“What next?” I asked the grim looking person standing next to me. He looked old, very very old.
He just shrugged and this irritated me.”You should know.You being a monk and everything?Isn’t that what you people do all your life ?Connect with your inner soul and all?”
The man shot me a glare and continued looking around.I did not know for certain if he was a monk , but he definitely looked like one and I frantically hoped he was one.
“So where do you think we will be going? ” I asked him after a moments silence. It had been quite some time since the accident and we had been hanging out here without doing anything. The old man kept on closing his eyes and doing some odd ‘concentration’ gestures.I was closely following his movements and so far nothing had happened.
“See kid, I think we have to be patient.Try concentrating!” His voice was hoarse and rough. This pissed me off. What did I do to irritate him? I was just asking him my doubts.It was not like I was left with so many options. He was my only ticket to ..what..afterlife?
I was an atheist and believed that only life I had was the life I was living. No God, no devil, no heaven no hell. Well…there was no heaven or hell in sight yet, but the moment I popped out of my body I understood that things were a little complicated than I had assumed.
I had set off on a vacation after I quit my last job. Just to get some fresh air. I had decided mountains was ‘my thing’ and had headed to this hill station. The itinerary was action packed with hiking, camping, adventure sports and things like that. It had exhausted all my savings , but I did not care much.I did not have any responsibilities or liabilities. The trip was fun and I had found some great pals on my way. Everything was picture perfect until that wretched bus ran into that ravine. I had felt a cutting pain and then I guess I had blacked out.
When I woke up I was floating up here and the only other person I could see was him. The old man, who looked like he never had a haircut his whole life.
“Do you think all others survived?” I asked him. He nodded solemnly.
“Yeah ….I think so too” I continued..”So far only two of us are floating up here. Do you think they might be expecting a couple more of them to die?Is that why they are keeping us waiting? May be they will come for all of us in one shot!!” Hah..that did sound like a possible explanation.
He made a grunting noise. Oh..so he finds this funny?
“Do you have any other explanation? Come on man..stop acting so superior. Think of something you have read or heard. What are we supposed to do…Is there some chants or something?”
He smiled for the first time ,his smile carved more wrinkles to his already wrinkled face.”I don’t think it works that way.” he said. “Then..?” I was getting a little impatient, okay who am i kidding I was getting very impatient.
Does this guy really know something or was he just acting like he did?
“Look..I don’t know if you really know something. If you are as clueless as I am , tell me. May be we should start looking around”
Not acting is something I cannot stand. I considered walking away to check if there were any ‘angels’ lurking around or some light tunnel that had suddenly materialized somewhere near by. But what if I found nothing and lost this guy in the process? I mean he was not a great company or anything, but he was the only one I could see at this point of time. So I continued floating around.
“Kid…” I heard his whisper.I jumped. “What is it.. you see someone?”
“Look.. I think time is not up for you yet” I looked at him, narrowing my eyes. How much I wished he was right!
“Why do you say so?”
“See, after you..hmm…leave your body, you are supposed to feel like a soul.But you still sound so much human.Trying to figure things out..there is no need to solve every problems or logically explain each and everything or be concerned for no reason”
For no reason? I had popped out from my body and may be was going to face a trial or something .I might even get sentenced to Hell. How unfair, just 26 years of life and eternal Hell? And here he is accusing that I am getting concerned for no reason!!
But I kept my mouth closed. I wanted to hear his side of story too.”Why do you think I might not be dead?”
“I don’t think you are ready yet.You are still very much bound to your body.May be that’s why you can’t see the light”
This freaked me out.”Light..what do you mean light?You can see it? Where…when did you see it?”
He pointed his hands to the right. I looked and found nothing. Oh my God…so that’s it..I am going to be one of those wandering ghosts.May be I am going to haunt this valley.May be I am supposed to sneak upon and scare all hikers like in those movies. And when I get too lonely ,I might even kill one of them.A materialistic one like me who would not find the light. Then we might add up and slowly form a gang.
The old man grunted again.What ? Can he can hear my thoughts?
“See..don’t leave me..May be I will hold your hands and when you walk through,I will join you!!May be my soul is blind or something.Some kind of disability.That could be why I can’t see the light. This might even add up to your good points .It might help in your judgement”
“What judgement?Nothing like that” He was grinning now.
“No judgement.So everybody gets to go to Heaven” A tight knot in my stomach( or where ever, since I no longer had a body) loosened.
“Not yet time for you to know I think.These things you will realize once you free yourself from all the bonds.See you sometimes soon friend.Good luck!” He started walking away.
“No way..no way..wait.” I ran, I mean floated, to catch up with him.
”Look kid, I waited this long for you to come out of the trance and see the light.But its been hours. Even my meditation is not helping me to resist the light now.I have to go. “
So was that what he was doing? Waiting for me to see the light too? I suddenly felt a warm feeling towards him.
“But what would happen to me? Please take me with you.I can try to walk into the tunnel or something”
He shrugged. He kept walking and I trailed. And it happened in the fraction of a second
He vanished and I felt a sudden jolt of shock go through my body..I mean my soul. Then it was darkness.
As I opened my eyes, I could faintly see a few people standing around me, wearing white clothes. Angels? Did I make it to the Heaven?
“He is back” I heard a smooth voice. Who is back? I realized that I was lying down and that I had resumed breathing. I attempted to sit up.
“Please rest, young man.You will be fine. Can you try to remember your name?”
Yeah I did remember my name, my address, my bank account number and even the color of my tooth-brush.
The guy who was talking to me was a doctor. Where was the old man? Was he right about me not dying? So I did not die?
“I think we lost him” I heard another doctor whisper.He was bending down up on somebody lying on the near by bed.I strained my neck and looked up to see the old man lie on it, a wrinkly smile carved on his face.
This week’s writing challenge – Dialogue.