Back from the Dead
7:41 ki Badlapur local....
I know this would infuriate many for its cliche / banal sound effect and for it (self admittedly) being a pirated cheap copy of "Ek Chaalis ki Last Local". But how can I not start my memoir with its mention for this 12 coach shuttle has been saving the day almost daily for the last few months and yesterday I so very badly regretted to have missed it by a whisker, quite literally! I was just plain scared to even think about what's in store should I now hit the road instead. Countless occasions of sulky drives back home in the race of porcupines made my heart sink and I could truly relate to a death convict's state of mind just moments before s/he is taken to the gallows.
Ah! Y’day was a lot different. Within 10 minutes my cab had hit the Western Express Highway which otherwise would have taken at least half an hour (that when the day was not too bad). As an afterthought I actually thanked HIM/HER for relieving me the pain of being exposed to a battery of armpit perfume testers in the more humble (but infinitely more reliable) Mumbai local.
“The cab was possibly cruising at over 80 Kmph when I realised (just minutes ago, today!) that all my mental & physical faculties got fatally violated by a crushing truck. Mine and the cab driver's identities could be ascertained only with the help of our Aadhaar Cards and our clothes surprisingly corroborated what UIDAI had on its central servers!” That was the crux of the public advisory issued by one of my great family members (extended one, mind it) at his vitriolic and cynical best, barely twelve hours after the very same Ritesh who he adored like his very own son (for his academic achievements) met with an untimely end. All this while he was restlessly doing a moon walk in the narrow passage between the elevators of our building and our modest 2 BHK rented flat, perhaps waiting for the last rites to get to a start soon and finish that much sooner.
I wryly smiled and walked ahead only to notice this Bhabhi (sister-in-law) I used to respect so very much wearing dark shades (at 10’O clock in the morning, inside my cosy house!) and already donning a designer saree though in an ostensibly mourning shade of white! I got bemused as to why she would be making a fool of herself in this audience by putting a black aviator on her nose pads. I observe that she is actually trying to conceal her giggle underneath that pair. Lo and behold! I find her secret as she is having a hearty laugh (inside her lungs, obviously) on finally being able to comprehend a Santa & Banta joke sent to her by her kitty party gang on WhatsApp! Her tranquillity got distressed with a sombre call (from my distant buaji I guess), “Arre Neelakshi beta, jara doodh dekh lena jara”.
There in that desolate corner is sitting my adorable darling, my angel daughter. For her evolved IQ (supplemented with a superior EQ) she is tentatively acting to be oblivious to what the ongoing commotion was while playing on her Lego blocks. Innocently & excitedly, she chirps (like the way she always does when in the evening I reach home and before I fully open the door she unmistakably identifies me from behind it), “Papa aa gaye”! But how did she do it today?! I didn’t have any key to put to a shut door which would have her ears sensitized. What did she hear?! Do I need any reasons to stay camouflaged any more with a halo around me? I would be the cruelest person ever born to deprive her of my touch any beyond. I just lift her in my arms and almost involuntarily she plants her trade mark kisses on both of my cheeks and tops it up with one on my fore head. What bliss!
p.s.: It would be only appropriate for me to share few of the most profound (and flattering too) ghost tributes I have received in the last 24 hours since I made my plan to pen this piece public. Thanks to these so very noble souls for their generosity which I humbly believe I don't deserve by miles. Love you loads guys.
“Ritz *****, the feeling I will have is ki itna pyara insaan tha, such a high energy guy, but ***** duniya bhar ki khujli bhi isi #### mein hi bhari hui thi. Intellectual and emotional, someone who might get weak in the knees and brain once excited, someone who in the obsession of his sun sign may have overridden a part of his natural self. All said and done, I will sob badly!!”
“With me u shall never feel u went for good. No reasons. I shall miss a friend philosopher and a guide. U r not perfect... u hav ur negatives... but we all have.. at least u r human to the core.”
"We'll miss the movie updates and ratings... Lately it had became the yardstick for watching movies in theatre!! Also hope you would had transferred rights of rits original.."
(C) Rits Original