Dusk

I regret my wrongs I do in my dreams more than those I do in waking life. For I know I can never
get back in the same dream and amend all the mistakes I committed.

Work done so far:
Enigma was my first work it is a 17 page long PDF document with five short write-ups(Metamorphosis, And the eunuch danced again, A myth, that lived forever, Mist, Enigma)

Sugandha is another work of mine. Its a compilation of few poems that I have written so far.


A new Project:

-------DUSK-------------
Wrote in: October 2013

Writing with a Vision:

Not the best from me but the first complete work. I have left many such projects incomplete. The whole effort was to reach a final conclusion but I do not know if there is any such thing. Before this I wrote "Mist". I have thought of writing atleast five such short stories with each having a one word title (as short as possible) to finally compile them all in one work. Mist was about a teenage boy who worked near Jama Masjid in Delhi and how he experiences God's grace one day. Dusk is about an existential debate that rakes the mind of person in his early twenties. Next one will be about a man in his thirties who lost and gained few things in life and his understanding of life. I will name it "Dawn". Final two will be about relationships and Nirvana (preferably set outside India).



Words: 5474

Chakresh Singh


PART 1
Still contemplating over the last night’s dreadful dream of fundamentalists wrecking the secular identity of my nation overnight, I slowly walked towards the balcony. Like every morning, the news paper was laying there – rolled up with the help of rubber band. Since the time I have moved to my new flat, I do not have a television vision set and news paper is the only medium through with I come to know about the major world affairs. I do have the internet connection but, I rarely use it for viewing news.

In the light of my last night’s dreadful dream, today’s news paper sent terror waves to my heart when I saw the blood drenched photo of dictator, Gaddafi, on the front page. The degree of brutality a man can stoop down to is by in no way dependent on the age in which we live. Distribution of videos and photographs with men being executed by men even in our age makes me to rethink the evolution theories.


With all sorts of disturbing thoughts in my mind, I left my flat for a friends place. Weekends have always been horrible for me. They are like mirrors that I face weekly. They show me my loneliness too clearly. My loneliness makes me walk on unknown roads and spend time at unfamiliar places. Thankfully I have few friends from my college days who are also in the city. I rush to their place whenever I get some time out of my uselessly busy life, (about which I refrain to discuss at this point).


While at my friends place, I find some peace of mind. With none of my friends having any interest in news in general apart from the sports and entertainment sector, I hardly get anyone arguing with me over the national and international affairs. I cherish the lightness in the air when I am with them.


By the time I was there, the lunch was ready. We had our lunch. We made call to one of our very close friend from college living in a different city and we all kept shouting at him for no reason, there by reliving of our college life again. This has been my life since the day I have joined IT sector job. With me still in the transition phase, from being a college boy to an IT sector professional.


Mondays are always horrible for IT employees, especially. But this Monday was a notch more intolerable by the evening. I had my appointment with the doctor and he was supposed to hand me the report of the diagnosis that has been going on for few weeks now. I spent whole day answering mails and solving tickets pending against my name. By the evening I was totally tired. I reached the doctor’s clinic in time but had to wait for thirty agonizing minutes. Each second passed restlessly. I kept putting my hands in pockets and then taking them out to wipe the sweat from the palms. I kept keeping my handkerchief in different pockets and taking it out every now and then. Then came a soft voice of a nurse calling my name. I got up and walked to the doctor’s chamber. He smiled and made me sit down.


“Listen to me carefully. We have your report ready. You might get terrified at first but I assure you its very normal. You are suffering from a kind of depression which is caused because of excessive work load and loneliness in life. It is sector employees these days.”
He then looked at me and found an unperturbed look. My sunken cheeks and high cheek bones give a tired look at times. He asked to take rest and spend time with loved ones.
“Alright doctor, thank you. I will take care”, I said and looked towards him to write some prescriptions.
“No. You do not understand probably Mr. C. Let me put it this way. You are suffering from a disease and it can get you in very painful phase in life. You need to take rest. You will have to stop thinking and may be you need to resign from your job too.”
I could not believe my ears and as it happens with me quiet often these days, I screamed at him.
“You read few books and consider yourself as a doctor. Can’t you just give me some pills and save your time rather than suggesting me to so something which I cannot. How can I leave my job? Who will finance my brother’s education fees? What will tell my mother? I am just 26 and you are telling me I can’t take it anymore. You want to say my mind has an ailment than science can’t cure.” All the time I kept wiping my fore head with my handkerchief and spoke without a break to finally get tired and bend my head in acceptance to his report that was there in front of me.
“So if I take a break, how long so you think I will take to recover fully?” I asked with submissive voice.
“Don’t worry. I will be there with you. It won’t take long. You just have to stop thinking somehow.”
I walked out of the chamber looked around at the other patients. All were ld aged people and very few boys of my age were there but they were either accompanying the patients or were staff members of the hospital. I walked out alone and the street was dark. Darker than ever before. The vehicles were fast and roaring. I could see a trail of light on the street. I walked slowly thinking about not to think. My mind was filled with thoughts and I was trying hard to empty it. It was like taking a mug that had a hollow bottom and trying to take out water from a tub filled with water. I kept telling myself not to think but all in vain.

After some time I found myself in the market near my flat. The people were busy like every other day but I felt more peaceful than before. The hurry was not there. I knew I had no work to do at home and I had no plans for future. I called my friend, Vivek, and asked him to come to the market. He came on his bike in fifteen minutes and we walked to a coffee house nearby. He knew I met the doctor but he did not ask me about the report. We ordered apple juice and chicken rolls, an odd combination but we were not in a mood of hot coffee. Also, we were hungry so wanted to eat something. While taking sips from the over priced juice bottle, I told him that I have to resign soon and that my mind is on the verge of break down as per the medical report. He looked at me with surprise and said, “Don’t worry. You will be alright.”  I was much more clam by now and had taken the truth bravely. We did not talk much after that. I walked with him along the market corridor and entered a shop to but a Woodland shoe, I had wanted to buy it for a long time. I asked him for the keys to his bike and asked to go home. I told him I will return him the bike by the morning. He warned me not to do anything stupid. I smiled and said, ‘Doctors don’t know anything.’

Within no time I escaped the city and took the highway to Jaipur. The Royal Enfield Bullet 350 cc was the perfect companion to a non-stop ride to the Pink City. Surprisingly no police van was on the way to stop and check me from accelerating the bike to its full throttle . What a bike! I do not remember having thought of anything while riding on NH 8. By 11PM I was in the city again. The city was about to fall asleep. I bought some liquor from a shop and rode away to a serene place outside the city to rest along the roadside. I drank like there is no tomorrow and slept without any thought of what all can happen to a single soul on a highway.

Luckily I got up safe with the bike still there. The tank was empty and needed a refill. I rode to an ATM as I was not having enough cash. To my surprise I could not remember the pin code to my HDFC debit card. I then searched for my cell phone to call someone, I do not know why. To add salt to my agony, my android phone was out of battery. I had no charger and the ATM too was not having any. So there I was with a bike, a hangover, an empty wallet, a discharged cell phone, a fading away memory and a couple of hundred kilometers away from home. “6765!!!” this number came to me out of nowhere and tried my card. It worked. I could remember the pin code finally. I took money and drove to a petrol pump. Got the tank filled and then drove to a dhaba.  I ate well and then took a nap. At 7 AM I decided to drive back home. But I could not get up. I was totally awake but I could not lift my body. My eyes could see, my ears could hear, my brain could think and but body won’t answer a single command. I wanted to restart my system as I was used to at office sometimes whenever it would hang, but I could not find any button. I kept looking at the bike parked near me and asking me to get up. I did not tell anyone to help me. And then I wanted to check if I could speak or not. O dear God! I could not open my mouth. My heart skipped a beat at this late discovery. I had lost power of speech!


So I closed my eyes and asked myself to sleep. I got up late at night in a civil hospital. I looked around. Then within no time I knew all that must have happened. I checked my body movement and nothing moved. I checked my power of speech and it was not back yet. I kept looking at people and wanted to hold someone and tell him all I wanted to but no one seemed to understand what my eyes were saying.


I closed my eyes and cried. Tears came out and I was in deep pain. Then came a nurse after sometime. I kept looking at her. I wanted her to lift my hand and give me a pen and as my mother in childhood made me write, write with me. She came close looked into my eyes wrote something and asked me. “Can you talk!” I kept looking at her. “You have had a paralysis attack and its very serious. The doctor will come tomorrow. Right now he is away. I have given you injections and you will not move unless I am here. DO not try to lift yourself up. Do not try to force yourself to speak.”


I slept and slept. The doctor came next day. Sat close to me. Told me that I was found almost dead at a dhaba without any possession! No cell phone, no wallet, no ID card, no bike, no car nothing. I closed my eyes with pain and he knew I was robbed. I looked at my hands, the bracelet was there. It was a costly bracelet given to me by my girl friend few months back and she had told me the day she sees my hand without it on, she will know I do not love her. I was happy to see the bracelet there. The doctor assured me that after few hours I will be strong again and will be able to speak and move. I waited for that moment.


(All of a sudden there was a desire to know the day and date. I started to think:
Sunday: spent at friends place.
 Monday: Met the doctor and then came to Jaipur

Tuesday morning I was robbed and by the evening I was at the hospital
It must be Wednesday evening I thought)

PART 2

All the time I was on the bed, I was thinking of Vivek and his bike. I knew he will not understand anything and will curse me for what I did. I told myself to forget about the loss and focus on the future. The next thought that came to me was how I will get out of Jaipur and what if I die in oblivion. Lastly I thought of my parents. I almost knew they will never come to know anything, either I will get well and all this will be forgotten as a dream or I will die and in my lifetime I needed not to worry about them. Its strange how emotions die when a man sees death so neatly (I used the word neatly with a purpose as that is how I saw her – yes death).
I was quiet and closed my eyes.  I noticed could hear things more clearly than before. There was no hangover and I could feel my body. There was back pain, I guessed because of the nonstop driving and there was an unbearable neck pain which kept increasing. I tried to lift my hand and to my surprise I could. I tried to open my mouth and utter some words. My power speech was back.


After about an hour the nurse came again. She told me that the police had come to see me and an FIR has been lodged. She asked me not to force myself to speak and that the police will keep coming until I got well. After some time three men in khaki uniform came near me. They kept talking to themselves thinking that I cannot speak or lift my hand to write and thus there was no possibility of any conversation between me and them. After few minutes a well built police inspector came and sat on a stool close to me. He looked into my eyes and said: “You were found by us near the dhaba. You were drunk and not in your senses. Doctor says you are seriously ill. We won’t force you to talk. I have some questions. Blink your eyes once if answer is yes and twice if no.” I thought this was going to be fun and was determined not to utter a word even though I knew I could as I had an unknown fear. I thought I was guilty of something which I did not know but surely very grave and the moment I speak, I will lose the freedom of lying in the hospital freely. The inspector continued: “You are from Rajasthan?” “No? Haryana? Yes? Yes. Gurgaon? Yes? Yes. You came alone? No? Yes? Yes. When? Monday? No? Tuesday? Yes? Yes. You have had such attacks before? No? No? No or Yes? No. You remember your name address phone numbers of friends or relatives? No? No? Yes? Yes or No? Name? Yes. Address? Yes. Phone numbers? No. not even one phone number? No? No. Your own phone number? Yes? Yes. Good.”


He got up. I was really impressed at his speed of interrogation and keen interest in collecting relevant data. I believe we underestimate our police force a lot in our country. The movies don’t show this side of their expertise. He was about to leave when he turned back to me and said: “I almost forgot. Whenever you can find some strength write down your phone number and other details about yourself or friends on some paper, we will trace the rest of the details we want and don’t worry at all you will be alright, we will help you in all possible ways.” As he left I questioned myself if I really remembered my phone number as a day before I could not even recall my ATM pin. I wrote my cell phone number, name, and address, name of the company I work with and also all that had happened. I wrote about the bike I lost most importantly. The same was forwarded to the police by the hospital staff.


Though by now I have turned into an ardent atheist something miraculous happened within the next twenty four hours. The police came with good news. The inspector entered my room with a broad smile. He said on the day I was robbed the police had caught a man with possession of all that I had lost along with the bike. After robbing me this man tried to speed towards the suburb where he hit a man and fell down. He was caught by the local people, beaten and handed over to the police. All his possessions: wallet, ID card, DL, PAN card, cell phone and Haryana Bike were cause of suspicion and he was interrogated. He accepted his crime. The inspector handed over to me my cell phone and wallet (intact) without a penny lost to me. I rose up and hugged him. To my surprise I started to cry. I believe it had to do with my ailment more than my emotions that tears came out holding a man in khaki uniform. I looked at the wallet and knew now I am connected to the rest of the world – I knew I have money. My ATM cards were back.  There’s one thing life has taught me – Money, more than anything else, is the universal language. If you have money you can talk to anyone. Now my fear was gone, I knew more clearly now what I feared a day before. I feared if I spoke, the police will leave me at the mercy of my friends and I feared what will happen if they refuse to help me.

I told the inspector that I was much better and would like to pay the hospital fees and ask for discharge. I wanted to leave for Gurgaon as soon as possible. I asked the nurse to charge my cell phone using someone else’s charger. She was prompt to help me. I asked her to buy some fruits whenever she gets free for me as I was hungry. She took the money and asked a small boy to rush to the shop outside and bring some fruits. He came back in about half an hour with half a dozen bananas and apples. Meanwhile, I read my medical report and found that the diagnosis of the doctor was somewhat close to the Gurgaon doctor’s report but he used a different name for my disease. I asked the nurse if I was suffering from some kind of depression, she said no. She told me I was suffering from neural disease that affects the nervous system and can cause paralysis for the rest of my life if I don’t take proper care. I told her that my doctor suggests its a kind of depression. She was sure that any such diagnosis was wrong. I did not argue with her and ate the fruits hurriedly. When my cell phone was charged, I took it and left the hospital. As I was all alone, I had to be on my own self after all this.


I came out and found a very bright sun above my head. My bike was there. I had the keys. I made a call to Vivek and told him everything. He was cool about me losing his bike and then again miraculously finding it back. He told me that his bike was under insurance and in case of theft he could have made a genuine claim so there was nothing to worry in any case. He also, told me that there was an FIR lodged in Gurgaon and the police was searching for me. We laughed out loud and I said, “mera intezaar do states ki police kar rahi hai!” I asked Vivek to come to Jaipur and drive me back with him as I feared driving alone with my weakness. He agreed and came by public transport by the evening. I spent the entire day near the hospital anticipating another attack. I talked to my parents and told them that I was alright. I came to know that they had not slept all these days and they were thinking that I was kidnapped. I told them my version of story that was a little less dramatic and a little more acceptable. The next thing I did was calling my team lead and telling him that I might have to resign as I was not well. He was shocked and could not believe what I was saying.


All the daylong I kept living life lightly, enjoying every single body movement that I could make. My body was answering my commands so obediently. I had sensed one thing though that I was not the body and that the body is just what nature has given me and I can use it the way I want. Also can snatch this power in no time. I speculated who I am? As I said earlier I had seen death neatly, I wanted to know what life is.


I sat on the bike parked under a neem tree and kept looking at patients entering and leaving the hospital. I was holding the poly-bag inside which was my medical report. I saw the fruit vendors, all healthy and smiling. I saw them selling fruits and arranging their stalls for buyers, and their buyers arguing with then for high prices. I saw them fighting for five rupees. Sitting in total silence I turned meditative. I closed my eyes. Tried to forget my body and it was much easier to do so after having actually lived without my body for few days in the hospital. I concentrated on my breath and focussed on the life force in me. After sometime, I could see faces in my memory rotating and fuming away. I saw parents, friends, teachers, teammates, girl friend, her parents, relatives, strangers, crowd, trains, passengers, ATM queues, college, hostels, schools, hospitals, offices, and then finally total darkness. No sign or symbol for the next few minutes. I kept breathing. I was totally aware of the surrounding but still not there. There was no attachment with anything or anyone. No hurry, no fear, no anxiety, no thought at all. After few more moments, I saw the darkness turning into brightness and as if I was looking in the sun directly my eyes started hurting. I was now expecting Gandalf the white to walk close to me and smile. But that did not happen. Instead, the meditation was broken. I knew I was very close to attaining my Buddhahood under that neem tree. But my last moment expectation of seeing someone consciously broke the effort. I opened my eyes slowly, and saw the same world outside, with normal business going one.

I stood up and stretched my arms. I looked at my cell phone, there were many messages, few telling me that I have crossed Haryana and was roaming charges apply, few telling me to sms the answer to silly questions and win lakhs of rupees and few messages of friends asking me where I was. I replied to my friends by a broadcast messaging facility that my cell phone provides – I am under a tree called “Nirvana”.

Vivek came after sometime. And drove me back. I resigned from the company. I had enough money to plan a holiday in a hill station. I chose Ranikhet as I knew it was serene place and there I could get accommodation in a government guest house through my father’s contacts there.


A month later:


My mother came with me to Ranikhet. We stayed at PWD’s guesthouse. There was nothing to worry about. I had the money I had saved so far and all the time of the universe for me. I felt infinite. Each second was like millennia. I knew i had no work to do and best part was that I had not to worry about future as there was a very nice possibility that there was no future. I wonder why men worry about future. I think there is nothing like future.
My daily routine is very simple. I get up at 6 and take my breakfast at 8. Spend my day reading news paper and watching news or sitting ideal looking at the hills. And I go for evening walk in the evening. In hilly areas, such as these people are jovial, simple and sleep much early so I sleep before 10 PM. The cooks and sweepers are my near relatives here and I share with them almost everything. I discovered one thing about human nature – a human values expression of the more than anything else. I think the cave paintings of early men are indicative of this fact. Someone said: “Just consider how terrible the day of your death will be. Others will go on speaking, and you will not be able to argue back.”

Today I spent the whole day talking to Kishori, the gardener here. He is strongly built, short and fair man in his late thirties. But these hilly people, who walk too much and work very hard look more aged than they actually are. I asked him about his family, his believes in God, his aspirations from his children and similar things. He is a superstitious man and has ever been to school. His son studies in a good school and does well in studies. He wants his son to grow up and become – bada sahib. He laughs a lot and makes me laugh with him. While we were arguing over something, I abruptly asked him about the tree in the compound. He told me it was called – buraas tree – in colloquial language and that it bears red flowers in spring season. He also told me that the flowers are used to make juice and it has a healing property. I asked him to take me to the village where he lived. And we set out for his village after his day’s work.


We walked on foot as in hilly areas its the most convenient way to move around. There was a reason why I wanted to see his village. I was willing to see that corner of India about which the news papers never talk and wanted to discover that life style from which a man like Kishori had learnt how to laugh at life. I could see the stark difference between IT sector employees of Gurgaon earning thousands every month without any real work and a man like him who works hard all day and earns so little. I could see, how I feared losing bike of my friend and doubted whether they would come for my help, and how I could connect to this man within no time.
We walked for about an hour. And I was getting tired. We were away from the city. The sun was about to set. The ray of the sun filtered from the high cheed trees. The roaring sound of wind at times filled the heart with fear of wild animals nearby but I knew I was safe. I told Kishori that I could not walk any further and needed to sit down. We sat under a tree on the side of the road. I kept gasping and he was as good as an hour before. He waited for me to say something.


I started talking to him without looking at him:

“You know Kishori, I am only 26 and the doctors say I can’t take it anymore. I came here to gain some health. When I was small kid, my teacher asked me, who I wanted to become when I grow old. I laughed and said, I want to go to north-pole and make an igloo and live freely. I knew the society is a prison. I knew schools were made to produce candidates for competitions and competitions were made to tag the candidates as doctors or engineers. Kishori, people think that the two are different. But believe me they are the same. They read books and pass examinations. Their brains are equally complex and yet empty. Ultimately they are in the same society and are bound by same expectations and criteria of success and failure. Why, is it not true that I am an engineer as I chose to go for Mathematics in plus two rather than Biology, which was just another subject in which I could have done equally well? At that time what did I know about engineering except for the fact that you get to work on computers and earn money? Why I decided not to go for Biology, because I thought it does not explains whether there is soul or not and thus was a substandard subject when compared to Mathematics where everything was so boldly stated and proved.

“Well, Kishori, its the same thing. You find yourself in the same ruthless market. You earn money by whatever means, ultimately to spend it in buying car, flat, education for children. There are sources from which money comes there are drain in which it gets lost. You can earn a lot of money but you have to spend it. You don’t create money. You take it from the market and use it in the market. You might ravage the Taj Mahal to make the Red Fort. Which one is better is a subjective question? Ultimately you change nothing. You break one thins and make another just to pass your time. You live and live and then one day you die. You body leave you or you can say you leave your body. This small time that we have got to live with our bodies is spent in this prison.


“Rumi says, “why live in prison when the doors are wide open.” I ask myself the same question and get no answer. My prison is my body how to leave it and be me? I wont be me without my body. Or do I not know me? Who am I? I think a better question would be – Why am I, who I am? I am an atheist Kishori and I do not believe in life after death or transmigration of soul. I believe two people come together, have sex and produce children. There is nothing divine about all this. What follows is a meaningless, purposeless, pointless journey from birth to death. People create God to add meaning to what they do. A fear is needed for order you see. Religion does a good job in a way that in makes the men fear an unknown God and thereby gives him a reason to respect someone else’s life. Same religions kill other animals as sacrifices to Gods and makes me kill each other. That’s an irony though. Kishori, there is only one truth worth knowing: One day you will die. Any question about why should I do something, should be answered in this light. One day you will die and this moment, in which you are here, you are alive in your body – breathing, seeing, thinking. In this moment you have a gift of consciousness that nothing else in nature has. You can live you body knowingly – mindfully. People fill their mind with thoughts of others’ successes, expectations, judgement and what not. I wonder why don’t they just drink wine from the cup that nature has given them. This life force in me and you is the wine, this body is the cup. We can be happily drunk like a sufi. Have you read Madhushala of Haribansrai ji. In his another poem he says: “jeevan ki aapa dhapi me kab waqt mila kuchh der kaheen par baith kabhi ye soch sakun jo kiya kaha maana usame kya bura bhala…”
“ Kishori, anyone who lives mindfully is worthy of this live everyone else is uneducated. Anyone who sees that death is inevitable and therefore one should be good to others and not shed blood is Buddha. Anyone who lives fearlessly and knows there is nothing worth craving for and there is nothing worth crying for is Krishna himself. Look the dusk has set in. Lets walk or it will be too late.”
“ Sing with me as we walk Kishori..its a beautiful evening:
मृदु भावों के अंगूरों की आज बना लाया हाला,
प्रियतम, अपने ही हाथों से आज पिलाऊँगा प्याला,
पहले भोग लगा लूँ तेरा फिर प्रसाद जग पाएगा,
सबसे पहले तेरा स्वागत करती मेरी मधुशाला....

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