Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Following a Dream

She pressed down on the horn and forced her car to scream at the high horsepower vehicles screeching to a snail’s pace. She hated the early morning traffic almost as much as she hated being bothered by inconsequential dreams. Why had he popped in her dreams out of the blue? When had she last seen him? Twelve years ago? If she thought about him now, she could still see him as that awkward, bespectacled geek who glared angrily at her from across the class.

She allowed herself a tiny smile. Egos flared higher than the New Year eve fireworks those days. He had expected her to apologize for ruining his concentration by whispering non-stop during the science class and she had asked him to go fish! They had never quite mended that rift.

Which is why it unsettled her to see him float across her dream last night. He was no longer a kid. He was still thin, his cheeks drawn, his spectacles perched over his long nose, his face unsmiling. But it was his eyes which spoke to her. They had not been glaring at her. In fact he was not even looking at her. He was looking away from her at something she could not see. Suddenly he turned to look at her.

His eyes were vacant. The emptiness eclipsed the hope in his eyes and pushed their sparkle to an almost invisible existence. He looked at her and recognition dawned. She watched transfixed as the fast slithering hope suddenly gathered force and fought for a space in the hollow of his dimmed eyes. The struggle was brief and lasted only for a few seconds. From behind the fingerprinted glass of his over-used spectacles, his eyes shone with a radiance which would put the best of solitaires to shame.

But that’s where the transformation ended. He had not moved, even his lips were set in a rigid line as if determined not to smile. His lips quivered and she realized he was trying to say something. She leaned in closer to hear better. He let out a loud piercing, painful scream.

She woke up with a start.

She darted angrily between two cars and stepped on the gas pedal. Why had he figured in her dreams? She had not met any old friends to relive school memories, she hadn’t looked through old photographs, she hadn’t even thought about school. So why had her sub-conscious dredged him out of some buried grave and retouched his existence in her dream?

She passed the old school gates like everyday. The school had changed locations. They needed bigger buildings and larger playgrounds. The small space she remembered as school was not big enough to accommodate the increasing demands of an educated world. Weeds had sprung all over the playground. The building itself cracked at the walls and sported wayward branches of wild trees. She was tempted to pull to a halt and visit her childhood just once again.

There was a meeting scheduled for nine to review the progress on the Birla project. There was interview scheduled for ten. She really did not have the time to stop and pander over the past. But she was tempted.

“What the hell!” she thought as she eased her car to a halt near the curb. Everyday was loaded with meetings and things to do. It would be alright if she got late one day. She had so buried herself in her corporate climb that she had never found time to get together with who she was or who she had once been. Now seemed like a good time.

She crept through the half open gate and gently found her way around the twigs and grass to where she remembered her classroom to be. Her heart thudded so loudly that it threatened to shatter the early morning peace of this deserted space. What was she so excited about.

She emerged in a small clearing and was surprised to find that she was not alone. The blue dupatta fluttered carelessly in the breeze as her unidentified companion continued staring ahead. A twig snapped beneath her three inch heels and the girl with the dupatta turned to see who it was.

The two women smiled at each other. Their differences apparent in their common circumstantial existence.

Jigyasa,” she smiled, as she introduced herself.

Tamanna,” she smiled back.

“Did you study here?” Jigyasa asked, tempted to linger on in her childhood just for a minute longer.

Tamanna shook her head and pointed ahead, “My husband did!”

Jigyasa followed her finger to see a man sitting some distance away on the stairs of the main hall. She could not see his face. She watched Tamanna lovingly watch her husband who seemed lost in a world of his own in this private space.

“He must’ve loved school!” Jigyasa smiled.

“No,” Tamanna laughed, “He hated it! The only memories he had of school were of being bullied.”

“Oh!” Jigyasa frowned.

“I know,” Tamanna said, “ beats me too. Yet for the past two days he insisted he had to come here. He would not tell me why. Said he could not explain the reason in words. He just had to. So here we are!”

“That’s sweet of you to accompany him on his flight of fantasy,” Jigyasa joked.

“It didn’t feel like a flight of fancy,” Tamanna said seriously without looking at her. “You see, my husband has lukaemia. Everything has been tried and tested. Nothing seems to work. We are left with one option. A bone marrow transplant. Yet, it is not an option at all! Nobody can seem to be the donor. Everybody, brother, sister, cousins, aunts…. The most remotest of friends have had their blood tested. The bone marrow is just not the same!”

Tamanna’s voice cracked as she struggled to control her tears. Jigyasa just stood there unable to move and yet with no idea of what she ought to say.

“He said he hadn’t lost hope yet,” Tamanna continued, “ he said, if he came here, he would know just what to do.”

That moment the man looked up.

Jigyasa stood frozen in her dream. She watched transfixed as he looked at her with the same intensity of her dream. She watched as his lips quivered with the effort to say something which would match the renewed hope in his eyes.

She gasped and took a step backward. Tamanna frowned and looked at her. She followed her stare to meet the hopeful look in her husband’s eyes. She looked from Jigyasa to her husband and back. She could feel the air stir with some undefined emotion.

Jigyasa turned on her heel and fled. She jumped into her car and zoomed towards work. Her mind was a crazy riot of thoughts. She didn’t want to sort them, she couldn’t. She wished she could stop the million questions from choking the sanity out of her mind.

She pulled in the parking lot of the hospital. There could be only one supernatural explanation for everything. She walked to the reception and asked for him. Tamanna was waiting for her.

“I think we should get my blood tested,” Jigyasa announced.

Three weeks later Tamanna called Jigyasa to let her know the transplant had been successful.

“Why did you come there that day?” Jigyasa asked

“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you,” Tamanna sighed.

“Let me guess,” Jigyasa said seriously, “ You followed a dream.”


rainboy said...

no romance at all...
not my type of story ;D

Raj said...

the part about him trying to say something, hope surrendering to hopelessness... :)
i daresay babe, you are learning from me. :D

gawd i love ur writing. always new and special.

COMMUNI said...

This is lovely...Good writing...I wish I had ur imagination!

The Sage said...

expected ending... quite unexpected from you... :P

sanely insane said...

brillianto...and a break from the full mushy stuff :P

rain girl said...

man I love this!!

n i agree with The (Handsome) Sage :*