Author: Amol Vagad
The turquoise color of water of the Navagio beach glittered all around. Soaking in the sun, Yug sipped his wine as he observed this canvas of natural beauty cuddled in the arms of Greece. A young couple alongside was all alone despite hundreds being around them whilst two kids were helped by their parents to build the sand castle and a group of teenage girls was busy taking selfies of their tanned bodies. The place was as lively as the color of Yug’s shirt that had mixed shades of blue, orange and white.
“Sir, the client is here” yelled Mihalo in a Greek accent from a distance.
Yug kept aside his glass of wine and walked towards his restaurant. Yug owned the biggest restaurant on the Navagio beach. Since the past 5 years Yug had provided the tourists with the most authentic blend of Greek and Indian food something one can only imagine about. The client that came to meet him was a big shot agent in Greece who wanted the restaurant chain all over Greece.
Yug entered inside his hotel “ Souvlaki-Tandoori” a name extremely apt for its cuisine. His Russian husky dog Rob hugged his 6 feet tall figure. The client Mr. Karagounis was already feasting upon delicacies served by Arya. Arya was Yug’s wife. She was an Anglo Indian. They met 7 years ago in Scotland. Mr. Karagounis greeted Yug and explained him about the deal. If the deal went through, there would be hundreds of “ Souvlaki-Tandoori” chains not just in Greece but all over Europe. Just when Yug heard about this he went into a flashback of 8 years.
Churchgate slow local train was to arrive at Malad railway station on 9:05 A.M. It was 8.55 and Yug was still in the auto rickshaw. Adjusting his new spectacles he requested the auto driver,
“Brother, please drive quickly else I will miss the train” .
The auto driver perfunctorily replied “Boss that is what I am doing”.
Finally he reached the railway station. Brushing other people swiftly, almost getting cursed by a flower vendor for pushing her and after repeatedly refusing a blind beggar he was still not able to get his 9:05 train to work. Wiping the sweat off his forehead he looked for the next train time. The next train was due in 5 minutes. He looked around in the meanwhile. These were peak hours for train commuters in Mumbai. A group of college kids were taking selfies, maybe it is their first day to college Yug thought. An old woman was trying to sell some fruits. She looked grotesque yet there was a spark in her to live on her own. This is the specialty of the city of dreams he thought where everyone wanted to carve out a world of their own. The train arrived and soon Yug was on the way to his office.
Yug worked in a top notch Indian IT firm. He had been one of the top performers at his firm since he joined 3 years ago. Yug was one of the few students picked by the company during campus recruitments. His honesty, great technical skill and brilliant communication had helped him grab the job. He signed in into his system and began developing the user interface for an abroad based Telecom company’s software. Yug was always a hit among his peers too. He has amiable sense of humor which always rocked the house. He was indeed what his little sister called him “The perfect child”. He strived to make his parents proud and carve out a name for himself.
In the evening he got a call from Neha, his girlfriend for 5 years. They had met during the engineering days and shared a great relationship ever since. They were to meet on a date today but Yug had to cancel it as he was to have a meeting with is clients. Neha was pissed, but that’s what she had been since the past couple of years as Yug has been more inclined to the work. Suddenly his phone buzzed, it was the project manager.
“ Yug man we have a problem”, said Akash Khaitan in a morose tone.
“What is it sir?” queried Yug.
“StayCon Telecom has decided to cancel the project. In short all the efforts we have been putting since the past year are down the drain “.
Yug felt extremely bad as all the hard work was in vain.
“So what next now. Sir?”
I think you should start looking for a new project. Chill man I’ll recommend you for the best ones “replied Akash in a confirming tone.
That evening Yug was mentally as well as physically exhausted. The local train was to arrive at the Andheri station. There was the regular rush of commuters. Then he got a call from Neha,
“You just forgot again didn’t you?” screamed Neha .
“I am sorry were we going to meet today?”
‘Wow that is all I needed to hear. Check our chats. You were to meet me at Jacob’s two hours ago. “
“Oh shit. I am sorry. I am actually at the railway station now. Should I come there now?”
“No Mr. Work is my Wife. Stay there go home and I am going too.”
“Fine. We can meet tomorrow”
“No Yug I am said I am going. I am going away from all this. I just can’t take it anymore”
“Neha listen.. the train is coming . I will call you back in a minute”
“I don’t care anymore, I am leaving forever. I am sorry Yug. Good luck for your future”.
A chill ran through his spine for a moment. The 5:55 P.M Virar train arrived at the platform. Everyone cruised to get into the train as quickly as possible, Yug was one of them. However, today he tried hard but couldn’t set his feet on the footboard. The train began to start; he was still hanging in the door. There were a few others too, the train slowly caught pace. Still there was no room to get in. It became faster and Yug’s grip on the door began to weaken. There was a point where he couldn’t hold it just as the train began to leave the platform. Finally he lost his grip and that was it. Fortunately he fell just a few inches before the end of the platform. His spectacles were in pieces and immense pain ran all over his body. He could not understand where he was.
Yug slowly opened his eyes. He smelled fresh roses. There was nobody in the room. An oxygen mask was placed on his face and tubes ran all over his body. From the little window of the door he saw his parents talking to the doctor. His mother was teary eyed as his father consoled her. He had just won a match against death. But all he pondered was whether he really won the battle of life? He worked hard just like his parents wanted him to. Studied engineering despite his interest in Hotel management. He got into a great college, then a high paying job and a beautiful and caring girlfriend. But despite being the way everyone wanted him to be he lost everything today. But still he had another go at life. At that very moment he realized that he had to start living for himself, for the real Yug who was dying to set himself free and fly around the world.
Three months later he stood in the Edinburg castle in Scotland, looking at the serene surroundings around him. The world never seemed so beautiful to him. He left his high paying job just a week after his accident. He never contacted Neha again. And finally broke the news to his parents that he no more could live his life on their terms. He wanted to travel. He wanted to explore. He wanted to be freed from the cages of reality and fly in the skies of imagination. While clicking some pictures around the castle, he heard someone say
“The pictures would look much better if you had someone to compliment this beautiful place?”, in a British accent. The tall brunette wore jeans shorts and a long shirt. Her dimples came alive as she smiled at Yug while mimicking a pose in front of him. That was Arya. And this was how they met.
Yug held Arya’s hand strongly as Mr. Karagounis signed him a check of 1 million Euros. The dream had come true. He was living his life on his own terms and now it was setting up to be wonderful. He kissed Arya on the lips while moving his hand over her belly and whispered
“For Tanya “
Both of them smiled and kissed again. Yug could have stayed back in Mumbai and lived his life like everyone wanted to. He infact was on the course to do so. He could have maybe led a successful life and had a great love life with Neha too. But a few incidences made him realize the true worth of life and thus he fluttered his wings. He looked at the sky and set his limit. He was the bird that flew away.