I met my friend Gautam yesterday. Like me he too is very regular in his exercise regimen, especially the walks. His doctor has told him that at his age, one-hour walk everyday is a must. If he wants to go to a gym, do Yoga, learn karate or any other activity, it has to be ‘walk’+ that activity. During one such walk something strange happened with Gautam. He narrated to me the story next day.
Gautam had already completed his daily walk quota in the morning. He had come out again in the evening for a stroll in the park; maybe just to stay a little ahead in life. He was only half way down the track; he spotted a wad of money on the ground. He stopped right next to it, keeping his shoe near the neatly folded notes and looked down directly at it. Watching an awkwardly static person in the jogging park; other walkers too followed his look and also saw the money. Gautam looked up at some passing men engrossed in serious walking.
Gautam: does this belong to any of you? He stayed near the money. But it seemed that those people had already started breaking their carbohydrates into glucose and water. So, no one was in a mood to break the pace for little money that didn’t even belong to them. A tall man just nodded ‘no’ and walked off without slowing his pace. A dark lady in short hair said smilingly, ‘finders keepers’, not bothering to stop. Gautam picked up the money. Watchman from his cabin had also noticed this. Gautam walked to the watchman, showed him the money and told him, “I found it (pointing to the spot) there. Did any one inform you about their lost money?” Watchman: “no (extending his hand to grab the notes); but I will keep an eye.” Gautam: “wait, let me count it (he counted the money). It is 110 rupees. Keep it but if I cannot find the owner then I will take it from you before I leave. It is 110, ok?” Watchman: “ok sir.” But just as Gautam was about to hand over the money to watchman, Gautam noticed a large bunch of women entering the garden. He stood at the edge of walking area and raised his hand with the money.
Gautam: “anyone lost this… any one?” Most ladies laughed and passed him by; but a thin woman with graying hair said, “you are giving so much of your time for someone else’s money. Everyone is not so nice.” Gautam: ‘
“that’s no problem; I will give it just a few minutes more.” Thin woman with graying hair: “good luck to you” (she walked off laughing away). Gautam: (trying his luck again) “hello any one dropped this right here, any one?” Next was a group of four women, chatting loudly. Among them there was a fat lady in yellow suit, “Yes, it could be mine. I had a 50 rupee note with me when I was shopping.” She showed her empty handkerchief. So careless! Gautam thought. Gautam: “you should have at least tied up the money in your handkerchief.” Fat woman in yellow suit: “yes. I don’t know how it slipped.” Gautam: (placing money in her hanky) “here, take this.”
Other women started complimenting him and smiling, as they always do. Gautam was hugely relieved; but by now he had lost precious five-minute walk. So he picked up speed thanking women for their complements. The women too continued walking for a while. Gautam paced faster in the next two rounds. That group of women was now sitting on a bench and chatting. So every two minutes Gautam passed them, he knew they were looking at him. He felt very uncomfortable.
Soon there was a surprising twist in the tale. A small made woman had walked to that group of four women and was talking to them. As Gautam passed again, group of women stopped him. Fat woman in yellow suit: “actually the money belongs to this lady. She has come back all the way from her house trying to find it.” Gautam: “so now you are giving it to her?” Fat woman in yellow suit: “yes. I thought it was mine; but it is surely hers.” Gautam: “but what about your fifty rupee note? Do you have it or is that lost too?” Fat woman in yellow suit: “no, it is in my bag.” Gautam: “sure? Otherwise tell me I will keep an eye on the ground for your money too.” They all laugh aloud. Gautam coolly started his walks again. He was pleasantly surprised at what had happened.
Dark lady in short hair: “you can’t go on finding money in every trip.” Gautam: “yes I know. But even if I do find more money, it will be a big headache to find it’s owner every time.” Dark lady in short hair: (laughing) “true. I don’t think anyone thinks like you do.” Gautam was moving away from her. Gautam: “oh that’s no big deal. Bye.” Dark lady in short hair, “bye.”
Gautam thinks something is different since morning. He is mentally checking for the changes around his chest, but inside. And also a little higher around his head, around brain, he wondered. What must be happening around these two areas? Brain is an organ, he mentally argued; but mind is not. It is a soft-ware issue. Here he hit a wall called, ‘loss of clarity’. He was still in his hut and these strange blissful feelings had filled inside him in the hut.
He decided, no, nothing has changed in the outside world, but in him… inside him.
All those regular ideas, thoughts, disturbances… that stayed in his mind and played games in the brain, had disappeared… or so it seems. Gone away for a short while? This could be temporary. But how was Gautam to know that? All kinds of regular clutter, idle chatter, repeats, anxieties and distresses seem to have vanished. His mental space seemed to be glittering and spotlessly clean. His mind was feeling light, as if ready to fly. Brain seems to be idling quietly. Not revved up like it did, till yesterday.
Gautam found himself to be very unusually calm. He had woken up after an amazingly peaceful sleep. He felt no sign of laziness. He had never experienced this state of his mind; where he is not happy; but is blissful. His face has no smile, but his being seems to have blossomed. How a bloomed flower doesn’t smile; but its entire body seems to be smiling.
Something like that was happening to him. He stepped out of his hut. Many leafs fell on him. Whenever that happens, he always looks up and thanks the tree. A little ahead the yellow flower tree had shed numerous flowers. May be it happens every day; but Gautam felt that day it was done especially and purposefully for him. Birds in the sky seemed more noisy, perky and cheerful. The deer, rabbits and foxes had made a group and were huddled together. Small birds were perched on the lowest branches of the trees and seemed to be watching Gautam walk past.
He felt a strange lightness in his feet, in his walk. His body did not seem to exert to move ahead… very unusual. This can’t be heaven… He clearly remembers he hadn’t died… at least not as yet.
Gautam was up at 5.30 and in a relaxed hurry he got ready. He changed into his walking attire, wore his sports shoes, a watch and a belt pouch with his specks, phone and house keys. He stepped out sharp at 6 am. It was quite bright. Slowly he moved as per his plan to walk along sea side road to Yari road and then turn around to return. Last time he remembered it took him 50 min. He thinks that’s a fair amount to cover in a day.
He normally does road walks early mornings. Because the traffic is scant. So roads are comparatively less dangerous. It is also less noisy. As he reached near the first turn to the sea on Versova beach, he decided to take a look if there was space to walk on the sand. If the tide is high then one cannot walk there. But the tide was receding. So a large stretch of sand though very wet; was available. He decided it was a better bet to walk here than road.
He tested the sand. The beach was tilted badly. So his feet were very unbalanced, left up and right way down. But he found it better as he moved towards the water line.
Gautam picked up pace after examining the beach till the end. It seemed about 750 meters. One round trip makes it 1.5 km. There were very few people. One young guy sitting cross legged was chanting Aum in various pitches. Other sounds that he heard were of sea gulls, crows and waves.
Waves! He remembered his last meeting with the sea about a month back. He had a conversation with it. Gautam basically does not need anything for himself, as he is totally self-content… And that’s the kind of general perception. Everyone knows that. But he had another responsibility on him and he was not sure if he can handle it by himself.
He started his talk to the sea; “last time I told you that I have met someone very important. She is from the ancient times, when the world was very different…”
He heard a roar of waves.
“Yes, now I have taken this as my life’s sole purpose that…”
Big roar again.
See now I have told you in so many words… You are so strong… You cover and control most of the earth… You can easily help us… I am also in conversation with trees and wind.
Large wave splashed on the beach.
Okay okay. So I take it as we have a deal. I don’t want to see her upset ever again… That I know, but Gautam is just another name for someone who roamed around here. He listened to the waves of your teachings intently and tried his best to figure out what each of those waves meant.
Who me? No, I will be okay. I really wouldn’t consider myself to be one of the greatest souls you met in your life time. So you don’t have to keep any thing for me. This pretty shell will do.
Gautam was worried about his cell phone battery. He felt it was draining much faster recently. Earlier it would go for more than a day, but now not more than 8-10 hours. He thought in case it suddenly fails, it will leave him in a lurch. Cell City was close to his house. He did not want to buy it straightway, but check out the cost, availability etc.
Gautam: Boss you have battery for MotoG, 2nd gen?
ShopKeeper: Yes we have. Why do you want to change?
Gautam: It is draining very fast.
ShopKeeper: How fast? How much it lasted earlier?
Gautam: Earlier it would last for at least 24 hours. I used to charge it once a day.
ShopKeeper: And now how long it is lasting after a charge?
Gautam: Hardly 8-10 hours.
ShopKeeper: So why do you want to change the battery. It is good enough. Just charge it twice a day, no.
Gautam: Umm, are you sure?
ShopKeeper: Battery costs about Rs 1500. But why do you want to spend even that? Just charge it twice!
Gautam thought how strange was this shop-keeper! While all shops lures customers into buying more; this guy was interested in customer’s interest.
Rightway Stationary (and assorted electronics)
Gautam’s WiFi router was giving trouble. As it would lose connection every now and then. It had been going on for a few months now. He had complained to the ISP many times. They came and did some checking and repairs. Finally one technician asked Gautam how old was the router. Gautam said it was 3 years old, at least. He said these gadgets have life of not more than 2 years. It has lasted way longer. So he connected his ‘testing router’ and removed the old one. He said I will leave it here for 3 days. You see if it works fine that will mean you need to get a new router.
For 3 days ‘testing router’ gave no trouble. Gautam decided to get a new one. He went to Rightway to find out if they keep routers.
Gautam: Do you have WiFi routers.
ShopKeeper: We have two companies. One is D-Link and…
Gautam: Yes I need that one only.
Two models were shown. One had two antennas and another had one, same as his. ShopKeeper said two antennas works well for 2BHK, and single one is good for 1BHK. Gautam said he has 1BHK, so he will prefer it. No point filling home ambiance with stronger digital signal. It was priced 1930.00.
Gautam asked he could pay by PayTM or a debit card.
ShopKeeper: Any way. But I would prefer card.
Gautam: Why is that?
ShopKeeper: Card payment goes directly to my bank account, but in PayTM a major part of it stays with them and only small fraction goes to my account.
Gautam: Okay in that case I will pay you by card.
ShopKeeper: Fine. But just wait. The prices of these I remember had reduced a bit.
He pulled out his calculator and after punching a few keys, he reduced the price from 1930 to 1850!
Gautam once again was amazed. No salesman would say that to reduce the price. Gautam was any way ready to pay what was asked for.