FLIGHT OF FANTASY

She soared up in the sky. It was a beautiful night. The full moon shining bright and the city lights below giving fierce competition to the moon. She inhaled the cool breeze and flapped her wings. Oh, how she enjoyed this flight! The freedom to go wherever she wanted… Each and every light below beckoning her to come to check out the fun that they are having.

She perched on a window. The mother was putting the baby to sleep and the obviously tired mother had fallen asleep but the baby was flailing his hands and legs in the air and cooing. She whistled a beautiful song. The baby enjoyed it and finally fell asleep.

She flew over a dark alley. The policeman was walking his beat. The burglar was hiding in the shadow. She chuckled to herself and gave out a loud hoot. The policeman turned in the direction of the sound and saw the burglar trying to enter an open window. “Now he will catch him,” she thought. 

Again she soared in the sky. The brightly lit market place attracted her. She perched on a street light and saw a couple in the window of the restaurant having candlelit dinner. They both had smiles on their face and eyes only for each other. 

Oh!” She sighed “Life is so beautiful.”

She looked up and saw them – the guards were coming. “Oh no! They are coming for me. They will lock me up again…  I don’t wanna go back there. I want to fly…” She tried to get away but she was caught. 

It was morning and she opened her eyes. The steady beep of the machines and the distinctive smell of hospital told her that the dream was over she was back –  strapped in the hospital bed, paralyzed waist down. 

I will walk” she affirmed “One day I will fly...” and smiled at the nurse.

‘A DREAM’ – NOT JUST ENOUGH…

Dreams are facile and gorgeous to closed eyes…

In my imaginative world, I dreamt of owning a hilltop penthouse. It was a springtime beautiful full moon evening. The hilly fresh air touching my skin and giving the comfort of nature. Small clouds were passing beneath my balcony pane. All the way, away from unwanted evening guest interruption, I was enjoying hot coffee in my yellow ZooZoos printed coffee mug, at the back in my dark living room the slow music and the two small blue lights from my home theatre were lighting my entire glass-walled living room. There were neither the bizarre sound of vehicle honks at the traffic nor the irritating midnight barking of street dogs only the dazzling yellow and blue bright lights of a busy city life down the hill was giving the feel of a calm and composed mind. A faraway from my hometown, I was enjoying those blissful evening moments with my small family. Lo and behold, Pogo (my Pug) sneezed on my face and tired I screamed out, can somebody get this pug a tissue! Mumma replied, O, hello Mr. Lazy, take Pogo for the evening walk, it’s 5:30 P.M now!

Dreams that we imagine in our conscious mind reflects in our subconscious mind while we sleep. Probably, that’s why it is said, “dreams won’t let you sleep!” Contextualizing to my imaginative world’s dream the undeniable question someone can shoot at me, “Well, WHAT’S NEXT to fulling your dream?” Undoubtedly, since human desires are unlimited and as human, I am profoundly subjected to it. Meanwhile, the Bible verse that projected me my grey-haired days –

“I have seen all the things that are done under the sun;

all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.”

I asked myself, does that mean I should stop dreaming? Well, the omnipresent calm voice of God answered back, “Human mind and Imagination is the primordial friends, they walk hand-in-hand and My given freedom allows human to imagine everything their heart desires. But in their course of life, it is My given wisdom to reason which presents before them the final point of their chase to fulfil the dream.

To the clinical eyes the more you rise to the top, the power of visibility grows lesser and lesser. Analogically, so happens with our soul! The more and more we desire to be on the top the lesser and lesser emptied we find within. And alas, the same dream penthouse of my story may become my place to hang myself to stop dreaming. Though now, I want guests and friends by my side sadly, there may be none of those unwanted guests, probably I have grown up so high that they are unable to connect with me. 

The problem is not in the dreaming,

the problem is how do you fulfill your dream.

Dreams are seen in closed eyes but it is our passion to toil for it gives tangible shape to the dream. Again, a reminder for us is, our untamed passion to bring down the dream to reality is empowered enough to allow our futile thoughts and convinces our fragile hearts to compromise with the ethics & morals. And finally, out there on the hilltop penthouse within the glass-walled rooms we may become filled outside but EMPTIED WITHIN…

The Bible says,

“Commit your works to the LORD,

and your plans will be established.”

TOGETHER WE SAILED

Hurry up, they are reaching here, Come’ on dear, hop on. we have got to go“.

I stood amazed at what we were about to do. But then hopped on and just pushed my feet on the land to get the boat moved. And there we were sailing away…

We could see, the torch lights in the distance, approaching the banks, but we were already half the way.  Not knowing where we were off to but determined to be together.

I held him closer, cuddling in his arms. The heaven I wanted to be in all along. I did not know, whether I was crying for being happy or just sad. But somewhere deep down I knew I was happy because I was with him.

Sailing under the moonlit sky, in a boat, along with him, the moment was the beautiful one I could ever imagine. We sailed and sailed away to a direction unknown, with the moon guiding us and wind pedaling us to somewhere, where we belonged.

The journey went on and on… the night was enticing, and the moon showered the silver light upon us. He cupped my face in his palms, and there he was gonna kiss me…

Suddenly the boat began to shake… I lost my balance, but we never left the hands of each other.

There we fell off the boat…

Mamma wake up… wake up… she is fighting with me…” I was awakened by the call of my elder one… and there again I was pushed into reality.

Afternoon naps after romantic movies are quite enriching with dreams.

AN ESCAPE FROM THE PREDATOR

She knew she had to run . . . run as fast as her dainty feet could carry her. “Oh! God, please give me the feet of a deer”, she spoke aloud in her mind as she fled from the predator.

“This is surely the end of me. Even if God gives me the feet of a deer, I can never evade the prowl of a leopard”, she muttered as she made her way through the thick green foliage.

“Lord, please send your angels to lift me up from this place. Else, I will surely die.”

She did not dare to look behind her shoulder. She knew the leopard was slowly and stealthily trailing her. She kept scanning through the length and breadth of the horizon for any means of escape.

In her fearful frenzy, she failed to check her steps and tripped over a log of wood. She fell and kept rolling down the slippery terrain for a seemingly indefinite period of time, till she banged against something solid and came to a halt.

As she lifted up her eyes, she realized that it was a door. Without wasting a second, she barged inside the open door to safety. “I think it must surely have been an angel who pushed me into this safe haven”, she thought relieved. Catching hold of her breath, she cautiously peeped into every corner of the room and tiptoed ahead inch by inch.

Lo and behold, what was she seeing! A whole corner full of books! A book-lover that she was, she raced towards the book shelves. A light that hung from the ceiling helped her finger through the titles of the thousands of books that were stacked in front of her. She knelt down to pull out a book. As she got up holding it close to her chest, she hit a nearby rack and off came the books from all directions tumbling down on her one after the other.

She ducked aside from left to right unable to understand what was going on. And then she heard it! The unmistakable noise of someone opening the creaking door to where she was!!

“You are sleeping here!” shouted my sister cheekily standing near the door to my room. I jolted up from my accidental nap and realised that there was no leopard chasing and no treat of a room full of books. But, what an adventure it had been! I looked up at the Cuckoo-clock on the wall. It was 11 A.M. – a nap of only five minutes had thrust me into a wonderland of hours!

 

 

 

PHYSICS, MY DEAR PHYSICS BOOK

Magnetic effects of Electric current. Reflection and refraction. Centripetal and centrifugal force. Oh man, I haven’t even read these topics once. I’ve Physics exam tomorrow.” Thought Deepa. 

Then out of nowhere a book of Physics comes flying and falls on her lap. She finds herself in an open area that is full of book racks loaded with books. She’s sitting down on the grass and when she looks up, she can see stars twinkling and the moon shining down on her. On her sides, there’re two book racks extremely tall, which seems to be touching the sky. She cannot see the top end of the book racks. 

She opens the Physics book and finds Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice inside it. 

No, this is literature. I need Physics book”. She shouts and feels the panic rising inside her. 

Another book falls on her hand again. It says – “ICSE Concise Physics – Class 10, by RP Goyal and SP Tripathi”.

She sits down on the grass again, opens the book. It has only one chapter – Stars and the Solar system. “This is class 8th Physics book. Where’s my book? I need to study Reflection and refraction. I’m going to flunk”. She starts crying and feeling terribly helpless. 

Can’t you hear me? I need my class 10th Physics book.” She shouts to the sky. 

Another book comes flying to her. This time it has to be the right book. She opens it quickly and to her relief, it’s her own Physics book complete and intact. She’s relieved, as she opens up the page of the chapter – “Magnetic effects of Electric current”, she feels something on her legs. She ignores it, after all, she has to prepare for her exam. Slowly, she feels something tightening around her ankle. She looks down and there’s a black snake circling around her leg, crawling up her knees. 

In an impulse, she throws the book up in the air and as soon as the book is out of her hands – snake disappears. She looks around for the book, then for the snake – there’re none. She frantically looks for the book again on the book racks. She finds all other subjects of all other classes but not her Physics book “ICSE Concise Physics”. 

The book racks are infinitely extending in all directions. She kept walking looking for the book. Suddenly, all the books start flying in the air hitting each other. She tries to save herself. There’s one book that’s ready to hit her on her head. She starts running for her life but while running she manages to read the title of the book – “ICSE Concise Physics Class 10”. 

She wakes up sweating and panting for breath. It’s twilight already. Her clock reads 5:58 am. Her alarm will go off in 2 mins. She has her board exam in another 3 hours and her Physics book is sitting silently on the table. She smiles at the book, picks it up, and hugs it. “You’ll never hurt me ever I know, my dear Physics book”.

GLASS – HANDLE WITH CARE

I had always felt very sad and incomplete on seeing other children going to school while, I was at home all day, dreaming. I was a 10 year old boy, sitting at home with an imaginary tagline on my forehead – “Glass – Handle with Care“. I could only dream at that time, to be a big man one day, sitting on a table and working on a computer. But how would I reach that state of my life was nothing more than just a mirage for me at that point of time.

Finally, when the time came for me to step out of the house and enter into a school campus, my joys were leaps and bounds. I couldn’t contain them. I was admitted to the school directly into the fourth standard. It all happened because of my aunt (my mom’s elder sister). She convinced my all-possessive maternal grandfather to allow me to go to the school where she was working as a teacher. I was a thin timid boy with no courage at all, bearing the same imaginary tagline – “Glass-Handle with Care”. 

Years later, when I passed out of my school and it was time for me to get admitted into a college the tension arose in the minds of my local guardians. But I joined. The day I went for the admission I saw a senior student carrying a sword along with all his friends, protesting against the government during the Mondal Commission issue in 1992. This time, carrying the imaginary tagline “Glass-Handle with Care” by myself, I was trembling in fear looking at the rowdy students out there. This is how my first time at college started with a serious jolt down my spines.

In 1997 after my graduation, I wanted to taste freedom and fortunately, my aunt stood by my side trying to convince my grandfather to allow me to study away from them at Bhubaneswar in Utkal University for my post-graduation. My father’s elder brother was the Secretary to the Vice-Chancellor of Utkal University. I stayed at my cousin’s to complete my PG in Utkal University. But I was strictly instructed to carry my tagline, “Glass-Handle with Care” without fail.

That imaginary tagline was the chain which put me under its bondage at every ‘First Step’ I took at different stages of my life. But I could breathe free with my lungs inhaling the fresh air of freedom for the first time when I came to Kolkata, my first out of state stay. I sensed, the tagline “Glass-Handle with Care” disappearing for the first time after many years in my life. I felt God’s promise of “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go“, real and evident.

Have I become very strong? Am I free from all the sufferings? Don’t I have any weaknesses anymore? No, not at all… I have become more weak and slower. But I definitely am free from that all-encompassing negative tagline, “Glass-Handle with Care”. 

Never enjoy stagnancy but always be ready for the first time adventures relying on His divine strength.

Stay Blessed!

SPECIAL FIRST TIMES!!!

First times are always special because they make you either confident in continuing what we want to do or they make us really scared to go ahead in that venture. There are many things that have gone well for me when I think of my first times. Although there have been goof-ups too, sometimes because of me and other times not. 

The very first memory that I have of a goof-up is when I was going to the school in Dehradun for the first time. I was born in Gujrat and my parents had been staying there for almost 18 years. When I was 6 years old, my father got transferred to Dehradun and we packed our bags to come to this new city which was quite different. My father and one of his colleagues had got the transfer together and hence we were travelling together. I was 6 ready to go in 1st standard and my sister was 13 ready to go in 9th standard. And the other family also had two kids – elder one going to go in 4th standard and younger one was my age. 

We had shifted mid-session so getting admissions in the school was a challenge. Somehow we managed to get admission in a school named Scholar’s Home which had 3 branches. The farthest branch was quite far off where my sister was supposed to go since she was going to High School. The first branch was quite a big school but we did not get admission there, we younger ones got the admission in the second branch which was only the Primary school. The schools were quite far off from our home and there was a school bus that would take us there. 

I don’t remember a lot of it but I remember being dead scared. It was a brand new city, new school and away from home. I don’t know if I cried but I know that the only relief I had was that I was not alone going to that school. So, the goof-up happened when the bus conductor got confused about which branch he is supposed to drop us at. There were no mobile phones or landlines at that time. My sister was on the other bus. We three kids got dropped at the first branch which was not the school we were supposed to be at. I remember kept telling the bus conductor that I don’t think this is where we are supposed to be, but who takes a 6-year-old seriously? 

As soon as we came in, the teachers were surprised to see us as we weren’t even expected. I started crying and so did the other two kids with me. We spent the whole day sitting in the Principal’s office. There was no way they could get the confirmation from anywhere either our parents or the other school. We did not know which bus to take us back home, so we waited for long 6 hours or so for the school to get over. Once the school got over, we were escorted to the school bus. The bus was waiting there and I was so relieved to see my sister on the bus. I remember telling her the whole story and then repeating it for my parents multiple times about what really happened. I don’t know how scared or worried they got. 

Now as a parent, I feel that it was a pretty bad goof-up. We could have been lost and I can imagine the state of my parents once they came to know what really happened. Later on, till the time I was at that school – it was a pretty funny story to tell other kids that how I got dropped at the wrong school.

The first-time event isn’t always goof ups. They are also memories for a lifetime. And there is one more first time that I would like to share which was rather special – it was the first time I travelled abroad. It was an official trip to the US and I was just 22 years of age. That opportunity was rather an unexpected one but I was quite thrilled that I got a chance to stay there for 3 months. During the journey, I kept listening to the song from the movie Chak de – “Badal pe paon hai”. It did feel like I am cloud 9 and everything around was so very exciting. The first experience of explaining a Mc Donald’s cashier that I wanted to have a vegetarian burger was quite funny. After a while, I asked them if they could make a burger without meat and the lady looked at me as if I had asked for all the trash in the restaurant. Just by her look, I left the place after having fries and coke. 

At the Denver airport, I was quite nervous at the security check for a simple reason that I had to take a domestic flight now. I had heard quite a lot about their security checks. I did the regular drill of taking off the shoes, socks, coat, specs, etc. Unfortunately, my mobile was still in my pocket. So when I went through the metal detector, it beeped. And I realized that those guys take the metal detector beeps way seriously than I had ever seen. The security personnel there looked quite scary and he asked me to step back. In all my nervousness, I did not understand him at all. He had to say this thrice for me to get it and my eyes were fixated on the gun that he had taken out because I wasn’t listening to him. Of course, once I stepped back they checked me thoroughly only to find a harmless innocent mobile in my pocket and then they let go of me. I was trembling by the time all this got over, but now I knew how to handle the security there. The more nervous you are, the more trouble you are in.

We were a group of Indians working together on a project while my first stay in the US. Our project manager was an old American lady who was a workaholic. She once came to me and said – “Prabhjot, I have trouble communicating with some of our colleagues”. I was a bit puzzled if my friends were in some trouble. 

She said “Every time I ask a question to Anand, he always nods his head sideways. I cannot make out if he is saying a Yes or a No. What does it really mean?” 

I couldn’t help but laugh at this. She was sincerely quite embarrassed in asking this question and it was her first time working with Indians. I told her it is not just you, we Indians also get confused with each other. And then I had to tell my manager to sensitize the team to not use nods and communicate very clearly in Yes or No. 

Well, first times are special. Not just first time events but also the first time objects are super special – like first salary, first address of your own, first house, first car, first pet and the list goes own. My husband gets quite frustrated every time we cross the ATM where I withdrew my first salary from – because I always remind him that this is the ATM where I saw so much money in my account for the first time and what a thrill it was.