This is a story of a Regular Man. Regular Man lived in Borivali, Mumbai. Regular Man owned seven regular white shirts in solids, stripes and checks and three black trousers. Regular Man had a regular wife. She was not too tall and not too short. She was neither too fat nor too thin. She wore regular cotton sarees. She tied her hair in a regular bun. She had regular quarrels with our RegularMan and loved him like a regular wife would. Regular Man also had regular children. A regular boy, who went to school, did his homework, played cricket and watched TV. A regular pigtailed girl, who went to school, did her homework, went to dance class and watched TV.
Regular Man had his office in Churchgate. He worked as a clerk in a government owned bank. Every morning he would wake up, dress in a tucked in white shirt and black trouser. He would oil his hair every day and comb them in an immaculate side partition. He would shave every morning and carefully trim his mustache. He would have a regular breakfast of poha or upma. He carried a black briefcase to work. He would leave from home every morning sharp at 7:30 am. He would walk at a regular pace to reach Borivali station platform no.3 by 7:45 am. This would give him enough time to position himself in the front of the crowd below the indicator board. This position was perfect to jump in to the slowly moving 8:03 am train which would arrive at the station at 7:55 am. He would normally get the second or the third seat next to the window. The window seat would almost always be taken by someone. On a not a very great day he would have to manage with the fourth seat. (Fourth seat as people who have travelled in Mumbai local trains would know that it’s hardly a seat. It’s basically a negligible bum space. For those unaware about the fourth seat rules can check it here.) So going back to our Regular Man, he would then travel the sixty five minute journey in the fast train reading his daily newspaper and reach Churchgate. He would then walk to his bank and sharp at 9:30 am he would sign the attendance register.
The peon would get him his cup of tea and biscuits at 10 am. After tea and a few pleasantries with his coworkers, Regular Man would get to work. Work would primarily comprise of a few data entries in excel, running a couple of processes on the ERP and some paper work. Lunch would be an hour long affair of regular dal, rice, roti, sabji, chicken and a sweet dish. Being a subsidized canteen, this would cost our Regular Man a sum of Rs. 5 daily. After lunch, Regular Man would get on with his regular work with tea and snacks in between. At 5:45 pm he would start packing up his work. At 6pm sharp he would sign out in the attendance register. He would take the 6:27pm fast local back to Borivali. On reaching Borivali he would do some regular grocery shopping as instructed by his wife and reach home by 8:00pm.
Thus Regular Man with his regular home and regular family led an extremely regular life till one day…
The day started out as a regular day. Our Regular Man woke up, shaved, dressed, had breakfast and reached Borivali station. Platform no. 3 was surprisingly very empty that day. The train arrived. He got in without much fight. And he also easily got a window seat. Completely delighted about the window seat our Regular Man as his regular habit opened up his newspaper. No sooner had he done that, he heard the man sitting at the opposite window clear his throat and uttered, “Excuse me”. Not paying much attention Regular Man continued reading his paper. He then heard it again, “Excuse me”, this time accompanied by a tap on his knee. Regular Man peeped from the top of his newspaper and asked, “Yes?” The man did not seem like a regular commuter. He wore a black expensive looking shirt with black trousers. He sported a thin mustache. And wore a gold chain around his neck. Not that our Regular Man really noticed the regular commuters, but he was quite sure this guy wasn’t a regular. He couldn’t have missed him.
The man smiled and asked, “Sir, could you spare 5 minutes.”
Regular Man responded by raising his eyebrows.
The man smiled again, “Sir you seem to be a believer in astrology”
Regular Man looked at the rings in his own fingers and said, “Yes! So”
The man replied, “Sir, I’m sure that you also believe that our past, present and future is all dependent and derived by the positioning of the stars and celestial bodies.”
Regular Man said, “I might, so?”
The Man said, “So, Sir, I possess the gift of interpreting the divine communication by the celestial bodies and their cycles.”
Regular Man gave him a puzzled look, shrugged his shoulders and got back to reading his newspaper.
But the man was not done yet. He said in a deep mystical voice, “Sir, I see that you have had your share of illegal mischief 20 years ago.
Regular Man stopped reading and slowly lowered the newspaper, “What do you mean?”
“I don’t know sir, but something illegal, something you repented.” He said.
“No”, thought our Regular Man, “No, this man can’t be possibly aware about the cocaine scandal he had got into 20 years ago during his college days." He had managed to go scot-free from this. But the entire experience and incident had haunted him for years.
Hence the man had caught our Man’s attention. They had by now reached Goregaon. Regular Man kept staring at the man.
“Don’t worry sir, There is more that I know, more that I see”, said the man.
“What?” Regular Man replied softly.
“A betrayal! A betrayal of love, a betrayal which destroyed someone.” He said in a hoarse voice.
Regular Man by now had sure signs of fear on his face. Yes he had betrayed, but he could not have helped it. He had loved her truly. But his father had wanted otherwise. He had to choose between his beloved and his father. He chose his father and married the girl his father wanted. He got a heave dowry but lost love. He did not have the courage to go face her, meet her, and explain to her. He heard that the girl he loved had lost her mind due to the grief. It had taken him a long time to get over her.
By this time the train had crossed Bandra
The man then said, “And I also see lust”.
Lust! Did this guy mean the lust he felt for the woman in the opposite flat every time he saw her at the window. Did this man know that he fantasized brutal love making sessions with the woman? Did he know that the mere sight of this woman was enough to increase his testosterone level?
“This can’t be true”, thought our Regular Man. “This man can’t read my thoughts”
“Yes I can read your thoughts” said the man slowly with stealth.
The train by now had just stopped at Bombay Central station.
Regular Man by now in spite of the cool wind from the window was sweating profusely. “What do you want”, he asked.
“Nothing”, replied the man. “I just want you to know that I, who know your past, can read your mind… I can also make your future… The way you want it! Yes I will charge a fee. But not now. After you have got what you want… what you desire”
Regular Man replied, “But why would you do this for me?”
As the train came to a stop at Churchgate, the man smile pulled out his card and handed it to our Man. As he stood up and said, “You don’t need to know answers to everything. If you want your life changed, just call me”. Saying that, he swiftly got off the train and got lost in the crowd.
Clutching the car in his hand Regular Man started walking absentmindedly towards his office. He reached and signed the attendance register at 9:40am today. The tea was left untouched at his table. He could not work. He missed his lunch. He just could not get the man out of his mind. He glanced at the card lying on his table. It only had a mobile number. No name, no address. Just a number.
He thought for long. There were things he wanted differently. Money, fame, success, excitement, adventure! He wanted it all. He desired it all.
And then suddenly his phone rang. It was his regular wife. “Listen, I forgot to mention in the grocery list. Don’t forget to pick up 1kg tomatoes. And also bring 2 chart papers. The school has asked the kids to carry it tomorrow. And yes. I have made kofta curry for dinner tonight. Hope that’s okay.”
As he hung up the phone, he smiled. He picked up the card lying on his table shred it to tiny pieces and threw it in the bin.