Most of them who know me, know that I am not awake at hours like eleven in the night. Weirdly enough, I was awake yesterday, working from guest-house. And then I got a call from Munni.
‘Did I wake you up? Anyway, it doesn’t really matter if I woke you up because I had to call you’.
You know people love you when they can call you at any point of time and declare that they don’t give a shit to what you are doing and that you better listen to what just happened in their lives. Munni told me she got placed on Day zero in BCG. I welcomed her to the world of consultancy. I know Munni will hate me for calling her Munni when she reads this post but I don’t give a shit. You know you love people when you can call them anything without giving a shit to whether they like it or not. I am proud of you Munni.
Ali took me to a Masjid on the eve of Bakrid. The only Muslim friend I had before Ali was Saddaf. Saddaf and I were in class four and we were great buddies. And then he left the school. We talked over phone for some time but that gradually faded away. One fine day his number stopped working and I never saw or heard from him ever since. I had been secretly wishing to find a Muslim friend for a long time, especially after reading Sudhir Kakkar’s ‘Indian Identity’. Sometimes, when with Ali, I think I have found Saddaf finally.
As Ali offered his namaz, I clicked pictures of the children lined outside the Masjid, seated under the sun in perfect order, waiting for alms. And then, when I tried showing them their picture on the LCD, they all circled me, heads pressed against my head, like I was a part of their family, trying to have a peek at the picture. One by one, they pointed at their respective bewildered faces on the screen and each time a forefinger touched a face on the LCD, it was followed by a pure, heartfelt grin bubbling up on the actual face. I loved them and they loved me and then Ali came out and I took his pictures too. I love taking pictures and I love my camera and all my lenses and even talking about them. After Munni’s call yesterday, Jar had called up. He wanted my recommendations on a DSLR that he couldn’t wait to order. I helped him and he shall soon have a 450D too – just like me. We are slowly starting to share more things – Jar and I – than just our birthdays. I am sure that when Jar visits New York in Jan next year, he shall bring back some amazing pictures.
For the past few days, I had been traveling extensively. I visited Rajkot and Junagadh and a countless villages in the two districts. I met District Collectors and Forest Officers and geologists and farmers and local industrialists. I pretty much felt like Abhishek Bachchan from Sarkar-Raj except that, he was rich and powerful while I was a consultant. There are two things consultants can never be – one is rich and two is powerful.
There was a jungle in Junagadh and there were more than 300 lions in the jungle. So we went for a safari one morning – Shehenshah and I. Shehenshah was my colleague and we were touring together. And it was sitting next to him, inside an open jeep that I saw lions and leopards living and walking and ruling in their natural habitat for the first time. It is only when you see a real wild lion standing less than six feet away with no barrier between him and you, staring right into your eyes with a gaze that one comes to posses only when one has ripped apart a running deer with one’s razor sharp teeth a million times, that you realize what mercy really is. If there is any word that you can utter when you get to stand so close to these kings of the jungle – the word is fuck. I gasped a ‘fuck’. Shehenshah muttered a ‘fuck’. And then we remained in awe for as long as the beasts were in view. And we remained in awe even afterwards. Fuck.