I have not seen him a lot of times. Only a few times less than the number of sunrises I have seen. Well, seeing him can be added to the experience of the serenity that seeps in from the sunrise. It fills you with a strange sense of inspiration. Exactly the way he did. He is now a memory clearer than porn, boxed in a corner of my mind that I open up time and again. Especially when I feel direction-less. The way I was feeling when I saw him the first time.
He took out a book and struggled to open the page up to the bookmark. For him, it may certainly be a ritual but the way I saw it was pure struggle.
While I was fondling my beard attempting to figure out something, the BRTS (Bus Rapid Transport Service) and the day both were going on at their usual pace. That something need not have to be anything specific, just like the vision in front of my eyes. I was looking forward but was focusing particularly at nothing. Most of them around me felt to me the same. Like the light in them was dead. Until he arrived and sat in front of me.
He was different. The infinite loop that I was in, felt being broken by him. The stoic expressions accentuated the Bollywood-cop’ish look that his moustache gave. It was just another the beautiful day for him. People around (including me) were stealing glances at him. This act of behaving like visiting a zoo went un-noticed by him. Or may be by now was very used to it.
Meanwhile, unlike me, he went on with his daily ritual beginning by pampering his moustache once. He wiped sweat off , forbidding the beads from falling further than his forehead. Adjusting the sling bag on his lap, he opened it. He took out a book and struggled to open the page up to the bookmark. For him, it may certainly be a ritual but the way I saw it was pure struggle. He was stuck on the page, trying to open up one more because that was the one from where he had to start reading.
By this time, I was in a state of aghast and broken into pieces. I looked at him and he smiled. This was the last nail in the coffin. All I could think of then is -“How is this person smiling?” I started fidgeting with my broken phone in my hands, which reminded me of the scene that I just saw. ‘A man with his both hands cut-off from elbow trying to turn the page of his book.’ And, he smiled at me while he was at it. His (non-existent) right hand’s bone was carved like a palm. Possibly due to excessive use.
I couldn’t take it anymore. Because he made me and my petty struggles seem so small. That too, with his wide, radiant smile. Though my stop was not in sight yet, I stood up and walked towards the doors. I was desperate to get out now. I made a desperate attempt to divert my mind by starting my songs. Songs that I was bored of hearing everyday by now. But, that didn’t matter right now. Raghu Dixit’s long – ‘Hey!’ brought me back fron hibernation.
“Chhoti si hai zindagi, usse chhota ek sapna;
Ik bar is dharti pe dekh lu khuda apna.
Hey bhagwan mujh ko tu, zindagi dobara de!”
Till today, I never really understood the reason why Raghu Dixit smiled while singing this song. The only reason that I thought someone would ask for a second life is that this one is wasted, give me a new one. But, that guy showed me what Raghu Dixit was meant. His version meant that life is a celebration. He just wants this celebration to keep going. I mumbled a silent- “Thank you!” , replayed the song and moved on.