Our dreams take us to different places moving through different paths. To reach out to our dreams, we need to run in the rat race.
The boy was no exception, someone who wanted a taste of the fruit of success to get his dreams fulfilled. He came from a small town, an insignificant place on the world map of his high school ‘atlas’ represented merely by a dot for the world to see. With his family’s support, he started a journey, a journey he believed would mould his life, leaving his emotions and everything behind, to convert his dreams into reality, a dream he grew up with, for which he gave up so much.
He went to a place where the day started with the blazing sun, a place full of sculptures known for its rich heritage, famous for its marble and stone industry and strange eyes of those in the same race. He knew, he too had to blend in the crowd and tried to become one of the thousands but, he understood that he could not allow himself to be an eternal part of their mundane world. And knowing this, he started his ‘journey’ every day, waking up before the sun had peeked above the horizon, having his meal, then sitting on his table to study. Then as it was mid-afternoon, he got ready to be a part of the class after lunch.
While pedaling his way to class, he kept his head straight down to avoid the distractions of the world which comes as a trophy with the age of adolescence. Bustling traffic with screaming horns, the racers losing their focus and chattering and the heat of mid-summer Rajasthan sun in the sky as a pale red cherry made him sweat even more.
Marking himself present for the class with the help of a self-service attendance machine, he made his way through crowded stairs to finally reach his class which started with a small prayer of “Itni shakti hume de na data” Four consecutive classes, with a few minutes break between each. His recess passed just getting his doubts cleared, which he had learned or just after the lecture was delivered, rushing to the teacher as soon as the classes got over. A pale brown hot samosa, the yummy patties, the chiura pulao, a cup of hot tea called on to his empty stomach, as a fawn calls on a hungry lion. A couple of hours after dusk, the classes got over and the boy headed to his hostel, fed his hungry lion’s stomach and after a talk with his loved ones, headed to bed.
Each day passed in a similar manner, except Sundays. The classes were either off or there was a test every fourth week. Sunday became the day of city-exploration which had to its fame The Seven Wonders, City Mall, Chambal river, and the boy’s favourite, the Kota Barrage. On others, he passed his day in the balcony staring at the people down the road. Eventually, he realised that Sundays are surely not for him but still found himself waiting for a Sunday from each Monday morning.
Festivals came and went by unnoticed. But Diwali acted as the intermission in his life, giving him joy, which may have been short-lived but it was something he treasured. Many things changed, seasons came and went by all he got was loneliness moving up the path having a goal in his mind and emotions in his heart buried deep in a corner near the SA Node which got into motion with every single heartbeat.
Months passed, the same, the pressure reaching its peak with exams barely a month away and the only thing that made him stay amongst the thousands, to fight and strive for success, to become someone notable among those thousands by scoring good marks were his sister’s words, “Do your day to day work, homework and revisions at their time and do not think about the results”, or a statement by his soul brother, “Give your cent percent, what may the results be”, which helped him to survive.
Everyone passes through a phase with uncertainties. The boy had his share of the pie too. The place taught not only worldly knowledge printed in texts, on papers but also introduced him to the reality of the world. Introduced him not only to the pasta, the chola bhatura, paneer rice and other delicacies he got in the hostel mess which was like ‘heaven on earth’ for a foodie like him but also with the emotions embedded deep inside the cavern of his heart. The only thing that prevented him from diving deep into those emotions was going to that six hours class, studying in manner which was also an entertainment and for him was like watching a Bollywood blockbuster.
Finally, the day came, to return, back to his native land, where he grew up, his home, to his family with the examination at his doorstep. It was time, time for him to leave this place, this land where last one year he had spent, had made it a place nothing near to be called home but which still was a place he had survived and would like to return to. Many students stayed there, to return after their exam.
He packed his belongings and began another journey, this time back to the railway station to the train to take him back, with tears in his eyes, memories of each place he had visited flashing in front of him, of the people, of the air and of the smell of the place, of the attachment he had grown to this place and many more made him nostalgic to the place. He wanted to thank his teachers, his hostel warden, friends, the people he had met and to the place which had taught him a lot about this life and had helped him stick to the very end.
The train left the platform but, the memories stayed with him and the place, this place remained etched in his heart and mind forever. The place never left him and neither did he.