Story of a story

Many years back I had written a story called, ‘Reason to smile’. I did not blog that time. So it was lying there in my computer’s D-drive. I felt the story had turned out pretty nice. Unable to contain my excitement, I mailed it to some friends. I expected some will surely write back with a few encouraging words. I received none. Obviously for all practical purposes story was much different. As bad luck arrived in the form of a strong virus; my hard disk got infected badly and had to be junked. And I had to get a new one. I had already told the repair man the data was of utmost importance to me. So please somehow retrieve all my data to the new disk. I didn’t have much ‘text’ data but surely a lot of photographs were there. They were very important and had a lot of value, as well as cost! Well, because back then I used to shoot pictures on 35mm film camera. They had to be developed and printed. And whatever pictures were on the computer were scanned at a nearby cyber café. So you can see, cost of negative, cost of developing, cost of printing and then cost of scanning. Sounds like a scam today. So I was saying that the pictures on the HDD were actually expensive and if he did not manage to put them on the new disk, I will have to get them scanned all over again…

In 2004 December I started blogging. My first blog post was on a site called as ‘blogcity’ and my first post was about the death of my close friend, Pradeep’s father. It had exactly 5 sentences. I was quite happy that I had started blogging and my first post had a real serious topic. Soon, I got a chance to show it to Pradeep, the friend of mine. He was so excited! He read it twice and then called his wife and said ‘look, everything it written here!’

But this ‘story in question’ was 7 pages long and it could not be found in the new HDD. That was a bit too much to take. Around the same time my brother visited us. I told him about my loss. He said show me, I will try to find it. He knew something about retrieving lost data from the disks. Cyber forensics, I think that’s what they call it. Well, he did find a lot of other random stuff, which I didn’t even know was missing, but for my ‘Reason to smile’. There was no way that I will be able to write the entire story all over again. I knew the plot and the scenes by heart; but I had no patience, nor inclination, not even will, to rewrite it.

Enlightenment! I realized I should check my mail ‘sent box’. It has to be there. I had sent it to at least 4-5 people. So, it will take some time to go back and more back to find the right mail, but it will be surely there. And then I will download it back on my folder and then… Well dreaming too much of good things is not good for the good fortune. I signed in, clicked on the ‘sent items’ and went directly to last section. It wasn’t there. I came forward, nothing, one more step, still nothing… ooops I realized it was so utterly stupid to do that, because, I did not have ‘gmail’ then. My first email account was with ‘yahoo mail’ that had been shut long ago, also due to too many viruses entering my system; thanks to mail spams and bad spam filters. Oh my god. This is certainly the dead end. Somehow I was refusing to let go of the two fold problem. One I kept brooding that I couldn’t find it and second I was in no mental state to rewrite it; barring of course if someone put a gun to my ear. Yes it was that bad. During my weeks of worries I had another minor enlightenment and that was I knew to who I must have sent the story. Promptly, I wrote to few friends requesting them to please check their past mails and see if anyone could trace my ‘Reason to smile’ and if they did find it then kindly mail it back to me. Phew and I left it to non-existent, almighty. Now I had no more options to explore. This truly was the last one and if this does not work then it is the dead end…
I don’t know after how long, but one of them sent my story back to me. I read it once and then once again. I felt there is something not the same… finally it dawned on me that it was written so badly that in present moment I could not find it as exciting as I did earlier. Few days back finally I decided to rewrite, ‘Reason to smile’…

Gautam and the Driver

The other day Gautam heard the story of someone taking a long walk in suburban Mumbai. He came to know how upset that poor guy was watching the condition of the pavements under his feet. It seemed to him that authorities have absolutely no empathy for the plight of the citizens, especially senior citizens. They are so vulnerable to trip and fall, hurting themselves seriously. And any fracture in that ripe age can ultimately result in his or her death…

Yesterday Gautam was coming home in an auto rickshaw. It was drizzling. He was thinking about that guy walker. Same sight was playing in front of him right now. People walking hurriedly holding their plastic bags in one hand and the umbrellas in the other but their eyes were focused on the ground. No one dared to look up straight and walk. They all had to be alert to all kinds of bumps, ups and downs, broken tiles etc on the surface right under their feet. The traffic signal had turned red at the last minute. There was going to be a fairly long wait now. Gautam decided to strike a conversation with the rickshaw driver. He does it often. In the bargain he often ends up getting enriched by experiences. So today too, internally a little playfully, but serious outwardly Gautam dragged the driver into a shockingly unlikely topic;

Gautam: If I should leave Mumbai, then where should I go? You have some place in mind?

It took quite a few seconds for the driver to register this strange topic. It certainly was very surprising for a passenger to talk about such deep personal problem to him. People mostly ask them about maps and routes or talk about driver’s village, their land, family etc. But this guy wasn’t a regular one.

Gautam continued: the roads and footpaths are so horrible here. I really feel that we are being given a raw deal by the authorities.

Driver: go to your village.

Gautam: I don’t have a village or a native place. My parents are no more and any ways they had sold everything. So, I have nowhere to go.

Driver: (looking away) go live with your children then.

Gautam: my children are here only.

Driver: then Mumbai only is fine. It is a good place.

Gautam: but look at the city.

Driver: sir, like that every place will have some or the other problem. You can’t keep running away from problems. The best city according to you will also have problems, may be of a different kind. But problems surely will be there.

Gautam: we are being treated like animals here. Can anyone think that our good money has been spent on making such horrible roads and footpaths?

Driver: (with surrender and finality in his tone) sir, as long as we live, problems will live with us. No one can run away from them.

Light turned green. He put the rickshaw in first gear and moved ahead with traffic. Gautam had earned his points.

(24 June 2013)

undefined