The video started and all I could see through that small computer screen was a blank chair that patiently awaited the arrival of the person who was about to take my interview. I have already imagined the way my interviewer might look. Mid forties with dusky characteristics of a typical south Indian man. Further behind the chair I could see a ray of sunshine registering its heat on the chair through a small hole beside the window. There were half filled cabinets on the left side of a chair. Tube light gave the necessary light for the interview to happen. And here I was in the lonely room with a video camera. The camera is looking towards me but I am staring away from the screen with eyes fixed on my phone. Like cheating a movie with eyes fixed on something else other than the big screen. What am I doing on my phone? Typing this line because I am still waiting for the person to come. I did not think that this day of interview would have come soon. Or may be in my mind I have already lived a century waiting for this day to come. The day started like any other normal day. Birds chirping on the trees welcoming this warm day. A toast of bread for breakfast and a hot water shower. And now I am in this strange place where I want something good to happen.
After sitting for five minutes I am guided to another room now. This gentleman has announced that there is a delay from the other end. A delay of 30 mins now. I am reminded of railway announcements where the delay time kept multiplying and I had every reason to believe that the delay will be longer. This room is less lively than the previous one. There is no air conditioner or fan here. Through the glass windows I can see few employees sitting in front of their laptops. It’s just a normal day for them. May be a day too monotonous for them. May be they have realised that they need to work to achieve glory in their lives.
Sitting in this empty room my mind is drifting to faraway lands now. I am physically sitting stationary in this room but my mind is a wanderer. For a long time, my mind has always been a wanderer. My mind has visited places where my body hasn’t. The beauty of mind travelling is that there is no immigration to stop me. No passport or visa to chain me. I am now lost. In the far away mountains of Himalayas. The river flows peacefully while I sip a hot coffee by the river bed. Sharp rays of sun are kissing the distant peaks of snow mountains. I finish tea and begin to take a walk in the lonely woods. Why am I always alone. Everywhere. In my dream, in my reality. Well that’s a thought for the latter. But now I am walking alone in the dark woods. It was just after five minutes that a bird has caught my curiosity. I keep walking ignoring it for the first time and moments later I am walking on the snow. I see that same bird again. It caught my curiosity then. But now its got my attention. I am now following it’s trail in hope that it will lead me to some magical place. I am running towards that distant peak. It has already been 4 hours in my mind state but it has just been 5 mins in this place where my body is. And this universe of mine collapses when a boy asks me “Do you need water”?
I drink a glass of water. It calms my nerve a bit. I am not scared of the interview, but it’s this whole idea of talking about my life and work to a complete stranger that has made me nervous. Why do they have interviews anyways? Just pick somebody, train him and he is ready to work for you. I stop typing on my phone and glance outside through the glass windows again. There is very little activity going on in this place. A confused young guy is taking prints of paper every two minutes. Another guy is busy writing codes on his laptop while the third guy is talking on phone for a long time. Could that be work related or is he talking to his girlfriend hiding his betrayed love from his legal wife? Anyways I bend my head down again and begins to type. I am typing this line that the reader of this post is reading. People are busy exploring their life through work. They suffocate their groans, lie about their love, deceive their legal duties shamelessly in the name of honour and money. It’s strange to see that there are no mirrors here. My current office has a series of mirror so people can see themselves. I don’t know why but now I am accustomed to seeing myself work. I am still awaiting for my call. They promised a delay of 30 mins. It’s well past 30 mins now. And I wait. In this empty room for the call. What am I gonna speak? I haven’t prepared anything. I am just gonna open the walls of my mind and answer anything they ask. My mind is prepared. But it’s still thinking about that place. Those snow clad mountains and that little bird.
Where am I running to? I am tired of running continuously for hours now. I take some time off and relax myself under the branches of an abandoned tree. The bird rests there too and I am already engaged in a silent conversation with the bird. I ask her about her whereabouts. I ask her about her origins. About her friends. About the destination where both of us are heading to. She remains silent most of the times. I am beginning to experience a peculiar strangeness about this place. But my mind have dismissed this thought thinking its weird. The bird is now flapping her wings, one of her ways to signal me to start moving. I want to relax for some more time. But she is adamant as a witch. And before I could have said anything the bird takes off from the branch.
It is becoming difficult to match her pace but still I am giving my best to match her. The sun is almost setting down and I have been running for almost full day now. Where is this bird leading me to? After some time she settles herself on the top of a house. She looks towards me and gives a faint smile. I take that as her invitation to enter the house. I accept it mostly because in this darkness I am left with no other choice. I don’t see any signs of life in this house. It’s well decorated to be deserted alone in this forest. It’s warm inside and the fire place is empty. I am beginning to question about the peculiarity of this place. It doesn’t seems haunted and nor does it seems lively. The bird flies inside the house. I am wondering how did she manage to enter inside, as the door was locked and the warmness in this place ensures that there is no open window. It took me sometime to realise that this is another bird and maybe she resides here. Her companion is waiting outside for reasons unknown to me. She is flying above me and then suddenly she lands on the sofa. Her landing was perfect. Streamlining across the thin air and gliding her way to the sofa like a paper rocket. I begin to get restless and I am trying to find answers to why am I here. There is a noise. And before I knew it this place is filled with birds. Hundred of birds, all the them resembling the same and flying in this room. I don’t have any idea what they are doing here. They are ignoring me and I stand there like I was invited to watch their dance. I want to get out of this house. But the door is locked from outside. Windows are grilled and there is no point of escape. Helplessly I am now sitting in a corner while all these birds fly inside the room. They are talking to themselves in a language alien to me. They are rejoicing and flying. Some challenge the gravity to steer against the air high to the ceiling only to be brought back to the ground. They all are having a feast while I sit there clueless. Why did I follow that bird in the first place? Yes, there was something odd when I noticed that bird but I could not think of any reason why I followed her? There has to be a reason why I am here. The tiredness of the running has made me weak and I lie around the corner. With thoughts and questions exploding in my mind, I sleep away.
I wake up the next day and find the house deserted. There is no trace of a bird anywhere. I look through the window and see that the day has already started. The door is not locked from outside. Without any doubt, I decide to run from this place. I decide to leave the questions unanswered. Not all questions deserved to be answered anyways. I don’t see a road nearby and there is no sign of life anywhere. I keep running when suddenly I am blinded by a sharp light and I lose control and spiral down through the snow, into the forest.It took me five mins to come to rest. Now I can see the road. I stand and look up only to find dense forest above. I take the road and keep walking when I finally see a tea shop. He sells hot noodles and I immediately ask him to prepare the food as I was hungry. I also realise that I have not eaten anything in last 24 hours. The last 24 hours were the most strangest hours of my life. I went to a house where birds lived and danced. What place could that be. I finished eating and reach my city.
All my enquiries turned fruitless. I was unable to find that house again. Where could I have possibly went. I go back to the same spot where I saw the bird and begin to trace the path we took. But the path was confusing. I was I unable to spot that tree where I rested. The lake where we drank water. And that’s when a thought is born in my mind, what if that world wasn’t real? What if this is a reality. What if reality is a dream? May be it was the house where I was meant to be lost
I have lived for almost a week in my mind’s little universe but only an hour in this vast reality ever since I drank that glass of water. The delay in this office is frustrating now and I want to question somebody on the timings and process. There is nobody coming here and I am lost now. There is no bird to guide me. What should I do? Where do I go?