AS 01 N-8308

This was something I had conjured up about two years ago (Hence please ignore the slightly juvenile undertone 🙂 ) one night while I was up late at home.  Its based upon that old worn out Fiat car that stood stranded for years in front of the Transit Complex and the rumors that surrounded it

“The guy was in his Mtech second year….it belonged to him….i’m telling you….3rd year ke bhaiya ne bataya tha mere ko …and since his accident 8 years ago..its just been there and no one dares go near it because it’s…it’s.. CURSED.. it’s…it’s.. POSESSED…it’s…..”

“its just a CAR for crying out loud!” intervened Rohan at just the right moment avoiding Rachit from blowing a fuse yet again based on baseless hearsay.

“arrey, I’m telling you na , that car is creepy….haven’t you seen it yet? we’ve been here for 3 months already!….”

“OF COURSE I’ve seen it on my way to the workshop classes but it wasn’t remotely creepy, man!” claimed Rohan.

A short silence followed during which Rachit stared at the wall and then went on…. “the night’s the dawn of the dead”…….

“the WHAT??…. man !you’ve got go easy on the XFiles or wherever that came from!….” said Rohan, wondering if he was keeping Rachit beyond his regular bedtime with their late Friday night bakar.

Finally Rachit broke his stare off the wall, to look at Rohan “the night’s when that Mtech fellow returns to be around the car….so obviously you don’t find the area strange during…..”

“the guy’s dead according to you….and he comes back eh?” inquired Rohan.

“that’s what’s so strange about this!” earnestly explained Rachit.

An open mouthed moment later Rohan continued “HOW on earth do you come up with all this??….HAHAHAHA!!”

“you know what’s wrong with you??….you’re not a believer! and you know why? because you’re basically SCARED to face the truth!” concluded Rachit amidst some continued laughter which took a moment to stop and then Rohan spoke ..“believer??….in what?

Scared??….of what ?

Of spooks and stuff??…..you’ve got to be kidding me!”

“well I think you ARE scared…..and I pity the fact that you don’t have the power to believe!”

“oh so all this is a POWER now??well superman….sorry to be your kryptonite but this paranormal stuff you’re into is ABSOLUTE hogwash and I don’t have the POWER to believe in this simply because I’m……I’m…well….”

“scared of it? Scared of it being true?”

“NO….i’m of the opinion that its just always logical stuff whose logic is tough to realize….and there’s just NOTHING to fear in a car that’s not been maintained over the years….”

“yeah sure….that’s what Scully said BEFORE she became a believer…..”

“Now who’s Scully??”

“x files”

“I warned you about that show…..it’ll drive you cra..”

“THINK about it….why wouldn’t the officials of the college just remove the car from there? Its an eyesore and yet they’ll still keep it there….you know why?? ….”

“PERHAPS,coz they have BETTER THINGS to do…?!”

Rohan’s last comment seemed to have silenced Rachit. But winning the battle of beliefs didn’t seem to bring him much pleasure….perhaps it was the fact that the guy he proved wrong was one of the best friends his 3 month’s at IIT had churned out….and this friendship….he ‘believed’ in….

“listen if it really means SO much to you…….”

Breaking off a renewed stare , at the floor this time, Rachit rose his head.

“let’s go check out the car……what do you say?” Rohan concluded

“you sure you’re ready for this?”

“I PROPOSED it!”

“but its 1AM!”

“well……the night’s the dawn of the dead ….aint it?”

“wow!chal…..mein abhi jacket pehen ke aaya!”

and Rachit was off while Rohan went off outside Kameng into the cold night……

the stroll towards the transit complex was plagued by a thick fog covering almost every inch of cold ground ahead of them, the trees and bushes, quite close to them, rustled in the cold wind of the night…..the eerie atmosphere shut down any thoughts Rachit and Rohan had of continuing their debate or even of questioning why on earth they were out there and what they were looking for?……but soon the fog cleared a bit….and then a bit more…..until the visibility was good enough…..good enough to see the abandoned fiat ahead of them……

“well what now?” inquired Rohan

“I don’t know….you…you proposed the plan” stammered Rachit.

“I don’t see anything creepy about this even now!” said Rohan….relieving himself a bit having voiced the lie.

“you….you don’t?” asked Rachit, perplexed.

“no,of coure not! Do you??”

“hmm…no…lets go back then!”suggested Rachit.

The cold breeze grew stronger and yet the fog grew thicker, further adding reason for Rachit and Rohan to retreat to their rooms to resume their bakar .

“Are you two fuchhas??”

the sudden emergence of the voice from right behind them combined with the fact that it seemed to belong to a senior, kept the two of them rooted to their feet with the chill going down their spine rather slowly in the cold winter.

“well??”

finally Rohan managed to speak.. “yes sir, we are.”

“WHAT on earth are you two doing here??”

“well sir…..we just….were walking …..and…”

“oh…..its the fiat isn’t it??”

perplexed by the suddenness of the question and mystified about whether their faces really revealed so much….they simply nodded….

“yeah …. I knew it…..who are you guys, anyway?”

“my name is Rohan…..and this is Rachit”

“hi…..i’m Yashwardhan…..so this old fiat REALLY intrigues you eh?”

finally Rachit spoke up…. “well actually, we were wondering whom this fiat belonged to…..and …..why is it still here…. I mean…”

“you mean you STILL don’t know??”

“well…..not really….”

The cold was growing unbearable while the senior began to speak

“2 years ago professor Rathore tried to remove this car from this spot…..

but ……..soon he realized….what the car represented and..…..well..….he then let the fiat be.”

“but what DOES this scrap represent??” probed Rachit “and WHAT changed Rathore’s mind??”

The senior now rubbed his gloved hands against each other and said “well……beats me…..why don’t you just ask the prof?……its getting really cold…..I’m off …..and you fuchhas better get back too…..!”

with that the senior rushed off ,adjusting his cap and scarf, into the fog…..

“BIG help that guy was….”said Rohan on their way back.

“yeah,I really thought he knew something about it!…..just goes to show that even our seniors don’t know anything about the car!!” said Rachit

“I’m never wasting time like that again!!….all we got was….was…..another rumour….”

“yeah…. that senior really thinks we’re dumb enough to go upto a prof and ask him to tell us THE ghost story..!”

“hahahaha….well….good night….”

“good night” said Rachit and they departed to their rooms for the night……

The following week, the assignments and quizzes kept Rachit and Rohan too busy to talk about last Friday’s experience…….although as the week passed, their curiosity grew and by the time Friday arrived yet again…..and professor Rathore walked briskly past them…..relieving themselves of the mounting curiosity didn’t seem so ‘dumb’ anymore….

“Excuse me sir…..” said Rohan

Professor Rathore turned to look at Rohan

“Yes, what is it?if you have some doubts, please ask me later, I have a meeting……..”

“Sir, it’s just a small inquiry” pleaded Rohan.

“What about?” asked professor Rathore, continuing to walk again……

“It’s about the….the fiat outside the transit complex sir…..”

“Well, its not mine,if that’s what you’re asking!”said the professor with a slight indignation in his tone now.

“No sir….we wondered why it has not been removed from there yet?”asked Rohan, slowly realizing the foolishness of this situation that he had created!

Now clearly angered, the professor said

“It is NOT MY responsibility! Now if you’ll excuse me…..”

This was not going the right way for them and Rachit realized how imprudent the professor must think they were and decided to put the blame of the situation upon its true culprit.

“Actually sir, it was a senior named Yashwardhan who told us to ask you all this! ….That’s why we….”

Now, to Rachit’s astonishment the professsor stopped and turned to face the boys….clearly the professor had had enough of this!

Both of them got ready to receive a fit of rage that they didn’t deserve….the senior would finally have the last mocking laugh….why did they have to succumb to their curiosty??……

But when the professor spoke next….he did so with a voice lower in pitch, full of control and yet devoid of any calm

“Where’d you meet Yashwardhan?”

“We….we… met him outside the transit complex last week”

Rachit’s statement seemed to have had a very disturbing effect on the professor….he stared at them with horror struck eyes and said in a hushed, petrified tone with an expressionless face “he….he spoke to you?”

“well…..yes s..sir…. I told you ,that senior was the one who told us to ask you all that!….”

“Yashwardhan sent you here……to me……?”

The professor’s eyes now seemed hollow…his hands began to quiver….yet his mind remained transfixed upon a thought….a memory…..a dream…..he had had two years ago……………

It was the middle of august…the night was at its peak of darkness only to be disturbed by the intermittent jolts of lightning that broke all calm with the thunder that followed…….

The air conditioner hissed out cool air into professor Rathore’s room and yet…..he was drenched in sweat…..his face contorted as he struggled to wake up…..but his mind refused to abide….he was being pulled…..pulled away from the the lights of life……pulled into the dark…..and from the deepest regions of the dark, shot out a blinding light……from which a shadow arose………..and spoke……….

“I wish to remain.”

The professor found himself staring at the shadow with utter disbelief ……he didn’t know where he was…..he didn’t know why he was here…..he didn’t know why his open mouth could not speak………..but he DID know that voice.

“I wish it remain” the shadow continued.

Finally managing to find some words the professor said “but you died in it. I can’t live with it around me any more….. I just can’t!

“I wish that it remain……I wish to stay”

And with that the shadow disappeared into the light and the darkness gave way to reality…….professor Rathore shot upright in his bed……wiped sweat off of his face……and muttered to himself amidst his gasps for breath….. “ you ….shall stay.”

“Sir…… should……should I get you some water?!” asked Rohan, concerned.

The professor now collected himself and although thoughts continued to race in his head and the hopes that a dream had sown in his heart long ago were being realized and confirmed now right before his eyes….he managed to speak….

“LISTEN TO ME CAREFULLY, you are not to speak of what you saw to anyone……ANYONE! I have stayed quiet for too long about this and cant let two students ruin the peace of the institute!….DO you understand??”

shaken by the severity in the voice…..they nodded….

Yet, unable to hold himself back after getting this unexpected response, Rohan managed to speak “…..sir…do….you…you …know Yashwardhan…..?…”

The professor heaved a heavy sigh, stared straight into Rohan’s eyes and said…. “I………Yash was………..IS……my son..….he died 8 years ago….”

That night Rachit and Rohan’s bakar comprised of a long silence, with both of them unable to comprehend the situation…..unable to realize where logic lost its way…….unable to distinguish reality from imagination……finally Rohan spoke up…. “hey Rachit…. I believe.”

*********************

Social message ?! Really ?!

I generally don’t openly criticize the efforts of a few ‘good Samaritans’ who try to remind us every once in a while of the moral ethics that we ought not to forget.

But there’s been this YouTube video that has been doing the rounds over the past couple of months (in the favorites and ‘must watch’ section of some my friend’s orkut and facebook accounts) with the blatant aim of making us realize yet again that India has diversity in its economic structure (Duh !). They attempt to do this by inquiring among the different classes of people in New Delhi (I presume) , regarding how they would use a 500 Rupee note if they were given one on the spot.

The video aims to show how pathetically selfish, self centered and alarmingly nebulous in their social ethics some of the ‘upper middle class’ people of society are in India. This they try to portray through the girl who wished to spend the 500 bucks on a haircut…”how outrageous” (They attempt to say)…A haircut ?! This while India still has a ‘poor population’ struggling to get a meal a day?!

Also through the girl who wishes to get a new dress or the one who wishes to see movies (3 times at that) or the guy who wishes to eat out at some cool eating joint…Is this all so outrageous ?!

The video ends with the statement :

THE PRICE OF SOMEONE’S HAIRCUT = THE PRICE OF SOMEONE’S SCHOOL FEES

The thing is this video urges people to sit back and think for a while about the prevalent disparity and how we can help the impoverished. For THAT I think the video maker deserves credit…but his manner of portraying the same is almost enraging because of its underlying naiveness.

In my opinion, the most apt response this video has received on YouTube is :

“What a pretentious social message! It sounds completely pseudo- sympathetic and shallow. “

I personally would agree with the girl in the video who said she’d get her phone recharged ! I’d prolly do the same ! 🙂

While you’re at it, have a look at this 5 second video on YouTube that I saw at a quiz recently…Its been viewed by over 12 million people worldwide…The world’s most famous 5 second video !!!!  :O (What for is it SO famous is beyond me though ! )