“Hotspot password in such a situation?” Arvind sir exclaimed loudly
“Even I was shocked like you are professor. But you would eventually understand why”
On this note I resumed my story “I replied to her “The password is ‘padmavyuh_23-12-13’”. She typed the password and returned to her phone. Before I could decrypt what she was up to, the driver asked her for directions to a warehouse. Why was the driver asking her? She could sense my tension so she mumbled softly “Don’t worry we will get out soon. I am also kidnapped like you. I am trying to work a way around. Stay calm.” The van occupants apart from us were two middle-aged men, both busy looking out of the window. The driver seemed to be the only one talking. I trusted her and stayed calm. I could hear the Google voice which was giving the directions. But I sensed that something was not right. When I looked at her phone, I could see that Google translate was open. She was writing directions in English and translated them to Hindi. For the driver, she was still using Google maps. I was slowly understanding what was going on.”
“But I don’t understand why the driver would ask her for directions?” asked my professor.
Despite his inebriated state, he didn’t lose his sanity. I replied to him “Sir, the drivers were a bunch of illiterates. They just know that a phone can shout out directions, but they didn’t know how to do it. So, they asked her for the directions. Simply put, she took advantage of their lack of technical know-how. The other kidnappers only made sure she wasn’t contacting anyone else but were thick enough to not understand that we were driving in circles around the town.”
I could see that my professor was convinced. “After a while, the fuel exhausted. We were on a lonely road with woods around. Two of the kidnappers scampered off to get fuel and the driver remained in the car with us. This was our golden moment. She leapt onto his head and began tugging the seat belt around his neck. After a while, he lost his consciousness. She untied me and we started running deep into the woods hoping we were far from the other kidnappers. As we bolted through the woods, we slipped on a slope and landed on some mossy area. I could sense that she was around me but due to the darkness I couldn’t see her. Almost immediately, I heard her voice “Are you okay?”
I replied, “Yeah, I am fine.”
We started walking towards distant lights. I asked her “Why did those people kidnap you?”
She replied “I was trying to stop my friend’s marriage from happening because she is being forced to marry. But her father got to know about this so he sent these fools to kidnap me. They kidnapped you because they suspected that you might file a complaint against them.”
I didn’t ask too many questions because I was in a hurry to forget this night for good. My mobile phone had run out of battery and I did not know when I would reach home. After a pause, she said in a commanding voice “We have to stay here tonight. In this unknown place.”
“No! That can’t happen I have to go home. Tonight is very important for me and I have to be there on time.”
She asked me “What is so important?”
I felt that there is no harm in telling the truth to a stranger so I said confidently “I am committing suicide today and I want to die in my drawing room. So, I have to go home.”
There was a moment of silence. I thought that she was puzzled by my reason. But her reply left me puzzled.
She said in a casual tone “Postpone it to tomorrow, you have no other choice.”
I remained calm for some time. I have met many cold-hearted people in my life but this girl surpassed my imagination. She interrupted my line of thought as she said “What is your problem if you do it tomorrow?”
I replied “I get easily carried away by people’s ideas and thoughts. My life…or whatever I have lived until now…has been like a book of chaotic events. I just hope that the last page of my life does not be a part of that book. So, I don’t want to be here.”
I knew she was looking at me quietly. We walked without talking until we reached a beach. A few people were partying in the distance. By their voices, we understood that they were locals from the area. We had landed in the outskirts of the city. As we stood mesmerized by a distant bonfire, she asked me “By the way, what is your name?”
“Arjun” I replied,” What is your name?”
She laughed “You have met the perfect person for the evening. My name is Krishna.”
As she said her name, I could see her face glowing in the light of the bonfire. She took out a harmonica from her pocket. As she began playing a tune, she appeared like Lord Krishna playing his flute. She seemed so much like him! Perhaps modern Krishna dressed in casuals with a leather jacket. I felt a little at ease, so I asked her “Krishna is a boy’s name, right?”
She smirked “Does that name have a copyright restricted for boys? My parents checked if there existed one and then named me.”
I laughed. We continued walking and we found a place to sit. I was feeling restless and wanted to run away from that place. She asked me ‘Okay now tell me. What is your problem? Why do you want to die?”
I got even more frustrated with her question but I suppressed my irritation. I felt the heat build in my face. I avoided answering her question. I thought she would realize I wanted to be left alone but her words left me baffled. “Why are you so sad?” she repeated animatedly. I didn’t know why she was unable to understand that I was irritated.”
“She must be mad” Aravind sir thundered, “Even I can understand that you must have been irritated at that time”
“Even I thought the same, sir. But after a while, I felt that what she asked was quite accurate…I was really sad deep down so her sudden question sounded strange. No one ever had ever seen me that way, and her normal behaviour made me introspect what I was feeling.”
“I didn’t answer her question. After a few moments, I asked her curiously “How did you know that I was sad?”
She laughed and replied “You were irritated because no one could understand that you are sad. Now that I have understood you are sad, you don’t seem to be irritated anymore.”
I felt less restless after that. She allowed me to break the silence.
“You play the harmonica really well. Anything special about that?”
She answered “I feel that music sometimes can convey our intentions better than speeches. Because there is no language for music. So, that is why I carry this harmonica with me.”
I began thinking about the music I listen to. She was right about the freedom brought by music. However, she gave me little time to agree with her “You still didn’t answer my question. Why do you want to die?”
As I was about to answer her question, she interrupted me “I feel that something is missing in this situation? “
I asked “What?”
After thinking for a minute, she replied “Vodka. A glass of vodka would enhance this experience. Come let’s go and get a bottle of vodka.”
Dark clouds rumbled over our heads. After a little hesitation, I told her in a rather low tone “I don’t drink.”
She shook her head with disbelief and said “A person who is dying tomorrow shouldn’t worry about his health and habits today. I hope that is a convincing reason for you to not stay sober tonight.”
I nodded. A nightingale cooed in the chill of the night, it didn’t seem so silent anymore. As we walked, I wondered whether Lord Krishna consumes alcohol.
A light rain had helped us gain pace and reach a dhaba. So, we quickly got some food and ordered Krishna’s drink. She gave me her glass of vodka. I was a bit tense but I somehow gathered courage to take the first shot.
After two rounds when I started losing control of myself, I answered her question “My name is Arjun. Except for my name, there is nothing great in my life. If my life of 21 years is written in a book then that book would have many authors other than me. Didn’t understand? I’ll elaborate. That means that every decision in my life starting from my choice of breakfast to my choice of profession is influenced by someone in my life. I am an architect by profession but not by choice. It’s not that I am weak at it but rather, I hate my profession. We have been told that we should follow our passion, I feel that I have been pursuing some other person’s passion all this time. Generally, elders say that inspiration from great people would make you a better person. If someone follows that and takes it seriously, people would become like me, having no character. My life is a trash-bin of such inspirations. If you ask me to express my opinion on some issue, my response will be none of mine but all of their’s .”
“I get your problem, but many people have the similar situation. So, not everyone commits suicide for such a small reason, right?”
I replied angrily “Small reason? Just imagine living a life where you do not like anything around you. I am neither happy professionally nor personally. I had been acting every second in my life. And now, the moment when I have realised that I am not living my life, I am just surviving, I feel like quitting it.”
She didn’t seem to be convinced so I asked her a question “What do you do if you are not liking your favourite pet or your best friend or your favourite bike anymore?”
She replied quickly “I’ll leave them.”
I insisted “Even I am doing the same thing. I don’t like my life so I’m leaving it.”
“But things may get better, right?” She said.
“I can’t just survive like this in hope that my life would have a great ending like ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ movie, because I know my life would be like a dead person’s electrocardiogram. Because the enthusiasm, the driving force, the excitement to see another new day is missing in my life.”
Krishna wanted to say something important, but I interrupted in between “Hey Krishna, maybe 5000 years back, you stopped Arjuna while he was talking and gave him a bit of advice…resulting in 700 pages (abridged) of Bhagavad Gita. Poor guy! He didn’t get a chance to speak out back then. At least now give this Arjun a chance to speak”
She smiled calmly. I told her clearly “Committing suicide is the first decision made by me, but it is also the last decision of my life. So, don’t try to influence me by giving philosophical speeches. During Kurukshetra’s battle, Krishna didn’t use a single weapon but still, he made Arjuna and the other four win the war. If you are also like him, make me win my battle without using words as your weapon.” A bolt of lightning struck through the dark sky. She began playing her harmonica, as she had accepted the challenge.
(To be continued in Krishnarjuna Adhyay-3…)