I didn’t want to get out of the bus. I wished it to move on, ride along, never stopping, just moving forward. I was in the bus and at the same time I was inside myself. I didn’t care about the people around me; what they were doing, what they were talking about or what they were laughing at. I was just blank to think about anything. All I could manage was to stare out and see the things outside moving away from me or was it me who was moving away from them? It was a fine lovely-sunny morning when I woke up but it began to change as it moved along with me. I could see no blue sky anymore; grey clouds and only them up to the horizon.
The bus stopped and I had to step out as it was the last station for it. I was already a kilometer away from my own. I didn’t know what to do next as I wanted to keep on going but the unavoidable stop and that was it, an interrupt in my errand. The warmth was no longer available, the cruelty of the grey clouds had to take it away. I pulled the zipper of my wind cheater up to my throat. I looked around, in a way I was looking for something but for what I didn’t know until I saw it. It appeared to be a roof, a roof of an old temple. I had never been to that temple before as far as I remember. I didn’t even know that there was a temple at that place.
A good walk of around 20 minutes would take me there. I looked down, fortunately, I had my light shoes on not the bulky leather ones that I usually wear. The walk seemed quite a trifle at first but the uphill provided a bit of strain on to my knees. The cruel grey clouds were determined. In no time they turned black. Drizzle followed by a downpour, and that seemed to be imminent. My feet stepped up to a faster rhythm and towards the temple straight ahead.
The temple was much taller than I had anticipated and older too. But a bit of a problem; I was already tired and a couple of dozen of stairs were still in between me and the temple. The view was not bad at all from there, after all, a reward for an endeavour. Two firm stone pillars and hung in between a huge bell. I wished to strike it hard, as hard as I could, and thus releasing out all my dissatisfactions making them fly away as the sound does, weakening each instance and finally giving up letting silence to overcome it.
A brisk round of the temple revealed varieties of ancient arts. Metal and stone statues, intricate wooden carvings and the paintings of dancing deities aged with time but standing with same boldness and radiance as they used to hundreds of years ago. Some sort of religious assembly it was, I thought. About 12 to 15 people were sitting with their legs crossed on the grassy ground and under open sky, but I had no concern about them. And why would I have? After all, I had been running away from the sorts; the mean, mediocre and the hypocrites those who surround me all the time.
A café nearby; its squeaky wooden stairs led me up where I took my seat. The order was simple; a cup of tea and some French fries. The temple looked different from the place I was sitting at. Of course, it is perspective and in some cases intention too that makes anything or anybody to look like in different instances. With a cup of tea on my table, it began to drizzle and as I stirred sugar in it a heavy downpour. In no time the café was inundated with drenched people. The only other seat of my table was taken by a half soaked lady. I took a sip from the cup.
“Guru ji seemed confident as if he would stop the rain to fall with his spiritual power. I wouldn’t have got wet, if he were not so persistent.” The lady spoke.
She then looked at me and said, “You look ok, I mean, you are not wet.”
I raised my cup up and said, “I was here before the rain.”
Soon the lady began to wipe the water off her skin with a handkerchief she had. “A nice view from there, isn’t it?” She looked around and said.
“Yeah” I replied.
The torrential rain was noisy but it was good for me, at least it was curtaining off the talks of the people around me. The waiter brought in a cup of tea for the lady and with it my French fries arrived too. I pushed the plate of fries a bit towards the lady, making a gesture. She smiled and picked one threading it with a tooth pick.
“Do you come here often?” She asked.
“No, this is the first time for me.”
“So, what about the Guru ji, you mentioned.” I asked.
“Actually we are having a meditation camp” she said and stared a while at the pouring rain. “Now it seems we can’t get to continue it, but it’s good to be here, far from crowd and dust.” She added.
“And you, religious visit for you?”
“No just…, I don’t know.” I replied. But I couldn’t restrain back the actual thing and instantly it came out of my mouth. “Frankly, I am running away.”
“Running away? From what?”
“But they are all around you and I am afraid I am one of them.”
“Yes, I know but sometimes it is difficult and you don’t know what to do.”
She spoke noting for a while and I too remained silent. Soon a waiter arrived to collect our empty cups.
“Want some more tea? The rain doesn’t seem like ceasing.” She said.
“I think I’ll go for a coffee, a black one.”
The waiter took the order and left hurriedly and why wouldn’t he? It was a wet busy day for him.
“I don’t know about running away but I think change is good, and it always fills you up with a desire to live more.” she said.
“But at some point of life, you might have felt the urge.” I insisted.
She looked at her wrist watch, combed her hair back that fell for her eyes and a while later shaking her head she said, “No, I don’t think so.”
Was she being honest about that or just trying to avoid the idea which she might have been fancying inside her and that eventually popped up in an unexpected meeting with a stranger. One way or the other, it was clear that she didn’t want to get in it.
“So, are you really into this thing, I mean meditation.” I asked
“Not much, only sometimes when I have a free time. But there are times when it becomes really necessary. You need to free your mind. The job, family, life as a whole, lot of ups and downs which you have to face. But, you don’t seem to be interested in it.”
“No, it’s not about the interest. Actually it needs a lot of concentration and I cannot do it, I cannot focus. I don’t have that much of power in me.” I answered being not too much serious.
She was about to say something when her phone rang. “Sir.” The waiter barged in. He quietly put both the cups onto the table and left.
Her earrings dangled while she talked on the phone. She would lift the fresh cup of tea to the halfway, listen carefully to the other side, say some words and put it back down again on to the saucer. I didn’t care about what she was talking on the phone. And why would I? After all, I was on a run, I was running away. The earrings continued to dangle, the cup never seemed to make its full length leap, and the rain that didn’t know how to stop.