April 23, 2018

Open Your Eyes

Last summer, I went to this town for some work. Was it Mumbai? May be, not sure. I got off the train and realised that I had no clue, which hotel I was supposed to go to. Then, I realised that I was short on funds. So I was looking for a cheap hotel. I found one at some walking distance from the railway station. I felt relieved when the guy agreed to charge me only Rs 500 per day; next, I felt shocked when the man at front desk, pointed to the vacant plot across the road, as the open air toilet for guests like me. To console me, he said: no one will bother you if you go there before sunrise or after sunset.
Then I remembered that I had to meet Raghav, the guy who was offering me some freelance work, later during the day- somewhere in the south of the city. I had lost the address. I said to myself: let me explore the town in the meantime... So, I went out in a kurta-pajama and slippers. It was hot and flies were bothering me. There was a stink too- like that of an open drain. I could not see it though.
The street I was walking was very congested and crowded. Then, I came to a over-bridge. Many people were standing on it. As I crossed it, pushing and shoving my way through, I thought that the bridge swayed and creaked. I hurriedly got off and entered a slum.
Push carts, open drains, plastic covered huts, beggars, urchins grabbing something and running. Fortunately, I did not have a watch, a bag or a purse on me. But I felt tired and sat down in the shade of a hut.
I woke up with a start: there was a big noise. A JCB was demolishing the huts. A group of policemen were chasing and attacking the protesters, who were being pushed into my direction. I looked behind for an escape route. There was that big drain. As the people began falling on top of me, I jumped across the drain and ran for my life - wondering, why was life being so mean to me...
As I ran away from the noise and violence, I realised that I was somewhere in the area, where Raghav had promised to meet me. And then, I also realised that I was running only in my pajama and barefoot!
Earlier when I had sat down to rest near the hut, I had taken off my kurta because of the heat. In fact, I had put down the kurta on that dirt-heap, as a sort of sheet to lie on. I had taken off my slippers too, to use them as a pillow. And when the demolition squad came, I ran leaving both my kurta nad slippers behind.
Will Raghav, give me the assignment if he saw me like this? I cringed. To make matters worse, as I jumped the drain, I fell in it, and my pajama was all black and stinking..
I sat down by the road and began to cry.. I wanted to go back to the hotel, but did not know the name or the phone number of the hotel. I had neither the purse with me nor the phone. I could not phone any friend since I did not have even a coin in my pocket.. I cried. My sobbing became so violent that my eyes opened. I was in my bed, safe. I touched my eyes- they were wet. But I was so relieved. I smiled a wet smile..
Then, I heard someone say: Whatever the difficulty, you just have to OPEN your eyes. Yes, just open your eyes. That's all you have to do...
There was no one in my room. The voice had come from within. It was five am. I got up, made some coffee and sat in the back verandah, where birds chirp their joyful tunes in the early morning...
I felt that whatever is the "problem" one is facing, we just have to open our inner eyes and look at the REALITY. If we are in a nightmare, we can not solve the problem IN the nightmare; We can only step out of the nightmare by waking up. Life has a dream like quality. And it is easy to forget your SELF, in a dream..

2 comments:

ABHISHEK KUMAR said...

Opening of eyes may seem difficult; but we realize later that it was not so. Sometimes we fear opening eyes- only to realize later that it was easy.

Satyendra Srivastava said...

Thanks Abhishek!
Yes, you are right. But suffering pushes us towards these deeper understandings. Guru Nanak said: Dukh daaru, sukh rog bhaya... (While Pleasures cause the "sickness", Suffering is the "medicine")