No reservations

Kalyan is a daydreamer. But he also has these nightmares every single night: he cannot get on the train that’s going somewhere he needs to go to rejoin his office. Every passenger in the train is known to him…hey come on, it’s a dream… it’s not real, but here is how it goes…

“How did you get on this train Jaffar and Harish? You made me drink last night and orchestrated a video so you can blackmail me? And you are going to impart training on ‘Integrity’? No, no why are you looking so kindly at me…I know you are faking it… you are people who only lie with good English. What is it… you are trying to give me a hand so I can get on the train? With you? I will not…let me try the other coach….

You Loveleen and Disha!!! You two are here!!! You’d scare me with your looks…do you remember?? Whenever I would work in my cubicle, you would just eye me…keep on eyeing me with a ‘we will screw you soon’ glare… and I would sweat out of fear…you have also got permission to be on this train? You were scared because I could take your subjects but you could never ever take mine… so you teamed up with Jyoti who was also upset with me because I remembered the names of the participants of my class? Do you remember?? And you are going there to train participants on interpersonal skills?? And now why are you looking so kindly huh? Loveleen… your child Tejas didn’t come on my lap and the whole group thought he didn’t because I was a bad person…and you made it seem so right…but no…here through meditation I come to know that the little boy didn’t come to me because he was receiving negative vibrations from all of you… for now…there are children who come to me, talk to me, love me… and no…I am NOT falling prey to your ploy again…and good lord…who am I seeing…SIN… Subhesh, Indrani and Nishant…my God…I have reasons to run from here too… you ruined my life with a click of a button… when you were alone you were good human beings, but when you came together as managers, you became sinful… don’t give me your hand…I will try to find a place somewhere else…

O Sanghamitra!!!! You have also managed a seat here?? How many times have you insulted me saying I have joined to ruin your career…but lo you ruined mine… I was senior to you…eighteen years… as if that was a crime huh? Never allowed me for client presentation because you were owning the process…and Vivek? You must change your name…that’s the least I can say about you… shame on you…a dirty climber… made me translate like a donkey…. millions of words… all machine translation…and then found faults… and who am I seeing here… is that you Suma??? You are also here!!! You had a problem with my qualification…so you were threatened… not only that… you hated me because I found your faults… yes in French dear…do you remember… you’d write ‘a fin de’… and not ‘afin de’… and there were scores of other faux pas… you guys have also got permission to be on this train…let me try some other coach..

But where do I go? I see all of you occupying every seat…including mine! Waving at me? Going places? I also have to go…I have a family to feed too, besides I have a valid ticket here… and I am dead sure most of you don’t… you will manage your seat from the TT thanks to your interpersonal skills; but please don’t fake your kindness… you’d been not so kind when you had the chance… okay go… take care…all the best. I cannot run anymore… I have to sleep.”

Beethoven’s Pastoral is playing in the background. There is also this intimidating Denver who’s singing away ‘take me home’. Why are they looking so kind and happy? Are they faking it? Are they happy because they are on the train or is it because Kalyan is not!

The train whistles. Kalyan, wet with pain, wakes up in the middle of the night. He goes to the kitchen, silently has water. He visualizes how ‘everybody’ has been trying to tell him what he was not… a monster, a black sheep, a bad apple…and what not. He goes to his desk and writes:

My body is not a garbage.
It is a garden.

Ah! Writing is such a relief, he takes a deep breath and smiles. Indeed the ‘body’ is not a garbage…to be filled with thoughts that only bring diseases and miseries; it is a garden that needs to be guarded and protected. No matter what, he will not be defined by the ‘other’ going forward; he has every reason to destroy himself, but no, he decides to face life; he will do things that he holds as good. He cannot control the world outside , but he can definitely control himself, his body, his mind and his spirit, most of all, his thoughts. The little Tejas cried looking at him; never mind, it was not his fault, neither was it Kalyan’s, but he was holding himself as a devil because of this for a long time; the whole group would have at that moment thought of him as a criminal.

But can Loveleen be blamed, can any characters here be blamed… we have made the world a stage of competition… going berserk because of this win-lose model, where one has to win at the cost of others. They were all trying to gain their own positions, as a winner… in this game, someone has to lose, dadi Janki so affectionately says…haar mani (accept defeat) brings harmony..someone has to lose; Kalyan, wide awake, comes to the balcony and looks at the sky, it looks black with the moon, blue with the sun; both are true or none is… if he was destined to be a loser, so be it, but he will not allow any negative thought poison his body, it is simply not worth it; no one is that important to ruin his sleep and his peace of mind…and there is no need to run away from anything. And in this trajectory towards understanding Self, he is not a loser.

He is sure the train will come again… he would simply let the train and the passengers go with no reservations.

On his headphone he listens to Beethoven’s sixth symphony again in the dead of the night that’s slowly breaking into a dawn.

© supratik 2023
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