The following series of thoughts are just random sequences, and don’t really mean anything unless you try to follow a pattern.
#1 The dry winter of 1999 gave Kabir Gupta no relief. While the world was busy celebrating the turn of the millennium, he tried to keep himself busy counting his change, to the last rupee in his pocket. As he observed the dedication with which winter birds seem to migrate, he wondered whether life would be immensely better or just a tad simpler, if he had wings. He had spent a good part of the last decade, immersed in the perpetual decor of his own daydreams, aided by nothing but subsidized rations and murky bottled water.
It was a hot afternoon, and he realized that he had been staring all along, at the underage ice cream vendor across the street. Kabir laughed a bit on the inside, because he knew that his temptations were very sly; They never cared to venture outside the shady realms of his shabby existence. To the world, he was just a name. There was no glam quotient that he could successfully claim, by wielding his face upon the nonchalant gaze of onlookers.
He wasn’t very religious, and hardly believed in making requisitions via prayer. Mostly, it seemed absurd to him because he didn’t really know what to ask for. Every time someone took him to a temple and expected him to join the crowd as they bowed down in submission to the almighty, he felt utterly confused. He wasn’t happy enough to sing every day. But he wasn’t too sad. Life wasn’t all about living through wax-polished Bentleys and drinking twelve year old single malt scotch, like some of his customers. Kabir knew, that somewhere in the calculated sheets of god-like men, there remained a tiny speck of hope for people like him.
And somewhere, men who behaved like gods were busy, involuntarily churning out everything that was needed to make Kabir’s life a lot more alluring. Only, he didn’t know anything about it. Not until the millennium turned.
#2 Rani’s stand on filtered coffee hadn’t changed over the years. To her, anything more than three tablespoons of sugar defined the kind of luxury that she would strive to stay away from. In her present environs, she felt very uncomfortable as she watched Kabir fill up his own cup with four sugar cubes.
“That’s enough!” She said, and then realized that it was an involuntary reflex. Kabir looked around with a swift movement of his eyeballs and then proceeded to look directly into her eyes. She averted his gaze.
“Is that your own brand of dietary wisdom?” He asked her, smiling feebly, and then immediately started rubbing his jaw. The lower right hand side was still sore. Rani didn’t reply.
“Sugar is an enhancer, Kabir. You’d feel a lot less dizzy if you took some black coffee.” She tried to look down as she said the words. It wasn’t as if she felt guilty; her emotions were almost always bottled up, covered in too many layers, and they never stirred or moved the tiniest bit, based on any internal stimuli. She was a big fan of factual logic. She had offered this man a cup of coffee because she was responsible for his present state of misery. A nearly broken jaw was hardly the kind of surprise that you can thrust on someone who’s waiting to be interviewed.
“Kabir, I know we started off on a bad note, but I need to know if…” She began, almost as if she had prepared the words by rote (She had.)
“Are you serious? You’re going to do the interview now? After you sucker-punched me in the face? Screw you, Rani.. Rani.. hey, what’s your full name again?”
She flinched at the tiny expletive, but chose not to react. The man had just been taken off his morphine drip, after all. He was entitled to an unrestricted stream of swear words if he wanted.
“Indrani Bakshi” She uttered, and then stared at her bruised hands & wondered if that name really meant anything, anymore.
“I guess.” She said, and her head bobbed up and down, for about half an inch. It may have been a nod.
“Do you also believe that god plays fair? That he plays by the rules?” He prodded on.
“Uh-hun. Where are you going with this?” She sounded weak.
He had that weird determined look on his face again, like he was high or something. Every time she had seen that look on his face, it was almost always about another crazy idea or scheme that he was would crack. But he spoke with authority. His eyes were serene, and his hands didn’t move this time. This time, he meant what he said.
“Well then, look. You were born because someone up there thought it was fair game to let you live. And then, you smiled through your childhood years because those very same people sitting way up in heaven believed, right down to the last drop of divinity, that you should be happy. And now, when you think everything that’s happening to you is unfair, believe this with all your heart. God designed all your troubles, because he knows you’re strong enough to fight through. You were always going to make it to the other side, there is no way that he put you into this unprepared. Now go, fight.”