Monday, October 09, 2006

SEVEN MINUTES

He woke up in a jolt. He had been so scared by the nightmare he was just seeing, or rather imagining, which by now he’d completely forgotten, not even a single trace of glimpse of the whole thing retained back in his memory, that he immediately sat up on his bed with both his eyes and mouth wide open, trying to grasp as much as natural light and air possible. This sudden change in his posture made the blood in his feeble little body take a faster way through the arteries to his brain which caused a head rush and combined with the sudden intake of a considerable large amount of bright sunlight, it worsened to a mild headache. He picked up his mobile phone to check for any missed calls or messages, but none. Was a bit relieved, but didn’t know why. He checked the time and saw that he still had seven minutes before his alarm went off. Seven precious minutes in which he hoped of getting some blissful sleep. But he decided otherwise because the time span was to short for anything. He then slowly squinted his eyes hard and laid back on the bed so as to get up in a calm and cool manner.

He figured out that he was too late right now to eat anything in the mess, which in literal terms was truly a mess. They served food, well, which they called food and he never believed and which made him abide by his dentist’s statutory rule of chewing his morsel at least 32 times before swallowing it. He was glad that he missed it but that was when his stomach made an urge to receive something from the outer world so as to sustain him by making grumbling noises. He realized that he hadn’t eaten anything since morning at all. He’d slept right through it. He had forgotten when was the last time he had woken up early, class or no class. He tried to recollect but couldn’t do so. He had forgotten the calm silence within the corridor, except for a faint song playing in someone’s room whose occupant was comfortably in deep slumber he missed the sea of high-n-low greenery that was visible from his window which started right down from his building and seemed to continue to the huge layout of the petroleum factory miles away. He missed the moment when all the lights of the factory were switched off announcing the arrival of brightness around. He then remembered how beautiful the factory is especially during the night time. All that could be seen was utter darkness except for a line of colorful lights arranged at random heights.

Lost in thoughts, his stomach gave another reminder which brought him back to reality. He picked up his wallet and fished out a 20 buck note, put it into his pocket and left his room listening to music on his mobile phone. He was so obsessed with his mobile phone. Well, one wouldn’t blame him because he was passionate about games and music and his mobile phone was perfectly made for people like him who enjoyed games and music on the move. One could spot him anywhere out of his room with his mobile in his pocket and headphones connecting it to his ears. The others made fun of him, some told that he’s trying to show off, some seriously, some in sarcasm. But he never bothered and always thought that they’d never understand. No one would understand him. He was too complex to be understood and that is the reason why many a times he was misunderstood.

He reached the shady eating joint across the road and the first thing he did was to pick up a cigarette from the pack. He was a regular at that place so he was familiar to the shop owner. He lit the cigarette and sucked at it for a long drag. He felt something fill his lungs up. He could feel the hoarse movement of the smoke through the wind pipe to his lungs, fill it up, expand it and then make its way back out of the mouth or nose or any other orifice of the body, but presumably later in time. As if all present and proceeding events have been timed and planned out, his order was ready as soon as he flicked away the cigarette stub. He enjoyed every bit of his food in quietness and as soon as he finished it all and got up to leave, one of his fellow ‘Sky Diving Grandfathers’ walked up to him. He was a member of the ‘Sky Diving Grandfathers’ clan where they would raise up in the sky and go sky diving pretty frequently in their hostel rooms. He saw him coming and he knew what exactly was headed his way. He had to go and get the material for that day’s session. His fellow diving associate walked over him and said,

“Dude, you need to go and score today. We’ve got the cash. Someone’s treating. Need to get 10 packs.”

“Who’s going with me?”

“No one. Every one’s busy with some or the other work.”

“What about that fatty? He hasn’t gone in a while now. Tell him to come with me.”

“Where do you think that cunt-licking bastard’s gone? He’s with his chick, gone for a movie or something. I have to take the auditions for the coming fashion show and the others have gone for music practice. You’re the only guy who’s free.”

Or put otherwise, I’m the only guy jobless. Alright, I’ll go. When?”

“Now. It’s already late. You delay it a bit further, it’ll be dark. Leave just like this. You’re fine. Here’s the cash and hope you have the cash for the journey.”

“Yeah I do. Cool.”

He took the cash and left. He had to wait for quite some time for the bus to come. He dreaded this part. Not just the waiting, but the whole of the journey itself was irritating. The national highway which the bus had to take was in such a pathetic condition that even a roller coaster ride never took as much jerks humps and bumps as the bus ride would. He boarded the bus and embraced himself for the forth coming unstable yet inevitable torture. Luckily he found an empty seat and as he sat down he plugged his ear phones into his ears and listen to whatever songs he’d stored on his mobile phone.

But it wasn’t quite late before the mixture of music and the terrible and loud roaring of the engines and honking were drained out. They were overpowered by the sound of someone talking. He could barely recognize that voice and when concentrated, he figured out that it had been his own.

At first he could just hear the voice. He had never heard himself before. Well, except for the times when he would actually speak, but unlike that. All he could figure out was noting but gibberish. But slowly he tried hard to apply the laws and rules of basic cryptography, trying to use frequency analysis on the sounds he could barely hear. Soon he could make out the basic words of the language and slowly he could more or less hear and understand clearly what was being said.

After missing out on most of whatever that was said due to the process of decryption, as soon as things started making some sense, this is what he heard,

“Why? Why do I do it? I don’t know. I know what’s right and what’s wrong. I’m old enough and mentally stable enough to make my own decisions, considering the factors involved. If I want to do the right thing, I’ll do it. But when I don’t feel like doing it, I won’t. Because that’s my decision and I would certainly would like to stink with it. And if I want to do the wrong thing, and if I know how ‘wrong’ of a wrong it is, I’ll do it, but only if I feel like. Else I won’t. But that’s not the thing to ponder upon. I got to think whether what I’m doing right now is right or wrong.

Now this depends upon a lot of people and their thinking, their thoughts, their perspective on this. A lot of people say it’s the wrong thing to do. It’s bad, for all factors, physically, mentally, socially, anyways. But to them, I ask this question, ‘Is feeling good and happy wrong? Is appreciation of art, be it music, movies or any form, socially harmful? Is trying to live young and if we couldn’t care less if we died young too, physically unstable? Is the spontaneous and continuous flow of creative ideas mentally improper? Just answer these questions convincingly and I’ll say that it’s wrong. But until, for me, it’s damn right!’”

One good, big speed bump jerked him back to the noisy real world. He was so engrossed in his thoughts that he didn’t realize that he was almost there. He got down and waited for the bus to pass ahead. The first thing he did was to look out for guys in uniform, especially in brown ones. Of course he couldn’t point out the ones in plain clothes, but yet, he could keep an eye on the identifiable ones. He figured that everything was, as usual, cool and seemed like no complexities. He then embarked himself on his long walk to the destined house. He let out a tired sigh just as he took his first step.

And the started his path along the way which normal people rarely took. He made his way up the concrete road leading towards the church, passing the volley-ball court. He then rehearsed the excuse which he had mentally prepared in case of any enquiries. The excuse was to fix a volley-ball match with the local team against his college team for money and had come down here to confirm the details. He didn’t know how good and convincing of an excuse that was, but then, better something than nothing. He kept walking past the church, and as always failed to notice its beauty. He then had to leave the proper road and had to take the treaded path down the hill, along the graveyard.

He remembered how, when he was a kid, he had the gory image of a graveyard, thanks to the stupid horror movies and serials he’d seen and how was ever frightened and yet amazed to even see such a place. But now, all that images had been erased out and a new horror image had been embedded in, which was still in the making, still blur, still hazy. He looked up ahead as soon as he started to descent the uneven, stone steps and like every other time, was awe in wonder at the location. The last step was placed at the edge of a flowing river and from that point, he could look around and have a brilliant view of the distant petroleum factory which was ever enchanting, the quite close iron-ore company which was billowing out wisps of smoke, the bridge on which he has just traveled and the distant horizon stretching far on his right.

He grinned for absolutely no reason and resumed his way. The path from then onwards was a bit tricky. The path was, again, a treaded one and it wasn’t more than a feet wide. Beyond that on one side was the water body and on the other side was lush greenery, and by that, it wasn’t just grass; all sorts of plants and weeds; which could very well be a great hiding place for a number of slithering, creepy creatures, which in turn were pretty common around. So, all along the way, he kept his eyes glued to the path.

He reached the desired house and looked around. A young girl walked out. Seeing her, he figured out that her father wasn’t at home, with whom the business was usually carried out. She stopped her steps just behind her door step and that’s when he said,

“I need 10 packs.”

“I don’t have that mush right now. Will 8 do?”

“Alright.”

He handed her the cash and waited for her to get back as she disappeared into her dingy room. Within minutes she came out and handed him the packets. He didn’t bother to count, just started stuffing them into his numerous pockets. All of a sudden she spoke out,

“Be careful. There are cops around.”

“I know. They are at the top. That’s why I came from behind. I didn’t take the straight, shorter path.”

“No, there’s one down here somewhere. Be careful.”

He got a bit tensed up at that statement. He started to look around. To his left he could see the path he had taken to reach there. He looked to his right, and that’s when they both saw each other. He saw him, stern, and yet eyes full of doubt and ready for action. And in contrary, his eyes were overflowing with fear, anger, regret and most of all surprise.

He started thinking, “Slowly turn around, without any jerks or any sort of sudden movements. Do anything but run. Never run. It may worsen the matter in hand. If he comes up and asks anything, just puke out the rehearsed excuse. And if he asks what you’re doing down here, just tell him you had come here to attend to nature’s call and was just looking around. Just tell him something and try to convince him to just let you go. Do anything but run. Don’t run. Don’t ever run.”

His train of thoughts came to an abrupt halt when he heard the high pitched, shrill sound of the whistle. And, due to the obvious human body reflexes, all the muscles in his legs were instantly activated and he did the thing, the one thing which he wasn’t supposed to do, run.

He started running, like a mad man. He no longer cared to look at the path, the stones, nothing. All he thought was to run as fast as possible and try to get away from the cop behind, who was still blowing on his whistle. The sound of the whistle had become irritating and also frightening to him by now. He tried to block himself from the horrible noise, but couldn’t do so. He reached the steps, and he again heard the same irritating noise. But this time it wasn’t from behind him. He looked up and saw another one, bobbing down the steps, but still blowing. He looked to his right; the first one was getting closer. He looked up; the second one was almost upon him. He looked to his left, a few houses and then a dead end. He looked behind, water.

It is at these kinds of moments that the human brain starts thinking irrationally. Normally, when the brain thinks, it does take into consideration how to go upon executing the thought and then the after-math of the execution. Anything undesirable, the thinking is redone so as to remove or reduce the harm. But at these moments, the execution and after-math are of no concern at all. All it does is to give certain signals to certain parts of the body, just telling it what to do. How to do it and what might happen will be of concern later. And at that moment, the only thought that filled his head up was to jump into the water. That was the easiest and fastest way to get away from the fast approaching disaster.

He didn’t even think twice before leaping into the water. He didn’t care about his mobile phone. He didn’t care about the packets and its contents. He didn’t care about what to do next. All he cared was to get away from the cops.

He could see nothing but black, could feel the cold and chilling liquid blanket around him and could still hear the annoying sound, but faintly though. He opened his eye lids and suddenly it seemed as if all the mucky water seemed to drain inside him through his eyes. He couldn’t make out anything from where he was. All he saw now was brownish water all around him, with the frequent display of some sort of garbage flowing through. He somehow cam just a bit to his senses and started to flail his arms and legs around, trying to swim ahead. But something stopped him from making any progress. He felt as if the joints in and around his limbs have been snapped open and stuck in that state. His beating around were of no use, all in vain. He could sense the color of the water around him turn darker, a darker shade or brown, nearing black, the color of death. He was sinking like a lead stone. He could no longer feel anything. He could no longer hear any sound from above the water. He could no longer breathe. And soon enough, he could no longer see anything. All he could hear was a tiny, feeble noise, coming out at proper timed intervals, which he figured, was the sound of his own last remaining heart beats. He left all hope and closing his eyes, he let open his nose to let the gushing water in. instantly he felt the cold water burning his insides, starting at, in a large intensity at his face. He tried to scream out in pain but more water made its way into it. He despised it and spat it out. This suddenly made him figure out that he could spit out and nothing tried to get back in. he slowly opened his eyes and saw his own reflection, face soaked in water, droplets dripping from his sides and his jaw-line, wearing the same clothes and his mobile beeping at the sound of its alarm.

1 comment:

08936665334860569743 said...

interesting, intruguiging, intense..
good work man. keep em coming...