The Nawab’s Sword

Once upon a time in the city ofLucknow, was a Nawab named Mirajuddaula. Now nothing much could have been said in his praise except that he had inherited the riches of his forefathers ( as with most Nawabs) but if you would have dared to ask me about his credentials in his esteemed presence my obvious answer would have been – the more I tell about his majesty’s grace the little it will be.

Now that I have told you about his Nawabi Lineage you would have guessed that Mairajuddaula was far detached from the bindings of work and livelihood.However, no way does this imply that there was any dearth of business for him. After a walk in the gardens conversing with the  morning breeze and a session of massage in his personal Spa Mairajuddaula ensconced himself in his Meeting room where he took upon himself to resolve all sorts of moral and ethical problems facing the society. It’s a matter of minor consequence that no one paid heed to his advice and people used to visit him as a means of entertainment and past time. Being infamous has its share of fame and this was the guiding light for our Nawab.

And yes  ,One of the reasons for his popularity were the sumptuous Kebab’s made by his master chef – Sakhawat Miyan. It was said that the chef used to prepare for 3 days before and the elaborate arrangements consisted everything from picking up the most tender meat, to some 56 kind of exotic spices and even soaking the raw material in the moonlight for 8 hours !! Once my great grandfather had the good fortune of tasting the Kebab’s at Mairajudaula’s Kothi – since then all our generations have been bestowed with slimmer fingers than they would normally have.

To hear about the tales of our famed Nawab is not a big deal and you can hear them from any lad playing marbles in the narrow by lanes of Lucknow but the one I am going to tell you now is not only most interesting one but is also quite significant. Here its goes …..

It so happened that one day while the Nawab was on a jaunt his Buggy turned towards the direction of Nakhkhas. InLucknow, Nakhkhas was believed to be the treasure trove of antiques and other rare things. In private, the grape wine was that most of the stuff being traded in Nakhkhas was actually such which had no trace of its owners. You may want to call it a ‘chor bazaar’ but I won’t dare to.It will be blasphemous to relate theft and other such follies of human nature to a place which was often graced by the august presence of our great nawab. Chivalry might be dead elsewhere but not inLucknow. Anyways, going around the place the Nawab’s eyes fell on something that was of no use not only to him but also his forefathers and yet it was quite an interesting find. It suited his pride and his self image. My dear friends it was a Sword !

You must be thinking What’s the big deal ? but inLucknowit was and if it wasn’t it could have been made a big deal.

The money changed hands and in a jiffy the sword travelled from Nakhkhas to find itself adorning a wall in the meeting room of the Nawab’s Kothi .It was proclaimed that the sword is a most valuable and rare piece of armory which the Nawab has inherited from his ancestors. Now the Sword was of iron and the servants belonged to the Nawab so who would have said that no this is not true , in fact a white lie .The faithful servants of the Nawab immediately took upon themselves the assiduous task of informing the general public in Lucknow that the Nawab’s Kothi has the honor of housing such a unique thing that if one was to perish without having a look at it one would face the possibility of losing it out on earth as well as in heaven. Very soon the bylanes ofLucknowsaw an exodus of sorts and people in great numbers start pouring at the Kothi. It is said that the sword was not something to just see but it was something to be hear about and especially so since the Nawab himself used to narrate the greatness of the sword to the believers. It was within no time that the Sword became the Honor of the City ofLucknow. This was the sword with most precious Gems and Stones, this was the  sword with which the great grandfather of the Nawab had made many an enemy face the angels of hell, this was the sword for which the Queen of England was willing to let go of her left eye, this was the sword which had saved the grace of Lucknow many times, This was the sword which was meant to be touched with the forehead and to be kissed with the eyelids. It was therefore the duty of each and every true citizen ofLucknowto treat the sword with utmost reverence. After all it was not only a sword but a legacy of the past to be safely preserved for the generations of future.

All and all if there was anything as pious as the sighting of the Holy Kaba it was  the Nawab’s Sword and thankfully one need not travel far distances for availing this ticket to heaven.

But no one can defer destiny. What everyone had dreaded may happen , happened. The Sword got Stolen !!!!

Sleepy communities crave for sensationalism and on top of that this wasLucknow. The news of the theft travelled with lighting speed and shocked each and every inhabitant of the city. One by one folks started dropping by the Nawab’s Kothi to offer solace and to do their bit to alleviate the Nawab in his hour of grief.

The first one to arrive was Lala Ganpat Rai. He entered the meeting room with such great dejection as if he had donated all his assets to the Britishers. Now there is a way that sadness is celebrated inLucknow, unlike some other places where they will start screaming and thumping their chest at the slightest pretext. With great care one is supposed to come close to the aggrieved and then offer a ‘paan’ for upliftment of the spirit. Only when one has been done with such basic courtesies, one is supposed to take the hand of the aggrieved and ask “How did this happen My friend?”

It is because of this etiquette that’s so deeply engrained in us Lucknow Wallahs that we are forced to think of  others as uncultured, illiterate and downright naives.

Now it will take many of your generations to learn these fineries so I feels it’s better that we go on with our story.So customarily, when Lala took our Nawab’s hand in his own and asked about this great misfortune, the Nawab’s eyes got all wet. If you consider, this was a necessity from our Nawab’s side too or else Lala would have felt that there was something missing in his gestures of comfort. The Nawab stashed the Paan in a corner of his mouth and with a choked voice offered the details :

“Oh Sire When I went to sleep yesterday night the Sword was right here on the wall but when I woke up I was surprised to see that it wasn’t there…”

“Good Lord  ! That’s where you made a mistake.” Said Lala. I always thought of you as a very intelligent and erudite man but to my great  disappointment you have proven me otherwise today.You should have considered that the sword was no ordinary thing that you just put up on the wall in full show and slept peacefully. This is certainly not the way to look after your ancestral belongings ? But that’s how it is  – that which we get without deserving we are never able to value for ourselves. If only I had been blessed with this great fortune I would have kissed the sword with my lips and rubbed it on my forehead. But as they say – A monkey will never be able to know the taste of Ginger”.

Now that was just too much for our Nawab. Visibly irritated he admonished Lala “ Sire you are jumping out of your stature !!” Lala immediately retracted “ Oh my dear lord you are unnecessarily getting perturbed. I wasn’t talking of you, I meant the thief. The buffoon will sell it for some lowly price at the Nakhkhas.” The Nawab thought – well good for him and good for the sword.The God damned thing will reach where it rightfully belongs.

Anyways, after seeing off Lala as soon as our Nawab had ordered for a Glass of ‘ khas’ Sherbet Munshi Tekchand announced his arrival.No sooner had he seated himself, he gulped down the Sherbet meant for our Nawab and fired  the sleazy question “ My Lord ,How come this happened ?” The Nawab thought of telling him that “it’s Allah’s kindness that saved you and my sword got stolen , else I would have had to wash my hands with your dirty blood.” But alas this was just a thought. Grace and gentlemanliness had found its way from the Nawab’s heart to his soul and into his very being in such a way that even if he wished he could not have done away with them. Sporting a smile upon his face he said “ What to tell you Mister, bad times come unannounced for and then its my grave fault to trust one and all. The great Hakim Saheb had advised me that if I keep a piece of Iron beneath my pillow then I won’t be subjected to nightmares so I had taken this much precaution that the sword which was usually hung up on the wall, I had removed from its position and kept it under my pillow and slept..” The excuse was good and our Nawab thought at if the Munshi bought his story  he would immediately write an official note and hand it over to the servants. He would tell them that here’s your “Sword Story”  and now please do let me live in peace.

Well he was Wrong. Totally Wrong…..

The Munshi got exasperated and said “ Oh My dear Lord What a blunder you committed ! I always thought of you as the custodian of the intellectual pursuits of the people the of Lucknowbut you have completely changed my perception. Sir, even the lads playing in the streets of chowk have become wise enough to know that the ranks of servants are no more trustworthy. Those days are dead and gone when the faithful would offer their life for the sake of their masters. Nowadays if you blink an eyelid these rascals will steal your eyeshadow.And we are talking about a Sword that too ancestral –  decorated with Gemstones, Famous and accomplished, the tales of which are on the lips of every child ! How could you just keep it beneath your pillow and sleep ? If you had willed to please the wretched Hakim so much you should have asked for some knife or something from the royal kitchen or you could have just summoned this humble slave of yours. For the sake of your mental well being I would have knocked off the shoe of some weak and good for nothing half dead Horse. Daroga sahib is an acquaintance of mine and I am sure if I had pleaded for the sake of your mental health he would have most certainly obliged.” Our Nawab got utterly frustrated, he was well aware that Munshi was having a good time at his expense but what was to be done – it was after all a dual between the Sword and suavity.

The nawab summoned his servants – “ Miyan Fukkan, Munshi Sahib is not some abandoned idler that he will just stay put the whole day here. If your sluggishness has given way for you to be able to cook something then please get it for us or at least get a cup of tea that I had brought all the way from Ceylon.” Then as if trying not to get overheard he whispered “ What to say of these scoundrels. They won’t listen to anyone, and then they have no manners either of their profession or of speech.” Munshi understood that his arrow has hit the bulls eye and the Nawab is trying to ridicule him on the sly. Thinking of his life and limb he judged that its better to flag off from there. And anyways he had enough gossip with him for the Lassi shop in chowk.

Our Nawab felt blissful. By the grace of good heavens people ofLucknowhad left him alone. The truth however was a little different. The congregation of folks who had gathered in the late morning at ‘Chajju’s’ lassi shop kept itself busy till late afternoon. And you know very well thatLucknowwallahs won’t disturb their siesta even if all hell broke loose. Whatever might be the case, no one came to bother the Nawab till about dusk.

While its true that bad time comes unannounced for but even this is fair to say that when it does come it has a tendency to linger on. It was when the servants had just begun to light up the lamps that Mirza Aalam Begh from Aga Mir ki Dyodhi came along. His face which sparkled as the moon suggested that he would have laughed out loud even in his dreams. Somehow our Nawab had a feeling that the shine on Mirza’s face had its source embedded in his own ridicule. Upon seeing Mirza, the Nawab put himself on high alert mode mentally  readying  himself for an offensive as soon as he was provoked. Mirza offered a ‘paan’ upon entering the room and in an heart wrenching tone questioned “What have you done My Lord? What will become ofLucknownow ?”

Our Nawab had reached the height of his patience. For a moment he felt as if he will reach out and scratch Mirza’s face. But the very instance he put himself into action the souls of his Lucknowi forefathers started to beckon him. They reminded him of the culture that had been the hallmark of his Nawabi legacy.  They advised him to treat this episode as Mirza’s foolhardy and God’s will and assured him of a place in heaven for this gesture. As there wasn’t much choice left our Nawab got a hold on himself and said “ What to say Mirza ? Nothing happened to your Lucknow when the British forces paraded Jan e Alam ( a title of Wajid Ali Shah) in the whole city as if in some circus and we are talking of just a lifeless and unfortunate Sword here” Mirza guessed the sarcasm in the Nawab’s words but he had an incomplete task at hand so he said “ So what Happened ?”

Nawab felt a bout of Giddiness as he heard these words again – He was tired of telling the true tale of a fake sword in which he was a fool and a devil at the same time. His hands wanted to kill someone but his heart stopped him in his tracks. He summoned all his courage and said “ My dear friend I knew very well that the eyes of the whole world and especially those of my unfaithful servants were on my ancestral Sword therefore I had kept it locked in seven chains with utmost care and precaution.I am not sure from where these off springs of Sultana Dacoit have come who dared to steal it even from such great safety. I must warn you Mirza that this city is no more safe for God fearing people like you and me. You must tread with caution now onwards.”

Mirza went into a deep thought and scratching his beard spoke after some time “ Nawab Sahib if I were you then I would have never kept such a precious thing at such an obvious location.I would have hidden it in such an innovative place that the thieves would have kept wondering where the hell does the sword go after the evening. Would have kept it in the grain warehouse, hidden within a sack of rice or something.  Who would have thought that I would have kept it there. Those morons cannot think beyond the obvious so they would have gone and broke the locks of my safety locker only to find a note written by me – Mister have some almonds for the development of your brains. I keep idiots like you in my pocket and sometimes gobble them up along with other nuts.” Aslam’s face had malice written all over it. He went on –

Now since you have played marbles with me and you are quite deft at handling the kites as well I assumed that someohow even you would be as smart as me. But I was wrong – Kiddish pranks can no way help one evolve to an intellect of a high order. Anyways whatever had to happen has happened.I would like to take your leave now but I must submit that I am greatly shamed.”

If Munshi had disgraced the Nawab , Mirza had gone a step further and completely vandalized the Nawab’s vanity.Our Nawab looked at the heavens and pleaded “ O Allah will I ever get a respite from this predicament?”

The next morning someone again knocked a the Nawab’s door.The servants informed that the Kotwal wanted to have an audience with the Nawab. They would bring him over if the Nawab wished to see him. What could  our Nawab say – he knew that he wasn’t destined for deliverance yet. Very soon the Kotwal was seated in front of the Nawab posed the same old query – How did the sword vanish !!

Nawab Mairajuddaula was angel like but was not exactly an angel. All human follies had found their way into his being for example Anger, desperation, hate, even madness…..his face turned fiery and he started to give a statement in an almost taunting manner. He screamed “ Mister Kotwal it so happened that I had had enough of the sword and I therefore thought it would be good if I can kill myself with it. In the heat of the moment I forced the sword into my chest and lay down on the bed. But when I woke up in the moning I found that while I remained the Sword had gone. Would you kindly tell what should be done now ?

The Kotwal was dumbstruck for a while and then he started pondering over the matter. In an probing tone he told the Nawab “ Sir I think you made a grave error of judgment by trying to kill yourself in this manner. The thief must have come in when you were lying slayed on your bed. To figure out if you were you were unconscious or asleep he would have upturned your body only to find the Sword’s gleaming handle jetting out of your good self. Now he was no nincompoop , not aware of the value and glory of the sword. He would have judged that it’s better to get away with just the sword than to try and steel all the other petty and cheap stuff around your place. He would have pulled the Sword out and ran away thus sparing you your life.I sincerely believe that If only you would have put in a little more effort not only you would have been liberated but your ancestral legacy would have been saved too.”

Our Nawab was numbed by this piece of investigation.He felt as if everything around him had frozen in time. All he could hear was a faint voice of a courtesean from some far away place.It was probably Ghlaib’s poetry :

ये कहां की दोस्ती है के बने हैं दोस्त नासेह्, कोई चारागार होता कोई गमगुसार होता

हुए  मर के हम जो रुसवा हुए क्यों ना गर्के दरिया, ना कहीं जनाज़ा उठता ना कहीं मज़ार होता……

What friendship is this that offers just advice, would rather have someone wipe my tears or share my sadness

It would have been better if I had drowned to death, at least there wouldn’t have been a trace in the form of my coffin or grave

~ आहंग

**Someone had narrated me this incident as a joke in short. I felt that justice needs to be done to the attitude of Lucknowites and so thought of presenting the longish version. I would be glad if you liked reading it and if you didn’t I don’t really care !!

John the madman….

मैं यहां हूं यहां नहीं हूं मैं, जिस जगह हूं वहां नहीं हूं मैं

कौन आवाज़ दे रहा है मुझे , कोई कह दे यहां नहीं हूं मैं

I am here and I am not here, at all places but nowhere

to that which calls me always, someone just say I am not there…

The Varca beach was quite a deserted place when I reached.The two shacks fondly called Mama’s Kitchen and Joe’s Place had a few takers so they hummed some soft tunes from the time when I was young.It was a  night full of moon and its stars and the sea was surfing on the beach casually,its waves silver and dark.

I lit up a smoke and checked the scene to find a place which was alone, yet not too far away from the world. I could find a good one.There were two chairs looking up to the vast Arabian sea with a table that had a T light in its mosaic holder. With the breeze the flickering light played an interesting game of survival dodging the lethal blows to stay alive. All was set and It was time for a drink….

A couple of hours down ,The Moon, its stars and the sea had a life. I sang to the them with a voice that failed in words but was high on passion :

Before you slipped into unconsciousness
I’d like to have another kiss
Another flashing chance at bliss
Another kiss, another kiss

The days are bright and filled with pain
Enclose me in your gentle rain
The time you ran was too insane
We’ll meet again, we’ll meet again

A voice broke the session and called : Jim Morrison.Right ?

I came back from my reverie to respond ” Yup, Crystal ship”

Hey me Jose, Jose Faria and you ?

I didn’t answer trying to stay with the daze.

Jose understood my silence and tried again : Alone ?

“We all are ” A smirk flashed on my face.

“Can I sit here if it doesn’t bother you ?”He asked and I gestured him to take the seat next to me ” You can try bothering me my friend but I didn’t come all the way to Goa on a beautiful night like this to get worried .”

Jose laughed and I gave him company.We were strangers no more.

So what brings you here ? I enquired.

Oh me ! Nothing big, just wanting to dig a bit on my roots.

I glanced at Jose signalling him to go on…

“Well I am Portugese and my father’s father was living here in Goa. I just came to see the house where my father was born. It’s called Casa Bandiera, and its there near Palolim beach.”

Did you find it ?

Yes I did but I guess they have turned into some kind of a museum.

No one lives there ?

Some locals but it’s under the government in some way.

But it’s your house.Isn’t it ?

It was our house, now it’s no more.But I had a good time here looking for it and I saw it like all the other visitors so no regrets. OK let’s just kill this. You were singing when I came.

Really? I thought I was reciting poetry.

You had hurt in your voice.Miss someone ?

No, just me.I miss myself a lot, all the time. And I like to sing to the stars when I am high. They seem to like it and they kind of come close to hear me out. No one else does that…

I think we are ready for a party Man !! Jose had enthusiasm of a kid as he pulled out a pouch and started to roll the cigarettes.

I don’t know if I should have trust a stranger  offering grass but I guess I was beyond suspicion and other such things – a man on the beach with nothing to loose.

Let it roll baby roll ……I shouted at the deep silence of the night hoisting my hands to the sky seeking to touch the stars.  Everything was so weird. The world before my eyes was stuck and moved in ripples going up or going down when I wished. There were too many colors around and gold was just one of them. With each breath I inhaled life and exhaled death. They had never seemed to co exist so side by side. I was not sure about Jose but I knew he was around as his shadow ran up and down the beach, splashing the waves.When he knew the words, he joined in the chorus otherwise he just kept quite and listened  to me like an ardent fan.It’s unbelievable how you can feel so good in the company of strangers when you are trying to run away from those you know so well.

I was on a different plane, completely aware of myself and of everything around me. I was like a self satisfied madman with his own version of reality  –

I had less questions but more answers,  less control but more freedom,I had  less of the world but more of me. I felt complete – like a wave which has just come to know of its vast expanse in the form of the ocean.

It was almost dawn and the sun looked pretty in it’s new day when I woke up still lying on the beach. Jose must have checked if I am still alive and left.The warmth comforted me and brought me to life as I tread the path back home.

By the time I got ready it was noon. The cab was there and Raju(the cab driver) was waiting for me. I had no plans to do anything. I asked Raju ” So where do we go today ?” He suggested a number of places and I picked a 400 year old Portuguese house called Casa Bandiera ! We were on our way in the next 10 min.

It was a perfect day with blue skies and a few clouds to fire the imagination of the child in me – I counted a magician, a cake and lots of balloons and candies. Our car waded through the lush green coconut groves and paddy fields as we moved inland away from the sea. On the way I saw a lot of old houses with curious names.Most had casa or villa added to the family names of the occupants.What I found a bit strange was that most of the houses had the ‘old look’ as if it was carefully preserved.Most tourists find Goa’s old world charm mesmerizing but it was unlikely that the residents would go all the way to be lost in time however Sussegad they might be. I checked with Raju ” Why do most houses look old almost antiquated in Goa even though they are not exactly dilapidated”

The tourist guide in Raju took over ” Well there are two reasons for this – one obvious and the other not so obvious one”

“Ok don’t tell me any ghost stories now” I set boundaries to his imagination.

“No No..it’s nothing like that. The first one is natural and the second is official.You see due to the salt in the moisture filled breeze from the ocean its difficult to maintain the paint year after year especially for the old structures.And the other reason is that many of the houses do not exactly belong to their owners.In 1961 when Goa was liberated the Portugese flee the country leaving everything behind.Many of them had lived in Goa for generations and had built magnificent houses and villas.There was no proper government for a while and the locals just occupied the houses left behind by the Portugese. The government has let them live and own these places but with a condition that the original look and structure must be kept intact.The government pays a certain renovation allowance every year for such houses.”

”  Wow that’s some education for me.These houses are almost frozen in time !!” I was sure I would keep coming back just like Jose , looking to find something that got lost in history.

We passed the Zuari and for the first time I saw a ship being built , waiting  for the bottle to be broken so it can unleash its voyages to far away lands.It was majestic when I looked at it from the window of my car but it looked puny when I saw it in the backdrop of the never ending ocean.Perspective changes the way we look at a lot of stuff around us. Isn’t it ?

By about lunch time our car stopped in front of an old building. In the first instance it did not look like something awe inspiring but when I thought that it has been standing at the same spot for over 300 years and has housed some 8 generations ,I was filled with a sense of respect. The facade of the house was divided into two portions the east and the west with a central entrance that was common. As I took the flight of steps and stood in front of the door which of what must have been the east wing I was taken by a sense of calm – the kind you have when you sit next to old people. They have seen the uselessness of it all and have no urgency to either please you or themselves. The house was certainly a peaceful place.

Before I could knock on the door , it opened almost magically. I was greeted by a man in his late 50’s with balding hairline and thick black specs the kind they stopped wearing since the 70’s. I knew that I was going to witness history today. There was something disturbing about the man who had introduced himself as John. First of all in a weird almost frightening move he had latched the entrance door as soon as I entered and now he was staring at me as if waiting for a sign to start. I was not sure if he was a guide as I had been told that the family still lives in one part of the house but which I didn’t know.Finally I broke the impasse and said ” well John I suppose you live here ? ”  A faint smile played on his face and he nodded ” I was waiting for you to ask this question. The answer is yes and no. While I show the house to visitors I do not live here and neither am I a member of the family. But I am not a tourist guide either. You can think that I am a mix of all three” He had figured out the question in my mind ”  one who lives in the house as that’s what I do for most part of the day, two not a member of the family who own the place and three the tourist guide as I am the one who shows people around”

” OK You confused me.Let’s get going ” I mumbled.

” Do you smoke ” John asked offering me a cigarette. ” No I don’t” I said. Actually I was not too sure.The slur in his voice had become pronounced from the time I had met him and his expressions clearly showed that he was completely drunk. However, it was quite strange that he did not smell a bit of alcohol.

We went along from one room to the other and John carefully kept explaining to me various aspects and historical trivia about the house. The chandeliers were Belgian, while the marble came all the way from Italy. The ballroom could hold 500 guests at one time and the red candle stand that looked to be made of plastic resin was actually a priceless piece made of real ruby stone !!

After a while John was completely in his elements. He asked me to sit on a antique looking arm chair and guess what was so special about it. I sat on it and tried to put all kind of logic and reason that would have made it something special – may be it was gifted by the king of Nepal, May be this was not made of wood but some stone, may be even that the chair had some magical powers !!

John was in splits at my suggestion. He asked me to disembark my thrown which I had held on tightly to feel the mystery it seemed to be hiding within itself. ” you are completely wrong, my friend” said John as he lifted the seat of the sofa. ” This is no ordinary chair like I said.It is a commode !!”

” Oh shit” was my spontaneous response and I could tell from John’s face that he was not at all impressed with my choice of words.

“Its OK. don’t worry it has not been used since it came into being.I just use it to play tricks with unsuspecting travelers like you.”

I was growing fond of this man who looked stoned, talked like drunk , did not smell of alcohol,  knew his stuff well and was gifted with some whacky sense of humor. The tour was coming to an end and I was so glad I had made this trip.  History has always enamored me and there was so much of it in this place. I had checked with John as much detail as possible about the furniture, the pictures on the wall, the paintings, the chapel,the people who lived in the house at different times and also about those who didn’t. Having such a vivid mental picture gave me such joy that only one who dwells in the past to visit the future would know.

I looked at my watch as a sign to leave and John understood. He stretched out his hand for a handshake and said ” Are you sure you don’t want to smoke ?” I looked into his eyes and said ” you know I do.right ?” He flipped open his pack of navy cut and lighted my cigarette. ” John you knew I smoked or you just guessed ? ”

” Well the moment you hesitated when I offered you a smoke the first time I knew it.You see people say that I am mad but I think I am just different.20 years ago when they thought I had hallucinations they sent me to the asylum.The Doc there was a good guy but he thought I needed to behave myself so he gave me shocks 3 times. I lost a part of my speech but they said that I started making more sense .Tell me Sir – how did I do today ? Did I make sense to you or you thought I am just a waste.Please don’t say something if you don’t  mean it.I beg of you.”

I was shaken not only by his story but also by the manner in which John had asked me for feedback on his act. I was speechless…..words were failing me completely. The events of yesterday night and today morning just flashed in front of me like a movie. While I had made all attempts last night to alter the reality this man was fighting so hard to remain real. I had struggled to let myself loose and here was a man so eager to find himself. The world that I had wanted to let go so pompously was slipping through his fingers like dust while he desperately wanted to hold on to it.My heart became heavy and there was no way I could have passed a judgement. I took his wrinkled hands in mine and   said to him  –

“John I sincerely feel you were great company. I don’t know about others and what they say but if you are different , may be mad ,then so am I.The fact is that all of us are searching for some unknown truths which may perhaps never reveal themselves.It was a pleasure to have met you and I mean it from my the depth of my heart”

John waved at me as my car took a turn around the corner and I waved back at him. It was not  “good bye”  wave but a wave that says – We shall meet again !!!