It was a normal November evening, humid and hot, almost 10’0 clock as I walked to the exit of the office building I was sure I had missed the last bus for station had left and so I looked around and found that none of the government facilities of transportation(read taxi) were available. I walked down the alley, wondering when the rain gods are going to shower their blessings as the humidity became unbearable. Well I am not that a great believer of God but during that very minute it started pouring, pouring like cats and dogs. It was within seconds that I was drenched from head to toe, using this as an excuse I remembered my mother telling me that you should be always careful of what you ask for; one may not know when the lords might be listening. Now was exactly when I understood what she meant by that. Cursing the rain and appreciating the waterproofing of my bag, I reached the common bus stand of the area. I inquired about the next bus to Civil Lines; it was due in another thirty minutes.
I took shelter under the bus stop. Like all writers have a habit to brood over issues, I thought about myself, a 28 year old young man, in a city like Mumbai working at a publication house and all he has in his life are books. The idea didn’t sound that great. I think so much of thinking was happening because of the pouring rain. May be it was because after a long time I could hear my own voice in the chaos around me. Rain, a man and his life. Sounds like a cliché. Well clichés became clichés because we love them so much. As I pondered into my own dreams, I didn’t notice a young couple coming and taking shelter just like me. They weren’t really drenched, may be they listened to their mother more often than I did. The girl looked like a post-graduate or something and the guy had to be a year or older than me. It looked like a complete book written scene, a dark and stormy night. The alley lit by just a dim street light. Perfect setting for a murder by a stranger. My editor keeps on telling me to apply my work into my life. I guess it really has started happening.
If I were to really apply my work to my life in the present surroundings, I would go ahead with few of my favorites. If this where to be a scene by Mario Puzo, like a typical Godfather scene. The man could be from the Corleone family and the woman would be his wife. She would be dressed in a typical long skirt with stockings and a wail. Her aura would be of a good wife, a woman who believes that her husband commands her life and her sacrifices where nothing in front of his but she would be a woman equally strong. The man would look like a walking bull, wearing a nice tailored suit depicting the Italian touch to it. A man of power, authority and command, someone who believed in himself. As a black limousine pulls in the alley the man looks at his wife, smiles and she gives out a sigh of relief. They both know that life has given them another chance. They have escaped death yet again. They both in a hurry like breaking the silence before the storm, get into the car and as the car gears to move, there is a loud screeching of tires and another black car pulls in. Gunshots are fired from the following car. The air boomed with the noises of speeding cars, gunshots and yell from both the cars equally. Both cars leave the alley in a fraction of seconds. Leaving the alley like nothing really happened in there. The whole scene gives a feeling that the mafia world in the 1950’s was aloof of all the rules and regulations of the administrative system.
Or if this where to be a scene from PG Wodehouse, the man could be Barty Wooster dressed in a neat pair of trouser and fiddling with his bowtie. The woman could be his fiancée breaking up with him telling him, “This will not work. I will cherish these moments with you but you can act quite like a blockhead. Well you are a block head.” Being the usual Wodehouse story, Barty in his 1920’s English would appropriately reply by saying, “Right ho then. If you are ought to give a heave-ho, pip-pip,Toodloo.” Then he would hail transportation for her and bend to open the car door for her. Make sure that she is seated comfortably and give the address to the driver telling him to drop her carefully. The alley would have been bright and it for sure would have been day time.
As I was day dreaming into the whole idea of a Wodehouse, I saw a very faint view of a tattoo on the girl’s hand. And then I wondered to myself what if this had been a scene from a Dan Brown, then I can totally imagine myself being a nosy parker and listening to their conversation. The girl would have had an unusual pattern tattooed over her hand and the man would be inquiring her about it. They would have been dressed like they are right now. Just if the scene were to be made a little more Dan brown-ish then the guy would be more dressed in tweed coat and would have been unaware about his good looks. The tattoo would have been at a very random place like in the inner wrist or on her ring finger. Then she would have told him about the story behind the encryption, taking a promise of never mentioning it to anyone as it was a secret to be protected by life, the secret organization had spent years and years in keeping the secret safe and if it comes out it’ ll destroy every existing belief, faith and tradition. Taking the clue from there the man would try to find out more about the girl’s murdered father and realize that he has very little time to save the world. Well not bad, it does sound like a stereotypical scene from the author. Living by my book world isn’t that difficult after all.
I was always told in my childhood that the job which you choose should have the requirement of your basic traits. Like for an astronaut should have the basic sense of physics and math, like a teacher should have the ability to be patient beyond belief, imagination is something I now realized is so important. But that isn’t the reason why I chose to be a writer; I was always a curious kid.
As I was growing up my mother told me that I had to look for a job in which curiosity didn’t kill the cat. Following my basic trait, I went up to the couple and thought I’ll break into a conversation to kill my curiosity and know who they really are. The couple gave me a warm welcoming smile. I went up to and introduced myself.
“Hi, the rain is really bad”.
The man got up shook my hand and said, yes it is.
They weren’t from Mumbai, that I was sure. The woman introduced herself as Nandini and the man as Raghav. They told me that they were theater actors and had come from Bangalore. I chuckled to myself that this is the irony, the people I was putting in so many situations where used to the idea of wearing different masks in reality. They were into street plays and had come to perform and conduct workshops about the art in Mumbai. As we started talking I came to know that they were a couple engaged. They had been in this profession for a quite some time. Observing them individually I realized that both did apply their personality to the work they did. They were versatile and very expressive. I realized what my boss had meant by applying my work in life.
In all the conversation I came to know that Nandini was a professional classical dancer and Raghav had been studding in the National Institute of Drama in Delhi. They seemed to quite an intelligent pair and highly dedicated to their work.
Raghav said, “We are performing at the Sophia Bhabha Hall this weekend. Why don’t you come and see us? To which Nandini added, “We’ll feel good to at least see one recognizable face in the crowd”. I smiled and told them that I would surely try. We shared good pleasantries about work and the cities.
By now the rain had stopped and the taxis came into clear view. They hailed a cab, exchanged e-mail ids and left. All by my own now I was thinking about the evening, the dark and stormy alley dint look so dark and stormy. The idea of being a 28 year old young man, in Mumbai working at a publication house with books all around him didn’t sound bad at all. I was just meant for this job. Delighted by my sudden discovery I saw the bus pulling in. I got onto it, and realized why I loved clichés.