One day, on the train...
They had nothing to say to each other. So they looked in different directions trying to focus their gaze on random things. The moving train did not make it too easy for them. Time and again, they would be jerked forward and suddenly look at each other. Once or twice one of them smiled but then it looked unnatural and he looked away.
The baba was decked in beads, bracelets and saffron. He had this sharp smell about him, which was not particularly bad but kind of pungent and reminding Dheeraj of something which he could not place. Anyway he was nervous because he had the biggest meeting of the year to rush to, his promotion discussion with his manager, manager’s manager and manger’s manager’s manger. But he had not anticipated an unexpected delay in the morning conference call with his team in the U.S. And now here he was.
The seats had been full by the time he had boarded the train and he had preferred to stand near the door instead of inside the compartment. He saw the kid standing near the other door. College student chewing gum and listening to music on his ipod. Young, just commencing his life, having tall dreams, unrealistic dreams, probably. A foreign returned graduate earning a packet on the name of his Wharton degree probably. A reckless kid finding his identity, probably.
Dheeraj sighed in anxiety. He had called his manager an hour back and told him that he would be able to make it for the meeting almost just in time. Dheeraj had prepared the proposal carefully and there was no way it could be rejected. The baba was singing some prayer song now. He seemed so content and peaceful that Dheeraj was almost fascinated by him. Normally he was the one far away from any of these miracle men. In fact he almost considered himself an agnostic. It could be his nervousness about his career prospects that was making him slightly interested in this Godman now. So he decided to ignore him and look away.
Images from the office kept flashing by. His colleagues had been promoted before him, even those who least deserved it. Dheeraj was always the last to be noticed, may be because he was quiet and unassuming, he did not believe in buttering his bosses, buying them presents or singing their praises. But he knew that this was what was required in today’s tough political corporate world. Even though he tried to pretend it did not exist, all of this very much existed and proudly so. In fact recently that girl who shamelessly flirted with his top boss had been promoted as the Head of the Security department. Bah! What the hell did she know about security!
“Don’t worry, your meeting will go well today.”
Dheeraj was shocked.
The baba repeated: “Don’t worry, your meeting will go well today. Your time has come.”
“How do you know? What?”
“I know a lot.” The baba smiled.