Three miles a day, I walk alone towards the west of my apartment. I appear alone to myself in the direction. From the bridge just above the subway on the 3rd mile which is to the right of west of falling skyline of the capital, I am part of a crowd. Uniform crowd of binaries. Each one muddled within a universe of thoughts forming a multiverse of mirrored thoughts. The laterally inverted thoughts. Hence giving birth to angels and demons of mind, putting forth the geometry of symmetry leaving me surprised each time I try to measure the smile on my face in the many mirrors.
I scurry my way to the sub way in the reflection of the plane. Down there, you will see fluorescent tubes lighting up the dark earth; only through my eyes. Everyday a thought crosses my brain that I’d have appreciated the dark. Then, I march ahead in the artificial lights. The emptiness amplifies the voices; heard and unheard yet mirrored. And, the redundancy is as impeccable as the plane itself or is it bound to be so? A slight hint of daylight shows up as I reach the stairs and then it lights up the dark and this time no thought crosses my brain.
Up there, beneath the sky which always seemed falling keeps still as I walk one more mile. This mile is unique. All mirrors don’t reflect but all thoughts meet at one point to form a real image. Eyes, the human eyes are too helpless to see it. I feel blinded as I reach my station.
Few minutes after security checks, I am allowed to board the metro as I deboard my train of thoughts. Upon reaching my destination, I mirror my thoughts.
सामने इंडिया गेट आभामय हो चला था
अभी अभी सुहानी शाम ने रात की चादर ओढ़ी थी
हरी घास भूरी सी दिख रही थी
मैंने हाथ लगाया तो ओस ने मुझको गुदगुदा दिया
मैं धीमे से मुस्काई
और घास से खेलने लगी
मनवा मेरे दोस्तों क़ी हंसी में मेरी तस्वीर देख
मैं खोई सी थी रात के आकाश तले
ना तारे थे ना चाँद ही दिख रहा था
अँधेरा फिर भी रौशन था
अपनी सी मुस्कुराहटों के बीच.
पगली हवा लुका छुपी खेल रही थी,
कभी मुझसे मेरे मनवा को छू लेती
और फिर बातों में गुम हो जाती!
निशा को अंत मंज़ूर नहीं था,
रात फिर भी गहराती जा रही थी
स्लेट सी सड़क पर अदृश्य पद चिन्ह बनाते हुए
हम चारो चल पड़े यूँ ही मानो रास्ता कभी ख़तम ना होगा.
फिर मनवा मेरी तरफ देख कर बोला
ऐसी मुस्कुराहट देखी थी कभी तुमने?
मैंने दोस्तों की तरफ देखा
और सोच में पड़ गई!
मनवा हंस कर बोल पड़ा
खुद के आईने में ज़रा देखना
मुझको पाओगी इसी हसीन पल में
यहीं गगनचुम्बी इंडिया गेट के तल में
जब अँधेरी रात ऐसे ही रौशन होगी.
इक खूबसूरत पल
अब यादों में बस गया
तुम संजो लेना.
One morning it happened so, that I woke up early in the capital. The sun was still to shine but the birds were wide awake. The sky appeared lively. Morning breeze and all those little things that I cherish back home smiled at me one after another. Not that I felt at home but it was the first time when the city seemed welcoming. May be it was just myself who, for a while, left behind my skepticism. I would rather not justify it.
I shall tell you, there’s a park in my society. I had presumed that I would see people walking in the morning there when I booked my apartment a month ago. Never did I woke up early to fulfil my desire, it was only today that the morning got lucky to charm me. Nevertheless people in the capital don’t like to watch the sun go up it seemed. I wasn’t surprised. I aint an early bird either.
Although I would refrain to say that I have developed affinity of any sort for dilli but I wont understate the impeccable similarity between this morning and all those lovely mornings back home.
Sometimes I wonder what makes this capital city different from my capital city. All of it is just the same. The people and the places. The angels and the demons. The mornings and the nights. The nights, may be. But the similarity cannot be denied totally.
I keep it to myself. The question I mean. The question that is it similarity or is it just my brain’s struggle to construct virtual homely ecosystem for me?
Late in the night under the pale showers of yellow street lights, two of us wandered looking for an auto. She carefully hunted for one while I was enjoying the walk on the wide glowing graphite-grey roads of the parliament street. Not everyday I get this lucky!
One after another, we crossed high profile buildings constructed within beige coloured wall. After a mile of walk, we got our royal auto to Janpath. It paced through very many closed shops with their signboards glowing in neon red, blue and green. Through my partially impaired vision, they all appeared mixed homogenously presenting a generic led light view in front of me. These LED lights led us to a jungle of colourful lights. As we reached janpath, I saw green glowing predominantly over other colours. She had to hit me hard to persuade me to neglect the presence of colours around us. I followed her silently, one because I was hungry, two, because she was treating me tonight!
After an hour, with our stomachs full and with pretty smiles of our faces we moved to cannaught place. I asked her why were the pillars painted in white and why was this place developed in that particular design? She ordered me to shut up and appreciate the beauty of the night. This time I could not help hitting her hard. And, she followed me following a session of laughter! Every time I asked her a new question, she reminded me that it is very dangerous to move around in dilli at that hour. I carefully listened to her. The fear on her face when she uttered the word ‘dangerous’ was quite enough to scare the hell out of me! But then, I am always scared; not to dare. So is she!
Alone I walked down to metro after we had to part ways to reach our respective homes. Dilli metro is another colourful feature of this city. The women car, specially shows you too much of colours. Sometimes way too much to handle! But I love colours. Am I falling in love with this city? I will wait for the answer probably. I deboarded the metro thinking all this shit. I thought I will take a rickshow to home until it started raining a little. Just a little!
I preferred to walk. I saw a little girl with a really long pony tail playing in her balcony. It reminded me of my little sister. Suddenly I started missing home! Falling in love with this city? Naah… not really!
Then my body temperature swung along 101C and 103C. Pale and blue, I didn’t want to move an inch. But I knew I couldn’t spend the whole day at my pseudo home. I dragged myself to office. Heavy head and watery eyes. I thought I will faint. Phone kept ringing. Mother was worried. I am always amazed by her ability to sense my pain. I never told her that I was having high body temperature but she knew. And she knew it accurately.
The day was moving slow. The night was creeping in at a even slower pace. It was dark for me anyways. The long walking gallery of the mid-office area seemed to be coming closer to me until I realized that I was dizzy! I reached my desk somehow and tried to look at my computer screen. It was blurred. My vision, I am talking about. I was high. Kind of.
After the day passed and the wonderful night greeted the day, they told me that my hardwork paid off.
Then my body temerature fell down to 60C. My palms went numb. I wanted to jump off the third floor of the PTI building (where I work). I thought I will faint!! I came out of the office. Walked down to the metro station on air. I was high. Kind of. I flew really high!