Sunday, September 04, 2005

Rahul and I

He was unaccompanied in the room. Without delay I hurried in to the room. I was hanging around the room from two days to see the baby’s face intimately. From past 48 hours there was always someone watching the kid. The newborn was very cooperative with the people who came in to visit him all the times except for some flimsy moments.

It was an accident. Some fat aunt of Rahul took the baby into her lap. She said, “He is cho chweet” and was trying to kiss him. Ssssss…like the fountain in the garden, the Sweetie kid pissed on her face. She threw him instantly on the bed and started cursing for making her costly saree wet. It took two hours for the guests and relatives to calm down the kid.

Now the little one is alone. People left him thinking that he was sound asleep. He woke up and was looking intently at the ceiling fan. I looked around to confirm that there is no one around and moved silently towards the baby’s face. He saw me and now his gaze shifted from the ceiling fan to me. I tried to perform some feats in the air, just to amuse him. He seemed to show no interest in all that. While I moved around the room he was trying anxiously to fix his eyes on me. I stood still in the air making it easy for him to grasp a clear view of me.

The room was noiseless except for the occasional screeching sounds from the fan above. For five long minutes I stood motionless in the mid air and the baby was looking at me with out a blink. It was a moment that I will cherish for an eternity. I moved closely towards his face, it was almost a replica of Rahul’s face, charming and tender with large black eyes.

Suddenly I felt cold and blue. I felt like crying, but controlled my grief, lest the baby boy will start crying with me. But when I thought about it for a second time I thought it was just an illusion

This is the last day here for me. This day passed, life will be like hell in heaven. “One more chance!” I thought, would God grant me the wish for just one more time. I knew it would be impossible to persuade God this time. He was constantly liberal in granting my wishes, but I knew that it couldn’t go on like this, forever and a day. This time He firmly told me that this would be the last time I will be visiting this planet.

Many a times I thought of not returning to the heaven but I could never do it. I knew it was by God’s wish alone I could stay here. This made feel bad about Him many a times. I dare not to get angry at God’s stance towards me, for he was the One who constantly allowed me to visit planet Earth year after year for the last twenty-seven years, to be precise twenty six years. I lived here for one year and for the next twenty-six years I used to visit this planet once in a year for Rahul’s Birthday.

This year was special. God was lenient this time. This time being the last time I was permitted to be here for an entire week, Sunday included. It’s not Rahul’s Birthday this time, it is the arrival of his son on to the mother earth. The birthday was two days back. It was a normal delivery but Rahul’s was a caesarean

* * * * * * * * * * * *

It was December 29th; 1977.That was the day of Rahul’s arrival. It was not announced, not even anticipated. Rahul’s mom Veena was watching a film in a cinema hall. She was heavy with the child in her ninth month of pregnancy. It was after a lot persuasion the in-laws of Veena have allowed her to watch the film.

Veena’s favorite hero was dancing with red denims and white shoes on the screen. She was very fond of him. She never missed watching her most wanted hero’s film on the first day of release. This time too, she didn’t want this film to let pass.

She was moving uncomfortably in the seat. She was not paying attention to the superhuman stunts performed by the hero on screen.

Suddenly from the mid of the packed theater everybody heard a cry, it echoed like the train screaming through the tunnel and seconds after the auditorium was soundless again. Everyone, in the hall was almost sure that the cry was not from the screen.

“Labor pains!” Exclaimed Veena’s cousin who was sitting besides her. Veena was already in a state of unconsciousness. The lights were turned on and the film was rolling uninterrupted. Soon the ambulance was called for; Venna’s parents and husband were informed.

I was right there when all this happened. That’s how I knew it in such a subtle detail.

The ambulance was on the road to Sri Venkateswara Maternity Hospital. I followed them to the hospital. None of my co-travelers in the vehicle were aware of my presence. They had worried expressions. In fact I was secreted on the top of the ambulance.

From the beginning I was intrigued by the cycle of birth and death. At all times I had this unauthoritative outlook of human beings in relation to their sensitive understanding and enjoyment of the splendor of nature and the beauty around them.

More or less my friends used to be in agreement with my theory. But when I meet them occasionally in the gardens of paradise they look at me like some foreign being that does not coalesce in beliefs with them.

The fretful drive came to an end. The ambulance halted in front of the hospital. The nurses and the ward boys were already waiting for the ambulance. Veena’s husband anxiously rushed in to the vehicle along with the ward boys. She was rushed into the operation theatre.

I was still sitting there on the vehicle top, stunned by the hue and cry made by Veena’s friends and relatives waiting in front of the Hospital. It was very difficult to translate the feelings in their faces. I never had seen any such feelings in my life. I knew only two mutually exclusive feelings. I was either in high spirits or felt miserable.

***** ***** ****** ******

The front hall was nearly vacant. That was the first time I have seen a hospital’s premises so close. I waited for sometime and slipped in to the hall making sure that there was not much movement around. A lean woman was sitting and yawning at the reception counter. The restlessness was screening her face. I thought that she wouldn’t become aware of my admission. She noticed me but did nothing to stop me.

I roved around for a moment or two only to realize that, I have lost the way. I did not know where to find Veena and all. I found them on the top floor. Everybody was waiting anxiously waiting outside the operation theater. Entry was restricted into the operation theater. I was hanging around the corner of a wall when I saw a nurse coming out of the theater. In a split second I was in. I felt extremely blissful. It was like a dream come true. I watched Rahul’s arrival, I listened to his opening cry and I saw his first smile. I noticed the twinkles in his eyes when the first light pierced into his beautiful eyes.

Half of me was dancing with ecstasy for all that I have experienced but half of me was trembling with fear and pain for what I have seen in the course of the delivery. Her body was cut into parts to bring out the child. I never expected that the dawn of a life would be so agonizing.

My mom never talked about any pain or thing like that with reference to my birth. Later when I asked her she didn’t express any thing excluding a quiet laughter. But what amused me the most was the endurance Veena demonstrated. The instant she reclaimed her consciousness hastily she examined the room and found Rahul in the arms of her husband. In a flash all her pain seemed to have vanished. She laid a hand on the baby’s fore head and with an immense effort moved to the edge of the bed and kissed him delicately on the cheeks.

Once again I felt certain about my theory about human appreciation of beauty around them. After two days of careful nursing by the hospital nurses and a bulk payment to the hospital by Rahul’s father, Rahul was taken back to his home. He didn’t have a name then. I didn’t have a name too in all my life. He was named on the 4th day of his birth.

It was a bit controversial.

It was a secretive dream of Veena to name her son, as Rahul, it was the name of the character of her much loved actor in her favorite film. None of the family members knew about it but still they had an objection. Rahul’s father said that name was too posh. Like most of the times, Veena didn’t find any point in her husband’s disagreement .He wanted to name him as Ramu in fond reminiscence of his grand father Rama Rao.The controversy was solved after most of the family voted in favor of the stylish name than the conventional one. So the kid was baptized Rahul.

Since that day on I was a steady company to Rahul till the day death took me away from him. In the flesh I was missing but was an itinerant spirit watching scot-free Rahul.

******** ******** ******** **********

It was a really good morning. The sun was very bright. The flowers were shining bright in the morning sun. I have decided to visit Rahul earlier than my habitual plan.

It was after a one-hour journey I discovered that I was going nowhere even though I was traveling from long. When looked around I was sure that I was in a place alien from top to bottom. There were roads, not single, not two, but hundreds, each one crossing each other. There were no traffic lights; not even the cops at the signals. There seemed to be more and more people coming in and out from nowhere.

The place was like a huge room. It had doors that would never open but walls that you can walk through. There were mountains many and so many mountain climbers. I saw them reaching the top so easily and from there on they were struggling to climb into the emptiness.

I asked a fellow soul,”What lies behind the space?” .He answered me with a simple smile.

For some time I have thought that I was dreaming. But I was not told that I was dead and the place is called heaven until I met my mother once.

It was a bitter feeling to know that you are dead and cannot do what you wanted to do. Deep with in my heart was the longing for the land of my dwelling place and the love for Rahul, I cried silently for days and one day I have decided to have a one to one dialogue with the Supremo him self.

“Where is God?”

I made inquiries but none of the souls around could answer. I thought I would go mad.
I met Him one day in the paradise while I was just wandering about the place. I was frantic to ask him all the questions. He seemed to be familiar with my upset feelings. The opening item of our discourse was the inquiry about my feelings and attachment towards Rahul. To my greatest surprise he also knew about my theory about human appreciation of nature. The discussion started off very well. It was more of a debate than a discussion.

“What is troubling you?” God questioned.

“My response might not make much variation” .I have replied back strongly.

He was little annoyed .I was unsure about his moods, but I felt that He must be feeling bad for being the Supreme and being questioned by a tiny little soul. In spite of everything He has given to me, I thought, He would never be able to answer my questions.

Like an unexpected explosion, the Almighty prompted:

“What Questions?”

I replied him angrily saying:

“You made me, sent me to a place, made me love the place and life around me and then suddenly with no fault of mine and with no choice given you brought me here in to a place called heaven. Why? Why did you do this to me.”

It was the outbreak of all the hurt and distress in me.

God spoke and said, “My dear friend, simple questions does not necessarily mean that simple answers. I cannot answer your questions. But in turn shall I ask you a simple question?”

And I answered Him with a nod.

“Would you be delighted to go back to the place you loved?”

I wanted to jump to the utmost achievable altitude and come back, but with a little pause I responsed,”YES”.

That’s how I was allowed to visit planet Earth year after year. And I remember God warning me about the ridiculous human behavior. Never did I care.

*********** ********** *************

For twenty five years I watched Rahul grow up from only just a kid to a father of another only just a kid. From time to time I had a feeling of certainty that Rahul on no account knew about my existence. But there were those tender moments of his babyhood etched in my mind that hang back in my mind. May be for that same reason I have been coming back year after year to see him grow up into an adult.

Of course there were those days when I had firm idea of not coming back to see Rahul. From an innocent squeaky-clean kid to a shrewd acquisitive adult, I saw him loving and being loved, caring and being cared, hating and being hated. I never could take in the transformation from innocence to remorse. Year after year I have seen the fading smile on Rahul’s face as he grew up. Uncertainties, doubts, fears, worries and suspicions seemed to be the steady companions for Rahul. Each birthday made him a year older but also more secluded from friends and family.

It used to upset me very badly when my theories sounded too weird for myself. Rahul never seemed to remember the days of his childhood, the days of beautiful sunrises, flower filled gardens and colorful butterflies. As years passed on all that he was interested in were more bundles of paper that he fondly called money.

Back in paradise friends, acquaintances and even my mom used to mock at me for being in so much love with Rahul.On no account I had the tendency of getting irked by their derision. I thought one day he would change and that would be the answer for everything. But that day appeared to be far from actuality.

That’s how I knew Rahul.

****** ********** *************

The kid smiled at me and I waved at him playfully.

God knew that I was not so happy about my visits to this planet. He always wanted everyone to be happy and for the same reason he instructed me that this trip would be my final trip. This year being a special one welcoming another new soul, I desperately wished to be here.

The guiltless smile on his face brought in the previous recollections to my mind. For Whatever reasons I loved watching human beings as kids and children. Today being the last day for me all that I wanted to do was to watch the kid peacefully.

Suddenly I heard a sound out side. It was my long time friend Rahul.I did not want him to notice me and tried to hide my self in a corner.

He saw me while he was leaving the room but has left the room with no reaction on his face and left me puzzled.

I thought that those are the final moments that will bear his face in my mind. It was already getting dark and I considered leaving the place forever.


Suddenly out of nowhere I heard a sound. For a moment I was traumatized. The next moment I realized that Rahul was trying to kill me with a thin little pad.

A sense of immense pain hit me. It wasn’t physical pain though. I tried to laugh at him for a moment at his act of trying to kill a ghost.

All my rigid theories about human beings started collapsing on my self. It was very difficult for me to comprehend. But everyone out there in paradise warned me of the same thing happening to me someday. At that instant I rushed out from that house and never even looked back and flew back to Paradise.

************* ***************** **************************

Now when I think about all that I hear someone inside me mockingly laughing at me.
God was true. It was a clear fault of mine. I could not see the truth.

I went and met the Almighty and thanked him for making me realize the fact that there is none in the universe like the vindictive human being.

When I took leave from the Almighty I heard him mumbling with in himself.
“Hm…The eternal tragedy of relationships and expectations…”

He was right.

What a tragedy! I am just a small little philosophical dead butterfly. What use of me for the human beings.


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