It was Mumbai being Mumbai. The rain was outdoing itself, just like it had done so yesterday, just like it had done so the day before, and the day before that, and the day before that… it was just about that time of the season when the junta had stopped romanticizing the bloody darn showers, the bloody darn non-existent ‘hot pakodas’, the bloody darn ever-existent ‘cutting chai’, and bloody darn romance itself, which, incidentally, was uniquely and singularly absent from Aniket Hazare’s life.
Aniket Hazare. Ha. The lesser said about Aniket Hazare’s life, the better. To be very honest, the only thing remarkable about Aniket Hazare’s life was how utterly unremarkable it was. Yes, Aniket Hazare was Arthur Dent, but before he hitchhiked across the galaxy, and become the unlikely hero of a bestselling novel. The only thing heroic about Aniket Hazare’s life was that a man with the same last name had managed to unite the country together in a revolution, ironically, for, hating the country together. Well, almost.
Aniket Hazare’s glory had been just as short-lived as the revolution was. When the revolution had begun, everyone and their various ignorant, non-Maharashtrian relatives wanted to know if he was related to the other, more famous and utterly remarkable A Hazare, and simply wanted to say how proud they were of him. But when the revolution abruptly ended, while the glory abruptly ended too, somehow Aniket Hazare’s surname metamorphosed itself into some sort a trigger that would elicit the most strongly-opinionated comments from everyone and their various ignorant relatives, Maharashtrian or otherwise.
And when these diatribes did not even diminish a respectable amount of time beyond the point – and there needs to be a word for this – at which it stopped being cool to talk about it… let’s call it the ‘hipster point’. So when these diatribes did not even diminish a respectable amount of time beyond the hipster point, it made Aniket Hazare very angry. Well, not *very* angry. Just a sufficient, unremarkable amount of angry that a sufficiently unremarkable sort of person like him would get. Except that Aniket Hazare managed to channel this anger into a heroic hobby, if ever there was one, and that would turn out to be the only other heroic thing about Aniket Hazare’s life.
But apart from this heroic hobby, Aniket Hazare was as much a hero as Daarshik Godbole was, and we all know that Daarshik Godbole is no hero. But like every unremarkable, plain-looking middle-class Indian fellow, Maharashtrian or otherwise, with a flat-ish screen TV and a high-ish speed internet connection, Aniket Hazare was no stranger to dreams.
Aniket Hazare loved to dream dreams. He loved to dream coloured dreams and Technicolor dreams, realized dreams and incomplete dreams, romantic dreams and horror dreams, Indian dreams and foreign dreams. Aniket Hazare loved to dream dreams because unlike the remarkable case of his unremarkable reality, Aniket Hazare was a hero – the hero – of his dreams.
Aniket Hazare was the hero who won the fair maiden, who ran towards her in slow motion in a garden full of roses and lilies and daisies, and who eventually ended up doing unspeakable deeds behind a sunflower in close up, after having run around a tree for the amount of time sufficient for a hero to run around trees. The hero who won the fair maiden, who he met by a fortuitous accident on a sunny day or a rainy one, in an elevator or an escalator, in a plane or on a tram, on an empty road or in a traffic jam.
But on this day, when Mumbai was being Mumbai, and the bloody darn rain was outdoing itself, and there were no bloody darn hot pakodas and no bloody darn cutting chai in the bloody darn traffic jam, that was ceaseless at its origin, and ceaseless at its destination, Aniket Hazare’s life was being its usually unremarkable self, and there was no fortuitous accident waiting to happen, and no likely love story involving a fair maiden whose car had given up on her, and who, for some strange reason, wanted to hitch a ride with him to Borivali.
And just then – like in all great romantic stories that no one ever reads these days, in which the phrase ‘just then’ would indicate something wholly magical – the world became very still, as there was a knock on the window of Aniket Hazare’s Maruti 800, which was just as unremarkable as he was, or perhaps, even more so, and it was a fair maiden with a red umbrella, fighting off the furious rain, who for some strange reason, wanted to hitch a ride with him to Borivali. Something wholly magical was about to happen.
Note: This story was first published on June 28, 2013. The part II of this story was never published (or written :p)
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