Friday, August 14, 2009

How I Met Haseen!

Month of May is when the harsh cruel summer of Delhi starts unveiling its true colours. Trees don't talk, birds don't fly, squirrels don't dance and men run around to find cover from the fireball. All you can do is to look up helplessly at the glaring white sky and pray the God of rain to bless with some shower. But God likes to play games! It would tease for a little while, sprinkle for few minutes and just when, with the humming of clouds, the hopes will blossom in heart, you find it's all gone! In a blink of the eye every single drop of rain vaporises from the thirsty crust leaving so much anger and humidity behind.

I hate anger and run away from it as far as I can. This time I decided to escape to Home. Now, over the years, bizarre incidents have happened and continue to happen in my train journeys. Sometimes I meet old friends and find out that they have become hippies, sometimes I meet soldiers from Kargil war with breathtaking stories almost choking you with action, excitement, emotion, drama and post war trauma, sometimes there is a criminal in chains travelling by my side with weird habits of praying Goddess Durga and chanting mantras, sometimes I find myself alone with a girl in the compartment and we end up journey without even knowing names and sometimes even people have got shot! So you can imagine that in these journeys I had met all types of people you can possibly hope but then I met someone I would not have thought of even in my dreams. I met Haseen!

Now like every other, well cultured, well mannered mama's boy in our country, I avoid a direct stare at the girls. But then they say that sometimes angels descend from heaven! My eyes were unshakably fixed on her and suddenly I realized that everyone else was staring back at me. I was embarrassed but unusually the train was not crowded and I was ashamed less for my act. But gosh! Could I have helped! Had I ever seen anyone as calm, serene and graceful as her! Apparently I can find my peace even in the most turbulent emotional chaos. And I did as soon as the train started to loco mote. Unlike the still stagnant summer, now the trees started to run, poles approached, rivers passed, bridges howled and just as we ran past the Delhi border, birds started to fly. In the world outside the window there are enough wonders for my amusement. But then darkness comes and everything covers under the night leaving just trail of yellow light bulbs flashing in the distant villages and ghettos. She was sitting opposite me in the long lower berth and occasionally my eyes met hers and I always found her smiling. For some time I thought she's smiling at me and I smiled back. But soon I realized that she is not a sadistic pessimist moron like me but a happy in life person.

The good thing about train to Rewa is that people do not talk much and as the train starts to sway them they start feeling sleepy. Ten minutes into the journey and many of them would already be dozing. And the bad thing is that the nocturnal animals have to suffer all night in darkness. Thank God I wasn't the only nocturnal creature this time.

After the clock ticked 11:00 pm, the rest of the world fell asleep I grew more and more uncomfortable. I just wanted to talk to her. Sitting opposite me in yellow kurta and jeans, her curls playing around with the wind, her sparkling eyes gazing in the infinite sky may be shooting some stars and her love at first sight smile; maybe she was singing some song. I was wandering in dark narrow alleys of thoughts to come up with something to talk. When I had given up, she opened her blue VIP bag, took out a novel Erich Segal's Love Story and started reading. I had a whole bunch of novels and probability books in my bag, a diary and pen for emergency writing outburst and other stuff that could not be done with even in years of solemn pursuit for academic excellence but I acted like I am getting death bored. She smiled a feather smile and asked,
"Do you want something to read?"
I held my breath and made myself believe that it is actually her speaking and replied as calmly as I could have,
"If you have some other novel, it would be great!"

She opened her bag again and handed me over 'Godan', the classic work of Prem Chand. I had read the novel two years ago but still I looked at it in amazement as if it were some alien object and thanked her. Of course I was not interested in reading; I was rather looking for some trigger to shoot a conversation. Finally I kindled my entire dare and said
"What is this novel about? I have learnt that Prem Chand wrote about social issues but never got a chance to read his work."
She looked over me in amazement and said "Is it so? What a chance to know him then! It's one of the most amazing works in literature. You must read it. This book is about..."
Her voice was so sweet and mellow that I was soaking in every word from her lips. Even her eyes spoke when she talked. I was mesmerized again and then she smiled me back in the real conversation.
"Okay!" I smiled back. "What is your name?"
It seemed she got puzzled by the question but then she said softly
"Haseen! And yours?"
"Abhay" After a moment of silence I said "What is your book about? I really like the design on the cover page."
"Oh! It's a love story and that is all I can say right now. I am done almost 100 pages may be I will tell after finishing it." And she dived back in the pages of the Love Story.

I also started turning pages of Godan, remembering all the characters, Hori, Gobar, Dhania...The circumstances in which they were living, the poverty, the migration of Gobar to city etc. I remembered it all very well, so well crafted is the greatest creation by the legend! I waited patiently for her to finish the novel. After an hour she closed the book. By the emotion on her face I could tell that the novel moved her heart deeply.

I turned towards her "So how was the book?"
"It's amazing!"
"Any punch lines?"
"Yes, yes, love means never having to say sorry."
"Sounds great!"
And then when I would have least expected, she started telling me the story. I was looking in her eyes and she was looking into mine and she told and she told. I heard her like a disciple following the sermon by his Goddess. I can still remember the gentle emotional pitches, fragrance of love and sacredness in her voice. It was like a soothing music. It was like a beautiful morning. It was like the scent of the first rain! When she completed the story I could say nothing but,
"Wow!"
I was so moved that I decided after returning to Delhi reading Love Story would be the first thing I will do. I was floating in an endless ocean of emotions and the rising waves would quiver me within. She sensed that I needed a moment of silence and she respected it. But then, I fell in grave silence. Probably the way she told the story reminded me of things I had not spoken of in years. Would tonight be the night of change in my life? Would Haseen be the angel for me? I knew I was thinking way too far but what if I dare to do? What if I let myself loose? What if I finally free myself of the inherent notion of being a good person who would hurt not a fly? What if I tonight I decide to live life more beautifully even if it is at the cost of a little hurt? I knew I wasn't thinking too far. This is the thing I have been waiting for my entire twenty one years of life-to be finally free of myself created silence. Suddenly the train stopped. I had no more courage to look in her eyes again. I silently stood up and stepped down on the platform and stared at the sky. It was dark but I could see the clouds.
"God please don't rain tonight!" I whispered.

From the platform I bought Coke, some Haldiram's sweet and aloo bhujiya, mineral water and a chai. I boarded the train and as I reached my seat Haseen said,
"Abhay! Can you bring me a chai please?"
"Sure Haseen! And this is for you." I handed her over the sweets.
"Why?"
"Just..." Obviously I was fighting for words to fill in but she seemed to understand.
"Okay, thanks!"
I refused to take the money she offered and brought her another cup full of hot refreshing chai. Few minutes after the train started to move she opened the box of sweets and offered me. I also opened all the Coca Colas and bhujiyas and we ate it all happily, exchanging nothing but smiles and random chit chatting. She told me a joke or two which I later forgot. We revealed our business in studies and future plans in brief. She was awed when I told her that I am from IIT but then I was able to convince her that it is not what it all seems to be. She told that she was doing MBA from some college, which I again forgot, in Lucknow and kept bragging that it's nothing compared to the standards and students of IIT. I heard her humbly and accepted all her appreciation in simpers. She questioned little more of me and I answered little more of me. Then I asked her about her interest in novels and she explained her hobbies of writing, singing, dancing, painting and reading. Somehow we were able to form a very cosy bonding and friendship within an hour of talk in which I was mostly being flattered with all that I am and I am not. But she was so beautiful that I could have spent all night like that. I wished it not to stop. The sun not to rise another dawn. The whole world just to be here, forever!
Then she asked me of my interests and hobbies.
"Mostly, writing is all I do."
"What do you write?"
I just used to pen poems then and so I replied
"Poems"
"I love poems. Would you do me a favour?"
"What?" And then she asked something that really moved me.
"Write a poem for me!"
"What! Why?" For some reason I freaked out.
She smiled and calmly said "Like you brought me the sweets!"
Just as you would imagine divine angels from fairy tales to speak. I couldn't refuse. Now without the help of Microsoft Word, thesaurus and Concise Oxford English Dictionary, my job became really tough and challenging. But I managed to write a little poem of eight lines in forty minutes. All the while she kept silent and carefully read my face and working. I handed her over the paper, she glanced at my bad hand writing and it took her ten minutes to understand it.

"Would you read it for me?"
"What!" I was totally out of words, out of expression and out of everything I had previously known. After my long confused quiet she said
"Please! I can't understand the emotion behind lines unless I hear them."
Of course it was true. I have been abstruse writer and sometimes after a month I myself can't decode my cryptic writings. And then I did something I can't imagine. I read it to her, flowing in the words, the emotions, the expressions, the pitches and whispers. The eight lines didn't seem all that short. An era passed by. In those ten minutes the howling, the fluttering, the sound of gush, the snorts and noises all fell mute. It seemed that there are only two people in the world. And when I finished Haseen took a deep breath and said
"Thank you Abhay. It's the most wonderful gift I have ever got!"
"You are welcome Haseen." I couldn't conceal my smile.

We talked some more into the night and she fell asleep after a while. I was living the most beautiful dream and I wished to live in it longer but I didn't know when the night draped me into the hymns of sleep.
It was 6:30 or probably 7 am when she woke me up
"Abhay! My station has come I am leaving."
"Okay" I said.
"Bye"
"Bye" and she left.

When her words actually reached my brain, in a split second my sleep vanished. I said "what!" I still can't say if I was dreaming or awake. Then I realised that it was actually Kanpur and she had taken away all her bags. Suddenly all the last night, the Serendipities and A walk to remembers flashed back in frames in my mind. I found my sandals and ran onto the platform. I could still see her leaving but the signal turned green and the train started to move. I couldn't think, I couldn't wait, I couldn't run, I choked but I could hold no more and I screamed
"Haseen! What is your number?"
She turned towards me, her hair curls fiddling with the wind, her eyes sparkling, and her face more blissful than ever, her grace glowing like the morning light. She turned towards me, the train gained pace, I stood still but she was far too away. I realized it was too late.
She screamed "Thank you" She smiled, turned back and left! And forever Haseen disappeared into the crowds.

After a fortnight I returned to Delhi, ran into a book store to purchase the Erich Segal’s Love Story, read it and cried all night long.

Post Comment

35 comments:

  1. This was the most interesting anecdote I had read till now.....brilliant stuff!!!
    I surely want to listen the "8 line poem" ......... that you deliberately kept out from this....
    The most interesting paragraph was the last one, that actually made me felt like as in, I am in a hurry to read it.......

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  2. finally a step, i would rather call it a giant leap, into the romantic short stories....padh ke mazaa aaya!!!

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  3. Magnificent stuff....I feel there is a writer ahead inside u.......it was great reading ur real experience........Next time i wish to post ur 8 lines poem...........i will love to read it as well...........

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  4. @Nahata:
    Aren't you the most clever man nahata who can pick up so easily the deliberately kept out things.
    I am really happy that i was able to keep you interested until the end.
    Thanks a lot for the appreciation :)

    @Vishal:
    Am so excited about writing more stuff now, but i just want to take my time before putting it in words. Thanks for all your love.

    @Hitesh:
    I honestly say that i didn't expect that you would also be reading my crap but that fact that you did means a lot to me. May be i deliberately kept the 8 lines to myself...may be i will post it sometime. I am glad that you liked the story. Thanks for reading :)

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  5. :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)
    phucker smile kar rha hun teri post padke.. thnx..
    :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

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  6. aI believe now you really understand what the readers want from you, good analysis....timing was of superlative degree....content mind blowing...in brief....nonu u rocked this time...trust me its 10 times better than ur previous works...the kind of curiosity u developed through out didn't allowed the reader to blink even....really worth appreciation.

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  7. that was....awweeeesomeee.....litelrally a marvelous piece of anecdote.....you right good... i never knew it......awesome slomo..

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  8. All i can do is smile after reading it... smile not because there was something funny or hilarious... but because i haven't read something this beautiful for a long time...

    the last paragraph was something which i wanted to finish as desperately as i didn't want to... and without explaining anything further, i know the subtle author would understand it all!!!

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  9. no words to express my elation.

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  10. Awesome piece..The best part was that I could totally visualise the story..which shows how well its been written! Really vivid and interesting!

    Keep writing more :)

    And u can look for her on orkut considering you know her college/city details ;)

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  11. hey....was dat u who wrote dis. a wonderful blend of romace, literature, and theism (as u r invoking gods n angels evry nw n den). if its autobiographical, must say u stand a strong chance in future. n if its not, u still stand a strong in future as a short story writer! KUDOS!

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  12. very well drafted..
    super!!!!
    mazaa aa gea padh ke... :)
    keep it up.... :D

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  13. I JUST WISH THE ENDING WOULD HAVE BEEN THE HAPPY ONE...

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  14. wel i m dying to listen dose eight lines... u shud drop dat poem in... may be dat can help someone else also...:)
    about the story, its a awesum stuff... but u lazy ass.. u again missed a golden chance... rite na?

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  15. "And i humbly accept all your appreciation in simpers." :)

    @Sush: Phucker smiles are all i hoped to give. :)

    @Mrinal: Finally i have a comment from someone with lit background. I hope i was good enough. :P

    @Sankalp: Thanks and now you know ;)

    @Banerjee: Sure man. Thanks for reading!

    @Tandon: Yes, the subtle author understands it all!!! And i hope your quest to find out the truth lands you in even more confusion :P

    @Dhama: Of course it was! ;)

    @Anirudh: Yup i understand its not as big as it should be!!! :P

    @Sangwan: This is not fair!! I put more that two thousand words for you and you can't even find few?? Dig some more man, i want to know more :P

    @Ridhi: Thanks a lot! You keep reading and i will keep writing :)

    @Kehkasha: Thanks a lot for reading and well wishes and inspiring me! My real success lies here when people who don't even know me are appreciating. I hope i was that good! :)

    @THE: Thanks a lot! Please post your name as well.

    @Shubhangi: Armed with so many well wishes i'll definitely try my best to keep it up! i am glad that it made you smile. Thanks a lot for reading! :)

    @Pratik: The ending may be not the best but isn't sad one! How many times do such incidents happen in life? And these only cheer you up!!! Thanks for comment. :)

    @Akshay: You are not dying, for gods sake don't lie!! :P You need some help is totally a different thing :D Thanks for your time and comments. ;)

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  16. I just loved the ending. There was a sense of tragic beauty. A sort of anti-climax, that sort of a story where one just wishes that the hero had been just a minute early.. Its wonderful when such things happen to you. The beauty lies in the fact that the unimaginable happened and the unimaginable happened again.

    And I dont think that I am the only one who thinks that you wrote this post with that glimmer of hope that that same "Haseen" reads this post and recognizes how you feel about her..

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  17. i formally give my comment ... as i expressed my views already on the phone ... reading this piece was like i was there in your place ... felt like love ... yes it did :) ... it seems really simple after reading though, but i admit that i couldnt have written a piece like this without actually experiencing this :) ... so may be i'll get you drunk enough some day to spill the beans on this mystery :) ... cheers

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  18. @ ridhi : i was gonna say the same thing him, but may be he already did :) haha

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  19. totally awesome...
    i felt lyk i was watching a movie...
    .. i ws actually rushing through d lines to knw wht happens nex....
    too good!!!!

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  20. @Benzamin: Red Russian also loves my story, that speaks volumes for me!!! :P And yes sometimes the best things in life are missed in a space of just a few minutes.

    I am not sure whether Haseen will read the story or feel the same but the unimaginable happened and happened again just keeps me smiling :)

    @Hitu: Dude, now you are too late to get me drunk and even if by some chance of say one in a million you succeed, i won't spill any beans! you probably know that already :P :D thanks for reading!

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  21. @Hitu: May be i did and may be i didn't! :P

    @koms_cool18: Thanks a lot!!! I hope it's good enough for readers to rush through it again and again :)

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  22. Very well written, I must say. Just unbelievable that this could happen and you two won't ever meet again!! Trust me dude you need to find her. Its not impossible and its not that you don't have time. Just pick up some lazy ass friends of yours and go find her. I know they will all be up for it!

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  23. execellent work..keep going..spl d endin...
    My reading speed almost doubled and tripled at d end to know how he finds a way to contact her in future...

    a good romantic piece from d most unromantic person in d wing...i like it...hehehe
    kiddin...

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  24. but now i also want to read or rather listen in person to those 8 lines, deliberately not added in dis work...

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  25. @Samar:
    In the path that you suggest me to go, the first lazy ass i encounter is mine and in 21yrs i have not learnt to deal with it :D
    Thanks for reading and appreciating, it means a lot to me :)

    @Ankur:
    Padh hi li finally toone! Its funny that romantic things happen even with people as dead as me :D :D
    And the eight lines are still a deliberately kept secret! Thanks again for reading :)

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  26. Adding a drop to the ocean of comments on this story, I would first of all ask you to correct the name of the author of the beautiful book Love Story - it's Erich Segal not Sehgal.

    Regarding the story, I would say it's good and quite well-written. The end was intriguing and this gives this story an extra-ordinary character. Thanks for writing a piece as wonderful as this one!

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  27. good job dude...it reminded me the night when amlan met a girl n the train...anyway tht story is totally diff. :)

    urs is much better. keep it up :)

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  28. awesome writing... none of my business but just out of curiosity did you try tracing her back? if only it helps, i know couple of friends who googled with bits of information they had about their childhood friends and/or forgotten contacts and were able to locate them (either facebook/orkut/college profile/email id or something)... and if nothing, search bsnl telephone directory ;-) wish it helps!

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  29. @Buzz
    Believe me even a drop is equally precious and important as is the ocean :)
    Thanks for correcting me, somehow i always mistake him as an Indian author :D Thanks again for comments!!

    @kakodhar
    I know something happened with Amlan but i don't know the whole story, please enlighten us :P
    Thanks for your appreciation :)

    @Matka/HTML
    Now that you have read the story it is totally in the domain of your business :D
    I hope your suggestions work.
    Thanks for reading and comment :)

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  30. if this was a piece of fiction then u r a genius,
    ow if this actually happened then you are both lucky and genius :)

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  31. @ themightys
    Thanks a lot for appreciating the story!! :) :)

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