Ten, Nine, Eight, Seven - contd
by Prachi Rathore
Back to page 1 of the story
There was something which made me respect his life imbued with numbers… both real and imaginary. I felt bound. He was difficult to resist. Every single thought which he delivered from his mouth stays engraved in my heart and his words are on my fingertips.
“I’ll see you when I next arrive. Come, meet me on Friday. The 15th of next month.” he said with authority, when we bid a goodbye.
“Tata” he never forgot to delightfully mention.
The very first meeting proved to be hugely impactful. I felt captured. Captured by his imaginations, by his words, his heart and thoughts, by the way he held that pencil across his lips. Nothing in this world appeared more fortunate than being a pencil at that time.
Exactly after 21 days, we met again. And our meeting cycle continued periodically with an interval of 21 days for 14 months. Largely more than a year. Gradually, without any specific notification, he became my thoughts. He was the one who stood forever beside me in all my dreams and imaginations. Drop by drop, I observed him blending into my soul. I kept talking to him forever in my mind. ‘He‘ became ‘You’.
Before, the world, before myself, I addressed him as ‘you’. You… everywhere.
“How do you possess such a sharp mind?” I had asked ‘you’ once.
And your reply was ultimate.
“All the things which truly matter- beauty, love, peace, joy, and creativity… all of these arise from beyond the mind. This mind never matters.”
This was what you had said and these are the words which would be forever cherished besides being a conundrum in my life.
I don’t feel like writing anymore. I don’t wish to describe our story. I just want to keep talking to you in my mind. I remember the last time we met, I never wanted to go back home… I was thinking…
Once again, we met like the closest of souls… once again, we departed like two strangers, totally unaware of each other. There are so many things which I want to share with ‘you’. Things which are irrelevant, things which will never mater, things which are meaningless. Crap things. Those meaningless things have accrued so much meaning in my life which I want to pour upon you. Those rains must make you wet throughout. I want to watch you enjoying those uncontrolled wintry showers of my words, sometimes hopping and giggling and the other times in stillness, moving towards infinity with closed eyes, being absorbed in my words. Your laughter must follow the number line, ascending from left to right. And, your heart must keep smiling through your bright brown eyes, continuously, in an exponential order. I long hard to be an eye witness to all your patterns and series.
Every time you perform a calculation in your mind and explain it step by step in terms of life, my heart takes a turn. I feel as if the universe rearranges itself.
You know what? I’m in love with you. And I’m sincerely not getting, what more should I say or how less I should convey…?
Which number or which arithmetic operation will drain my feelings directly upon you? Tell me…
In fact, the clear way I’m uttering this ‘tell me…’ before zero, before nobody, before love is so much of my chicken heartedness! I’ll never be able to ask such questions or utter my crap thoughts before you tangibly. It requires enormous amount of guts you know Mr Iota, to face you.
You are my source of power, undoubtedly. But, I feel such deprived of power when I face you. It is you who emit energy, who reflects power… I always remain the one, who believes, who receives, and who falls in love more and more with every little pause you take and with all the continuity you exhibit in your functions.
I spend all the minutest particles of my energy in your name, dreaming about you. I wish, you would have thought about me even once … everything which I possess is now all yours. All the folds are now free, all the closures have attained openness and I owe all the enlargements of my mind-set to you.
Heaven knows what may come… where will we be…? But, I desire from the core of my heart to let your pencil scribble its words over me. If not your fair notebook, I’d be content even in being your rough pages.
The only thing I crave is my involvement in the mathematics of your life…
“Hey, Anu! Where are you lost?”
He shook me soft and extricated me from thoughts when we last met.
“C’mon, breathe deep, and start counting in reverse under your breath "Ten, nine, eight, seven..."…”
It was perhaps the amalgam of both his touch and the reverse counts which almost brought me to the extent of enlightenment. Aah! I can relish that touch lifelong.
Your touch was like the Luke warm water in the winters into which I would like to remain merged for ever and ever and ever…
It was our last meet in real sense. Later, we saw each other on the second Friday of January, exactly after 21 days of our last meeting.
Our university exams…
It was the last paper of my course
and the first paper when we both shared the same classroom. It was the Higher Mathematics exam. The day of destiny…
My vehicle had a flat tyre and it was the mere reason for me to enter in the classroom post distribution of question papers. I was highly tensed.
I did not know anyone sitting in that class, which made me more distraught. Very soon, a focus impinged me from the row to my right. It was Mr Iota smiling and me… aah, lovely!
He raised his left thumb and transmitted his ‘All the Best’ to me. Slow blinking of his eyes with a slight jerk indicated that all is well. Magically, everything turned automatically well. All my nervousness and tensions evaporated without heat. He made me confident and happy. Then and there, I decided to confront him with my feelings after the paper itself.
The paper wasn’t any joke. It was the toughest one I could’ve ever imagined in the wildest of my dreams. What the hell! How I prayed hard to at least pass averagely.
To my surprise, there were some distractions near me today. Three guys, one behind and two past me were into something awry. Chits were being passed! Carrying out cheating in prestigious university exams was not a kid play! What did those guys think of themselves?
I ignored them and kept solving my paper. Last 45 minutes remained.
“Miss Anu Shastri! No. 0235MT102117… What is going on here!?” a heavy and sudden voice of the examiner struck me.
“Yes sir?” I did not get him anyway.
“You think you are such a gamer! You think you could cheat easily, fooling everyone without being noticed?”
“Sir… no, sir… what?”
“Stop acting innocent and look down at those sheet of papers near your feet.
Now you see, how I’ll ruin your life. Accept this as the last written exam of your life.”
Never in my life was any statement harsher than this. How badly I cried and how intensely I tried to explain the situation… everything was futile. My face turned red with tears, my voice went numb and whole of my body was quivering. But, nothing could budge the examiner. He tried to pull me out of the seat.
“Sir… the sheet lying down is mine. I cheated.”
A familiar voice captured me again. Mr Iota said this. He took the blame over himself and rallied the responsibility of being guilty… just to save me.
“You bastard! Cheater!” With this, the examiner slapped him tight, straight on his left cheek.
My heart stopped. The game changed.
Two more slaps and the examiner dragged him out of the class. Time was slipping out of my hands like sand. I went more than numb. My senses froze. I stood there still with tears gushing out at an amble. My vision was blurred. I wanted to run and hold him tight. I wanted to capture him. I wanted to free him. I wanted to accrue every glimpse of him. I wanted to…
I observed him carefully as he walked to the door. I knew that time was running out but suppressed the urge to check my watch. I took a deep breath and started counting in reverse under my breath. "Ten, nine, eight, seven..."
… and, he was gone.
Where was he taken? What happened next? Why did this happen? No one knows…
He was nowhere to be found.
And I, like a dummy stood still. Like a dummy, my life turned still thereafter.
I do not know, whom to blame. And, I will never be in the state to accept the happenings of that day.
He sincerely proved to be an imaginary quantity. I still am in search of him, in search of his identity.
He, the imaginary quantity is now the only truth of my life. He was my saviour and he will persist to be my saviour forever. I was in love with him and will continue to fall exponentially more in love with him with each passing moment. Digits will continue to remind me of him and favour love into my life. These numbers, digits, progressions, series, pencils… everything visible to my eyes wait continuously for him including this heart which totally stopped beating the instant he went invisible.
“Nobody knew what you desired
No one knows what I dreamt
Things were planned
But configurations remained bent
When our destinations appeared same
And the path too clear
This universe conspired to keep me away from my dear
With a path so known
And destination such near
Sans you, it’s all futile and filled with fear
Let me be lost beyond this world.
With my heart placed safely in your glove
Fulfilment is being, astray in love...
Astray in love... Astray in love... “
I am lost. Completely lost.
I drive fast, loosing myself, letting my dupatta explore all possible directions. And one day, once more, I must experience a force round my neck. Not internal or emotional, but viable external force. This dupatta must fuse with the rolling tyre of my vehicle and strengthen the force on my neck. I must think of you, my saviour then, take a deep breath and start counting in reverse under my breath. "Ten, nine, eight, seven..."
My saviour, will then free me out of this life forever…! ***