Thursday, November 10, 2005

a walk through the jungle

It must be some bizarre scene out of Einstein meets National Geographic because the vegetation seemed to have gone unnaturally still and my body supported by my backpack still seemed to be traveling.

Suddenly the radio in my head began playing a ridiculous jingle for Hawaii chappals. I knew I had to get up and move before ameen sayani started announcing the next popular number…

The radio in my head had got me into many a scrape at school and elsewhere. It played songs that reflected my state of mind, sometimes with such accuracy that it inevitably got me into trouble. And the songs were not exactly nice. They were annoying little ditties that would translate into huge trouble for me. I remember the Professor who taught us Wordsworth had very dirty mane of hair that was always tangled and he would gesticulate wildly when explaining. It was a particularly tedious poem and his gestures were very wild that day. The radio in my head was playing songs that were drawing attention to the glorious spring day outside. And at the precise moment when he made eye contact with me, ameen sayani (my all time favorite radio voice) asked the audience of one to guess the name of the old Hindi film as Kishor Kumar yelled, “ya---hoooo!” on the music track.

I involuntarily said, “Junglee!” and I realized I had said it aloud.

The class froze. The Prof stopped gesturing mid air and mid sentence. I could feel fifty eyes on me. And then I saw his jaw drop as the word sunk in. The same must’ve happened to the class because it erupted into one big laugh.

I never got an ‘A’ for the rest of the term in his class, but that’s another story.

Right now I was facing a narrow road, a climb with a backpack which would take me god knows how long, and my head was spinning.

That’s when I realized I was all alone.

For years I had wanted to be where I was standing, and now that I was there, I was wasting my time, dithering.

A renewed surge of energy seemed to course through my veins. The stupid chappal commercial that was egging me on had been replaced ‘Chariots of Fire’.
It was a good start. But I had forgotten that I should not be putting my hands over my ears. It just served to increase the volume of the radio.

I sighed and started walking.

It was awkward at first, because the music in my head was loud. Then all of a sudden it stopped. That’s when I realized how beautiful the road was. It was quiet. Very quiet. Even the leaves that were rustling with the slight breeze that could be felt on the face, were moving silently. There were no twigs that crackled underfoot, or birds or crickets to make the forest alive. Everything seemed to be resting. And it did not seem out of place at all. It did not seem odd or sinister either.

Then coming around a corner, I stopped to gather my breath. There seemed to be no need to hurry. And all of a sudden in front of my eyes, the green and yellow leaves on the trees came to life in a flutter of wings. Butterflies! There must be a hundred of them. They weren’t fantastic or extraordinary ones at all. They were just the little yellow ones. They were everywhere! I must’ve disturbed their afternoon siesta. They just took off and were fluttering all around me.

It was the most amazing sight. Butterflies have always made me smile. Here was fodder for a lifetime of smiles.

The show stopped me for what seemed an eternity. But then just as soon as they had appeared, they disappeared too. And I knew I had to move on. With a smile pasted on my face I walked the rest of the way.

The gate was imposing in several ways. It was huge and must’ve been made of wood no human hands could have hewed. The wall looked very out of place there, and I wondered why it was needed. I pushed at the little wicket gate, That was shut too.

I knocked at the gate until my hand hurt. Tiredness suddenly seemed to overtake me. My feet were protesting now. I kicked off my shoes and sat down on the backpack, and pressed my feet. Then my back began begging for attention. And the stomach rumbled. And the voice of my evil twin said ,”Told you not to come here without informing anyone! Now just sit here!”

I did not want to hear that voice. I simply allowed sobs to overtake me.


Blogger Asmita said...

vey engaging. very vivid. am looking forward to more.

1:27 AM  

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