two things can be said of last (this?) evening, even at this unearthly hour when it is almost time for dawn.
the second, and more important one, is that all you – people, comrades, fellow passers by, call yourself what you want – were thought of, and quite often. thanks to your frequent reminders to me, to write. record, rather. for thats what i mostly indulge in here. missalister even suggested a virtual lynching! i am, notwithstanding, overwhelmed, and profoundly grateful to each one you – you inspire in a way thats unique to you!
now, for the first. it was an eventful evening.
par lagerkvist, in his book, pilgrim at sea, is so charmed by uncertainty. i think thats the name of the book – unless i am mixing up a book and another author. i have an excerpt written on a piece of paper that is lying around someplace. if i find it, i shall quote it here. a friend – someone we used to call gandhi, for some funny reason – had been kind enough to lend it to me way back in college. i didn’t know him much, yet he just dropped by one day and left this book with me, requesting me to read it and return it safely.
uncertainty – the feverish excitement with which one looks forward to the coming moment, it isn’t far away – just what may happen at the bat of en eyelid. the expectations, the disappointments, the fears, the joys, and not a moment sparing a surprise. it makes you wonder where the ‘Program’ is, who wrote it, who – so to speak – maintains it. in a way, it makes me wonder. it keeps me in awe of the extent of the ‘cosmos’, and its ‘programmer’ if such an entity exists. i do believe it does. for, if from our limited perception of things, we perceive unimaginably vast things as solar systems and galaxies, my mind is inclined to look the source of it all. the canvas. and then beyond the canvas, the painter too. some call it ‘seeking’. i think i’m just a curious bum.
the breeze there, somewhere in the east coast road, was making it difficult to talk over the phone. there was no moon just then. i spoke to her, and realised she had planned a little time with her brother, and was traveling too. that very night. right then, in fact, which meant i wouldn’t even meet her. i didn’t tell her just then, i knew she’d be upset, in two minds, if she knew, and i didn’t want that for her. like they say, theres a good time for everything.
“it was His plan pa, i just decided to come”, i told him. i told him, knowing well he’d be disappointed for her too.
i hadn’t really planned this trip. i was supposed to come the next weekend, but something reminded me that i had work coming up, and since i wouldn’t be able to make it, i had, in a flash of a moment, decided to visit home today. i was acting on impulse. i like being that way sometimes. may be again, because, it brings on more uncertainty!
earlier, i was elsewhere, along the same road, smoking. enjoying the silence, complimented by the strong breeze, and broken now and then by a passing vehicle. the whiff of cashew fruits. somehow reminded me of my childhood. we’d go looking for them on hot summer afternoons. and another little berry, i am not sure exactly which one. just wild berries that grew on thorny plants.
my thoughts were broken when i heard some noise, ‘noticed’ it rather, and it turned out to be the creaking of palm leaves and other things, i don’t know what. i was there, just, there. silence is sometimes joyful, specially if you realise that most of the times, we’re always listening to something. noise, talk, music, chatter, buzz. theres something all the time.
my cigarette was vanishing fast in the wind, when my attention was drawn to a motorcycle ambling along. having passed by a small distance, the man slows, turns around, and this time, approaches me. quite sometime ago, bumming around, just like now, somewhere around the same place, i experienced a similar ride, a short journey that had done a lot to me, like all journeys do. it also left me with this little fear, if you know what i am talking about. after all, who wants to die? i don’t for one. i didn’t. not then, at least, and so i was preparing to leave.
“i was just wondering if you needed some petrol or something”, he said.
i stopped. for a moment, i was shocked. pleasantly surprised, rather. i peered into his face in the light that was from his headlamp. it wasn’t really illuminating his face, but i could make out he was middle aged, pretty small made. he had a kind face.
“no thank you, i’m leaving”.
“i was just wondering if you needed some petrol or something”, he repeated. and then added, “i pass by these parts everyday, and if i see someone standing alone in the night, i always stop by and ask if they need help. God knows they may be stranded”, he said.
“thank you”. i told him my name, and how i was intruded upon, on another occasion.
“my name is anwar basha”, the man sad. we were shaking hands, and in the semi darkness, taking in each others faces i suppose. “i am branch post master here”, and added the name of a place i can’t place immediately. i had stored it in the ubiquitous mobile phone. i had, and quite rightly, anticipated that i wouldn’t remember it later. i wanted to remember it then, because i wanted to come back.
“do you have a card or something?”, he asked.
“certainly sir”, i wasn’t very certain though – who’d expect top handover business cards in the middle of the night on the highway!! i couldn’t help but smile – partly at his concern, and partly at my own paranoia, but mostly at this sudden request of his. i rummaged through my bag to find a card.
“i like post offices”, i told him, as i handed over the card. i am not sure if i’ll go back, and when, but i do like post offices, and maybe i’ll just drop by someday. and thank him. he had taught me, among other things, not to be afraid, at all times. i’m not, mostly. afraid, that is. that day, it was those few moments. i had forgotten what i was going to tell pa a short while later.
that it was His plan. after all, He would escort me home quite nice and safe. it’s also why uncertainty gives me a certain comfort, in not knowing the plans.
learn the art of living by giving, and giving…, and giving up the thought that you have given, for you are only giving what has been given to you