Life is fairly complicated in everything, almost everything, but its end. The end brings all the complications to rest. All the dreams, all the wishes, all the plans, all the work, all the breaths. All the complications, at least for one person.
It is as if nature conspires only for this one moment. It is as if He is so busy with making lives uncomplicated that there is no room for any considerations. He plans it to every tiny detail. To make it happen. Everything has to come together at that very moment. Some friends should be in the city for you to be out. Family should be away from the home for you to return home to do the care taking. The phone lines, the numbers will not work so you can’t spend an extra minute and let that truck pass by. The destinations where you drop your friends have to be exactly at the distances which He wants them to be. The short cut which you are told that day was planned by Him years back. You step out of the car to hug your good byes as if you know its coming. You check the tyres to make sure they will take you to ‘the destination’. The truck driver applies the brakes the instant you are not looking. This is His moment, your rendezvous with reality.
It is so easy for Him to plan this, to do this. He plans for all, even if you are a non-believer.
The guys who took him to hospital say he shuddered for a while before resting for the last time. He must be fighting Him. He was a fighter. He never let others have it easy when it was he against them. That’s why He needed a concrete mixer; a simple truck would not have served His motives. When they were taking him out of that steel trap, may be he was telling Him to go back, trying to reason out, trying to fight back. “I am a non-believer why have You come for me” “She never let me stay away for a weekend and she do believe in You” “What about the girl” “The wine, Hillu is yet to come” “Majnu ka Teela is to be kept for all these majnus” “Oh come on, not a road accident”. These questions, these pleadings, He has heard all this before, He is used to it. He hesitates, sometimes a little, sometimes a while longer for the father, the mother, the brother to say their good byes. Today He is in hurry. May be He has plans for others as well. He doesn’t even have time to answer. Plus this one is a non-believer.
There are many ifs and buts in all of our minds, all of us, who were with him that day. What if we had done this and what if we had not done that? But He was too smart for all of us. He still is. He will always be. His is the job to make it uncomplicated.
It was during our facha skit that I got to know Dhupar better. He was the best fit Prabhakar we had amid the mess of characters which we were trying to put up. The six years from then on were always full of dear Ugly.
Ugly wasn’t the type of guy who would have asked for things to be simple. He was this power house of the weirdest kind of energies. Since the day I met him for the first time he would always stand out among any numbers. Any kind of group it be. He was the barman, he was the DJ, he was the kind who didn’t even spare his boss. He would be the best person to teach you how to spend the minimum possible resources in the maximum way. Volvovirgo in his own words was a two-stroke amid all of us four-strokers.
Ever ready to help, he was always there for you. Dhupar always had his own unique ways. “Unpredictable yet dependable”. Cigarette is not good enough for this kind of driving; he said when he and I were riding Mogoo’s bike to Chandigarh from Delhi. That night he burned bidis.
He was a highway man. One of the rare engineers from our batch who really had the passion for engineering. Roads, bridges, transportation were essential part his being. He found passion, fun, career, friends, life on highways. It was on a New Year eve and it was on a highway he was trying to win his girl. Highways took him. He is still a highway man. He will always be.
Saurabh Goyal was going for his job interview. Ugly and I were sitting in Ara lawns. As Saurabh passed I shouted “Good luck”. As Ugly was about to follow I stopped him. I always thought his good luck was not so good for others. Saurabh got the job. We always laughed about this and kind of believed in his unlucky good-lucks. He took me to meet Saurabh on that last day. I said him those star-crossed final good byes.
The woods were burning. He lay peacefully. I wanted him to get up and say it’s too hot in there. I wish Tolkien would send a King to raise this dead for us. He didn’t. The boy was enthusiastically throwing the powder on the pyre, to keep the fire. He was the Aragon releasing the dead from that age old promise. “Be at peace”. Some times the water in the eyes defies you. “All the tears are not evil”. And I sang for a love of my life, our beloved Abhinav Dhupar, Dhupar, Ugly, Toon, Launda, DJ, …, and above all Rishi.
Home is behind
The world ahead
And there are
Many paths to tread
Till the edge of light
Until the stars
Are all alight
Mist and shadow
Cloud and shade
All shall fade
All shall fade…
‘Hardy Singh where is my son?’
“In a better world, uncle. In a better world, Sir. In a better world…”
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