’But finally it would end in 2004 I never knew!’
‘A little kid’s selective perception is a strange thing. Before the day’s over, we are going to understand all about the difference between people and pieces of paper in a file, and the difference between doing your job and getting jobbed.’
Train journey’s are nostalgic but this one would shape like this I never knew! Sangeeta was travelling from Kolkata to Pune and I too was in the same bogey and my berth was just opposite to her. I was proceeding on the Young Officers Course in Belgaum. It was much later in the journey I came to know that she too was travelling to Belgaum!’
‘The train began its journey from the massive Howrah junction. I lost myself in a novel written by Stephen king and I distinctly remember it was ‘The Dead Zone’ written by the horror king in 1979!’ I will not say that was his best but in 2004 I found that it was. Some things were better lost than found! I found something but lost everything
‘We all do what we can, and it has to be good enough, and if it isn’t good enough, it has to be done. Because later in life I found out that ninety-five percent of people who walk the earth are simply inert. One percent are saints, and one percent are assholes. The other three percent are people who do what they say they can do.!’ I was to find this also later in life as I travelled through the years!
I think it was Barrack Pore station, when I poured a drink into a glass which I had hidden in my back pack with a lot of coke in it. With the little bulb on the head side of the pillow the bulb was giving me enough light as I whipped through the pages and the line I was reading was,’ nothing is ever lost, nothing that can’t be found.’ That was the first time I spoke to Sangeeta. Later on I was to call her Sangeet! But not for long!’
‘She simply said that I’m hungry! I just handed the tiffin box which I was carrying. I think my favorites cooked in a mess were boiled potatoes with rich coriander and mint greens with coriander seeds along with buttered parathas.’
‘Never did we talk thereafter but at Allahabad (Prayag Rah now) we did because things like this can only be said once. And you either get it wrong or right, it’s the end either way, because it’s too hard to ever try to say again!’ I never could!
‘She suddenly realized she was sitting in an apartment by herself late at night, eating what I had given, watching a movie as train crossed one station after the other that she cared nothing about, and doing it all because it was easier than thinking, thinking was so boring really, when all you had to think about was yourself and your lost love.’ Was it… years later I realized she had really lost in life!-
‘I kept reading the book and by the time we reached Pune I had finished it with the book by Stephen Edwin King and the last line being, sometimes you just have to do what you can and try to live with it.’ It was the beginning of a new journey of horrors!’
‘The train was late and it did not start the journey ahead until the next dawn. I walked again to the Wheelers and again bought a book (which is a hobby with me now). This was of 1977 written with the name ‘The Rage’! The author was the same!
‘The opening lines were enough to spend one Rupees hundred and fifty (those days books were cheaper) When you’re five and you hurt, you make a big noise unto the world. At ten you whimper. But by the time you make fifteen you begin to eat the poisoned apples that grow on your own inner tree of pain.’ Sangeet was one of them. Before we reached Belgaum this was the last coincidence. Maybe she had forgotten or never knew that little boys grow up remembering every blow and word of scorn, that they grow up and want to eat their fathers alive.’
‘There must be a line in all of us, a very clear one, just like the line that divides the light side of a planet from the dark. I think they call that line the terminator. That’s a very good word for it. Because at one moment I was freak-ing out, and at the next I was as cool as a cucumber.’
We parted off at Kolkata yet again but were to meet again years later but the circumstances were different! It was a dead end and a dead zone. It was Guwahati where we met again but at that time she was not the same girl. Reduced to a skeleton she was crumbling. I asked her, are you hungry? The reply was negative. I asked her are you happy with your life? The reply was negative? The third question was, are you a no hoper? The reply was with a smile because she did say, ‘for a moment I thought about the inner caves of my body, the living machines that run on and on in the endless dark.’ It was at that moment I told her that your husband is in the dead zone!
I asked another one? Why were you traveling to Belgaum then? The reply was a stunner, ‘no woman burdens her mind with small matters unless she has some very good reason for doing so. I knew my husband was bad. There is nothing more to be said or to be done in the evening, so hand me over my violin and let us try to forget for half an hour the miserable weather and the still more miserable ways of my husband!’
I asked her? Are you hungry? The reply was very much from my side? I gave her my lunch box this time! The lunch was different! Rice and mutton! But the man had to die, the name Prasantha! He did! Today she is happily living with her two kids in Thakur Bari Assam, I mean Sangeeta alias Biju! Train journeys are a matter of coincidences! This really was! Sometimes strange coincidences are even stranger! ULFA everyone knows! All I can say is that I saw no one. That is what you may expect to see when I follow you. But I know Sangeet was correct as she gave the information as to where the rascal was!