giving up myself to the reign of tears.

“Bye”

“Byeee”

“T’ta”

“T’ta”

None of us disconnect the phone. We keep holding the phone pressed on our ears and concentrating on little sounds on the other side. Taking our guesses about each other’s gestures.

Aparna finally disconnects the phone. Women are indeed stronger than men.
She had called me up to inform me about her confirmed departure time. She has been calling me up several times for petty reasons like these since morning. She is trying to lull the pace of time through them. But time is a shrewd bastard. It won’t dawdle it’s steps for people like her and me.

There comes a time, when humans have to stand up for their bondings by taking up something that your heart shudders when even thought of. I decide to reach the platform scheduled for departure on time. After all, the train won’t be Apu.

***

Structure of a Perfect Last Meet:

Block 1:

I ask Piyush for his bike. He agrees. Good start!
I leave early to avoid any delay. If I reach early, I can spend time loitering around the station, smoking or sipping tea. But If I reach late, I won’t be able to see Aparna again. My heart misses a beat.

Block 2:

I go to the sole ATM of my bank at the outskirt of the place and withdraw money. I want to buy a parting gift for Aparna. My watch says I have enough time.

Block 3:

I take his bike and ride it for a kilometre and realise that it has a flat tyre. I pull it along to a tyre work shop. The tyre man says it’s a puncture. Needs half an hour to mend. I look at my watch I still have a lot of time.

Block 4:

He opens the tyre and tells me the tube has screwed up, he needs to put a new one. I argue. He wins. I agree. We decide a reasonable price for it. He asks his assistant, a timid young boy, to get one. The boy leaves and returns after eternity with a wrong tube. He leaves again. There’s still quite enough time for me to reach the station.

Block 5:

The boy returns with the right tube. The tube is fixed. I pay. The budget for her gift cuts down a bit. I am still in time to catch her.

Block 6:

I ride fast to make up for the time lost in mending the tube. I find my way through the vehicles. I jump over the speed breakers. I ride through the potholes. I ride past the signal. And I hear a whistle. A policeman walks across the road and stands before my bike. I brake hard to halt exactly eight inches before his knees and vital organs above them.

He asks me for my license. I hand it over to him.

Block 7:

I beg his pardon. I ask for mercy. I spread my arms for clemency. I lean before him for absolution. I join hands before him for amnesty. I join my legs for exoneration. I touch his feet for exculpation. I am ready to give him a blow job for pity.
He agrees on hundred rupees.

I pay him and win my license back. I compromise on a gift that I shall buy. I have still some time left with me.

Block 8:

I begin riding again. I halt at every signal. I am almost near the station. There are no more signals to cross anymore. But still I halt once more. For the traffic that jams the road. No cars move. No space for the bike to find it’s way through. Even the six inch gaps are filled by some vehicle or the other.

My wrist watch says I am running parallel to the time.

Block 9:


I try finding a way somehow through the blocked traffic. Finally I decide to take another route, the longer one, and reach the railway station. I turn my bike and begin moving. The longer route turns out to be the longest one. I am running behind time a bit.

Block 10:

I reach the railway station. But I don’t find a place to park the bike. I go around the other corner. I try my luck at three bike-stands. None of them have 24 inch spave for my bike. I reach the farther bike stand. The fourth one. It accommodates my bike. I am running behind time.

I feel a buzz on my thigh. I pull out my mobile. Aparna calling. I answer it. She says she is on the platform. I say I will reach in five minutes.

Block 11:

I walk my way back to the station. I stand in the queue to buy a platform ticket. The queue is at a standstill. I receive another call from Aparna saying the train would reach the platform in three minutes. I realise I haven’t bought the gift during my efforts to reach on time.

Block 12:

I give up the thought of buying a platform ticket. I compromise on not buying a gift. I run up the bridge skipping steps. Aparna calls me once again. She says that the train would be there in two minutes. I say I will reaching one.

Block 13:

A Ticket Checker stops me. He asks for ticket. I say I don’t have it. He takes me to a corner. I give him an offer. But he refuses it. Mario Puzo frowns in my mind. He is adamant on making a receipt. I try my best for out of law settlement. He doesn’t agree. I hear a loud horn. I hear an announcement.

Aparna calls up again she says she is boarding the train. I am in a panic state. The TC is still adamant on receipt.

Block 14:

I hear another loud horn. I thrust two hundred rupees in TCs hand. I run without looking back at him. I run down the outlet for the platform of departure. I jump down the steps. I see the train moving. People block the exit of the bridge.

I push my way through the crowd.

Aparna doesn’t call me up again. I reach the platform. The train leaves out of the station.

Block 15:


I stand on the platform looking at the rear end of the train. I see a large yellow X on it. The train keeps shrinking in size. So does the X. X. eX. Ex. Ex. Ex means past.

I don’t meet Aparna. I don’t catch a last glimpse of her. She just goes away. Just like that.

Just like that.

(Contd.)

5 comments:

Kshamata Prakash Gawade said...

Hey.. Anay is at its emotional peak in this.. The reality described is just awesome.. whenever we specially take an effort to reach somewhere in time.. destiny plays its game... and we are LATE..

suzaa said...

A Nightmare is brought to life:
Missing to give the last farewell to a beloved person.

Beautiful prose!

Sanket said...

Cant Anay take an auto?? Idiot he is.Very touching piece and the pace of time can be felt through that 'block' style.Fantastic piece. My second favourite after those pieces of hallucinations.

Preyas said...

Anay needs a wrist watch which is 10 mins faster than IST!!

A Niche said...

'Sadma' aur 'Masoom' ka last scene yaad aya ... writer has been sinister enuf to block ne space for happy endings ...
the 'awwww' signs flickers in the background