Photograph By : Nirav Gajerawala at Madame Tussauds
A strange noise woke me up. The society where I live is usually quiet and any kind of noise is a sign of trouble. Despite late night sleep I jumped out of bed to see through the window. What I saw was, thousands of young boys and girls have raised their hands towards the windows as if they are begging for something as well as protesting. I was not able to understand a bit of what they are asking for. I recollected all incidents of recent past to find a clue. I switched off the Air conditioner as well the ceiling fan as they were creating lots of noise. I had switched on both as the hot summer of Vadodara was not letting me sleep. I could now hear some voices clearly and the only word they were repeating was “Please give me”. I was not able to understand what’s going on. I immediately ran to the main door and opened the door. But to my surprise, there were none. This not only confused me but scared me to the core. I went back in to my house and closed the main door and the same noise started again and when I saw from the window, I could see the same scene. I was sweating heavily, mostly because I was scared.
“Baba, Please give me”, my son said shaking me. I opened my eyes to see I was sleeping on my bed and it took me sometime to make myself believe, that was a dream. I was relaxed but worried as well. Ceiling fan and Air-conditioner were running and trying hard to cool by sweating body. “Baba, Give me”, again my son said.
I realized that it was his birthday today and I had promised to give him a car few days back. I had bought it but told him that I will give that in the morning. He woke up early with that excitement and was trying to wake me up. I went to the cupboard and took that car our gave it to him. He was very happy. He jumped and snatched it from me and hugged me tight. Then ran to play with that car. But that strange image of thousand hands asking me for something was not going away from my eyes.
As it was my son’s birthday so we all went to the nearby temple. I never believe that god stays in temple. I think HE is there everywhere. So trip to the temple is unnecessary. But to make my wife and parents feel happy I joined them without protest. After puja my wife decided to distribute some sweets to the poor kids who beg in front of the temple. I joined her but the moment we went out with sweets all the poor kids and parents came running towards us. The shouted, “Please give me!!, Please give me!!”. This just refreshed my dream and I could not stand that noise and went back inside the temple while my wife kept on distributing sweets, clothes and little money.
I went inside the temple to find one old man wearing saffron attire was smiling at me. I tried to avoid eye contact with him as any stranger smiling at you is not usual in my culture. I sat in a bench. He came and sat beside me.
“So, you don’t have what they are asking for”. he whispered in my ears.
I was shocked. “Do you even know what they are asking for?”, He said.
“Who are you and what are you talking about?”, I asked. “That’s not important.”, he responded.
“Dream and reality coinciding can not be coincidence. What we see is not reality. It is an illusion. It is like a movie scripted for us and I am sure you will agree with me that movie is not reality. Your needs are not really yours but others, those are implanted in your mind. You feel happy or sad about something because you feel comfortable in feeling so. Come out of this illusion see the real world. Many are just waiting for you to initiate action. You are not old enough to get tired and take rest. Don’t waste the body which is given to you. Your body and mind were crafted with great care so that they will fulfill some needs of this world. Don’t ignore these. Try to understand what this world needs from you and act swiftly. Please help”, he said.
I was first surprised and then quietly listening to him with my heads down. I did not hear him for 30 seconds so I looked up to see he was not there. I was sitting alone in the bench. I could still see hands of those beggar kids covering my wife near the temple gate.
– Stray Dog
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