Few incidences in life make you realize that invisible forces have a hand in them. That something or somebody was trying to prove its point to you not out of a personal vendetta but to maintain their own existence and maybe their supremacy in the general working of humankind. For example if you hold an idealistic opinion chances are high that you will be tested hard as if idealism has a high cost. Why should you!
If you cause pain to somebody by taking an upright position you better be prepared to get it back sometime in your life. And when you realize that ‘the thing’ has got back to you, has regained its throne one feels remorse looking back. Is this right! First of all contexts change and stories as they are stories move around consuming and excreting their energies while changing their forms. What was the context of the previous event need not remain in the story anymore. Or may remain in different degrees in different stories about the same occurrence. But this is how ‘the thing’ works. Complexity and confusion are powerful tools. The costs of clarity could be enormous and hence ‘the thing’ whether it’s God, fate, change or the theory of everything that physicists are after will keep playing with us again and again.
These thoughts might have been with me on a Delhi metro. But probably I was thinking what would happen if there was something above the city of Delhi which was unable to see plastic and steel but could see the rest. How would it feel looking at people sitting at funny positions moving without any effort! Imagine how things would look for the Mumbai local.
"Raaskin Raaskin!" a man spoke out in a peculiar tone at the Pragati Maidan book fair at the adjacent stall. When I raised my head I noticed he was speaking to his little boy. I and my sister roamed around the stalls of different publication houses. The books were cheap and the ambiance peaceful if the stall was not small. We bought a number of books. Among others I bought a book of nature by Ruskin Bond and two books from the NCERT store: one on the evolution of philately and other on the types of plants found in India. Had been ages since one bought an NCERT book, was like meeting an old acquaintance. This was the last day of my stay.
Staying near the colony of UPSC aspirants, I was mostly among the student crowd. I took a metro every day to take care of the work for which I had gone. As long as you have the round plastic electromagnetic coin in your pocket you somehow feel that you have arrived at a different place all together. Only thing that stays are the crowds and the ogling of men at women.
The only part of the work I would like to remember was the gatekeeper at the embassy. Humility could be dangerous in Delhi especially if you get down from an auto rickshaw at a place where the gatekeeper has to open the doors of BMW’s and Audi’s. The first day he showed me the notice stuck outside the glass window of his wooden cabin which said that it was a holiday for Janmashtami. Then as I went everyday he showed me emotions of distrust. He would ask me to stand under a tree for 15 minutes one day before letting me in, just like that. He also took interest in my application asking me every time I came out for the result of my efforts inside. On the second day I told him that I was supposed to come at 11:30 the next day which was basically not true but I said that just to spare the whole story to him. Next day I arrived at 12:30 and he was really angry at me as if I was a pundit and had arrived late at his marriage. But he looked like a good man.
One day while searching for a Cyber cafe, I came across the most ancient looking Cyber cafe one could find. It was long down a narrow but crowded lane in the Munrika village. Dusty worn out pillars greeted me and when I entered the smell of old age was palpable. Few boys were hanging around a computer and loud music was being played. One of them showed me to the inside. The computers were dust laden and when I tried to open Gmail it said that the website was dangerous. If there was ever a national heritage cyber café tag this one should be in it.