The Wish… (Part 1)

World means nothing without you.

I’m going to receive my first pay, after a long time. And ‘m happier when compared to the day I got my first salary at the age of 20. That day I know I will remember each and every moment along with its date- Jan 31st 1952. I did my first job as a clerk in a government office, in Mumbai-India. And I offered my first salary to the God as my mother told. After 50 years, I ‘m again awaiting my first pay but today ‘m longing to have proper meal with that money.  After straining every nerve since morning, I find it tough to stand on my 70 year old legs.  I‘m working for some construction works, as a daily wage worker. Currently standing in front of my owner’s office; which is right on the main road. There are four people in the queue ahead of me and another two behind to collect the wages. My stomach is growling with hunger. I can sense that the person behind me can listen to the noises in my stomach as he was looking at my belly and face. Not sure where I will go to have my food tonight. Wherever be it, it’s going to be a feast. I was pushed by some person on road and ‘m brought back to reality.

Since the owner is receiving continuous calls, the queue is moving slow. Seeing the people around, I realized ‘m actually overjoyed. After waiting for almost an hour in queue finally my turn has come. As though my father bought a balloon when I was a kid or I ‘m on trip to the mountains (which I like the most), happily received the pay. I wish I could share this happiness with someone. I looked at the sky and tried to find the gleaming eyes of my wife in those shining stars.

Its 8 P.M, where to go? I know I can’t head to a five star hotel with the 350 bucks that ‘m carrying. But as I looked at my tattered clothes, I felt even if I step into any decent hotel, they may as well call me to come from rear entrance to offer leftover food. I was looking at every possible hotel to have dinner. I found a vendor preparing Dosai (made out of rice and black gram batter) on a moving cart. I asked for 3 dosas and mentioned I may need more. For which the vendor said, “As many you want, provided you can pay for them all”. I noticed people having dosas sitting on the big rocks which are randomly spread at the side of the moving cart. I too joined them and had my dinner. I went back to the same slum to sleep in my cozy shed. As its cold outside, I thanked myself for buying a blanket and pair of clothes, with whatever money I had till yesterday.

During night, I dreamed about my wife. In the dream, my wife Zahra is still in her mid-forties, she looked very beautiful with her bright smile in the reflection of moon light. She was definitely happy and wishing for something looking at the sky. I can only see but couldn’t hear anything, not even I could listen to the breeze that was blowing her hair, crisscrossing her face. At the end of the dream, from her lip-movement I could make out that she said, “World means nothing without you”. I woke up suddenly from my dream. I know I can’t sleep anymore. I had to question myself why ‘m I alive in my 70s? I have neither wife nor children and not even a house. The memories of childhood, the early days after wedding, and the affection of my wife flashed in front of my eyes. But the recent floods washed away my priceless possessions, my wife and my house in which every room and every wall reflects the remembrances. May be I can re-build the house but it can never be the same, hence I dropped the idea of going back to my place. I felt there is some purpose for this living-life, as I’m driving myself to live in spite of a lacklustre routine.

Next day onwards I started working in the first shift, so I started my day quite early, at 7:00 A.M. Had my breakfast at the same moving cart and headed to work, reached the work area at 7:30 A.M. I’m involved in counting and carrying the bricks from the truck and stacking them at the construction site. I have three more people with me who are doing similar job. Out of the other three folks, a person is of my age. We instantly became friends, when we met yesterday as we had common topics to discuss, nothing personal that we shared till now. And in the afternoon he asked if I would like to visit his house for lunch. When I was hesitating a bit, he mentioned that, I can pay for my food. His wife provides food services taking money, to the workers during afternoons. I went there and had proper meal and got back to work. I worked for a few more hours and started back to home at 3:30 P.M after collecting daily wage.

My home as I said before is a small shed, which I’m sharing with two other young folks. These folks found me at the flooded area and decided to help me. I came along with them to live in this small town called Ajra which even belongs to Maharashtra.  Once I reach home, I sit and relax on a wrecked chair, watching the people on market-road from the window. I don’t know from when but I started waiting for the evenings, just to get a glimpse of Zahra in my dreams. If I don’t get sleep I feel desperate that I may miss to meet her in my dreams. More than the dream, I want to decipher those spoken-but-not-heard words of her. When I go to bed, I can feel my wife’s hand around me and touch of right leg over mine. At times, after I sleep I could listen to her whispering – “World means nothing without you”.

The routine went on. And after a month, one day my manager at work called me, asking if I would like to go to town and work. As the construction work here, is almost coming to an end and a new project is starting in Kerla- Thekkady(South India). I was skeptical to accept, but I said yes. In a weeks’ time I ‘m travelling in a bus to reach Thekkady. With the address in hand, I went on foot to find the Construction Site. The construction site is near to the Lake and I really liked it at the first site. I joined my co-workers and started working from day one. One night I noticed, I stopped dreaming about my wife after coming to this new place, which made me feel very lonely. I happened to meet a new friend here by name Ashok. Ashok is 15 years old, who was also working along with me in the construction work and goes to school in the night for his studies. Recently his parents passed away which brought him here. Though his Uncle and Aunt were ready to support, he wanted to live independently. We both were working for the same apartment’s construction and were let to stay under the roof of partially constructed flat.  At times we both go to enjoy the Lake view in the evenings after dinner and from there Ashok leaves to his night school. After he leaves, I remain gazing at the stars and trying to break the mystery of my dream.

One day in our room, I dozed off watching the stars and without closing the doors and windows. Next morning I was caught with fever. I couldn’t work for next two days. Ashok took care of me, as though ‘m his grand pa; always helping and asking me if I need something. Still I felt and very lonely. I was angry with Zahra, angry as she left me alone, angry as she doesn’t visit me anymore in my dreams, angry as I find it tough to live without her. Though I recovered from fever in two days, I had trouble in getting back to my work. After a few days, I again got a dream. But this time, I could see myself alone staring at the sky intently. I was so engrossed watching it, as I could see Zahra’s face in the Moon. She was calling me and wanted me to come along with her for a boat ride. At last I could listen to her voice, which said- “will you please come home early today?” And the clouds slowly swept the Moon due to which I woke up suddenly shouting Zahra’s name. Ashok came to me running, comforting that everything is fine.

I kept thinking about the dream until next morning. And then slowly I recalled an incident from our past. During our mid-forties, Zahra asked if I could take her on boat for a night as she always dreamed during childhood to go on a boat ride with her love, in waters, only two of them away from noises and humdrum of everyday life, gazing at the stars and to feel the happiness of timeless eternity. I was definitely not harsh but I denied her wish, as I felt it’s very fancy. Now I feel it’s a simple wish that my wife asked.


The Wish (Part II)

Are you living your dream or living in dreams?

 “Follow your dream where ever it takes you to, as that’s the journey you would love to be part of.”-D.D – These words always ring in my ear when I think of dreams-coming-true-in-my-life.

Do we live all the dreams that we wish to?

At first, let me share my childhood dreams:

If someone asked me in my childhood, “what you want to become when you grow up?”, I used to say even without a pause; “A doctor”.  Well ‘m still Dr.D but only in dreams.

 I remember the situation when I held my mom’s hand tight and with tears rolling out from my eyes seeing an old lady in front of temple in tattered clothes and miserably lying on street. That day the coin that my mom gave me to offer to the God, I remember giving to that lady while going back to home from temple. That’s the day, I dreamt to see India with NO poverty.

My other dreams are, to read all the books that so far published in the world and to express in BOOKS all my views about this world and to the world.

My silly dream would be, to meet SRK one day. I know I will. 😉  To work from B-44 of Infy (crazy dream infact). To build 7 houses, each one in a different rainbow color to move from one to another whenever I get bored with that color. (Wild childhood dream;P and believe me not a fantasy at all!).

At times reality takes the shape of memories or dreams, in my case it’s listening to my father’s goodnight wishes before going to bed daily.And I miss him.

Well, don’t come into a wrong conclusion that I lived so far only in dreams. Here I go with the best moments of my life where I lived / live to the fullest: After 10 years staying away from home, I ‘m again living with mom in Bengaluru and ‘m loving it. The other dreams that I lived would be, when I got into flight for the first time in my life, while flying to China. When I cheered kids, during my recent visit to an orphanage. When one of my articles got published in The Hindu during my college days. When I topped thrice in my college, consecutively. When I received my first Salary in Infy. When I gave my first speech in Infy Toastmasters (after almost eight years I got onto stage that day.) When I received 4 prices in KTDM Club (on the same day), for indoors games that they conducted during my teens. When I got a mark more than my sis in tenth board. (This one is just to tease my sister who is damn good at studies and has great IQ. ) When I recently visited Stratford-Upon-Avon and called my mom to say- ‘Your lil D is at Shakespeare’s Birthplace mom’. When every time my niece asks me to sing a lullaby and I sing to help her sleep. Most of all, the wonderful people whom I met in life and with whom I share the joy of success and true happiness.

These are few of the best moments in my life which I treasure most. However small they are they mean a lot to me as those are the times I enjoyed/enjoy my life to the fullest and when I look back at them I know I was in lime light.

I know there are times when you enjoy your day to day life. But at times the truth bothers you and scares you being away from your dreams. The shades of your hope get darker and darker, right in front of you.  It makes you feel so alarmed that you end up living not even in dreams. Read my recent blog – ‘The ignored’ which states what if the ignored dreams could speak.

Few random questions to you: But how often do you get time to concentrate on your interests in life when you have to stay focus with work at your hand? What do you do, when you know you are bound to leave your dream as you are diverting yourself away from it? Would you still say YES, when you know you have to say NO to the present to live your dream in real? Do you take the pain of choking your dreams to death or would prefer to sacrifice everything possible just to enjoy living your dream? Above all, will you live in dreams to make others live theirs? I will let you answer these questions to yourself.


The Ignored

 I woke up at eight in the morning just to realize ‘m left with 25 minutes to catch my morning bus to office. Wondering why my mom didn’t wake me up, I called her and there was no reply. Thinking that she hasn’t returned from morning walk I got ready quickly and started to office.

While closing the gate, hearing to the grandpa’s stick I turned sideways to wish him and I felt sad as his daily toothless smile was missing and he had not even wished me. I didn’t know if I was ignored or he really didn’t notice. Thinking about what could be the reason; I passed by few houses and shops and entered into the long lane next to ours. This very long stretch of road leads me to my bus stop. Usually my day starts with dogs chasing me on road and sometimes the horning vehicles. Surprisingly that day dogs and horns were not heard. Streetlights which were turned on that day before have still not rested. The red glow on thier face looks more due to the embracement as its radiance is buried by the bright morning Sun. The road which was carefully used by the pedestrians like me was lying uncovered stretching up to the main road. I just checked my watch to confirm it’s not too early to start my day and I realized I have to hurry up.

 At last, journey to the bus stop ended but never expected my real journey towards life was yet to begin. At that moment my mobile beeped ‘Not coming to office –Deepa’. Usually, while waiting for office bus I also wait for one my friends(Deepa) to join me. Before I could reply screen went off; showing Low Battery Warning. I waited for some time. The main roads which usually are very busy seemed to be deserted except for a few vehicles which flashed now and then. Not knowing if I really missed my morning bus I headed towards the Auto Stand. To my relief I saw two autos. While I was nearing the auto stand, an Auto left ignoring my wailing to stop. I felt very upset after I noticed that there was no driver in another auto. Cursing my stars I started walking further.

The roads, the trees, the buildings, the traffic and the street lights which daily witness my smile, my intolerance, my anxiety, my temper and my silence seemed so indifferent and different. As I took every step I felt everything was new and distinct; I started feeling that the Earth swallowed the surroundings from bus stop till office. I saw few strangers around, I approached a couple to know where I ‘m; before I could ask them, they ignored me as though ‘m an unseen spirit, they went on talking with each other. I didn’t know which direction to choose. So I stood still looking all around. I decided to step back to find my old path. I thanked God I got an idea where to go next. But Alas! I was stuck in reverse. I didn’t find my way back home as well.

The world around still looked very familiar, so I had to tell myself –‘‘m fine but just lost my way’ and started moving ahead. I saw trees lined up in front of me, protecting me from bright scorching Sun. I started feeling secured. I heard for first time after an hour someone calling me; I was pleased to listen to that voice.

She began the conversation asking me “Are you alright?”

After a long pause I reckoned –“I’m just fine.”

“So where are you heading to?” She asked.

 I explained my story to her and asked if she can help me. For which she answered; “For sure I will be with you, till you find someone or something which keeps you occupied.” So I just started explaining about myself and after a while I realized I never asked who she was. And when I did she replied with smirk on her face. “You will get to know soon.”

 I enjoyed her company but my day seemed gloomier after I started talking with her. I was distracted and forgot what ‘m looking for. We walked for hours together and it became afternoon. I was tired and hungry. I plucked some Mangoes from trees and filled my stomach. When I offered Mangoes to her she replied “I ‘m already full.” These words of her irritated me a bit and I decided to get rid of her. I said I ‘m fine to find my own way and thanked her for accompanying. Still she denied leaving me until I found someone. I sat under tree and started reading the book I carried with me. I didn’t realize when she left me and at that time I didn’t know who she was!

 She was sweet at the beginning, cunning at times, distractive always who was she!?!

I enjoyed afternoon breeze while reading book. And after a while I resumed my journey. As time passed by, slowly the Sun went down. The evening sky seemed promising in guiding me back to my home. I was overjoyed to see the sun-set; my busy schedule hardly allows me to step out of my building during evenings. I only get chance to see the hot blazing Sun in the morning and the soothing Moon in the evenings. I was sitting on a rock at the edge of cliff watching the Sun Set. The warmth and glow of orange rays out of the Sun were extended all around me. They made me feel safe and invigorated my energy. Yes! Even the Sun went missing after some time as though the Dragon in the form of night gulped it down.

With that I was left alone on the rock, in the darkness thinking what’s next? Meanwhile a butterfly came and sat on my knee I showed it my fingers and welcomed it to share my evening with it. In no time I was infatuated and started running after it as it took me. And we took turns to play while the Moon Beam guided us. We had great fun and we came back to the rock to take rest where we met before. This time when we looked at sky it was brightened with Moon and Stars like spot lights just focusing on two of us. I was so mesmerized looking at the beauty of sky and I wished that moment remains forever. Mean while not sure when but my Butterfly gone missing. I went into the woods, searched everywhere I could but I still didn’t find the butterfly. I felt neglected once again, and all of sudden I heard an unbearable noise and everything around vanished like a dream.

Then I woke up shouting… Please come back. I don’t want to miss you…I don’t want to be ignored anymore… It was an unnatural dream for me. I went silent whole day thinking about the dream.

 Every time I thought, it reminded me of Grandpa who didn’t care to smile back, the Street lights which were glowing but were just as good as stones in the morning light, auto driver who left just ignoring me, how I ended up meeting a girl whom I then realized was LONELINESS which denied to leave me till I left it, the fleeting happiness that Sun Set left with me and the infatuation towards a colorful butterfly (can be read as material things) which finally made me hit the reality.

All I could think was being ignored is fine, if you are ready to learn something good out of it…!

In my opinion, never ignore your dreams; its same as ignoring yourself. No one is responsible to fulfill your dreams except you. Follow your dreams and accept where ever they take you to. –D.D