Burn them all !!

She burned 4 years’ worth of diaries. She didn’t ploy to, but one day she woke up and thought that it’s the right time to let it all go.

She heaved open the duct, started a small flame and started putting the diaries into them. They burned….burned slowly, unwilling and hesitant. Few pages first, the flames caught on the edges and then her handwriting, quill of thick smoke moved leisurely into the smokestack. Tiny and hard manuals, tied with threads and taped up on the sides, their plastic blue color and covers diminished and wrinkled. She thought that the burning color would keep the sinister soul apart.Her eyes enquired too inquisitively into burning affairs. Her eyes… umpired.

She didn’t wanted anyone else reading her secrets, never ever.

Seclusion was, possibly, the imminent cause of her current and obsessive desire to set fire to things. Her friends were spending the day with her, probably the last one with her. They went on the periphery of deviating into their own life’s, leaving her alone, moving into their own world of desires. It had struck her, several days earlier that things were not the same as it used to be, the age at which everybody has their own secrets, the dark one’s, becoming dingy to those who cares for them, who love them the most, the age at which they do things that hurt somebody, they (so called friends) became covetous and left her alone.

Once they get possessive that way nothing can put that desire off.

She should have known !! She spent years as a juvenile rooting around the corners of the bed looking for something, sorting through boxes, searching the closets looking for clues that could answer her colossal of questions, about existence, life, love, about everything that she knows, that she can ever imagine of. Everything on this planet earth and beyond.

She started writing when she entered adolescence. She was fascinated about it. She scribbled daily as she went through school, she filled numerous pages with thick colorful ink. Her soul was so eager that full stops and paragraphs were not able to stop her, she denied them the break, and force by which she used to write, pulverized the nib. Writing dairy was a way of relaxing, it assuaged the pain, embraced the joy for her. As a teenager when she was afraid of separation the diary was with her.

The impulse of burning may have been sprouted, long ago, of the prayers she did on her knees when she was a child and saw the world burning a corpse as part of a funeral ceremony.

“If I should die before I wake, I pray the lord my soul to take”.

Her diary was her intellectual energy. She thought by the time she was in her 80’s and if she dies before she wakes up she wanted her lord to snatch her diaries before anyone else did.

She wrote about the bad boyfriends she had, bad relationships, mean girls, cheater and deceitful bastards she loved. She also wrote about violent pain of downheartedness, the dilemma and fear of becoming a friend, sister, girlfriend, wife, mother to someone, when she didn’t had a clue how to do that elegantly, kindly, smoothly. Definitely not the sort of her evil friends.

Life as she knew and as we all know is a game, you never know what’s going to come. She thought, taking the long route while prying into something, and burning up, her life. You work hard to raise, and you even get lucky, too, you are wandering along and suddenly, boom, you fall along, you make a foolish move, and you are upside down the slide. You have to pick yourself up and start the ascend again. It gets tiring after time.

That’s the obvious pattern in all our lives. It takes so long to glue things together, the skidding, gliding, starting over that by the time we are old enough to know that the “climb is all there is”, the whole plot, the point of disembarkation doesn’t matter, we are jaded enough to let sagacity into ourselves, to move effortlessly, thoughtfully, to stop sometime and relish the present time.

Setting it on fire, she realized that nobody should know how awfully she suffered from falling down and broken heart, the tumbles through the pits that stared with mouth open wide in amazement or wonder in the her life. That would be so painful for anyone. She wanted to remember herself as a fighter, one who fights back. That’s the person she was, who picks herself up and rise again.

Back through the days she threw diary pages onto the flame. She couldn’t stop. The fire became huge, hot and loud, the flames were screaming, now the pages didn’t burn slowly not without smoke and flame rather burst into large flames, the diary distorted and exploded. Small pieces of burning and glowing coal and wood in that fire took a flight to the floor of a fireplace, ashes blew here and there smudging the room.

The temperature became so vigorous that she had to back off. It was exhilarating in ancient or ancestral fashion the “medusa cut” way. She wondered that this decision an impromptu one to burn the diary will she regret it later? Another old school episode.

As the dairy burnt, she looked scared and extremely interested, as if it was someone else laying the journals on fire, to torture or amuse her. But that fire had some beauty in it. She also thought now she is liberal, “I made what I could of that”.

It was magic for her, voice from the flames I’ll call it. What was it? I don’t know but what I am aware is that, she called and the voice of the flames answered. That moment had a spiritual meaning that is difficult to see or understand. It was a purifying moment that she laid a lot of pain and anger to rest on that pyre of memories. She was deprived of the power of physical sensation. Relief !!. And little bit of sorrow, that now it was time to clean the muddle she made, of her heart ?…or the room ?

The flames brought her a sense of enlightenment that the bad memories are laid to rest, “the guilty are under the same sky but for you there are different horizons, the new and the good ones awaits you. Go embrace them”. She told to herself.

Go forth, bad soul, from this space
In the name of benevolence,
Hatred and cruelty who created you,
In the name of compassion and kindness
Who suffered because of you
In the name of love and friendship
Which was poured upon you,
Go forth, may you live in peace
May your home with trust and honesty
Go forth. 

~Gaurav Dey

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Taxi…. for Sure !!

For 28 years, 8 months, and 12 days, that guy drove taxi. Now, if you were to ask me what I had for breakfast yesterday, I probably couldn’t tell you. But the memory of one fare is so vivid, they will remember it all days in this world.

It was a sunny Monday morning in early 2013. The guy was cruising down Whitefield looking for a customer, but with the beautiful weather, it was kind of slow. Guy had to stop at a traffic light just opposite the City hospital when he spied a well dressed man dashing down the hospital steps. He was hailing the driver.

Just then the light turned green, the driver behind him honked impatiently, and the guy heard cop’s whistle. But he wasn’t about to loose this ride. Finally, the man reached the cab and jumped in. “KIA Airport, please,” he said. “And thanks for waiting”.

Good news, he thought. On Monday morning, KIA is hopping busy and with a little luck, I could get back-to-back fares. That would make my day.

As always, he wondered about his passenger. Was this guy a talker, a mummy, a newspaper reader ? After a few moments, he started a conversation. It began ordinarily enough: “How do you like driving a cab ?”

It was a stock question, and he gave him his stock answer. “It’s OK,” he said. “I make a living and meet interesting people sometimes. But if I could get a job making 6000 INR a week more, I’d take it – just like you would.”

His reply intrigued him. “I would not change jobs if it meant I had to take a cut of a hundred a week.”

I’d never heard anyone say such a thing. “What do you do.?’

“I’m in the neurology department at City Hospital.”

The guy always been curious about people, and has tried to learn what he could from them. Many times during long rides, he’d developed a rapport with his passengers – and quite often received very good advice from accountants, lawyers, and plumbers. Maybe it was that this fellow clearly loved his work; maybe it was just the pleasant mood of a spring morning. But he decided to ask for hos help. They were not far from the airport now, so he plunged ahead.

“Could I ask a big favour of you.?” He didn’t answer .” I have a son, he’s 15, a good kid. He’s doing well in school. We’d like him to go to camp this summer, but he wants a job. But a 15-year-old can’t get hired unless his daddy knows someone who owns a business, and I don’t.” He paused. “Is there any possibility that you might get him some kind of summer job – even if he doesn’t get paid.?”

Doctor still wasn’t talking, and driver was starting to feel foolish for bringing up the subject. Finally, at the ramp to the terminal, he said, “Well, the medical students have a summer research project. Maybe he could fit in. Have him send me his school record.”

Doc fished around his pocket for a card but couldn’t find one. “Do you have any paper ?” he asked.

The guy tore off a piece of brown lunch paper bag, and he scribbled something and paid him. It was the last time he ever saw him.

That evening, sitting around the dining room table with his family, he pulled the scrap from his shirt pocket. “Raju,” he announced proudly, “this could be a summer job for you.” He read it loud: Shekhar Singh, City Hospital.”

His wife: “Is he a doctor.?”

His daughter: “Is he an actor.?”

His son: “Is this a joke.?”

After he nagged, cajoled, yelled, and finally threatened to cut off his allowance, Raju sent off his school report the next morning. The actor jokes continued for a few days, but gradually the incident was forgotten.

Two weeks later, when he arrived home from work, his son was beaming. He handed him a letter addressed to him on richly embossed paper. The letterhead read “Shekhar Singh, MD, Neurologist-in-Chief, City Hospital.” He was to call Dr Singh’s secretary for an interview.

Raju got the job. After working for two weeks as a volunteer, he was paid 2500 INR a week for the rest of the summer.The white lab coat he wore made him feel a lot more important than he really was as he followed Dr Singh around the hospital, doing minor tasks for him.

The following summer, Raju worked at the hospital again, but this time, he was given more responsibility. As high school graduation neared, Dr Singh was kind enough to write letters of recommendation for college. Much to our delight, Raju was accepted at XIME, an Ivy league institution.

He worked at the hospital for a third summer and gradually developed a love of the medical profession. As college graduation approached, Raju applied to medical school, and Dr. Singh again wrote letters assisting to his ability and character.

Raju was admitted to Bangalore Medical College and, after getting his medical degree, did a four-year residency specializing in obstetrics and gynecology (OB_GYN).

Dr. Raju Sharma, the son of taxi driver, became OB_GYN Chief Resident at Presbyterian Medical Center, Bengaluru.

Some might call it fate, and I guess it was. But it shows you that big opportunities can come out of ordinary encounters – even some thing as ordinary taxi ride.

Rightly said  “How much I missed, simply because I was afraid of missing it.”

Make every moment count, it can change your life.!!

~Gaurav Dey