Daksh’s life is busy. Everyday travel to office sharp 8:00 AM. Just after kids leave for school because he wanted to avoid the traffic with a promise to his wife that he will come back by 4 before the home returning traffic takes its ugly shape. But his wife is confident that it will never happen. He will call at 5:00 telling that he got stuck in some urgent meeting hence will start at 8:00 PM to avoid the traffic jams.
Everyday after coming back from office he will complain the way this city has ruined over last one and half decade. In 2012, he moved to his new house near Sama and at that time it was one of the pleasant cities to live. Everybody from across the world used to get surprised at the sanctity of the city and absence on worries, traffic and crime. He as any other greedy human being decided to make Baroda his home. But city changed very fast in the name of prosperity and urbanization. The basic character of the city got lost somewhere between these shopping malls, business parks and big cars.
Baroda was rich with respect to money, culture, peace and friendly people. These four pillars kept the city at a much higher level than many big cities around the world. Over the time a fifth pillar came up called ‘show off’. Culture, Peace and Friendliness gradually vanished. Rich became more rich and poor were not counted anymore.
He got a palm plate while waiting for traffic signal to go green on his way to office. Somebody slipped that into his car while his rear window was slightly open. He did not notice that till he came back home. It was an advertisement for a new housing society. As usual, they claim it to be nearer to nature, far from city, affordable but it was missing some common terms like ‘Modern amenities, club house, gymnasium, etc etc’. One more thing caught his eye, ‘Sample life experience ready’. Usually it is ‘Sample house or model house ready’. He still ignored it because he was tired. The next day morning he got up for his usual tea and newspaper ritual. The same palm plate caught his eye. He called the number mentioned there without thinking much. One old man picked the phone, unlike young ladies. He inquired about the house. The old man said, one vehicle will come on Friday evening and entire family has to sit in the vehicle blind folded. If he is fine with that then they will give an appointment for ‘Sample life experience’. The old man also mentioned that they must take their dinner early on Friday because they have to stay over night and dinner will not be provided. It was funny or rather weird for him but he agreed to it. The old man gave an appointment after 3 weeks.
Daksh was very excited and the kids as well. His wife was bit skeptical. Evening 8 PM a vehicle came. People with traditional Bharatiya attire. They cordially invited them to come with them. Once they were in the vehicle one lady after seeking permission blind folded them. After 30 minutes travel they found roads were bumpy but not as much as any construction site would be. Once they reached, they were taken inside some house. Once they were in a room, the removed the blind folds. They apologized for blind folding them and promised them that this was for a better experience. They looked around the house, nothing unusual. Except the fact that the house was decorated with both modern as well as traditional stuffs. Kids immediately went in search of a drawing room and specifically Television. They did not find any. They further searched for a computer, gaming system and other most required (perceived) tools for kids to remain modern and smart. Unfortunately none were present. They got bored and asked Daksh to leave early morning tomorrow. Daksh was also irritated by this. There were some musical instruments but traditional Bharatiya ones and some books. Gradually lights went dim and by 9 it went off. They had no other option other than going to bed. They all slept in no time as there were nothing to distract and there was a nice music playing somewhere. All of them had no where to focus than that music which was coming from some far away place.
Bird’s chirping, a group of children singing devotional and patriotic songs, beautiful sound of bell and conch shells and nice aroma of flowers. Daksh was sure that he is dreaming but all felt so real. He was happy to see such a dream but wanted to do a reality check. He usually tries to break dreams and wake up when there is any horror or non-pleasant dream but this time he wanted to wake up because he did not want to fool himself.
Daksh opened his eyes to believe that all that he was dreaming. But he found he was alone in that bed and kids and his wife are not there. He was shocked and scared. He called his wife and kids by their name but no one responded. He jumped out of the bed and ran towards the main door. He found it was locked from outside. He shouted with fear and anger.
— To be continued (I promise )
– Stray Dog