The night couldn’t be darker. The environment couldn’t be more silent. The only sound one could hear was the sound of smoldering fire on the pyre, which seemed like the sound of the burp of fire, after consuming the whole human body and satisfying its hunger. Anuj was sitting calmly, just like every night from last two years before going home. He missed him every day since he passed away. Each night, after all the workers go home, he goes to the cemetery and sits near a pyre where they burned his Baba’s, his Grandfather’s body.
That night was no different. He parked his scooter near the Cemetery’s gate and quietly sat near that place where once he saw his Baba’s face last time. He was watching the fire, which was about to extinguish continuously for an hour or so. He was missing his Baba so much on that moonless night. He remembers all his teachings, all his philosophies by heart. And the waves of memories were all around in him.
“Baba, where do we go when we die?” asked Anuj when he was still a 19-year-old boy.
“Beta, We don’t go anywhere. We just change our form. Undoubtedly we have to shed our clothes, which is this human body. But you know who we all are? We are nothing but a form of energy. And as they teach you in school that Energy can neither be created and nor we can destroy it. We just change our form. “ the 85-year-old Man replied with visibility of experience in his voice.
“So Baba does that mean that whosoever is dead can see us, but we can’t see them?”
“Not only they can see us, but they also take care of us. They are very much concern about our well-being.”
“Has someone ever communicated with you from the other side of the line?”
“Beta, first of all, there is no particular line. And yes, My Grandfather, whom I love so very much, tried to protect me from so many unseen circumstances. Not once, not twice, but many times he came to protect me.”
“Oh! will you come to visit me from there?” He asked with a twinkle in his eyes.
“First of all, I’m not going to die so soon. But yes, I will always be there to protect you, my child.” He said and kept his hand on his head. “Jai Shree Ram”. He said
“Jai Shree Ram” Anuj Replied.
He wiped the tears from his cheek when the guard came to lock the gates of the cemetery and told him to go. He bowed towards the pyre and quietly went towards the gate. He constantly kicked his scooter and finally, it got started. He quietly went towards his home after crossing the cemetery once again. The beauty of that particular lane was, there is a Hindu Cemetery next to that there’s a Christian Graveyard. And just next to that there is a Muslim Kabristan. He went quietly as his mind is still busy in showing him the memories of the time he spent with his Baba.
Suddenly an old man, who was covering his whole body with a blanket, asked him for a lift. He asked him to drop him at the mosque which was on a different route. First, he thought of ignoring him, but the other moment he was sitting behind him and both of them were heading towards the mosque.
“Where are you going at this point of time child?” the old man asked Anuj.
“I’m heading towards my Home Uncle. I just got late in the factory.” He replied trying to make the conversation short.
“Don’t go near the Kabaristan at this time my child. There can be ‘Rooh’ or ‘Jin’ around. And don’t enter the gate. It can be dangerous.”
Anuj didn’t reply.
“Where do you stay?”
“Pratap Bagh” he gave the answer crisp and short.
“Then please don’t go back to that route. Go straight from the Masjid and that road will emerge into the main road near that Main traffic signal.”
Anuj Didn’t reply again.
And after a few minutes, they were near Masjid and the old man told him to stop.
“Thank you so much, Beta for dropping me.”
He touched his shoulder to get support to get off from the scooter. The next moment he touched his hair and said “Jai Shree Ram”.
Anuj replied, gave some race and went away.
While coming back the thought came to him that was the old man his Baba who came to see him? But soon he decided to be more practical. Another thought struck him when he rewinds the conversation with the old man. He was speaking fluent Urdu and He seemed to be a Muslim, then why he said Jai Shree Ram? Was he really his Grandfather?
After a fifteen minutes ride, he was at his home. That night, he slept without having dinner.
Next morning he woke up with a thud when someone banged his door.
“Anuj Are you all right?” His Mom was worried when she entered his room.
“What happened Maa? Why are you looking so worried?”
“You don’t get the news? Abdul Bhai told me that there was a building collapsed near the Cemetery last night. Three People died and one of them was going on his scooter when that old building collapsed.”
Anuj was numb, lost in the thoughts of last night.
I will always be there to protect you, my child.” He had said and kept his promise.
“Jai Shree Ram”