I lose track of reality sometimes. Blame it on my upbringing when I was surrounded by books and uninhibited access to the television and left to my own resources to amuse myself. Yes, I am talking about the times when I was not being bludgeoned by the brothers and kicking ass(literally) in return. If it’s a beach/mountain/any place I happen to be in, there has to be terrorists and smugglers lurking around and I have to go and hunt them down. If I am traveling by a train, someone or the other ought to get robbed or murdered or the train is bound to be attacked and the onus is on me to perform some Matrix-inspired karate(or whatever it is that they do in Matrix) and save the world… err..passengers. God forbid if it is an aeroplane, my neurotic imagination starts seeing terrorists,secret agents, special ops officers straight out of the pages of a Fredrick Forsyth book literally everywhere. Suddenly, the smiling air hostess looks sinister; the co-passenger is believed to be carrying diamonds or drugs in his coat sleeves which I, and I repeat, only I, am destined to discover. New neighbors have to be either sleuths/undercover agents or crooks; there can’t absolutely be any other explanation as to why they must have tinted glasses for their car windows or why the windows are shut 16×7. (no, privacy while commuting and air-conditioned rooms are for losers like you. I shall not settle for anything less than at least secret agents for the Mossad. Go blame Fredrick Forsyth again if you have a headache now. Double vision also qualifies for a written complaint).
Whenever I visit old havelis, I can swear I am stalked by the spirit of a princess who had been murdered a few centuries ago all the time. Or terrorists passing for local people. I potter around shady lanes, near cheap bars, shoddy factories and my imagination goes haywire at the slightest provocation (which can range from an apparently harmless doodhwalla(milkman) who happens to have his destination at the same place I am walking towards or even a stalker dog. Timmy anyone?) I had once lost my way inside a semi-labyrinthine fort in Jaipur and spent 30 minutes imagining that I am on a mission to discover a secret treasure or a kidnapped soul and not to find a way out before my parents flip their lids and kick me out of the house. Even rivers are not spared.(C’mon, smugglers shoot each other every time from boats. and how can you forget those pirates? Yes, in a river also). Temples, mosques, churches, any religious place urging people to maintain world peace and harmony, I have gone to and polluted the sanctums with my vivid imagination of terrorists and killers. Ancestral homes are home to trapped spirits, murky pasts and secret wills.
Forests? Don’t even get me started on them. SunnyG is posted in Orissa and travelling almost all over Orissa in the name of work!* And he happens to be visiting all those places like Keonjhar, Mayurbhanj, Jora, Anantpur that I have grown up reading about in mystery novels. Where you are BOUND to witness a murder or an arms deal. His texts send me to throes of unbridled angst and I realise just how much I want to be there, get down from the car, lose my way in the forests and hunt down terrorists. or poachers. or even innocent villagers for the sake of hunting down someone!
Superheroes, detectives, cops, spies-I have loved all and been all, in my waking hours that is. The dreams are just the opposite where I am chased down by fathers and college HODs.
And I am such a loser that I cannot even merit a silly local thief. or a pickpocket. or even a maid who steals my mother’s earrings. Damn.
*I take back my words. He IS working like nuts but not scaring the living daylights out of me unlike some people I know who are making it big in corporate sweatshops and hating every moment of it.