The mind was racing faster than the San Francisco- Mumbai flight. It has been a satisfying trip and now returning to India. Aarav was still on the phone when he heard a stern voice - Hey Mister, can you please switch off your phone. Aarav looked at his Hublot Mp-05, it was 08:15 AM, 29th January 2047. He used his sleeves to clean the watch screen, just like dad. Aarav was wearing a long overcoat, hat covering all parts of his identity, colorful socks, and crepe sole brown shoes. He switched off his phone and tossed it inside his business class cabin. He looked outside the window animatedly, people were warm even in a snowstorm. And here he was, feeling free when everyone was so excited about the future.
Soon the flight was in the air — going towards the destination without emotions. That's what he did all his life- traveled towards what he wanted to get to i.e. destination, without any emotions. Now, when he is able to tick some of the large life goals off the board, the world is so serene. Dad was born in an industrial town and in his teenage, the factory was shuttered down rendering 1000s of people jobless. The town soon belonged to women as all-male occupants left to look for a job elsewhere. He reached a megacity, to study and make a future. The town it was and the town it is, always troubled him. He soon started working with a myopic view to earn money and establish a factory that would bring the old days back. Despite his best efforts, he could not make a larger impact. And now Aarav has made that. His company Yayati Industries employs 130K +employees and has transformed agriculture. It’s the 10 seconds that wake up Wall Street and the 15 seconds that puts it to bed, Yes he is coming back from NASDAQ ringing the bell ceremony. By the brassy clang of the New York Stock Exchange’s opening bells, Yayati Inc.[NASDAQ: YYTI] became one of the most enduring symbols of America’s capital markets. And he flew to San Francisco to announce a professional team to look after the company. And Aarav retired from active duties.
He was still looking outside the window, the flight was playing a new type of tag-tag with clouds - touching one and then going to touch another one. It is just that no cloud was trying to catch the plane as if they were saying - this is your path, you will come to touch me again. This tag-tag is always with you aarav, you are not playing with me - The game we all have been playing is always with yourself. He was free from the game and back to life. The-stern-voice Airhostess appeared out of nowhere and asked “Sir here are some water bottles for you. Thank you for being a kind traveler, I observed you did not ask for anything at all. I was mentioning to other gentlemen that our job is not to serve food but to ensure safe travel. I reckon you overheard and have taken literally to it”
Aarav nodded his head and gave a fake smile just like he used to do when mom asked him to smile for pics. He exclaimed and took a deep breath and said — mom where are you, mom? I yearn for your hugs and your gentle strokes on my head. The last few years have been a non-stop, he had put a full stop to his life, including parents. He literally lived out of his suitcase since the day she was gone. He kept staring at the air hostess’s name tag and was able to find her name- Aakruti. The tag was metallic and has a blue tinch to it. This has been his favorite pastime to find the name of people who had a character and a tag; address them by their name, write a thank you note later. He used to have a bed ritual to thank everyone whoever featured in the day with kindness. It’s an understatement, what a habit can do to you. Did he thank everyone all the time - mostly but what about the blue ghost?
Blue ghost, how can he forget it. He tried looking at the face of the air-hostess, could it be Aakruti Bose? He could only see her back, hair was braided nicely and had shades of red color. He pressed the call-air-hostess button with full force. She studied with him in Singapore. Nobody knew how they met but they were a house on fire. He remembers the day, he visited Aakruti’s house for dinner after the third year examination and her mom popped the question — Aarav, hope you will get married after final year exams?
He: whaaat? Aunty we really have not given it a thought about that. It's too early and I have to achieve so many things.
She murmured and said something ineligible.
Her mom was visibly angry and that's about it.
She never came back to college, changed her contacts and disappeared from all social media. Looked as if she never ever had existed.
And here is she… Yes, sir. For full 9 hours, we thought you were a ghost and now you are hell-bent on changing our thoughts. How can I help you in whatever emergency it is?
Aarav took off his hat and the dark goggles covering his eyes — Aakruti is it you or I am dreaming?
She kept staring at him and her control on the tray she was holding was gone.
Aarav held the tray and slowly kept it on the board and kept looking in her eyes as if he wanted to read the hurricane.
Thuddd…she literally fell on him.
A screeching voice was heard - Fellow passengers, this is your pilot Bhaskar speaking. There is a piece of good news and a bad, without asking about which one to say first…i am saying it. Both engines have failed somehow and I am trying to do what I can. I want all of you to wear your seatbelts and be alert. The good news is, we are flying over the sea so, in case of emergency, we can land with minimum damage.
And they landed in the sea. Despite water ingress, the aircraft managed to stay afloat for some time allowing passenger evacuation via the overwing exits and the forward passenger door. Luckily, they all had landed near the land and evacuation was easy. He swam to the shore - not only from the landing but also in his life. Aakruti was swimming alongside him.
It was a detour but he landed in Mumbai.
Dad and mom are at the door, tighter hugs and few teardrops dissolved in the corner of the eyes. A thin built young man, wearing blue jeans and a white polo tshirt, comes and picks up his luggage and keeps them in the boot. Mom introduces him to the man - Aarav meet Mahesh. In the last two years, Mahesh has been taking care of us and has not taken a single leave. He also makes delicious blue-cheese parathas.
It was a long lovely day of catchups, laughs, and conversations. He is in his room, lying on his bed. Tube light, Moonlight, and the fan are creating Stroboscopic Effect and it looked as if the time itself is moving backward. Here it appears - above the cupboard, on the left-hand corner a wobbly small blue ghost looking into his eyes. He remembered the first time he saw him — it was scary and looked as if he was trying to pierce through his soul. Over a period of time with his dad’s encouragement to face his fears…
He asks this to him — If I let you stay here, what are you going to do for me?
him — Am I not a ghost to you? You are supposed to be scared of me?
He — my dad asked me to kill my fears. And I killed my first lizard today. You are not even a lizard — why should I be scared of you?
him — I was told, the day you meet a fearless soul. I will have to serve him and he will free me.
He — I am your savior. Remember three principles 1/ You will stay in the servant quarters 2/ Don't follow me, don’t get attached to me. I will ask you when I need you. 3/ You will take me to journeys where you will show me the future of paths I follow.
Aarav: I free you blue ghost. You have served your purpose.
him: Thank you. However, I need you to answer one last question? I could have done anything for you. I ended up taking more from your journeys than you from my abilities. Why?
Aarav: Because I created you.
Looked as if mom was calling him — Aarav, Aarav…. He woke up. Sun was shining bright and mom was sad.
He: What happened, mom?
mom: Mahesh is not there in his room and not even his things?
He: Mahesh may have gone back to his home. I faintly remember he came to my room last night and said he will have to leave and I said OK.
mom: You should have told me no? I was getting worried for nothing. Since you are back, I anyway do not need anyone.
27 years earlier…TODAY: 29th January 2020.
Aarav, you will be late for school again…
You broke my dream mom...
Son, its time to make your dreams come true.
Aarav has a torn blue sock in his hands which he has picked up from the beach. He wakes up, runs across to the trash can in the kitchen, drops the blue socks inside the thrash-can and says in a hushed tone — Blue ghost you have shown me what the world will be like if I chose to go a certain path. You have served your purpose. I know who I will be when I grow up.
I will be myself.