“Sir, but on Saturday?”
Manager looked blanked at him and then with his usual sham smile he said, “Are Bishbes babu, you don’t have wife and family. Little extra work and it will pay you in future. 10 to 7 on Saturday, okay? ”
‘Okay? Like you need my approval for that.’ Vishvesh had a habit of not speaking his mind. Calmly he went back to his seat and started staring at his computer screen. He looked at his watch. It was almost 3PM. He got up, knocked on Rohit’s shoulder. Both went to coffee machine and filled two cups. Every day they used to drink coffee together at 3PM. No one actually had any reason but it was important for them to follow that time. In corporate world you need something to hold on to, just so that you don’t lose your sanity.
Vishvesh moved back to his seat and started staring at clock. There’s something special about clock, on every second that second hand ticks, you can see time slowing down a little. It’s not a good thing when you hate your job. After few seconds he went back to his work. Somehow worked till 7PM and got up.
He could see Friday evening happiness on peoples face. Compare to those he had Monday morning depression. He simply picked his bag and went for exit. On his way out, security guard smiled and wished him happy weekend. ‘Yeah Right!’ He thought.
Luckily local station was just opposite his office. He entered the station and he could see train leaving. It was no big deal. Entering in running local is what Mumbai is about. He looked inside and had a glimpse at crowd. Honestly he never understood why people complain about crowd. Crowd was always relaxing to him. He could see through their pain and it was ensuring that he was not the only sad person hanging somehow to this local train.
10 mins walk to his apartment and he could see his balcony. It’s a nice feeling, knowing that you are in your area. You feel safe even if your area is crowded with thugs and criminals. Wind was pleasant today. He took a deep breath in and felt a drop on his cheek. For someone who is living in Mumbai as long as he, it’s a cue to start running. 100 meters and few seconds, every day is an Olympic race for a middle class here.
Alas! It was not his day. Clothes got wet till he reached his apartment. Normally, he loved rain, but he had no formal clothes to wear tomorrow. Anyway, he reached his apartment, luckily tiffin was already there. After dinner, he feel down on his bed and started scrolling on his phone. Pictures from around India, nature, culture, it was always peaceful for him and before reaching last picture, he was already asleep.
“It’s dark in here. Can you see anything?” some voice came from darkness. “Hellooo!” ‘Hello! Helloo! Hello!!’ voice echoed from long distant darkness. So there is someone with me and I am in some long tunnel, he thought. For a second, he was proud of his deduction. He kept walking till he heard voice, “Vish, I can see the light, follow my voice.” Did he have any other choice? He kept walking. Now he could feel his shoes in flowing water. Probably it was spring and they were in some cave. He kept walking with his shoes deep in water. Ohh thank god there is light! What? “Hey!” He screamed. Something just grabbed his legs and was pulling him in water. He tried to struggle, but he was drowning. He could see small light going away. Fading away.
Everything was dark again. And then there was light. He was sitting in train. It was just like the train he used to see in his pictures. Darjeeling was it? Windows were big and air was fresh. He could see the mountains with snow sprinkled over them. ‘We are about to reach.’ Someone from back said. Train stopped and they got down on station. Everything was so new and pleasant. It was early in morning, he guessed but it’s hard to predict time in mountains. Some guy in brown sleeveless jacket was leading the group. Without questioning he just started following this self-appointed leader. They walked through someone farm and reached at the top of mountain. He could see the whole valley from there. It was like a background picture on desktop. They reached a cliff and then everyone started looking at leader. He started wearing some gadgets and helmet. What’s going on? Everyone started copying leader’s action. “Vish, it’s in your bag.” Some guy said. Confused he opened his bag and found same gears everyone was wearing. He was good in following blindly. He was finished in minutes. Now what? What’s that noise? ‘Helicopter is too loud, isn’t it?’ ‘What?’ Nothing was audible. He was in big helicopter with doors open. Leader was still mumbling and then he stopped. He showed his thumb up and jumped out of helicopter.
‘Vish, let’s do this.’ And another guy jumped after leader. What? Are you guys’ crazy? He looked down from helicopter. His grip on door tightened. Someone was screaming but wind was so strong, it was hard to breath. He felt a big push on his back and before he knew he was falling from helicopter. How can fall be pleasant? Because it’s not the fall that kills you. His inner voice was filled with quotes from TV series and movies. He looked at others. One by one everyone started floating on air with artificial wings covering from hands to legs. Ohh! Its wingsuit diving. Everything was so clear now. He too copied their moves and headed for sea below. He could feel pressure of air on his cheeks. His heartbeats where increasing as he was reaching sea fast. And splash! He went straight in water.
Water was cold, he opened his eyes. Water was flowing in front of his eyes. He was all wet, with confuse look on his face. He saw someone blur standing in front but couldn’t see clear due to curtain of water. He stepped front and realized he was standing in a waterfall. Water was so clear that he could see pebbles at bottom. He smiled and saw his reflection in water. He turned to see the height from which water was falling. He couldn’t see top due to direct sunlight on his face. His eyes became narrow, he covered his face with his hand. Trying to avoid direct sunlight. Ahh! Damnit! It was over.
He was back at his apartment. His window helping the sunlight outside. He cursed the sun and covered his face with his hand. Dreams are the worst, they give you hope, often the false one and then they take it away leaving behind the sweet reality.