Monday, February 20, 2006

On retrospection...

It’s with an itinerant mind that I boarded the train to Bangalore from Alwaye railway station. There has been some questions raised on the authenticity of the work that I did in my previous project, and I had exhausted almost one whole day on telecon at my home to solve the issues. In the interim, I could not complete much of the personal work that I had to, at home, much to the dismay of my mother. Perplexed a propos whether having such a thankless job is worth my time and career, my deliberation route was preset. The whole process of boarding the coach, getting seated after keeping the luggage, and whatever I did in the train seemed to be a perfunctory procedure. Although I took out the novel ‘Thanalidam’ authored by Radhalakshmi Padmarajan that I had bought from the station, my mind was still roaming untamed about my choice of life. Maybe it’s the same ignorance that I had toward the book in my hand, which made me overlook the 50 odd year old person sitting right in front of me. All the while, maybe in my subconscious mind I was seeing this person who was the only other guy in my cube in the train. Anyway, now in hindsight, I do remember that this person looked like a simple Keralite, maybe an ordinary government employee, isolated from the present with something grave bothering his psyche. I must have seen him looking at me when I took out the book, and at times when I lifted my head, I could see that he was appallingly uptight with some despondency in his mind. At an instant or two, I wanted to wallop a tête-à-tête with him. I don’t know if it’s because of recalling the obligation for seclusion that I hunt for many a times, or my egotistic aim of clutching to something in the book without any disturbance, that I thought it would be better to leave the troubled man to himself. But why did I ‘fail’ to perceive that he was about to say something to me, when I got up to toss away the coffee cup? Is it just a reluctance to communicate with a fellow being who might be as old as my father, or is it just my mind trying to hold itself to the meaningless thought about same old life and career?

Anyway I am sure that this ignorance would turn out to be the final one that I give in my life. After expending some time trying to get through the first 2 pages of the novel, I decided to resign to my berth and roam around further in the mysterious terrains of my mind. It’s amazing that sometimes you love your journey to home and back, because those are the times you usually get your brain and mind for yourself. I think, maybe around midnight I slipped off to sleep, and all the while I was watching that my partner in despair was studying the unbounded darkness while he was sitting in the side seat that he got exchanged with someone who boarded from Palakkad. Even when I got down to wash my face just before I slept, he was gazing at me through the faded blue light in the compartment. Did I see a longing to let out something that has been gripping him for long, in his vulnerable eyes? Again the irrelevant deliberation about getting some sleep before I work on the design for the new project crept on me, and I conveniently ignored the elderly man. Quite amazingly, I slipped off to slumber within an hour and had been in the same state of sedate, peaceful unconsciousness for couple more hours.

It was the loud conversations below me that woke me up. I saw a small group of people, the TTR and a doctor with a stethoscope, leaning over the silhouette of a man who was on the train floor. I immediately jumped down to see what was happening. I saw the face of my silent friend, now gratis from all the despair, lying with a peaceful smile and closed eyes. The doctor who happened to be traveling in the same compartment as ours, told the TTR with a grim look “He is no more. Looks as if he had a major heart attack.”. I felt that the globe was whirling around me. I don’t know why I had my heart beating so quick as if its going to stop abruptly, that too for a person that I had barely noticed. The very thought that the sorrow and despair of that man could have been erased to an extent if I got him to talk and allowed him to vent out whatever was disturbing him, made my mind freeze. I still don’t know who this being is, or what sting he suffered from – but I got to realize that there are some things in life that you would want to change, however small they seem to be, while you think on retrospection. Sorry dear friend, I might have had a chance to save you, but I was too busy thinking about inconsequential concerns – I was too intimidated by my ego to even notice you. Now I know you, now I remember the moments in which I noticed you and communicated with you in silence, but all of this – only when I think in hindsight. If only I could turn back time, if only I could make a small correction, a small amendment in my mind – If only I could talk to you again, this time not in silence!

19 comments:

Dhanush said...

Abhi,

Some times life is so cruel to us, things are so close to us and still we dont mind them. Life some times makes us to go into a shell, and makes us think from our view point only. I remember one of my colleague commenting on my fiction The Last Haircut - Destiny has its own cruel ways of surprising us, and how helpless we are!!!!! - I too have nothing much to say. I can understand your situation

geetu said...

hi..
my friend send me your link.. and reading your blog has been a pleasure..

so many times in a local train, in a bus.. i feel like that.. i wanna ask a stranger to tell me wats wrong.. which is obviously absurd for anybody.. but even after an incident like this.. will i ever go up and say .. hi wats wrong. can i help?? i dont think so.. (i guess we are afraid of gettin shunned or insulted..)
I hv tried it wid a friend once.. and i got the MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS lecture.. even wen i knew something big was bothering him.. i cudnt help.. its jus not fair at times..

Krishnan said...

When you are born, only one thing is certain for sure. Your death. Your friend's time had come. The time of death is pre destined. You could not have done anything. But hope this will be a incident which changes us to break our inhibitions and to be friendly with our fellow men ( err.. and women).

Sridhar Raman said...

I do not know what to say. As I was reading the post, I had a few things...but now...nothing. :(

Ramakrishnan said...

Really touching incident...How true...it is those small things in life that really matters...But i believe in this case this was how it was destined to be..If everything in life could be rewinded and re-recoded..the essence is lost and this truely is the beauty of life..

And abhi ..i must confess..i love ur style man..Keep going...

Shruthi Krishnan said...

I could'nt help but remember the 60's song by Simon & Garfunkel, "The Sound of Silence." The true potential of communication is often underestimated. I hope we all realize the power we possess to make a difference, whenever we can. To be able to discern the "when," I guess, is the difficult part.
Btw, grt job with the blog, Abhi.

Lekshmi said...

Abhi,
As Kichu said, evenif you had talked to that person, you could not have done anything. Don't feel guilty for that. But, it is true that we all are confined to the dens of our personal problems and pleasures. I also had a similar incident recently; the first one of that sort in my life. I happened to see one person was lying on the road with his head injured , bleeding so badly. It was a national highway and I am quite sure that no one will come for his help. But, even we were not ready to do that thinking 100 excuses like police, time waste etc etc. It killed my sleep for one night and the next day I slept peacefully. The story continues like this......

Anju George said...

hey Abhi,

Knowing you, i know how you must have been feeling. Death is a reality in life that all of us have to accept. There is no way in which you could have changed that person's fate. But ya i know that such incidents can result in many a sleepless nights.

very touching blog... made me think a lot about our everyday lives... keep writing...

Riz said...

"Deaths foreseen come not". Your writing style indicates you are a voracious reader. Well done. Hope to read some chaluful articles also.

Venkateshwar Sahai said...

A truly philosphical post da... Obviously all the ppl around u wud say that you are not be held responsible. I am also of the same view. But the only person who you would listen to is yourself. There are times in my life when I feel I am not doing enough for others. You need a wakeup call to actually start making a difference. Your company will miss you for a few months if you quit (before the KT for new person is over), but the ppl in whose life u make a small difference will remember you forever. So dont let this incident clog your mind with guilt. Instead, start living your LIFE! And start making a difference outside of IT. There is a whole new world outside our 9-5 jobs. We need to explore it!! Knowing you for what you are, I am sure are meant for greater things in life. All you need to do is, take a step. May God be with you.

Anonymous said...

awesome writing...i never took my eyes off that piece...its so good i almost felt as though i was reading fiction.
ur use of language was captivating.
do u write fiction?

neways, ur blog provided a lot of introspection into the mundane life we lead, also from the response from ur friends.
would love to see more of ur writings

pophabhi said...

Dhanu: Yes da, life is cruel at times - but we learn everyday, right. Let this add to it.
Geetu: Thanks!! Yeah...Life is not fair at times...well..most of the times. But do we really need to care. Do what we like, and lets move on.
Kich: I agree...There is little we can do to rewrite lines already drawn by a greater power.
Chilli: Thanks!
RK: Can't agree more da! These movements of pendulum is what is life.
Shruthi: When?? Whats a better answer than "now!!". Thanks again!
Lekshmi: Agreed that we are restricted in space and time, a lot. And we tend to forget about things we should have done, pretty fast. But do we make a difference by doing this? Do we grow?
Anju: Thanks da!
Rizzy: Chalus will be on the way! Dark side of mine is strolling around. Beware :)
Venkie: If its was 9-5, how good it have been. How much time I would have got!! But, again, same restrictions of space and time applies, and I think I need to start being a bit ruthless - you know what I mean!
Anonymous: Thanks a lot, although I dont know who you are...And I dont write fiction, although at some standstill I might. God save all, then! :)

Alexis Leon said...

Really touching story. I know that you must feel bad about yourself for noto noticing the man and not talking to him. These things happen. I don't know how to console you. Don't take it too hard...

pophabhi said...

Alexis: Thanks Alexis! Part of life.

neermathalam said...

man........
u hav to write....
there is saying.....kettitundoo.
daivam padunnavaril pattayum...
varaykkunnavaril..chitramayum
ezhuthannaviril vakkukalayum...
kudiyirikkunnu ennu..
This piece has signature of God in it...
And after writing this piece if you are refraining from writing something fictional..and publishing..
Cant help it !!!! it is gross injustice..
And regarding the incident..nobody is responsible for the happenings..
people hardly notice now a days..
If your heart feels for someone..either you are crazy or you are useless..I mean it..

pophabhi said...

Neermathalam: Tons of thanx for the words of encouragement. But frankly, I know that this is nothing. There are lot of people who write better. Let me learn. I am sure that these are just steps towards it.

And yes....I feel that I am a bit insane. But has humanitarian values dead yet? It still persists - at least in some corners - in some depths. Matter of exploring and laying them out.

Anonymous said...

Couldnt agree more with that, very attractive article

Anonymous said...

Interesting for me//
/

Anonymous said...

kiev escort girls ))