‘Sameer, Are you feeling OK?’ An elderly, coughing voice echoed somewhere in the distance.
Sameer could clearly recognize that tone but could not see anything. His failed attempts to get on the surface of the water left him exhausted and oppressed. With little leg movements, his arms tried to reach the surface of the water.
Due to lack of oxygen for a longer time, Sameer was drawn to unconsciousness. He could barely make any movement anymore. He started to sink towards the bottom of the river with breathing stopped completely. He uttered his last prayer to Lord Shiva in the unconscious state of mind.
“Sameer”, that elderly voice almost shouted in utmost panic.
That was the moment when Sameer felt something shaking him to unbearable pain. He started to regain the senses. Hands trembling.
He opened his eyes, sweating profusely and shivering. He breathed heavily.
19 years old Sameer found his Grandmother beside him, almost crying.
Are you alright, Son?
Same old psychic dream of future, replied Sameer, trying to wipe the tears which started to show near his tear duct.
“It’s alright. Don’t burden your heart with the deductions of an insignificant dream. Maybe it’s just that Lord wants you to listen to what your parents got to say or maybe you should be visiting home in last quarter of the year when river is a bliss to watch.”
Grandma tried best to calm down a panicking Sameer by creating a convincing reasoning of his dream.
And probably, Grandma, your lord forgot to consider the semester schedules of my college while explaining the gist of my nightmare to you, bantered Sameer.
Grandma smiled as she was caught being defensive. She drew a rupee coin from the pouch lying near her pillow and handed it over to him.
“Cheer up; buy yourself a candy.”
Sameer looked at that old coin and slid it into his pocket. He hugged her tight.
10 years later
Can I grab a chair at your table? You seem to be alone, how about a company in disguise?
Sameer, now aged 29, looked up to find an almost lost, yet smiling her heart out, lady in front of her.
Sure, you may. Sameer smiled back to the lady.
Oblivion. I am Oblivion.
And what kind of name is that? Sameer couldn’t help asking.
Well, I won’t speak much about it. But it certainly means you can be ignorant about things as trivial as a person’s name.
Sameer was impressed with the way lady behaved as if she knew him since ages.
A little uncomfortable Sameer looked outside the window, it was raining. Coffee?
Café Mocha for me; answered the lady with a familiar smile.
Sameer waved to the waiter and ordered two café mocha.
What is that you are afraid of? Talking to a complete stranger? Or maybe fear of opening yourself up in front of a stranger? Why do I sense a fear of loss of self on your face? Is there anything I can help you with?
The woman sitting in front of Sameer did not fail to surprise him to the core with suddenly shot questions. It seemed as if she was the one who had been putting those nightmares into his mind all his life. She sounded so confident of his fear while shooting the questions.
That was quite unexpected to come from a person whom you have just met.
There is nothing I’m hiding. I have always been like this, little shy. Sameer looked the other side while replying.
“I don’t believe it. You welcomed me to give you a company. What’s the other side of the face which you are not comfortable showing?”
Sameer was astonished and amused at the same time. Never in his life had he known a person who could read through him. She did not appear like a stranger anymore.
He smiled gently at her. He felt a little control over him once again.
Over the cups of coffee, they talked about something like hours.
They talked about life, about work, dreams, passion, friends, good times, bad times, ugly times of life and it went on.
A surprisingly happy Sameer felt as if he has been waiting for this time to come since forever.
All his life, he has been waiting for someone to listen sincerely to him, for someone who will pay attention to his bizarre dreams and at the same time for someone who will not judge his unrealistic fears.
He looked outside the window. It was still raining, like never before.
He turned to the lady; she was still smiling magnificently to him as if she has just decoded a life secret for Sameer.
Sameer reached into his wallet and drew an old coin out of it, the one which his grandma gave to him years back. He wraps the coin in a tissue paper and slid it towards the lady. Release me!
It was about to be the moment of greatest discovery of self for Sameer when a rumbling thunder occurred, causing everything around him to vibrate to end and leaving Sameer unconscious of what had just happened. It continued for few minutes, causing complete darkness inside the room. Pregnant pause!
Sameer’s jaw dropped as soon as he regained the senses. The structure of the scenario in front of him drew him almost to unconsciousness all over again.
He woke up only to find himself sitting in his own room facing the mirror. The table beside him has one coffee mug on it and his mobile phone with many missed calls flashing. He looked outside the window. The Sun shining brightly over him.
It took him 29 odd years to find himself, through himself. He felt amazingly lively and light.
He did not realize he was talking to himself the whole night and morning was all new to him.
Bright and special.
He now understood the significance of those dreams he used to get. He now knew why he was drowning all these years. You can never connect to others until you connect with self.
It takes altruism and empathy to act as a hero to others, but it takes utmost compassion to be a hero to self. Only the discovery of the self can lead to diffusion of responsibilities towards others.
Sameer closed his eyes, recalled the lady and smiled in total relief. Thank You, Oblivion.