Sharma was known for some bizarre idiosyncrasies. A hopeless sentimental stupid and a repository of blind beliefs and superstitions, he was regarded an eccentric creature or odd man out in the circle of his friends and relatives. However, he stood his ground; cherished being sentimental no matter how his friends taunted him and poked fun at him for his idiotic behavior. When questioned about his sentimentality, he would blurt out: ‘Tell me, who isn’t sentimental? Life sans sentiments will be a dreary affair.’
Sharma was in a hurry. It was time for his rendezvous with the ‘godly figure’ at the railway station. He became tense, restless, looking frequently at his wrist watch. ‘Time is running out,’ he moaned and shut down the computer.
When he was about to leave the office, Ram, his friend and colleague, approached him and reminded him about their GM’s farewell meeting in the evening. Sharma blinked. He was completely out to lunch. He looked through Ram and said: ‘Sorry, Ram, I can’t attend the meeting. I’ve an urgent work at the railway station.’
‘I know what it’s. You’re an incorrigible sentimental idiot’, Ram quipped, went on his way.
Panic-stricken, Sharma ran helter- skelter on the railway platform unmindful of the sweat that had drenched him from head to feet. Clusters of people standing haphazardly on the way did not deter him from reaching to the dead-end of the platform where the motor car of the Tambaram-bound unit train would usually halt. He dried his sweat-laden face with his hands, got his eyes riveted on the rail tracks.
‘Could I get the Dharshan of the godly-face today? He muttered. ‘Have enough time to go to the Bank. If I get a glimpse of that face, I’m sure I’ll get my home loan sanctioned today itself’. He was upbeat, gazing joyfully at the rail tracks … happily waiting for the train.
He now spotted the Tambaram-bound train chugging into the station. Its ear splitting siren created a melee on the platform, making the passengers push up and pull down one another so that they could board the train easily as soon as it pulled at the station. Sharma hopped from the shabby wooden bench he was sitting in. The train did not stop at its marked place. Sharma had to run along the train to park himself near the motor car. He gasped for breath, but was all smiles when he saw his man Friday behind the wheels of the motor car.
The motorman was in his fifties as thin as a robe. With receding hair, sunken eyes and wrinkled face, he looked decrepit more than his age. Even the goatee he was sporting looked shabby as it was trimmed haphazardly. But, Sharma liked the face. For whenever he saw the face, he felt like being filled with an aura of light, both clear and lucid. Sharma would always call the motorman’s face ‘divine and angelic’. To him, it was luck-laden and god-sent. He believed that whenever he saw that face he would get all he wanted. The Dharshan of the face would untie all the knots of life’, he would think.
‘Hello!’ Sharma greeted the motorman. He was standing close to the window of the motor car. The old man at the wheels nodded his head briefly with a bland smile, but the smile flashed like moonlight on Sharma, sweeping him off his feet. He tried to speak to the old man. He wanted to tell him that his mother had miraculously recovered from her illness the moment he had the Dharshan of his cherubic face weeks back. But, Sharma couldn’t speak what he felt since the train left the station in a flash.
When Sharma got to his office, it was late in the afternoon. He was so excited that it did not occur to him to have his lunch. On his way back to the office from the railway station, he dropped into the Bank to enquire about his home loan. Seeing Sharma entering his cabin, the manager told him that his loan was sanctioned.
Sharma was all smiles. ‘I know I’ll get my loan sanctioned today’, he replied nonchalantly. ‘How?’ the manager asked, raising his brows. ‘It’s all due to the mystical power of a man … the divine grant of a face. I saw him at the station before coming over here.’ Sharma left the Bank in a hurry leaving the manager in a quandary who called Sharma a nut since he couldn’t figure out anything from what Sharma had said.
Ram was dumbfounded when Sharma told him that he got his home loan sanctioned. They were sitting in the office canteen. ‘You’re lucky Sharma’, Ram said, his tone a bit envious. ‘I know that Bank. They’ll take ages to process a loan application. Come on, Sharma; tell me what magic you did to get the loan sanctioned just like that.’
[To be continued]
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