Last night I went back in time and saw a girl I used to have a crush on in school. She was as beautiful as I remembered and had not aged a bit. Though we did not speak to each other, she was as aware of my presence as I was of her. I know, because our eyes met more than once. Those smiling, beguiling eyes that I thought I would never see again. But, somehow, we did not speak to each other. It just did not seem right – as if speaking to each other would lead to something we would both regret. Even as I was contemplating the strange situation I found myself in, I could feel and sense her sizing up my wife. I sensed more than saw her smile disappear as she stole furtive glances at my wife. She seemed to be saying to herself, “Hmm, so that’s who he finally ended up with. She’s quite a beauty. I wonder how he ever landed such a catch!” I then felt her looking at me with a strange, strained smile as she slowly disappeared from my sight. A strange feeling of loss and loneliness came over me as past memories flooded my mind.
My bedside alarm bell suddenly rang and, as I reached over to switch it off, I realized that it was all a dream. But my dream seemed to have awoken some long forgotten memories and I lay there for some time trying to recall my dream. But the harder I tried, the hazier it all became until the only thing I seemed to remember was her smiling face.
Then, while dressing up for office after breakfast, I suddenly had the urge to dig out some old cassette I hadn’t played for ages. ‘The Best of Lobo’ was the first thing I laid my hands on. After dropping my daughter, I put the cassette in my car stereo and, for the next 30 minutes entered the sweet, simple world of Lobo. Songs like ‘How Can I Tell Her’, ‘Me And You And A Dog Named Boo’ somehow brought back memories of rainy days and our first tape-recorder when we were still in school. Those were the days before the ‘two or three-in-ones’, and ours was a simple tape-recorder which my uncle assembled from parts ordered by post from some company in Pune (somehow, I think it was Pune or Poona, as it was then called). Electricity was a luxury in those days which the powers-that-be would occasionally release for two-three hours in the evenings. So we basically depended on those ‘Eveready’ dry battery cells to listen to the tape-recorder. The batteries didn’t last very long, of course. So we would collect used batteries and join them together to make the tape-recorder sing a few more minutes. The tape-recorder needed 6 volts to run, which meant 4 batteries. But I remember joining together 8 or even more used batteries to get enough power to make it sing a little longer. Anyway, that was our world then – simple and uncomplicated. It was a world to which I slipped into for a few minutes, even as I drove to office in one of the most modern and complicated cities in the world.
Then, I reached office, and the real world. For the past 8 hours or so, I have been immersed what I do for a living. A meeting with my boss to discuss some pending work, a few minutes reading up on some cases, shuffling papers and files, going to the Library to get some books for the weekend (VS Naipaul’s ‘The Writer and the World – Essays’ and Chetan Bhagat’s ‘five point someone’) along with some old issues of ‘Femina’ and ‘Filmfare’ for the wife (OMG, how long has it been since I even saw – not to say, read – Filmfare?).
Now, I’m packing up for the day. Finish this thing, upload it to the blog, and rush down to enter another world before the day is over. I look at my watch and just 15 minutes are left before my daily dose of ‘Ed Shultz’ on my car radio. I look forward to the opening guitar riffs of Slash and GunNRoses’ ‘Sweet Child of Mine’ opening his show at exactly 6:05pm. Then I will be transported into the world of American politics as Ed gives his take on Obama, Hillary and McCain and the American elections.
So, that’s four worlds so far today. And the day’s not even over yet. The evening’s ahead and who knows what other worlds await before another new day breaks.