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Category: Stories and Anecdotes


It was the month of July and as is the case every year, there are submissions to be made to government offices. While India is trying hard to make everything online and smoothen the process it is indeed an uphill task.
There is a great hurry to make everything on-line, and like in most matters government, there is a lack of perfection in planning and execution. Add to this the teething problems of an unfamiliar system operated by employees who are unfamiliar with the computer operations along with the general attitude of carelessness and unwillingness to be an active and interested worker, there are bound to be glitches. Thus, the constant postponement of deadlines provides some solace to the citizens.
Be that as it may, the general mode was to upload the information which would then generate an OTP number, which for reasons of security is not to be disclosed to anyone.   This meant that the whole submission should not take more than 15 minutes at the most. But things never work as smooth as one wishes, and this is when the struggle begins.


I relaxed on seeing this smiling typical housewife and shaking away any misgivings I greeted her in my usual exuberant fashion, at the same time wondering what was next on the agenda. Obviously, this was an enquiry and I turned my attention to her and said, “Hello Ma’am, what brings you here today?”. She turned her attention from the flowers and acknowledged my presence and immediately launched into a series of questions. However  I could feel that something was different, but I continued answering her queries about music lessons for her child who was in middle school….but something was missing, I couldn’t quite place it… all seemed a little out of place. My sixth sense had alerted me to another vibe and my senses had sharpened to their presence. Still I continued answering her queries and satisfied her curiosity as best as I could.

Suddenly it struck me that she had not asked me any personal questions about my background ,or about the teachers teaching music…this sent me wondering on a different track and I now was waiting for a shift to happen…


I woke up early to the call of a cuckoo, followed by the call of other birds. It was Saturday and there was no particular agenda so I decided to take it easy although there was always a list of chores o be done.  After feeding the birds and the fishes and taking a short walk to refresh myself from the oxygen filled air, I went about making some breakfast. It was a bright day but last night’s rain had left its imprint on the foliage and the there was a general feeling of goodness in the air. I carried my cup of tea to the hall and sat down contemplating on what I had seen last night. I wondered whether I would find any more changes. I opened the book again with some trepidation to look again at the shadow less world.

The picture looked the same generally…but on looking more closely I perceived a lake beyond the trees. It was dark no more and the sun shone in the sky and the water twinkled in the lake as it moved and made ripples in the wind. The picture seemed to be alive and moving with the present. Night had turned to day too and again there were no shadows and no birds or animals in this wood. It was very quiet. I looked out of my window and my garden was rich with many sounds, but the wood in the picture seemed to be living a life of its own. The house continued to be as it was and beyond the river the girl was no longer pointing out, her outstretched arm now lay in her lap and she was looking down at something.


Wide awake now, I felt the crawling sensation return. The rain had turned into a hard downpour and the night sounds had vanished behind the sounds of the harsh rain beating on the roof top and the metal awnings. I could hear the wind whistling through the trees as the clouds moved on their onward journey. A part of my brain went back to the yester years and I wondered if there would be a flood this year. I didn’t know why I was thinking about that now especially when I had this unexplainable situation which was worrying me no end. I suppose the brain has its own way of coping with situations that make the adrenalin flow and the heart beat faster for flight or courage. Either way, there was nowhere to run, or I thought it was best to brave it out whatever the consequences. But there was a sense of trepidation. I thought it would be best to start with the books and with a sense of foreboding I got out of bed and made my way across the bedroom to the corner table where I had placed them.

I looked at them and hesitated. They were very old and I could see that the cover was a little browned and looked the worse for wear. They were three of them, each of the same size but of different thickness. I had not asked for these books yet they had come to me in a strange way and brought by a stranger that seemed unworldly.


It had been a lazy day.  I had taken time out from the constant buzz that is called life and the never stopping rollercoaster of work and human intervention. It was raining incessantly with sudden bursts of heavy showers intermittently. The earth was still radiating the heat from the extremely hot summer months and every now and then I would break out in a sweat until there was a cool breeze that flowed in through the arched window at the foot of the bed.

The frogs had started croaking and I was loath to leave the comfort of my bed although my stomach was already rumbling and asking for its daily fill. I resisted and continued reading the book that I had propped up rather awkwardly on my knees as it had taken an interesting turn. No it was not fiction. In fact it was the scriptural text the Mandukya Upanishad and was elucidating the concepts of waker, dreamer and deepsleep. The head was heavy from two hours of contemplation that such reading normally results in.

Not far off, I could hear the faint drum beats of the dhol (a big drum played in religious functions and temples) being practiced upon with great vigor and strength but not loud enough to disturb. In fact the continuous playing could lull you into a dull stupor.