It’s a small room with a balcony. The bed is covered with pink coloured bedspreads. Floral printed. With a quilt of same colour. Most of the time its being kept unfolded. It is the winter in Delhi. Raman’s bed is a tiny one, just right for one person. At the upper side of the bed there is a box of same length, attached with the bed. It serves the purpose of a table. Some books, pen, watches and also some other unimportant things are kept on this in a disorganized manner. Just beside this, there is a small balcony. A few green plants and some empty pots and cacti are there. On the other side of the bed there is a cane rack with more books and also an idol of Goddess Saraswati. This rack is so messed up that one can’s pass it comfortably. It’s rather dangerous. Everything might fall down with a mere encounter. Just beside this there is a wall Almira of cloths. It’s also risky to open. All the cloths would fall. At the entrance there are two packing boxes filled up with books. His laptop is left open on the bed. A white plastic chair kept between the bed and the balcony. Sarika used to sit on this white chair ; Raman used to offer her “ coffee”. After lighting a fag Sarika’s answer often was “ black coffee” but, who is going to make it? Raju? Just half spoon of sugar….” Till the coffee arrives Raman would have sat on the bed facing Sarika. Raman enjoyed the passive smoking from Sarika’s Cigarette. Normally it used to be 10 o’clock in the morning and a tremendous busy outside; inside the room two of them sitting inside a cover of smoke. Slowly Raman used to lose the sight of Shalini, smoke covered his vision. The solid smoke wall stands between Sarika and her husband. Raju never entered into the room. Standing outside the door he used to announce the coffee is ready. Raman used to get up to get the coffee. He used to close the door while coming back. They never were being able to finish the coffee. Before that Sarika always stubbed her half burn cigarette in the coffee cup. After sometime two naked bodies came under the quilt without their cloths on and shared another half-finished cup of cold coffee, covered with more and more smoke.
Raju knocks the door before enters the room. Raman is still lying on the bed. Raju does not say anything. He takes out a huge , almost new suitcase from under the bed. Raman feels a small pinch of smile in his face. When he bought this expensive suitcase , for some days at night he laid the suitcase on the bed and he himself slept on the floor. When he told this story to sarika…Sarika smiled stroked his hair..saying “ welcome kid”. Yap…Kid…she was ten years older to him. Raju opens the suitcase…its dumped with some useless stuff as usual. He takes those things out on the floor. Inside it he gets a photograph of Raman and Reshmi, he brought it to Raman…keeps beside him. Raman and Reshmi lived together for almost two years but then one day they understood that they can not match themselves with each other’s ambition. After coming out from IIT, Raman was interested about his job just because he wanted to work. He never had any other mission in his life… never wanted to reach anywhere in particular. Raman knew that he is always a marathon runner. He never have the killer instinct. He fixes his own time and distance. He take the challenges to reach there, the joy of crossing the hurdles are just his own joy, for no one to share, not even with Reshmi. So one day they decided to get apart. The friendship remained… but they took the decision of not living together in life anymore.
Raman goes for a jogging every morning. He does 5 to 6 Kms. Before he starts he decides the distance. If he can cover the whole complex, that is 2 Kms, so its easy to calculate. One morning Sarika saw him running, from her 10th floor balcony. After reaching office Raman got a mail from Sarika “ do not run so much”. He could not resist himself from playing the game of words with her, sms her to be online. “So what were you doing in the moring…that supposed to be your midnight” “had some work..saw you …got scared” “Scared” “I thought at a point of time you will just take off…” “ hahaha…then” “You will be an eagle” “Why eagle?” “Just because I like eagle…an eagle with an empty look” “hahaha…eagle with an empty look…you just reversed the rules of creation” “I am not God…I do not need to be perfect” Sarika always used to say while making love that raman’s looks were always empty…lost…. Every time after making love she used to keep on looking at his eyes and then would say one time “ see, now you are coming back to yourself”
Raju almost packed the suitcase. He only left 2 pieces of cloths outside to manage till tomorrow. Suddenly Raman remembers that he got an SMS from Reshmi yesterday…asking him to check email. Raman switches on his laptop, opens Reshmi’s’s mail. She has congratulated him for his engagement. It’s till 10 days left, Reshmi supposed to come back and join. But her company renewed the contract and she is now thinking of settling down at Ottawa. Ottawa is full of snow now. Once Raman and Sarika went to Narakonda…the place was covered with snow too. They stayed there for two nights. Second day Sarika got up in the morning and said “ I had a dream about you” “ what dream” “I wont tell you now” “Tell me right away ” she looked at him for some times… “ I saw , me , my husband and some other friends of us went somewhere” “hmm…” “ we were in a big room…and there was huge bed …we all were sleeping there…on that same bed..and some other people were also sleeping there” “where was I? ” “you were on the other side of the bed” “did you see me…?” “ yes …but can not remember if I had recognized you” “hmm…then?” “ we were sleeping. suddenly some monkeys came into the room…everyone said they were harmless…but I was scared…so I tried to drive them away with a stick” “ and then?…” “ one monkey got injured…I was feeling bad…then you came to me…you knew some magic…the magic which can heal the monkey…you touched the monkey…it was being cured…being healed…you touched me…everybody saw it…but they said nothing…you were the magician…so…” “hmm…your dreams are also like you…weird…but you know Monkey is my favorite animal” “what is your second favourite animal” “ squirrel” “ and third” “Pig…” “ do you know the meaning of it? It means that you think you are a monkey, people think you are like a squirrel and basically you are a Pig…” “ hahahahahahaha”
Raju is staring at him…surprised. Raman is laughing out loud; alone. From somewhere smoke is coming inside and filling the room…Raman’s eyes are burning. The room is almost empty. Raju has packed the cane rack also. Phone rings. It’s his would be wife… “ hello” “you are moving to our new flat tomorrow …” “sure..” “ packing done..?” “ Raju is working on that…almost complete” “ Listen…you do not buy anything…you have your old bed …we will manage some days with that…then I will choose the new furniture..” “ I was just thinking the bed is too old…” “ That’s okay…Raju also needs a bed…he also will be staying with us…” “ Okay we will see… what are you doing now?” “ Talking to you”…she giggles….”will go out with friends in a while…will watch a movie…listen..why don’t you go to our new flat and give me a call from there?…” “ but you will be inside the cinema hall” “ no…I will just go out…roam around…shop…then will go to the cinema…you still have 2hours…please…” “ okay …let me go there..will talk later…” “ Yap…call me for sure”
Raman gets up, takes his jeans , went inside the toilet. The toilet window glass is still broken. Raman never allowed Sarika to switch on the light inside the toilet…Sarika used to laugh “calculative kid” Raman puts on his Tshirt, Took the car key. More smoke is coming inside. Eyes are burning really…tears coming out. Raju is still staring at him, Raman looks at raju and wonders why can’t he feel the burn!! Raman gets down the stairs. There is a crowd…some sweepers and plumbers are standing in front of his building surrounding something. He sees a small monkey who fell from the tree on a broken bottle, a piece of glass got stuck into its leg. Raman moved towards the monkey…touches the monkey slowly, it does not opposes. Takes out the piece of glass…touches his wound…bleeding stops…wound is healed. Raman gets up…crowd is spellbound and gazing on him. The monkey runs away. Raman goes to his car, opens the door, starts the engine.
Gurgaon-sohna highway…almost empty…a very few car is running. Inside a red car a man on the driver’s seat asks the woman beside him “can you see that man there… running…but I wonder, why on earth…?”, the woman answers “ he wants to take off…” —————————–