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Rano knows that his time of life is passing fast. He knows that mental planning is one thing and doing actually is another. All changes brought to Nature by man may be reversed unpredictably, leaving the destructions in its trail as it is already happening and that all forecasts and predictions are not likely to be fructuous. When something has to happen will happen. Who will plan, who will execute? Certainly, the young men and women of India and even the whole world must have to be the actors in a New Age, shoving the selfish accumulated activities of their predecessors off the shelf if something worthy has to be achieved. Rano thought that it is best to wait for the time to come for action. Nature is always victorious; it will surely override all human actions and finally compel man to abide by its rule the obstruction to which is the obstruction to man’s smooth passage to progress.
It’s a desperate time again when the inheritors of all those who used to enjoy the resources of the country left out by the colonizers are desperate to retain them with the same power and capacity to exploit but the time is going out of their hands. Time is often an active agent of change beyond all predictions, actually remaining a witness to everything.
Walking a long distance, he stood fixed at the crossing of six big roads unable to decide what to do next remembering that he had come out of the house long ago and that it was long past his usual time for joining office. It was long ago when he was out to see the huge massacre of human lives by flood further accelerated by human agents like police. It is long past his time of active service or enjoying retirement. It is long past the time that he had retired. He’s still a thinking animal without the inhuman digital power even to any great extent at his command. Such digital power arriving in full force has occupied man’s life somewhere more, somewhere less. Man has almost become and shall remain more than mechanized animal. He has entered it willy-nilly but not whole heartedly. It is bound to become heaps of accumulated rubbish helping the concretized materialists only against the rinsing sap of life from the higher humanity.
For some moments Rano comes to a position alike Toba Tek Singh of Saadat Hasan Manto’s story when he stands in no-man’s land between two countries, unable to understand the situation or the reason for one spot of a country becoming another country overnight. His village, Toba Tek Singh, was lost forever to him. But Tek Singh died at the sunset after refusing to budge from the place which belonged to no country during the partition, entirely disagreeing to the decision that his land in his country suddenly belongs to another country. Unable to come to any other point of survival he dies. For Rano too this was a moment of indecision.
Rano got a shake inside; shaken by someone holding his two shoulders. For a moment he felt bewildered and nervous. Looking up he saw a giant intently staring at him, a friend!
“Why feeling nervous! Why at the crossing of the roads? You have to take a road. Come to my home to sit and discuss the future, not the past. There are ways ahead, surely,” he said.
Rano got back his nerves. Without a word he took his hand and the two octogenarians walked ahead steadily. After some time he found himself walking alone but he was sure that his friend was with him on either side. The colonial age has gone surely but the Free India is still to be born really. Many forces inside it are trying to utilize the country to their benefit. India is multilingual, multicultural country, a nation in the making for long and that stage still continues. It is one of the great advantages for her to develop and surge ahead through many routes of different traditions and cultures. Every branch of activity, every locality has to flourish at the same time, more or less according to the respective capacities. All attempts to impose something on the country as a whole by any group of people must have to be defeated at any cost. He felt that the digital world was following him intently but felt also that that world has to be tamed by man and he has to go ahead using it when warranted but not becoming a subordinate to it. He felt that with material and scientific developments together with the revival of Indian spiritualism India has to become its true self in essence and spirit, not by religious rites and construction of buildings and statues so that material developments may not only coincide with spiritual development but be helped by the latter for it exists surely at a higher rung of life. It should not be given up as a chimera but adored in our life as something higher and better to help us transform ourselves in the long run as humans to achieve the goal to move from ordinary humanity to super humanity. He walked and walked with dreams to blossom in future.
The sky was preparing for some time to pour down and as expected, rains came in torrents. In no time currents of water was flowing through the roads making different channels. From the corner of a small house a boy was releasing paper boats one after the other and they moved in forceful currents through different channels out of sight soon. In a mood of reverie Rano stopped as the lines of a poem written long back came to his mind telling of a rainy day like that when he might have been active:
The paper boat
I set adrift
In my childhood
On the flooded road
Of a metropolis
Has just arrived
This rainy evening
At my doorstep
Under full sail
To set out on it
For a nouvelle Adventure.
He wondered, was it a prophecy or a child’s playfulness! Even if neither is true the poem appealed to his heart. He may not be carried in a paper boat but a new adventure, renewed effort to achieve one’s goal, is always possible. Every turn of life may be a new-turn, a new-adventure for him or for his progeny, no matter for whom but it must be welcomed!