Sunday, August 07, 2005

Destination Unknown

Destination Unknown – part I


It was a beautiful Saturday morning. I was basking in the chillness of the early morning. I have always thought God gives me a lot of troubles to keep me down but he has also given me enough blessings to forget about them for a while. I have been trying to count them all and appreciate each one of it!!!

I noticed that the flowering plants that were hanging in our balcony were looking dry. I decided to water them. As I was watering I could see that one of the plants had a bud, which would bloom today. Another one of His blessings! I called out to my mom informing her about the new addition to the decorations in our house.
She was busy cooking. She gave a half reply that sounded like “Oh Good”.
Then she remembered something.

“When are you leaving???” she enquired.
“Around 9oclock ma!!” I replied.

I had planned to make use of my leave and had planned to meet my friend Sathish.
He was working as a doctor in a hospital nearby.

After a kingly breakfast I got on my bike. As I took the turn to the support road from the main road, my mind was full of the pleasant days my friend and me had spent together. We have been friends right from school days. He was easily the most brilliant guy in the class and he had chosen medicine befitting his caliber. I had decided to be an engineer.

He had told me in which department he was in and he had also told me how to reach there. So I wasn’t lost when I entered the hospital building. I looked at the drawing that had the directions, in the reception and figured I have to enter into the next building.
As I was walking in the corridor, noting the number and names written on top of the various rooms, I saw her.

There were so many people standing at the entrance of the room in front of which she was standing but she looked clearly noticeable amidst the crowd.
She was wearing a light bluish green churidhar, which was more of a blue than green. She looked very tired and weak and it looked her slender body was going to faint any second. There were tears in her eyes and she was watching into the room.
I saw an elderly lady breaking up and starting to wail silently with the tip of her saree pressing against her mouth.

Even though it looked as if the girl had been crying, there was an unexplainable expression on her face. There was no anxiety and instead I could see the peace and serenity, which was not there in the faces of the other people around her. She was very fair and even a bit pale. I could see that she was not related to any other person in the crowd. She was just standing there as if nothing existed in the world and there was none around her. It was just she and her thoughts.

Suddenly I felt a tinge of sorrow and I felt an urge to comfort her. It seemed so odd that the girl was left alone in a hospital with nobody to support her.
Perhaps I could walk to her, ask her why she is so upset, and speak a couple of words of kindness. Perhaps I can even get her a coffee or something!!!

I stopped my line of thinking. How will a girl feel when a stranger approaches and starts enquiring about her personal life? I decided there was nothing much I could about it. Involuntarily I muttered to myself “ My God, please help her”

By this time I was very near to the room. I could see it was the ICU.
Now I could see there were a lot more people who were waiting outside with confusion written all over their faces. Couple of medical staff hurriedly made their way in to the room. There was one hospital staff asking the crowd outside to stay out of the way sternly yet politely. Some people made a brief movement in deference to the request.
But the girl didn’t seem to hear the words. She continued to stare into the room.
Then she turned her face away from the room.

Now I was just a few yards away from her. My eyes were fixed on her as I walked past the room. She looked around with an uncaring look and soon caught my eye.
There was no change of expression in her face as I quickly started looking in front of me into the corridor. I walked without looking at her for a while and when I looked back after a few minutes, she was not there.

The meeting with my friend went as I had expected. We caught up with our lost times and discussed about many things. We had tea in the canteen as we enquired each other about what our other classmates were doing. I was always looking around hoping to find that girl again.

Soon it was time for me to leave. We promised to meet regularly and after enquiries about each other’s family, I started towards the parking lot.
The girl’s face flashed in my mind as I was riding on the support road on my way to the main road.
I noted there was a tanker lorry coming on the opposite side of the narrow road in which I was riding.
There was a huge pothole a few feet before me. I decided to circumvent the hole by riding around it from the right side. I knew if I could accelerate a bit I could do it well before my bike met the tanker lorry. I twisted the accelerator and focused. But as I was about to bank to the left corner I could see that the lorry was a lot closer to me than I had anticipated. The driver had been driving a lot faster than I had guessed. I realized this is going to be tighter than I had thought.
The cleaner who was seated beside the driver started banging on the door and the lorry let out disorienting sound from the horn. My heart started beating faster.
There was no way I am going to clear this. I swerved violently to the left slanting the bike to my left hand side. It was very very hard to keep the balance. I couldn’t see anything other than the big yellow chassis of the lorry. It looked as if I could just get through. Just then I lost my balance.
I felt my head banging with something very hard and after a second I was thrown away from the road. There was unbearable pain in my head. I could barely open my eyes and wasn’t able to make sense of anything. I could feel my blood trickling down my neck
Then I fell unconscious.

To be continued…
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Destination Unknown – part II

When I got back to my senses, I realized I was moving.
But I was not walking .In fact I wasn’t even feeling the ground under my feet.
All I could see was that the hospital getting nearer to me.

I was drifting!!!!!!!!
I was being carried away by the wind.
The feeling was nothing like I had felt before!! The sights and sounds were so calm and unobtrusive. More like a movie. The only difference here is that I was part of it.

Gently yet swiftly I was being carried away by the hands of breeze.
It seemed I wasn’t having any control on whatever was happening to me!!!

Then for the first time I wondered!!!! Am I Dead?????

The first thought that came to my mind was. Who will take care of my parents????

Soon my pace got slower and I was into the outside courtyard of the hospital near the gates. An ambulance rushed past through me!!!!
I knew it must be the one, which had my body.

I was wandering aimlessly, powered and steered by the wind. I had a deep interest to see my body. But it was difficult to force myself into the hospital against the wind. I couldn’t imagine how to find my body in the thousands of wards anyway!! Roaming around in the campus was easier. I wanted to see my parents. I knew I couldn’t bear to see them in distress. But somehow I wanted to talk to them and reassure them!!!!!
Damn!!! I should have been more careful!! I should have worn a helmet!!!
All these thoughts banged me from all sides. I also felt it was too late now!!!

All the while it was getting easier to hold myself against the wind. I was getting heavier or whatever I could call it!!!

Suddenly there was strong breeze and I sailed towards a bunch of trees.
There I saw her seated on a rock!!!!


Oh my God!! What is she doing in such a lonely spot? She was looking a little darker now. Even the dress looked darker. Will she be able to see me?
As if to answer my question she turned her head towards me. I drifted with the wind and placed myself on a nearby rock. I was able to hold to the rock now.
She was still looking at me!!!

“Uh…you can see me??” I was startled by my own voice.
It was …….. What can I say?? Ghostly!!!!!!!!!

She smiled and soon it turned into a chuckle.
It hit me!! She was dead too.


“I am sorry. I didn’t know you were…. I mean!!!! … See it’s not too bad!!!!” I started of trying to comfort her and realized I was making a real fool of myself.

She smiled.
“It’s ok!! “so saying she turned towards the breeze.

Is that it??? I was expecting her to tell me so much. I needed answers and for some reason I felt as if she knew them all. But I realized she could be just as confused as I was. I wanted to ask her how she died but figured that was not such a sweet question to ask a girl.

“This is heaven or hell??” I was trying to lighten up the atmosphere.
“What makes you think it should be either of the two??”


I had never thought in those lines. All my life I have just heard that, you die, you either go to heaven and enjoy or go to hell and get punished.
What if there is no heaven or hell!! What if there are some more places other than just heaven and hell??

The thought was too much for my brain to think. Then I realized I wasn’t having a brain anyway!!!

“So we just wait here until somebody pick us up??” I smiled.
She didn’t reply. Perhaps she had realized it was waste of time and energy to talk to me.

“Wow this is so cool!!! I mean…. Never have I been so unsure of what is going to happen, why, when, how!!!! You know……. This is so ….”
I wasn’t able to complete. The feeling was too incredible to explain.

“That only shows how foolish you have been” she replied calmly.
I knew my ignorance would be revealed sooner or later,

“Is it?? Why would you say that??” I was glad that we were picking up a conversation.

She shook her head.
“Was there anytime in your life when you were sure about the purpose of creation? I mean this immaculately designed body, millions of other species, placed in a small planet, packed inside a solar system with a variety of planets, revolving around a small star amidst zillions and zillions of other stars and galaxies in an amalgamation we call as Universe. A universe, or three of them, four of them who knows??? Who knows how big it is???
“Who knows why there are billions and billions of this stuff around us. Who can say why there can be one less or one extra?
“Who can say why an innocent child has to go through the pain of seeing his parents killed right before his eyes???
“Who can say why a 4 year old kid had to die of starvation in Africa, all the while watching the vulture which is waiting for him to die so that it can eat on his flesh?
“You tell me it’s his bad Karma??? What sin did he do??
“You tell me it’s the sin from the previous birth??
“Why did he have to take the previous birth???
“Where did it all start??? Why did it all start????

“You tell me you don’t believe in God / religion???
“You tell me the entire universe started from “Big Bang”???
“Ok, tell me who made “cosmic egg” .Why did it explode??

“Did you ever ask yourself where did you come from?? Have you ever wondered where you will be going??
“Our life was like we were walking along a road, which is more like a tunnel. All sides were covered by huge walls, which blocked any view on the sides. We could see scores of people walking and we were just walking with them. Nobody knew where he or she is going and we were just walking with the others. We could see people were added and were removed. Someone tells you there is heaven and hell and you agree. You can’t prove or disprove what he/she says. And, those people who are good in arguing ward off any question regarding this and you will be branded as a heretic. Nobody knows the answer and nobody would agree that. We could see that some people had an easy way and some have it tough. Some help others and suffer. Some just have their way on other people’s body and walk away scot-free.
Was there a pattern?? Was there an explanation?? Was there a surety??
Go inside this hospital. Go to the maternity ward. Just look at the babies. Some are born healthy and some are born lame. Some are intelligent and some are dumb. Some get better lives some don’t. Some are born in rich families and some are born in families where they have to struggle for the next meal.
“Did any of these babies want to be created?? Did any of these babies created its own soul and decided to place it self in someone’s womb??”

She suddenly noticed I was flabbergasted. I didn’t realize I was staring at her with my mouth open. Well what can I say??? I wasn’t able to think. There were simply too many questions.

“Rama!!! Dei Rama!!!”
I heard some feeble voices from a distance.
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Destination Unknown – part III

“Rama……..”
The voice died down. I could recognize that it was my friend Sathish’s voice.

There was a searing pain in my head!!!! I held my head with both hands and closed my eyes tightly as I was unable to bear it.

“Rama……Can you hear me????”

The voice was a lot clearer now.
I tried to open my eyes. My eyelids were very very heavy. With great difficulty I opened my eyes.
I could see Sathish bending on to me with couple of other doctors standing beside him.
I was on a bed and there was an oxygen mask covering my face. I could smell the strong scent of anesthetic. I felt that my head was covered with bandage. I was generally feeling very tired and there was pain from my left leg apart from the intense pain from the head. Otherwise I was fine.

“Wow!!!! Thank god!!! You are fine, you feeling ok???”. Sathish enquired.
I shook my head up and down very slowly.

“My …………parents…………”
I tried to speak but I could only end up moving my lips and weakly raise my right hand.
He seemed to have understood what I wanted to say.

“ They are waiting right outside. You don’t worry about them. They shall meet you later. You should take a lot of rest now.
“My God !!! It’s a miracle that you have even survived!! All thanks to doctor Ganesh”

One of gentlemen standing beside Sathish nodded humbly as acknowledgement with a smile.
I looked at the guy and wanted to say thanks. But involuntarily my eyes closed and I fell asleep soon afterwards.

I must have slept for a fairly long time, because when I woke up the lighting in the room had changed drastically.
I suddenly remembered my experience after the accident. Was I dreaming?? Was it real??
I figured that it definitely could not be a dream. I felt spooky as I thought more about it.

Poor girl!!!! It seemed I had provoked her when she was deeply engrossed in some serious thinking about life and death. That explains the barrage of words and arguments.
Jesus!!! She must have been really disturbed by something!!

Coming to think of it whatever she had said made sense. I was just living for the sake Life with no idea about the origin and destination!!!
I had absolutely no answers to a lot of questions.
It was weird to realize that nobody bothers to think about these things!

The enormity of my ignorance about life seemed to make all the things I had held to be serious as trivial.
We feel great when something works out, we feel bad when things go bad. But how do we know whether something is Good/Bad, right/wrong??? Things that momentarily seem like a pain might actually turn out to be a blessing and vice versa. Guess there is not much to be delighted or dejected about anything. Things just happen and we would never know whether it’s good or bad.
Guess we should learn to just smile on both occasions, pick up whatever is left and carry on with our lives. Just be sincere to ourselves and do the best we can and stop worrying about whether it will work or not. Because no matter what happens, we don’t know whether it is actually good or bad and worrying about it will only prevent us from enjoying our lives!!!!
All this sounds very good in paper and is very easier said than done. But if someone can assimilate this and try to live on these lines then he/she can prevent herself/himself from a lot of disappointments. This will never be a consolation to the boy who lost his parents in Kashmir or the kid who had to die a gruesome death in Africa, but it’s a feasible policy for quite a few of us.

My parents met me the next day. My mom was crying and I had to console her saying that I was alright. Sathish was right behind her assuring that I shall get well soon. I resolved I shall be more careful with my life from here on in!!

All the while I was hoping to catch a glimpse of that girl somehow, but it seemed she had been isolated more out of the living world. I simply wished her soul to rest in peace. I knew I had to talk about my experience to someone.

I got the chance when Sathish came to my room one day to administer an injection. As I was talking to him he started smiling!!

“Dei!!! All this is common when you have had a head injury. People go through such hallucinations when they have had a NDE”
I looked at him with a blank face.
“Near Death Experience” he smiled as he injected onto my right hand.

I figured that not many people would believe me when I say that I got to discuss philosophy with a ghost!!! I decided not to talk about it to anyone to save myself from a few more lectures about NDE.

Just then I saw her. She peeped out behind Sathish and started smiling at me!!

My eyes grew wider; I wanted to call out her name and then remembered I didn’t know her name. I slowly opened my mouth to ask Sathish to turn back.
But she soon put her right index finger on her beautiful lips, which were smiling gently.
She waved her hand as if to say “Bye” and pronounced the word without making any noise
and then she disappeared.

That was the last time I ever saw her.

The End.

10 Comments:

sravan said...

fortunately r unfortunately, u wil never ever get 2 kno d answer to your 'WHY' .. coz there's no answer! the question 'WHY' has been runnin in d minds of ppl who lived before you eons and eons ago and will run thro for eons to come.

Everyone thinks there is a purpose to life. Sadly (happily?), no! there is no purpose in life. it is just random! yes, it is chaos! chaos everywhere. u just live 100 years and leave. wat lies beyond on either side, none knows!

Life, universe, stars, the whole system is juz increasin in entropy. The very fact of your existence is a chance dude. if i continue, it will bcome a blog by itself :P

there is only one thing for sure: all you got is 100 years on an average, in the most optimistic estimate. You also got constraints that start from the time you are born to the time youc lose those eyes. You accordingly make decisions and live thro the lifetime. No two lives are/can be identical. Nothing is right or wrong in this world. On commonly accepted terms, anything you do that doesnt hurt others or urself (in that order of preference) is considered good. rest is bad!

do not think too much. every second, life is slippin off .. juz live it. "WHY" never had and never will have answers. have fun!

keep smilin,
sravan

துர்கா|thurgah said...

A great story with a lot of why questions and this poor little brain is getting more confused.But I know one thing,there are many people as confused as I am :)

Hey but this is a real story or just your imagination?I am not getting it even when i read over and over.Tell me the truth because my head is about to explode.

CVR said...

@Shravan!!
Thanks dude!!
may be we just have to give it a break and focus on things at hand instead of confusing ourselves with all these questions!! :-)
But my mind goes back to these questions time and again!

@Thurga
Welcome to the club and No it aint a true story!! :-)

vijay Prakash said...

Thala, Semma Post!! Simply superb! I was not in my senses till I finish reading this story... I started comparing myself with the NDE I had 2 years back !! Chance less Boss...Congrats !!

CVR said...

@Vijay
You really had a NDE experience???
Cooool!!

Thanks for the wishes!! :-)

srivats said...

Mind boggling, googly story. Matrix padam madhiri neraya confuions & neraya understanding .
Romba philosipical erukku, so oru changekku vera dimensionla comment panren

If this had to be filmed(!? god knows why i think so) , here is my crew

Simran (ofcourse comeon she can do better acting)

Maddy ( After a lotof thought)

Rajiv menon

AR Rehman

PC shriram(of course)

And we have to add some more scenes abt the girls life

If it were Hindi My choices would be spontanous

Sharuk ( what else u expect ;) )

Any new acress would do ( but for the sake let it be Rani - aarey she can do well with see through sarees as ghost)

Karan Johar film

Music Shaan , or shankar mahadevan and crew

film would be super dooper hit, correcta he he

CVR said...

I hate Karan Johar and Rani Mukerjhee!!

adhu thavira mattha choice ellam OK!!!
Maddy and ARR are perfecto!!
Director-Mani? or Spielberg?? :D

///film would be super dooper hit, correcta he he////
No comments!! :P

Anandham said...

Nice narration there. B/w I was expecting that the girl scene initially came was for his own ICU & kind which will be more spooky ;)

adarsh said...

u have too much talent sir.. quit the stupid IT job and get into story writing and photography ....

ya. Mani, ARR and Madhavan would be best.. :P

adarsh said...

btw.. i too had (have) similar questions .. donno when they get answered :)

Sociable