I woke up abruptly, as if someone had shaken me up from deep slumber. Totally disoriented and confused. I usually do get up at midnight. But I today I felt disturbed. Did I have a dream? I dont remember.
In the dim green back-light of my watch I searched for my glasses, ahh.. its 3!! I tried to fall back to sleep, turning left and right, adjusting and re-adjusting my pillow, all in vain. Finally I decided to get ready and start early from here. I had come for attending a seminar and was to return to my native. My train is at 7.30 but I had a change of mind.
The caretaker said, there is a bus at 5 am to my place. I scurried down the sleeping hallway rushing to reach the bus stop. Its still dark, the roads shimmering under the yellow incandescent lights. I reached the stop in 5 minutes. A totally different setting of the usually busy road. Empty streets with shutters down, no noisy vehicles, cold wind wafted sending the polythene bags whirling in the air, some unfortunate destitute curled up under the tattered blanket, a street dog curled up close by so as to get warmth.
As I was absorbing this pure and unpolluted morning, I heard heavy footsteps. Somebody was walking down the lane opposite to the road. I could not clearly make out the features of the man walking towards me. He was hefty and had two bags with him. Occasionally stopping to pull up his pants. As he came closer, I could see that he had taken exorbitant quantities of alcohol. He had madness in his eyes, a storm in his voice and instability in his walk. He was gibbering about some incident and I could not make head or tail of it. I was little hesitant to engage in a conversation with this man. A man under the influence of toxin is the most unpredictable. But he seems to be very friendly.
Within minutes I saw a car beaming from the same lane as this man came from. I suspected it was somebody looking out for him. His family came out of the car, petrified distressed faces. They tried to convince him to get into the car, but he hurled profanities at them. I was witnessing the sensitive moments of some family. We had exchanged names by then, and the man urged me to get into the car. I was uncertain, but he wanted me to get into the car. I asked them to drop me at the junction ahead from where I could get my bus.
I thought I saw spasms of pain crossed their faces just before the car drove off. I boarded the bus at the right time. As I reclined my chair, the incident replayed in my mind. The man seemed to be a very learned person, the family looked supportive, and yet it was an ugly moment. I wonder what they might be going through. A strange episode in a long time. And what is stranger is, I got up at the wrong time only on this day.. may be.. just to see this. I fell asleep praying “May peace be with them”
-As narrated by a friend of mine