Joined: 03 December 2010
A/N: Certain portions in this story are from pages of the annals of history. The rest of the happenings are purely my imagination and bear no coincidence to any other works of fiction.
SANDS OF TIME--- A 24 HOUR JOURNEY
I was in hurry and running late! My flight from Mumbai to New York nonstop was to depart at 4am IST and here I was dashing through the immigration and security checks at 3.30 am. But I could afford this liberty due to the excuse of being a frequent business class traveler of that airline.
Slowly making way to my seat, I found myself hit by a vision of beauty sitting next to my assigned seat. A gorgeous figure of lissome and stunning elegance was already cozied with a book.
Settling myself next to her and deftly shifting my position, without straining my neck or being too obvious, I saw she was reading H. G. Well's, 'The Time Machine'. Wow! This was unexpected as that book was indeed one of my favorite classics.
I smiled at her, when she looked up. That surely must have caught her attention. A handsome man, virile and well built, tall and of wheatish complexion is hard to ignore, especially when he's smiling.
Her tentative smile lit her face radiantly and gave me hopes that my 17 hour journey will not leave me in ennui. Licking my lips, I introduced myself. "Hi there, Am Rajeev Varma, a globe trotter due to professional calling."
"Hmm! Am Surabhi Sinha, a grounded person based in US", she said with a twinkle in her eye and cheekily put me in my place.
A momentary silence filled the gap to be shattered by our laughter indicating enjoyment of this exchange.
Soon our banter filled conversation slowly veered towards the book, lying askew on her lap. All attempts to read it was abandoned and she was now wide eyed and intently listening to my take on time machine.
"You know, Wells was a man beyond his time, a biology teacher and an excellent artist, his imaginative sketch and storytelling in The Time Machine, always remain deeply etched in my mind. Each time I read the book, I imagine myself going back in time and witnessing history being made."
"Yes, I too have read this book, but have never thought it that way" Surabhi enthusiastically like a child.
"Oh yeah in today's context, instead of time machine we can have a time chip that's fully loaded and with a touch of finger, if we can enter a particular period, where the language spoken is also auto translated for us, imagine how wonderful and magical the journey would be?"
It was quite fascinating to see her face showing a range of emotions to all that we could speak, in such a short time. I seemed bewitched by her and felt an undercurrent of attraction.
Our conversation was interrupted by the hostess' offering of breakfast. After that, I found my companion engrossed in book giving me a cold shoulder. Shrugging that sudden slight, I leaned back in my seat and looked out of the window.
There it was!! The rising sun above on the eastern horizon, like an golden ball lording over an orange yellow candy floss clouds. I felt as though the sun was chasing and beckoning me at the same time offering to partake with its platter of ever changing scenery.
I gladly quenched my tired and hungry eyes with this breath taking panorama unfolding in front at 40,000 feet above the earth. Satiated both physically and metaphorically, I tried to catch some shut eye.
A jolt suddenly happened and I felt the window next to me open. A sucking and pulling sensation lifted me carrying me into the realms of the white foams. I found myself wearing a pendant like chronometer.
My excitement hit the roof, or should I say the atmosphere, when I found it was indeed a unique modern time machine.. Randomly I pressed some numbers and whoosh I was falling like a rocket towards the earth, a live human missile.
Once again I found myself facing a sunrise from ground level. The air was pregnant with eerie silence and suspended anxiety. Then the sound of a blowing conch shell, like a primordial sound of creation and divinity of OM, signaled the heralding of warfare.
The sight before momentarily staggered me. It was beyond my wildest imagination and dream. There it was, like a picture perfect portrait, the battleground at Kurukshetra. The climax of the epic Mahabharatha was to commence and here I was privileged and honoured, to witness this momentous occasion.
A quick check on my Chrono time machine (CTM) showed the era as Dwaparyug or the Iron Age, the beginning of 9th century BC. An immediate assessment revealed that I was a soldier dressed to kill and importantly on the Pandava's side of army facing east towards the Kaurvas.
My heart beating super fast than a Jack hammer, I slowly scanned around me. All the five Pandavas, the 100 Kauravas with their family elders and Guru stood solemn and serious, battle ready and straight ahead.
But my eyes were irresistibly drawn towards that ever attractive Sri Krishna, who as a charioteer was resplendent and radiating serene and divine beauty. I felt very blessed at the very sight of Him.
What now!! A lone figure stood in the middle, his body shaking with overwhelming emotions. The Savior, Lord slowly made his way towards it.
"Arjuna, what ails you? Why have you stopped?" Krishna the ever knowing asked in sanskrit, the language of that era.
"Look Krishna, how can I ever fight my family, guru and friends? Is it not evil?"
Then spoke the Lord and the very essence of the Mahabharatha, 'The Bahagawad GITA', a gift of the lord to mankind was bestowed to Arjuna. This spiritual dialogue or the song of the Divine; is a treatise inform of advice and teachings to Man, the righteousness over unrighteousness, fight of good against the evil.
The most sacred preachings of the Lord, the very core of Hinduism, was unfolding before me.
I stood transfixed in an ethereal state, savoring every verse, only to be rudely brought back to battlefield by sudden war cry and clamor. Amidst the chaotic combat, I just managed to escape a well aimed arrow flying towards me, by shakily pressing the numbers on CTM, with my sweaty fingers.
I suddenly felt myself floating and flying to a far away land.
The convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie; was calm and peaceful, encompassing a quiet silence. Emerging from the shadows of the arch, I walked hesitantly towards the small refectory just outside the chapel.
I entered inside, my eyes automatically adjusting to the dim lit room. Lo and behold!! A painting on the wall made me do a double take.
There it was! 'The Last Supper' the most revered and popular painting depicting the visual interpretation of the Renaissance Master, of an event that is chronicled in all the four gospels.
I felt as though I was honored to witness this dinner affair. The streaming 11 am sunlight through the window was falling on the wall at an angle, adding more depth and character to the painting. The figures so realistic, colors so vivid, the brush strokes so brilliant, contrasting light and shade, unlike the conventional fresco work all clearly proved what a genius Leonardo da Vinci was.
A surreptitious glance at my CTM, indeed cleared my doubt of the time and place. I was now in 1500BC and in Milan.
"One always seemed to stare at that and forget to understand the deeper meaning, I intended. The Holy Grail reveals itself only to the inveterate seeker. ", a middle aged Leonardo walked in quietly and stood next to me. His quintessential Tuscany Italian accent, clearly evident in his voice.
I turned and saw him dressed in an off white tunic with hemp belt and leather saddles. I too was dressed in the same way. Slightly awed by this man, who was not only a painter, sculptor, architect but also an engineer, excelling in all those fields, I was at a loss for words.
"Hmm. Yes, I..er... I.." my guttural sounds to voice some cohesive words was only producing comical effect.
The door to the dining hall opened and the lady from Florence gently glided in. She was a beauty in the eyes of the beholder; her skin pale and soft and her face slightly flushed and seemed devoid of eyebrows.
Giving her trade mark gentle smile, she asked "Leonardo, when are you going to start my painting, my husband awaits your arrival at Florence"
"All in good time Madam Mona Lisa, as soon as my work here is over' he said in all earnest, but his eyes betraying a twinkling naughtiness.
A sudden clamor outside, resulted in the entry of soldiers of Cesare Borgia, the much feared son of Pope Alexander the VI. This was the period of difficult times in the Papal history.
"Da Vinci, your service is required for immediate attention at The Vatican, please leave now" they ordered.
Sensing trouble and avoiding any confrontation, I once again randomly pressed some numbers of CTM, charting my escape course and found myself slowly disappearing from the scene.
This time I seem to land rather bumpily on the hedges surrounding an English mansion. Dusting myself off and checking for broken bones, I was startled to see myself attired in tight fitting breeches, with long coat tail, a fine linen shirt with cravat and an overcoat hanging loosely over me. Straightening my hat, I walked into the house with tentative steps.
My CTM showed me I was now in Regency era England, the period 1815, the time just around 6pm.
Gingerly I entered the Mansion, only to see a soiree of sorts happening inside with quite a lot of respectable ladies and gentlemen of the English society present.
A reading of a book was going on and the whole place seemed to reverberate with romantic effervescence. Curious to see who was doing the honors, I was pleasantly surprised to see a young woman around forty, passionately narrating the 34th chapter of Pride and Prejudiced.
"You could not have made the offer of your hand in any possible way that would have tempted me to accept it." Elizabeth Bennet was telling in earnest to Mr.Darcy, the narrator quoted from the text.
I waited patiently till two more chapters were finished, when the assembly broke out for a respite. A small group moved closer to the lady, and I too inched forward.
A vision of serene and graceful beauty hit me. Dressed in a yellow gown of high necked and long sleeve, with lace trimmings and skirts flowing down from waist length, she was attractive in her own right.
Looking closely I found her pale face highlighting an illness within. But it was her eyes twinkling and sparkling with merriment and satisfaction, on successfully establishing herself as a writer and novelist.
"Ms. Jane Austen, let me congratulate your prolific writing capabilities. Am an ardent fan of your works" someone in that circle said.
"Why thank you, Mr. James. Writing is my passion and now it seems my sustenance too" she said in a strong voice, which betrayed a trace of wistful longing.
I could see that she was battling in vain against TB, which had no cure those days. But like Elizabeth Bennet, she was so full of life and spirits, quick witted and intelligent and indomitable in nature.
A sudden excitement and buzz caught everyone's attention. The news that Lord Wellington defeated the tyrant Napoleon in the battle of Waterloo was spreading infectiously and gaining a lot cheer and happiness.
Stepping outside along with the tide of eager and excited people, I found the evening sunset painting an orange glow of unbridled enthusiasm, warmth and energy.
As darkness fell around me, I saw the skies lit up with colorful fireworks symbolizing and hailing the victory of good over evil.
Someone bumped into me. Trying to step aside, instead I found myself being kicked and beaten. My possessions were being searched and in an attempt to protect myself and prevent further damage, I tried to run but only managed to trip and fall face down, badly hurting my forehead , arms and legs.
A white light enveloped me and I seem to get lost in that purity. It pulled and sucked me through it deeper and deeper.
The last I remembered was frantically pressing some numbers in my CTM.
I gingerly opened my eyes and cautiously looked around. There was white everywhere, the wall, floor tiles, door in that stark room, even the bed all seemed to be washed and painted with white.
Sitting up straight, I saw that even my robes were spotless white. There was hardly any furniture in the room, except for this bed and its only occupant.
A jittery and uneasy feeling filled my whole self. Careful examination of my body yielded a jolt to me. My hands were shaking as though I was suffering from Parkinson's disease and my skin shriveled and folded overlapping each other like that of a very old man.
My forehead decorated by a band-aid strip, my arms showing signs of numerous needle marks, bruised blue and black, my left knee swathed in bandages, all indicated I must have had a bad fall or injured myself.
Trying to stand up on my own seemed to be an enormous effort. Managing to heave myself off the bed after innumerable gasps and pants, I found my spine was so crooked that I was looking like a question mark.
My vision, which initially was clear seem to get blur by the minute. A sudden chill ran down my bent spine, my stomach acting queasy. To my horror I found myself peeing involuntarily creating a puddle around me on the floor. I felt like crying and called out to help.
"HELP'HELP..Someone ..Please'what?.. where am I?" 'Hic'...'Sob''. I could barely shout, as my voice sounded feeble and croaking.
Fighting a losing battle against fear, I sat down on the bet in a wet state and started crying inconsolably, my whole self; body and mind trembling and shaking.
The door opened and again I could make out nebulous figures again in white, coming towards me..
They were asking me something, which was not audible to me. Straining my ears, I tried to listen what was being said, by the two people. By this time I could make out that I was confined to some clinic and they were doctors.
"Ehh' What did you say?"..I croaked and shakily place my palm near my ears to hear their reply.
A few minutes passed, but it seemed an eternity to me. Neither could I hear what was being said nor could I see them clearly. It seemed even my olfactory sense was barely working. I was totally lost, alone in some clinic, looking very old and debilitated, bruised and battered, lonely like an orphan and yearning for comfort like a child.
"Hmmm. This is the fifth time he has emptied his bladder today, in this uncontrollable manner. He is never calm and always shouts and screams, in spite of double dose of tranquilizers. "..One doctor was saying looking at me intently.
"Yes Doctor. In this past 3 months, he has become a very trying patient, testing our nerves and patience. His family neither cares nor want him back" the second one said, eying me thoughtfully.
"Who is he and how did he end up here?"
"Well, he was a high flying, globetrotting businessman. Fell in love and married a woman of his choice. A trip to US altered his life forever. He came back a very changed man. Then His wife and children left him after cleaning him out completely".
"For years he was in an asylum, talking nonsense about time travel and what not, lately after his 90th year, he was shifted here after a self inflicted injury. He is okay physically, but mentally not so. He is completely deaf and partially blind and riddled with multiple geriatric problems. Now his kidneys have failed him and there's nothing we can do for him", the second Doctor said in a sympathetic manner.
"Life is indeed full of twists and turns and longevity is like a punishment GOD has given him."
"Look at him eying us keenly but hardly hearing us. Wish we could alleviate his mental suffering. If only he had not visited the States at that time. How life would have been otherwise? If only he had not meet that someone?"
"But one can't change destiny. Let us pray and hope for the best", the first doctor said in a gentle manner.
I was feeling like a guinea pig, being eyed and contemplated about the next move. None of their exchange was heard and lip reading was not my forte.
But they didn't know my secret. I was surely long way into the future, but I had my CTM, that could save me from this predicament.
Slowly I reached for it, but my neck was devoid of it. My frantic efforts of search resulted in undue stress and physical tiredness. I was now becoming increasingly schizophrenic and violent by the minute.
"My Chrono Time Machine!! Where is it? What have you done to it? Where am I? What year is this?"
"No. No. let go of me!! I want to go back to my own time. Leave me. Nooo!!" I cried kicking and screaming, hands waving in all directions and trying to escape those pinning me down on to the bed.
Something pricked me and then everything was black and I felt like receding into the oblivion, a black hole sucking me totally, into wormhole of time travel.
From the future, through the past into the present!!
"Are you alright? You seem to be disturbed and blabbering in your sleep?" Surabhi asked me in a concerned voice.
"No. No. I am quite alright. Well just a bad dream. That's all" I said trying to instill some confidence in my voice.
I remembered talking about Well's 'Time machine' and dreaming about going to the past, reliving some historical moments, but afterward everything was blank. Where did I go and what happened? Nothing vaguely familiar seemed to rake my memory.
A glance at my watch showed the time 9PM. 17 hours had passed since. Adjusting my watch to local time 11.30 AM, it struck me, today was 21srt June the start of summer solstice and the longest day of the year.
It seemed ironical that even though 21 hours of this day had passed; due to crossing of the longitudes, another 12 and a half hours was left, for the day to end.
After an hour of trying customs and immigration clearance and baggage claim, I walked out to hail a cab. The afternoon sun glared at me mercilessly as I looked up to scan the surroundings. Without a warning, suddenly everything seemed White and Grey. I felt as though I was transported through the mist to a distant place and another time.
I saw a room where, the violet drapes of the window off set against a pale pink wall, a sunshine yellow carpeted floor highlighting a beige colored sofa set all indicated a tasteful decoration.
I was surprised to see myself sitting comfortably on the sofa and eying at a figure in front of me. My eyes seemed to indicate the intense carnal desire and determination to carry out its intent.
It was shocking to see myself like that, but even before I could comprehend this vision, I saw the woman in front of me turn back slowly. Her smile froze her eyes wide with surprise and shock.
To my horror and disbelief, in the next few minutes the despoliation of that woman happened, leaving me in utter contempt and urge to kill my other self.
Before I could regain my breath, I found the woman hysterically laughing and advancing towards me with something in her hand.
I tried to duck, thinking it was a knife but then realized it was a harmless pendulum. Her hypnotic big eyes seemed to fill her whole face, compelling me to look deep into it.
Mesmerized under her spell and in a trance state, my behavior seemed contrary to my usual self. Like a faithful dog I followed her around acting like her servant.
The door of that room closed behind us with a bang and instantly I was transported back to reality. The fog cleared rudely bringing me back to reality.
Was it really me? My mind, my soul, my inner essence seem to dissolve and disperse among the passage of time fusing together again as a vision from future, only to haunt and traumatise me now.
In such a state of mental numbness, somehow I managed to check into my hotel.
The Present Evening
My body was shaking uncontrollably now, my heart beating an insane rhythm and the vision I saw seemed so real and vibrant.
Pacing furiously, trying to analyse the day's happening only left me more confused and afraid. I dreamt of going back into the past, but the end of that dream was all blank.
When awake and fully aware of my senses a frightening vision, has totally left a scar in my subconscious mind. I have lost it completely.
Every second, every minute seemed long and torturing me. A sinking feeling of depression and despair cloaked around me inviting me to find comfort in its cold and chill expanse.
I thought psychological help was the best answer to this unusual and bizarre problem.
The hotel managed to fix an appointment with a psychologist in the nearby area.
"Sir, you are in luck; the Doctor who was away just came back and will see you at 9pm. Here is the address and directions for you. Anything else you need sir?"
"No thank you. That's all" I graciously said, eager to resolve this peculiar state as soon as possible.
To kill time I aimlessly walked around. The setting sun disappearing over the New York skyline, like playing hide and seek between the towering skyscrapers, hardly caught my attention.
Checking my watch every now and then only confirmed I still had a lot of time for the appointment. For the first time in my life, the longest day really had a meaning, both literally and figuratively.
After a quick dinner, I reached the Doctor's place at the appointed hour.
The Present Night
The door opened at my insistent knock. The figure standing before me knocked my breath away.
"What! You are the Doctor?"I asked in disbelief.
"Yes. Why not? Am a Qualified Psychologist, a trained hypnotherapist and even a psychic", Surabhi Sinha said with a confidence, but betraying a twinkle in the eye.
"Come in Rajeev. This is my home. I don't usually see patients here. But you were an exception. I knew something was bothering you during the flight. You were disturbed and dazed".
"When the hotel asked me to see you as a special case, I couldn't refuse; after all we were fellow travellers of time.' She said concernedly.
After the initial exchanges, it was ironical that I found her more attractive and beautiful in the simple dress she was wearing. Her face danced with emotions, her hands conducting its own orchestra, playing out an opera before me. My manly feelings greatly aroused.
With great difficulty I suppressed myself and concentrated on the task ahead.
I related about my dream during the flight, but somehow words got struck in my throat regarding that horrible vision.
She knew that I was concealing something and gently suggested may be hypnotism will help me to unveil and destress.
She led me to an adjoining door.
"Go inside Rajeev, feel at home. I will bring some refreshments. I need you relax before we probe deep into your troubled mind" she said with a smile and easy comfort.
I gingerly opened the door and stepped inside. The next instant I was reeling with shock. It was the same room with violet drapes, pink wall, beige sofa and yellow carpet.
Staggeringly I sat down on the sofa and tried to calm and reason myself, that what I saw must have been a dream and nothing else.
"Look! You are a sane and realistic person. Nothing like that will happen. Get hold of yourself!" I assured myself and took a several deep breaths.
By the time Surabhi entered the room I was more in control of myself and wanted this session to finish and get away.
I saw her entering the room smilingly.
Her beauty and elegance enhanced more due to the soft lights.
I watched her place the tray.
Her back was turned towards me.
I lazily got up, stretching my entire length.
My eyes, carnal and menacing; intense and evil!
She turned back slowly.
Her eyes, wide with shock and disbelief; surprise and fear!
The seconds ticked, the minutes flew, the hours passed; the time raced to end the longest day!
Joined: 29 November 2010
Joined: 09 January 2009
The seconds ticked, the minutes flew, the hours passed; the time raced to end the longest day! Inspired concept and exceptionally written.
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