Bags are packed, stuff’s bought are stacked, ready to hit
the road… mmmm… air – again.
The last stretch of the trip was supposed to be taken
easily. However woke up on Monday with a strange feeling. A feeling that
prompted me to take on the life by its horns, and work myself till I collapse.
So frantically made calls to office, took numbers and details, made further
calls locally and loaded the days with more work. Boss woke up to a strange
surprise. Don’t think he was expecting this kind of last three days, but as a
boss he had to fall in line.
So scooting down to the suburbs again on the British train
lines. First Stop Cambridge, couple of calls after coming back and running down
to Fulham. Busy – busy – busy. Hardly any time to stuff the stomach. Taking the
bites on the go, bagels and baguettes. Not that I liked those dry breads too
much but those were the only alternatives. A huge Blueberry Muffin in between.
Making calls and scoring, good day at work. Came back, an upset stomach, and a
body craving to hit the sack. A bottle of Balnc de Blanc to go with the Greek
Vege dinner, and pooped on the bed. Too humid night with only a table fan to
cool off, kept shifting on the bed till late night, and then passing off
sometime during the night.
Woke up again, made some more calls and a call back home.
Some voices make you week in knees, so it happened. The mind and heart cooled
down, yet the momentum was already on the roll, so rushed out early. This time
to Milton Keynes, and taking a taxi to a village (??) called Onley, a publisher
who supposedly publishes journal which are Ferraris and Aston Martins. Met a
Doctorate in Automotive Engineering from Cairo, owning the publication, married
to a Brit and father of five and settled down in the peaceful village with a
huge house named Pastures. Never knew Egyptians can talk so much, though
cracked the deal and this was one of the most important prospect we came here
Coming back to Milton Keynes on his eight year old Merc
still running as smoothly as ever. Took a foot-long Sub, which Mr. Mitra felt
was standing in his stomach hitting his throat. Another cab to Open University.
The cabbies here are mostly Pakistani, and amazingly very friendly. This one is
in UK since 1965, father of two, with sun working with an engineering firm and
daughter completed a master’s degree in- guess what? Psychology. Suddenly I am
seeing a bunch of people expert in Psychology. Another good meeting and more
business. Hoping back on a fast train back to city. While Mr. Mitra was again
interested in some shopping, he caught me making more meetings. But this time I
got the flak. He knew the condition I was in last night. So had to abandon the
plans, though completed the last meeting already set. Mmmmm, there was another
scolding earlier during the day from Mr. Mitra the elder brother for smoking a
bit too much for last couple of days.
While he went on in his buying spree, I stood on the road
mostly, watching the march of cocktail crowds, and making friends with you know
whom. After a while both supposedly retired back after a pure veg keralite
dinner, no booze; once he was in, I went out to have a quite walk on the night
of the city roads. Wanted to see the city in a different light. Empty street,
with occasional couples trooping back, a few friends enjoying smoke on the
front steps, and an elderly lady struggling to cross the road with two huge
packets and a walking stick. Couldn’t resist walking with her a few blocks with
the load and her hand on my shoulder; amazing similarity who passed away 9
years back, who meant a lot for me. The last lady who actually knew me in and
out. With disbelief in her eyes he gave me a kiss on my forehead, and I felt I
have got all that I needed from the trip.
Wednusday – the few meetings that I was trying for were
cancelled. Stayed back late, had a late English breakfast, and continued with
our shopping. Now was the time when I decided to go for the shopping spree.
Lots of people back home awaiting for some souvenir, from son, friend, dada and
…… Two huge bag full of stuff, and the heat was killing. Mr. Mitra wanted to
go in a movie to cool off and pass the time. My preference was a museum or at
least some time in a park. Went to Leicester Garden, enquired the shows in
Odeon, tickets started from GBP 12.50. More than a 1000 bucks? But since the
senior partner so insisting, bought two tickets for “Pirates of the Caribbean –
The Dead Man’s Chest”. He knew I will be interested in these kind of movie.
There was quite some time to spend before it begun. So walked down to china
town, had a gratifying meal and walked back to sit in the park around which all
the halls were. It was a sultry afternoon, where people preferred to shed their
shirt and take a nap in the park. We sat calmly in one of the benches, and soon
I was lost in thoughts. The little friends were having a blast with the pigeons
around and I whistled merrily. Some of the tunes were from Bangla movies much
before my time, and Mr. Mitra was surprised to hear the tunes I liked and still
remembered. So few people actually knows others.
The movie was kind of good apart from the end. The hall was
huge but there were only about 30 people in place of about 1000. Came out, had
the typical Mr. Mitra jig on the street. People not sure about of themselves
really pisses me off, but I have learnt to keep my emotions under cover. He
will invariably run in one direction, stop and say, “No I guess we should go in
the other direction”, a few paces and stop, turn around, “No, this should be better”; stop, look around,
run to a third direction, and after a few paces, “I think we have done a
mistake; we should have taken the first direction; that would have been much
better.” I mean, why cant one stop, decide on one and stick to it.
Again a bottle of Italian wine, the last one before we
leave, and may be for a long time to come for me too, as I cant enjoy a drink
alone. Indian food, and bidding the our Bangladeshi friend bye. He said Good
Bye, and as I say, I told him, I never say good bye, for me its – “till we meet
again!” Back in hotel, went online, checked the mails, none were there.
Shifting on bed as usual passing off somewhere in the middle. Woke up late,
called up people back home, packed my stuff. While I was finishing up this
entry, got a call from Mr. Mitra, the Egyptian doctor has already sent work –
Soon will be back in my house, the weekend spent on making
it hospitable. There will be a lot of people awaiting my return. Some will be
more eager than others, while preferring to say the otherwise. I know I will be
going back to some routine that has become part of life, a part of life that
has brought a few shades of color in the black and white sketch. Still running
towards the dream, a dream most says is just a wild goose chase. Yet, that’s my
dream, and “deep in my heart, I do believe, I shall overcome – some day”