I have been sitting here thinking and trying to figure out a way to deal with this new thing that has approached me. I have been thinking about this for quite a time; say more than an hour or so. There are plenty of ideas coming into my head right now but none of them seem convincing. Probably the unique nature of the problem has intrigued me. I don’t know how to take it. It is so puzzling; something very strange, something miraculous has occurred. Since I cannot categorize this particular event in the brackets of known and familiar occurrences so, I don’t know how to deal with it. Since there have been many thoughts and speculations running into my brain, the first thing that I must do is to straighten them and try to build a linear causal movement so that I can think effectively.
So, let me do a bit of rewinding and check the information I have.
I have to reach home for Diwali and I have waited till evening so that it gets dark when I commute in metro. It’s like going through half of Delhi looking at it from a height when it is lightened up by street lights, road lamps, traffic lights and lighted buildings and offices. So the city amidst extended darkness of night presents an enticing and enchanting view from the running metro. But it isn’t that pleasant traveling in metro always. I have hated women’s compartment (because of few very bad experiences in the past) and the general crowd sometimes when they behave ill mannerly. Anyway, this time my journey starts at a frightening note. After getting my luggage scanned I find that my smart card is short of balance. So I get it recharged. After that in a routine like manner I punch my smart card and head towards the platform and wait for the metro. While I am waiting for the metro I reconsider traveling in the women’s compartment… about giving it a yet another try but then I recall my past experiences and immediately dismiss the absurd idea. My bag being heavy has forced me to bend slightly at the opposite side. Soon the metro enters the platform and I proceed to enter. There are very few people in the queue so there is no need to hurry. Slowly the people in front crawl inside the metro and I am the last girl standing. But as I put my first step forward on the door of the train I lose balance. The action begins here.
That particular second I am scared of falling and getting injured. I stretch my arms to get hold of the handle on the door. Deep down I know that I will be able to hold it but then in the same second it occurs to me-what if I cannot or what if my fingers slip, what if I fall flat on the platform, what if the door closes before I am out of the train? It scares and that feeling makes me shut my eyes at that very moment. But instead of holding the iron rod I feel a cloth like stuff running between my fingers and palm. I open my eyes to see what it is and also to see how safe my posture hanging half out of the metro is. By then I have balanced my position but find myself a little disturbed to meet the eyes of the person in front.
Now this fellow who stands holding my stretched hand and supports me and whose torn pocket hangs down like a helpless orphan stupefies me.
Say it unpreparedness or nervousness or the recent shock or whatever I hear myself blabbering and repeating a single word –sorry, to which all I receive a smile that isn’t relaxing at all but beautiful nonetheless. Coincidentally we both turn and move towards the closed-door of the metro. I like to stand there watching the city below. My eyes move to see him again and find him smiling in exactly the same way as I had found him a while ago. I return that smile though I know that mine is little a little artificial one generated just out of courtesy.
Then, he turns towards me facing me and says, “Hey! Do you know me by any means?”
I am utterly shocked by that question. Why should I know him? But before I can think of an answer he speaks again and again it is a question. “Do you by anyway recall my face, try to find out if you have seen me before.”
First of all I just want to dismiss him thinking that he was just trying to strike a conversation but the confidence he harbors is unusual. So, I reply him.
“No, I can’t recall anything to recognize you.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes as far as I remember this is the first time I have met you.”
“No. no, I didn’t mean meeting me. I just meant if you remember my face, having passed across your eyes anytime.”
“Anyway thanks for being there.”
“Oh never mind. If it would have been me you would have clutched the rod. So I am sorry to get into your way.”
I smiled a little at that sarcastic remark and then nodded my head in a ‘okay’
“So Ishika how are you?”
“O my god! Did you just call out my name? How do you know that I am Ishika. “
“I know a lot more.”
“Like you are in a college.”
“But how do you know all this?”
“Not just this. What if I say you it has been more than a year since I saw you and have known you since then?”
“I have seen you everyday since the day I saw you first. I have seen it all. I have seen you attending classes, rushing for your lectures, moving with your assignments, talking to your professors, discussing with your friends, hunting books in the library, looking at the menu list in the canteen. But you do all the wrong things at the wrong places. So you look into your notes in the canteen, discuss issues in the lawn, sleep during lectures and smile at your professors. Now don’t look so shocked. You must be thinking how I know all this.”
“You know all this because you might be a fellow student in my college. I might not have noticed you.”
“Okay do you remember that day when you were studying alone in your class and a boy approached and asked you several questions but only one at a time? When he asked you something and then moved outside and then came again to ask you another question and he repeated this four times till you looked irritated.”
“So that is it. You are that same guy. Isn’t it?”
“No way. Do I look so stupid?”
“I don’t know.”
“Ok so do you remember that incidence when you were walking with this tall guy with a friend of yours recently?”
“Yes, I do.”
“I saw you with that guy and assumed that he was your friend and it was only after a few days I came to know that he was only your friend’s friend. I have seen you sitting on the pavement by road side, seen you reading in park, calculating something in air on your way back from college. I have seen you hurrying down your stairs to the shop nearby to get a recharge coupon. I have seen you smiling at yourself, looking at your mobile intently, typing vigorously, walking alone playing with your hair, laughing with your friends, bullying them at times, heard you teasing them, narrating stories and writing poems. I have seen you travelling in metro and enjoying it. I have seen you going to different places and enjoying when you meet different variety of people. “
“I don’t know what to say. Ok, so you know a lot many things but why are you saying all this to me? What do you expect me to do?”
“You seem to me very intriguing and I get inquisitive everytime I see you.”
“So, you are free to see me. That’s not a problem.”
“But I want to know you and merely observing does not fulfill my purpose any longer. I need to talk to you. I need to know you through your actions in words and thoughts.”
“So, what can I do for you?”
“Can you just let me know you…let me talk to you…understand your silence and analyze your speech? Don’t worry. You don’t need to say anything, just allow me for my sake- say for a charity or something.”
“I need to go. It’s my station.”
“No problem. Whenever you think about a decision I will get to know. Just see that you think about this soon.”
So since the moment I left him, I have been thinking about him. Now though I have a linear graph of what just happened I still cannot figure out what should be done. I am tired of thinking about this.
I slept musing on this supposedly new variety of person and the miraculous kind of occurence that had met that evening.
The cell beeped at half past three in the morning when I was fast asleep. But my hand was on my mobile and the vibration woke me up. I had to struggle to open my eyes and read the message. But the message left me a little puzzled, disturbing me to an unprecedented extent and leaving me sleepless for the rest of the night.
A ten- digit number had appeared in the sender’s list instead of a name. It was definitely an odd time to engage in a conversation. But since sleep seemed a far-fetched luxury and the intensity of curiosity was already so overwhelming I decided to reply back.
It took few seconds when the cell beeped again. It was from the same number. The reply was undoubtedly very fast. And thus a string of conversation initiated between us.
‘Hey, were you not sleeping? Anyway it’s 3:40 which I feel is not a very good time to strike a conversation.”
“But I received a message from you a while ago. Did not this stupid idea of not-so-good-time hit you ten minutes before?”
“Apparently no. But I don’t think my message had a post- script saying that I am waiting for a reply?”
“Smart way to defend yourself. But, I don’t want to argue. I am only interested in knowing the sender’s name.”
“Will the sender’s number not suffice?”
“Weren’t you generous enough to disclose the number in your very first message?”
“Smiley…to convey you that I was smiling! :P”
“Why are you frowning? I have a beautiful smile; trust me (I hope you will agree)
P.S. also, my incisors are not broken”
“I might be terribly mistaken and may also sound crazy but I feel (by pure intuition) that you are the same guy I met in the metro last evening.”
“How did you procure my number, mystery boy?”
To this, the reply came, “Simple, you have saved your own number in your mobile under the name “it’s me”
“I don’t understand you. You simply know a hell of lot of things. By the way those lines that you sent me in the first message were very nice. I haven’t read it before” After all it was no use asking this miraculous creature who had some super-natural power to know everything without being informed.
This seemed to irritate him a little. “That was original, damn it”
“Impressive, I must say. Now please excuse me. Actually I like to sleep at this hour of the day(actually night). Good night!”
“Sure! With all humility I urge you to proceed. Good night.”
I wanted to read those lines once again before I slept. It said-
“In the days of my glory,
the word shall stand divided
whether to serve the ‘amiable you’
or strive to condemn my attempt.
From that self-ordained inferno
I will see you, my smiling muse
then come to me and embrace,
when I say-
“with the story of your life,
my death shall illuminate”