"certainly, sir"

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


36 thoughts on “"certainly, sir"

  1. your post (actually, the description of the lonely, dark road) reminded me of something. Read the post.. and I loved the thing about giving… both beautiful and difficult.

  2. He made the plans and He met you on the way just to make sure you are alright. We are after all parts of the supreme conciousness in different forms. Uncertainity definitely does overcome fears. Sujith

  3. Oh thank heavens you have posted and thus deterred the old western rite I feared might have been bestowed ungraciously upon you! 😉 I want you to feel free to post whenever you damn well please and to not be pressured by your readers, but alas, I am one of your readers and I’m addicted to your style, of being and of writing about it, so…well, you see the difficulty!Now then, your fifth paragraph! How perfectly put, the content of my brain and beyond succinctly mashed into a short paragraph that sums up me and beyond! Oh never mind, it’s all so well put, this seemingly casual telling of a tale meandering mysteriously in the night and being the very case in point for uncertainty, which you’re right about, we all love it whether we say so or not 🙂

  4. My mom always says that when we believe in Him we have nothing to be afraid off or worried about cos He takes care of everything..’giving and forgetting you’ve given’..thats just amazing. and uncertainity is exciting i bet…takes a lot of guts to deliberately uncertain though:)

  5. “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” completely agree with you

  6. When people say god is everywhere…why don’t they see god in shitthey say god can come to you in any form…then why death / cancer / aids is not godthey say he sees everything…then he must be watching you have intercourse…why not go around having free sex

  7. Ah I remembered a trip that we had done on the ECR from Chennai to Pondicherry back in 2005. There aren’t many roads such as that in India. On your thoughts, I would like to steal a quote from Mr. Kerouac. Seems like you too have an undying love for the road.”What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? — it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-by. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”

  8. Comforting uncertainty…beautiful.And I agree.But the sheer thought of someone being able to look beyond and behind and having the capability to narrate that to keen listeners and the belief it evokes in one so many tempted me.Alas I dithered in the last moment and decided to sit it out.And allowed the others to go ahead and learn what lies in store for them.So there….now uncertainty and surprise await me.But I wonder, if I’d known, would some things have been different altogether?Food for thought there.And I have been good. Juggling work and home and my utopia has been surprisingly easy these last few weeks.And am now pondering if I shouldn’t write more and fill up empty pages and bind them together into something meaningful.That is after all what I have always wanted.How have you been? Juggling adventures and mundane life. Maybe we should touch base more often.

  9. Great post! Uncertainty certainly kills the fear – the “jo hoga dekha jayega” attitude is so nice to feel.. And its a wonder there was someone to stop by and ask you if you needed help… where do we find such people every day?

  10. So full of emptiness,Yet emptyIn this tangled maze called lifethe pain rages onit hasn’t been longI look to reconcileLife comes apart in bitsAnd then gets put back togetherOnly for the bits to be pulled apartOne at a timeLove, it means so muchThat my heart seems to fall apartOh God grant my wish, please

  11. Now I’m the one asking if you hadn’t told us part of this story before…I’m the one with the sense of deja-vu right now.Anyway, it’s enjoyable, as you always know how to tell us a story.

  12. Dear Mr/Ms. anonymous shit,God is in everything, including shit. Maybe a lesson in biology might help. coz there are living things in shit too.As far as death / cancer / aids are concerned let me explain that too.All three are God’s method’s of population control….Immortality would put a massive strain on our already strained environment.As far as Him watching us goes, He does, even the sex. Its a natural, normal state of physical activity that is the precursor to procreation. As far as free sex is concerned you are welcome to go have it. that is more a social and personal moral perspective than anything else.So how we choose to live our lives is our prerogative but what we do is watched and what we are given is a gift.

  13. Z,thank YOU!GAURI,read it, and was amazed by the train of thought – and then, isn’t that why the mind is so fascinating.SUJITH,absolutely, it sure was Him.MISSALISTER,:)love your comments – you are very kind.i shall, keep in mind my eager friends who come here, and try and write more often.interesting thought – though am not sure how much we all love uncertainty. i feel many of us want to be sure – “whats the plan for the weekend?”, they say.if people loved it so much, fortune tellers and the likes will be out of job, right?CHUTNEY,you don’t.on second thought, you do. i am beginning to believe they’re everywhere. we just need to open our hearts to the world, and we start seeing everything, everybody in different light.MONSOON,awww…thank you!UNPRETENTIOUS,your ma is right, me thinks!PORXTER,glad u agree :)ANON,u come out quite strongly, yet again, my friend (am assuming its the same anon person!)there are people who can see Him even in shit. the saint ramakrishna was a case in point. he used to willingly go and clean toilets in slums, apparently.death is as much god as life is, for death is necessity. the old has to give way to the new, for the world to sustain. also, incurable diseases like cancer, to me, are god’s reminder of the fury of nature – a reminder that there is something much more complex and powerful than us humans know, or will ever know.about free sex – god isn’t some sort of voyeur, why would he be interested in wathcing free sex? :)and the thought of free sex is quite interesting to me, but for that, humans would have to rid themselves of many many complex conditionings.but most importantly, i think free sex is a question of personal moral values, and has nothing to do with god. the consequence, naturally, are also borne by us :)i wish you’d leave a name. or a blog where you would put your own thoughts down.DRUMSTER,golden kerouac, like always. thanks for sharing!good to see here, welcome, and do keep coming by more often :)DB,its a question of belief, and if you ask me, i doubt if the knowledge would make anything any different. for what must happen, will anyways.if at all, what could change is our mind. in anticipation of what we WANT to happen, and in FEAR of what we do NOT WANT to happen. what say?good to see you here. i tend to look at life itself as adventure. thank god for me, work is pretty much an extension of myself, love it and it is in itself hugely adventurous in a cerebral sort of a way. so, i don’t much need to juggle, as there isn’t anything much mundane :)writing more is a great idea (love your style), as is touching base more often. :)SHINI,i think we do, and i think u just said that to chutney here :)ADMIRATION,wonderful words.if love really did mean so much, oughtn’t it to bring our hearts together, to surge ahead, brimming with more love? :)DEVIL,thanks for being here all the time – it means a lot to me :)may be i have written about it, may be it sounds like most of my other stories coz i only write about bumming around. does that make me boring and repetitive, i wonder :)KARISHMA,thank you, but anon deserves a little less harsh treatment, me thinks.BACKPAKKER,it is, indeed beautiful. thank you!

  14. DEVIL,you really are a devil! i just post a comment with replies, and BAM – theres a response to my own response to your comment.woah! you’re fast. and thats freaky. wonder what time it is in portugal now. also wonder how you knew i had replied to comments!

  15. Bum, after I post a comment, I ask for the subsequent comments to be sent to my e-mail box and that’s how I know :)By the way, it’s 14:18 in Portugal hehe

  16. When people say god is everywhere…why don’t they see god in shit”they say god can come to you in any form…then why death / cancer / aids is not godthey say he sees everything…then he must be watching you have intercourse…why not go around having free sex”One bloody problem with blogs, you have to put up with such bull crap:-(

  17. Anon, you sound upset about something. I hope there hasn’t been a tragedy in your life to make you so bitter. You don’t *have* to put up with blogs, you can choose not to read them, or you could respect the views of others and enter a debate rather than merely try to shock.

  18. sooper anna.. the more I think about it, the more I feel like we are completely different. I am honestly not most comfortable with uncertainty in all things. There is no control over what would happen, but I like to think I tried to do what I wanted to do…keep writing da.. love you loads.. hugs

  19. DEVILsmart one you are ;)what do you do? you seem to be online most of the time!ANON,in a way, it is true. to me though, i’m more inclined to go with Z here – i mean, nobody forces anybody anything, not in the blogsphere at least.Z,you seem to be very kind – i’d never have thought of empathising with anon, for maybe, like u saud, he/she might just be having rough times to come across this way. i have learnt kindness today – thank you, z.*hugs*PRIYA,wasn’t much reference, yet, am glad u see. after all, who doesn’t like mommies – they simply are the best!!NITHYA,it sure is necessary to do try and do what we want – the idea is to accept what ultimately happens :)cheers da! hugs!

  20. human nature is a complex yet wonderful thing. loved ur post dbum. a cool night, smoke n a anwar do not happen every day!!see ya

  21. LOL re: fortune tellers! Yeah, I think we do wish we could be certain about most everything but I also think there’s something deep at the core of us that feels excitement about not knowing, not being certain, even in our own situations. Even biting our nails the little thing flutters wondering what’s going to happen, yes? Maybe not with everyone? I know I feel it 😉

  22. “Anon, you sound upset about something. I hope there hasn’t been a tragedy in your life to make you so bitter. You don’t *have* to put up with blogs, you can choose not to read them, or you could respect the views of others and enter a debate rather than merely try to shock.”I agree and am sorry, but there are two anons here and I am the second one. Will remain anon;-)

  23. I do drop by ever so often. [especially to check if you have taken any effort to respond to my response!!! :-)]Learn my style!!!! That’s one hell of a compliment.So how does one touch base with this nomad?

  24. MISSALISTER,well well, i guesd u do love it too, so welcome to the club :)ANON,:)DB,i almost always reply to comments – may not be immediately, but yes, i think i do. first – thanks for coming back :)second – well, at a subtle lecel, we are all only separated by thoughts, more than time or space, what thinks you?hehe, ok, am not much of nomad, though i’d like to me. touch base can be through mail, if thats what u mean by touching base. else, well, we’ll have to wait till providence makes our paths cross (the more ‘real’ ones, i mean!!)

  25. Very nice. There are lot of these people around. Again reminds me of an Anbe Shivam moment.I think, you like sitting all alone on some lonely road, waiting to see if something interesting is gonna happen ;)And, I totally loved the way you and z handled the ‘anon’. That was very kind.

  26. IWOBM,it was indeed an anbe sivam moment.i do like to sit on highways, alone, away from the humdrum, though am not sure i am really waiting for anything – exciting or otherwise :)thank you!

  27. “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”……… really wonderful!keep up ur good work….. i m learning a lot.

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