Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Sentimental Chameleons—Part II

‘Magic! I don’t have any magic wand, Ram, Sharma said with a guffaw. ‘But honestly, it’s that face … the power of the motorman’s face that does all the magic … that brings me all the luck and laurels. I had been to the railway station; saw that translucent face before walking into the Bank. And that did the trick … that got me the loan.’

‘Cut out that crap, Sharma’, Ram snorted, his face changed color. ‘You’re an idiot … a sentimental idiot. I sometimes get puzzled thinking how  a post graduate in Science can talk and act like a crank. You read too much into accidental happenings and attribute the causes to what you call the power of a man you’re constantly meeting. All bullshit.’

 ‘Don’t blabber, Ram’, Sharma snapped at his friend. He became furious hearing Ram taunted his honest faith as idiosyncrasy.  Sensing Sharma’s mood, Ram backed out; he had no inclination to lock horns with his friend over his foible. Ram left the canteen, saying he had to go and arrange for the GM’s farewell meet.

‘Go to hell,’ Sharma shouted at the Ram’s retreating figure. He was still furious, sitting lonely at the canteen and brooding … cut chewing how he met the motorman; he could still remember with gratitude the day of his meeting with him. That day, a few weeks ago, did not dawn well for him and he felt like sitting on an inferno. His mother, keeping the pink of health until then, had a massive heart attack early in the morning. Perplexed, Sharma admitted her into a nearby hospital. Doctors attending on her told him that they could say anything about his mother’s condition only after 24 hours.

Sharma wilted; panicked at the possibility of losing his mother; and smelt disaster sitting at his doorsteps. He felt blank, came out of the hospital in a trance. The summer sun, outside the hospital, was, like a ball of fire, blasting the metro.

He rambled on along the streets adjacent to the hospital in a stupor before reaching, by reflex, to the Egmore railway station. Sitting in one of the shabby wooden benches placed on the platform, he closed his eyes and not his mind which was hovering over his mother battling for life in a hospital. He came out of his reverie when he heard the hooting of a unit train and the fuss and clamor it had created on the platform.

He saw an old man waving hands at him from the motor car. His smile was ingratiating. Sharma’s cell phone rang when he too was smiling at the motorman. His sister spoke on the phone rather excitedly, saying that their mother had since recovered completely and the doctors called her recovery a miracle. Sharma hung up abruptly and saluted the motorman. ‘Mother must have been recovered at the moment when he was having the Dharshan of the noble soul. Can a human face have such an amazing healing power?’ Sharma said to himself.

So, from that day onwards Sharma plunged into quite a new world … a world of blind faith. His trips to the railway station to look out for the motorman became frequent. He went to the station at the time of fixing the marriage for Rohini, his sister; at the time of getting college admission for his brother; at the time of writing promotion test and at the time of Rohini’s delivery of a male child. For all and sundry things, Sharma was going to the station to take a look at his godly-figure. In fact, this had become one of his daily chores … an inseparable part of life.

When Sharma got home it was late in the night. It was at Ram’s insistence that he attended the GM’s farewell meet. It was a dreary affair. All those who called the GM a moron in the past, now showered praise on him eulogizing his business acumen, managerial skills and his Good Samaritan attitude to the staff members. ‘All euphemistic wise cracks’. Sharma thought.

Sharma had a quick shower, came striding over to the dining table where his mother, after having laid the table, was waiting for him.

‘Amma, I have good news for you. Today, I got our home loan sanctioned by the Bank’, Sharma said setting the plate on the table.

‘All god’s grace’, his mother replied, holding aloft her folded hands, a gesture of thanks to her gods.

‘No, Amma. It’s all due to the divine face that I see everyday’, Sharma quipped, his eyes glowed with pride.

‘O.K. Let it be’, Sharma’s mother smiled. ‘Now listen to me Sharma. The day after tomorrow is an auspicious day. Having got the loan, why don’t we have ‘Bhoomi Puja’ on that day?’

‘Good idea, Amma. I’ll make arrangements for the Puja tomorrow. But before that, let me go to the station and have the Dharshan of our man.’ Sharma stood up, walked over to the sink and washed his hands.

[To be continued]

Image courtesy: Google

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Sentimental Chameleons— Part I

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]

Image courtesy: Google