“Rakesh, do you know there is a rock band performing this week end in the city.”
“Is it? But why does it bother you? You never liked that loud music.. didn’t you?”
“Yes, I have always hated it since our college. But I think you must talk to your father regarding this. I think he is planning to go for the show.”
“C’mon Seema, why are you always so suspicious about him. He is my father.”
“Yes honey, he is my father too and that is why I am concerned about him. I saw him looking at the ad in the newspaper. I could tell by the way he was looking at that stupid ad that he is planning to go for the show.”
“Oh c’mon honey, why do you have to make a fuss of every thing.”
“Thats the problem with you guys. You never listen. You know he has always wanted to go for the show and this time its in the city. Why can’t he do what other people of his age do. These things suit you when you are in college, not when you are old. He can hardly walk by himself. Why can’t he just take care of Rohit and Mini. They like playing with their grandpa.”
“Ok darling, I’ll talk to him. Why don’t you buy him some more CDs on your way back, and try to convince him for not going there.”
“More CDs !! he has more CDs than I have saris in my closet. And you know how much the ticket to that show costs? Its 5 grands. Do you think it is wise to spend so much amount on a stupid rock show.”
“Ok Ok honey, I am getting late to work. I’ll talk to him in the evening.”.
Rakesh left for work, and Seema too left after dropping the kids at school.
Narayan was left all alone at home. He would spent his day by watching the repeat telecasts of some daily soaps or by listening to his rock music collection. This has been his routine for past ten years after retiring from work. Some times he would attend some yoga classes or laughing clubs. But none of these pleased him.
Today was a different day for him. His favorite rock band was performing in the city and he has decided to go for the show. He slowly got up from his comfort chair, and with his stick walked towards his room. He locked the room from inside so that no one could see him. He then sat on the floor, and bent slightly to look under his cot. He saw a old trunk with thick layer of dust on it. It has not been opened for many years. He stretched his arm to pull the trunk. He reached his pocket for his key and opened the trunk. There lied his favorite rock band’s T-Shirt which he had won while head banging for his college band. He blushed as the memories of his college festivals rushed to his mind.
Narayan had this passion for rock music. The loud music was soothing to his ears.He had this secret desire to attend one live rock show ever since he was in college. The tickets were always costly and he never earned so much. As he earned more, his expenses too grew exponentially.
He bought the tickets from the savings he made from the pocket money he used to get from Rakesh. He took his T-Shirt in his hands and walked towards the bathroom. He washed it and ironed it too to prepare for the big occasion.
The night was even more restless for him. He could not stop dreaming about tomorrows show. He waited impatiently for the sun to raise. Even the pills failed tonight. Rakesh and Seema have dinner outside on Saturdays. They take Rohit and Mini also along with them. So tomorrow was a perfect day for him. He could slip out and come back before they come.
The next day he waited for Rakesh and Seema to go for the party. The venue was near so he preferred to walk. Narayan took his walking cane and left the room. He did’t bother to leave a note for his son. On his walk Narayan couldn’t stop thinking of how the show would be.
“I’ll tell Rakesh, how awesome the show was. I’ll tell him what he missed” Narayan said to himself.
“But he would get mad at me for going alone, and he would never understand my passion for rock music. My friend would be really excited to hear about my today’s experience. They know this has been my life long dream. I wish they were here and I could tell them how the show was. I cannot tell Rakesh and Seema about this. I guess I can only write it for myself so that I could read it again and again whenever I am alone.”
Narayan was thinking of all this while walking. No one has ever understood his passion and his dream of life, not even his son, not even his wife. As he reached at the gate of the auditorium, he saw two huge guards frisking everyone. He was a bit scared looking at those two huge men but he knew such shows always need this kind of security. He took a pause for a second and gathered the courage to walk towards the gate. One of the guards stared at him from top to bottom and back to the top and smiled looking at his partner. He let him go without frisking.
As he entered the auditorium, the scene was magnificent. A series of huge loud speakers hanging from steel trusses. Laser lights every where. The stage was ready with all the gadgets and musical instruments. The show was about to start in few minutes so he walked towards the first row. He stood there and stared at the stage. He knew that his dream of life is going to be fulfilled. He felt so complete. A sense of satisfaction brought tears in his eyes. He could die happily now, with no feel of regret or emptiness.
The show started and they played his favorite song. He could not have wished for anything else. He felt like head banging once more. That soothing music made his legs moving and he started to dance.
There was a group of college guys who were head banging next to him. They looked at him and one of the guys spoke..
“Look out friends.. the party has some old people also. Uncle, I think you are at the wrong place. This isn’t the place where you’ll find God.” and they started laughing loudly making fun of this old man.
“You don’t know son, what I am capable of.” Narayan said to himself and started head banging with the guys.
The young guy was smoking a joint and he offered it to the Old man.
“What is this?” asked Narayan.
“Uncle, if you are here then you must be knowing what this is. Have a puff and you will be in heavens soon.”
“Is it marijuana?”
“Looks like the Old man is smarter than we thought. You definitely must have smoked pots in your college. Didn’t you. C’mon uncle have a puff and you’ll be flying soon. It takes you closer to the God and it will make you enjoy the music even better. Forget what your life is all about, forget all your pains and sins, forgive all and take this. It’ll make you happier than ever before, and then may be we can have fun together.”
“No, I guess I am OK like this.” said Narayan.
“Oh uncle, don’t be like a boy. Look at that man, you think he is here but he is not, because right now he is sailing away with that music. He feels every pluck of the guitar and every beat of the drum. You think he remembers all those lyrics. They are flowing out of his mind.” And he smiled at the Old man.
Narayan has smoked weed in his college and he knew what would that do to him. He would definitely feel all that, may be much more than that. This rock show was his dream and he wanted to enjoy it to the fullest. So he decided to take just two puffs. That was enough for him and by the time the band played the next song he was on a high.
He was flying. He stood still, yet moving. He said nothing but heard everything. He stared at one of the flashy laser light. Light flashed into his eyes and took him to his childhood days. He saw himself. He saw his friend Ramu. He saw himself chased by the keeper of mango gardens. He saw himself beaten up by his father for not going to school and playing with Ramu.
Another light flashed and he saw himself with his college mates. He saw how he got drunk for the first time. He saw how he smoked his first cigarette and coughed, but smoked again until his lungs got used to it. He saw his friend rolling his first joint and he felt exactly the same as he felt then. He saw himself and his friends dancing madly in the college festival. He saw himself chasing after that pretty girl just to ask her name, and he never met her again.
Another light flashed, he was holding his son Rakesh in his arms, his wife standing next to him. This was probably the happiest moment of his life. He saw his son walking, falling of the cycle, fighting. He saw how Shakuntala cried over his shoulder when Rakesh had to leave for the college. He felt sad, yet happy when Rakesh decided to marry Seema. He cried when Shakuntala left him all alone. He wished for his death. But nothing felt like when he held his grandson in his arms. When he played with him and told him stories that he was told by his grandfather when he was of his age. He had gone through many good and bad moments in his life.
All of a sudden a very bright light flashed in his eyes and he was in a different world now. Everything just disappeared. No colors around him, everything white. He couldn’t even open his eyes. The music had stopped. He heard nothing. He stopped moving. He felt his arms and legs disappear. He felt weightlessness. He had never felt like this before. He looked at himself. He wasn’t old anymore. He wasn’t even young. He was never like this. He turned back to see where he was coming from, and saw his body lying on the floor surrounded by lots of people. He stared at it for a while, turned and walked towards the light.