Monday, 7 April 2014

Escape Route


When i first met Animesh during a placement session in college, i had no idea that he was into writing. Thanks to Facebook, where he would publish excerpts from his stories, that i got to know a budding writer. I have often marveled at the innate talent people have and how they nurture it effortlessly in to an art. I think the same of his work. Fortunately for me, he agreed to be my first guest on this blog. So here we are, with the first post in this series.....the ESCAPE ROUTE.





Every day I would go to the fields, bake myself under the sun and watch young boys immerse themselves in a game of cricket. In the adjoining farms, I'd talk to a few farmers about their anticipation of rain juxtaposed with torments of paying tax. Women carried water from wells to their homes in earthen pots. The place had a strange sense of peace and security about itself. It was a small town, not a village exactly. Nobody here knew what kind of background I came from. I have to confess I underestimated the power of indifference.
I kind of felt good about it when all they seemed to care was the company they had under the sun. 

As evenings approached, I took the long walk back to better developed part of the town and as I unlatched the old iron gate to enter my house, I encountered a middle aged man who smiled and waved at me. I smiled and waved back too. This particular routine followed it's course everyday meticulously and I'd think of him while climbing the stairs. The man was an epitome of a perfectly average man.

So that particular day I decided to call him to my place to chat over drinks. To my surprise he accepted my offer and was to come in an hour. I was finally going to open the bottle of scotch which I had purchased when I took a sabbatical from work. I heard the old iron door being unlatched, my guest had arrived. I welcomed him without much ado and asked him to be comfortable as I arranged for complements to go along with the scotch. 

Here, I was, a hotshot in an exponentially growing company wanting to know a rank average man. Alcohol broke the ice far too easily and followed two hours of intrigued discussion. It was 8 and he took my leave for the day, not before I asked him to join me again the next day. He agreed to give me company for the 10 remaining days I was there. I sort of developed a liking towards that man. He didn't deserve such an average fate.

Next day we spoke about his desires. Those really put me off, he barely wanted anything for himself. The clock struck 8 and I felt very relieved to see the back of him. 
The third day he spoke about a girl he loved during his college days. He even was to marry her but then things didn't work out. 
Days followed in a similar fashion until it was the last day when he insisted me to talk about myself. I had successfully and on purpose evaded this for nearly 2 months. Notwithstanding that, he made me talk. I spoke at length until I glanced at the clock to show 8:45. At that moment, I swear I felt it in my heart, what a good man he was.

Then I did something I never thought I'd do. I concocted a few things and conveyed how being a hot shot and following your dreams is not all that lucrative as it seems and how compromises are a part of life. Somewhere between the lines, I was being true as well. I could see he was content on hearing that. The average man didn't have the spirit to pursue his dreams. For the affinity that I had developed towards that man, I did not want to send him in a state of fix.

I could understand why the girl he loved didn't marry him but did not have the heart to let him know. He was content and happy with his lifestyle. Nobody wants to send quivers down an equilibrium. It was 9:30 when we finally displaced ourselves. That day I walked him down the stairs, thanked him for enriching my last few days staying there. He too reciprocated the gratitude. His children waved to me from their home and it was time for the final goodbye.

As we were departing, a thought loomed on me. When he readily accepted my invitation the first day, he was looking for an escape from his life just like I was, when I backpacked and filed for my sabbatical. A rank average or a star performer, for once our lives were measurable using the same yardstick.

He told me it's time to get back. Those words meant so much more.