Connecting The Dots
Connecting The Dots
Ten years ago, on the first day of my job I was sitting in my cubical alone tossing hint of reluctance to be friendly with my new colleagues. I’ve always been conservative by nature and find it difficult to get along with people. After the lunch I was working on my Computer I heard a feeble voice behind and there was he standing just behind me. His name was Kuldeep. Kuldeep also joined today as he told me he saw me in a welcome interview that morning. He asked me to join for a tea break as he was alone too and that’s how our friendship started.
Kuldeep died last year at the age of 34. He had a wife and son who ironically was born on the same day of his death. I’ve known Kuldeep for the last 10 years and was fortunate to have a friend like him. Kuldeep belongs to a village in Uttarakhand ( mana ) and he moved to Delhi after his higher secondary. He did his graduation and MBA before he became my colleague. I’ve never seen Kuldeep visiting his village in the past 10 years although his mother and grandmother were still there in the village. Kuldeep’s father died when he was young and he was a single child. Kuldeep was amiable by nature but had a small friend circle which was limited to me. I’ve known him in and out and more than a friend he was an ambitious employee willing to go the extra mile whether to achieve company goals or make their way up the corporate ladder, but a perfect life can’t be measured without the darkness. Like every one of us Kuldeep had his secret sorrow which the world doesn’t know.
I remember on my 28th birthday I invited Kuldeep to my place and it was late at night so I asked him to stay for the night and he agreed. I woke up in the middle of the night and saw Kuldeep was standing in the balcony smoking cigarettes. I approached him and asked why is he awake? He told me I usually don’t sleep much at night because of unpleasant and frightening dreams. I asked him about his dreams and he told me to make a cup of tea and then he’ll continue. Around 2 at night we both were sitting in the balcony with the first sip of the tea he said, “I was in graduation when I first had a dream about this person, he was around 45 years old, had a wife and 2 children. That night it seems like a normal dream to me where I saw a man and his family working in a muddy field in village and the village seems like mine although I don’t remember much about my village by the glimpse of it I can relate to it, after a week I had the same dream about that person he was looking bit older now around 60 years of age and his children were not there, he was sitting on a chair with two other people and his wife was serving tea to them. Actually I am having these dreams for the last 8 years and now I remember the name of that person his wife, children and all his friends. It is concerning me now. I can't figure it out, why is this happening to me? Is it normal? Does it happen to you? All I know it might be related to my village, I was young when I left my village and since then I never visited that place. I remember when my mother told me that she won't leave this village as she has to take care of my grandmother. I never saw my grandmother while growing up, she stayed ground floor and we were not allowed to enter there as my mother said she is mentally unstable. My father died when I was 6 years old and never met any of my relatives too. I remember so little about my village. I can’t really relate my dreams to my village. I am living parallel life through these dreams and it feels so real and my body reacts to these dreams. Sometimes I wake up crying about someone’s death and another day I fell from a tree and I could feel the exact pain of that person. So I don’t know what is it but trust me it's better to avoid sleep than having a dream”.
It was too much to digest back then, at first I thought he is making up all this or he might be drunk because it was strange to have dreams like these but just for comforting him I suggested him to make an appointment with a psychiatrist. Kuldeep thanked me for listening to him and not calling him crazy.
Days gone by and I called Kuldeep on weekend about his appointment, he told me that he had six-week sessions with a psychiatrist and in her final report she concluded everything looks fine but I am still experiencing their dreams. Hope there isn’t any solution but I am fine and getting used to it. Since then we never talked about his dreams as I didn’t want to make him uncomfortable. After some years Kuldeep got married to Preeti, they both met on a corporate party and after knowing each other they tied the knot within six months. It all came as a surprise to me but I’ve never seen Kuldeep happier. Kuldeep and I were in touch and often visited each other frequently.
It was Saturday I was watching the news and my phone rang,
“Hello, I think I know who’s the person in the dream,” said Kuldeep.
Who? What dream? Hello.
“ I am going to my village right now and I’ll be back in two days. I’ve told Preeti to call you in an emergency, she’s pregnant and might need medical attention. Please take care of her. Rest I’ll tell you later”.
Before I could ask anything, he hung up. His voice was brittle and it worried me and I called him again but he didn’t answer. So I called his wife and asked about his sudden visit, even she didn’t have a clue. I told her not to worry and call me if she needs anything.
The next afternoon I had a call from Preeti's mother and it was a joyous moment, Preeti gave birth to a baby boy. I rushed to the hospital and congratulated her but unfortunately, Kuldeep was still in his village. I called him but he didn’t answer. I was worried and angry, Kuldeep wasn’t in touch with his family and now suddenly he left his pregnant wife and went to meet his long lost family.
The next morning I got a call from an unknown number, “hello”.
“Hello, I am calling from district hospital we found your number on Kuldeep’s phone, actually Kuldeep met with an accident last night and died on the spot.”
I pushed the pillow to the headboard and sat up.
After that I woke up in the hospital, the nurse said that I fainted and hit my head on the ground.
Now, the hospital has already informed Preeti about her husband’s death. And all I could think about how she would have reacted to the news.
Things settled and after some month Preeti moved to her mother’s place and resumed her previous job. I miss my friend at times and his absence created a void in my life. I quitted my job after the incident and started my own business.
It was Sunday and I didn’t have much to do so I started cleaning my almirah where I found Kuldeep’s dairy. After his death, all his belonging were handed over to me including his torn clothes and other things. I thought I should keep it rather than giving it to Preeti as clothes were torn and bloodied.
Kuldeep had the habit of keeping a diary on a daily basis. I read it a little and it had the details of things he did that year from January to October.
I kept on turning pages without reading much of it but I found something strange on the last two pages. Actually Kuldeep died on 18th October, even if he would have got time to write on the day of his death the dairy should be filled till 18th or maybe till 19th October but he wrote it till 21st October. It was a bit strange, I looked at the flow of writing from 18th to 21st October was same. It means he wrote all of it on 18th October. He reached his village on 17th but he didn’t write that day, pages of dairy were blank on 17th.
18th October 2017
“ I reached my village yesterday around 8 AM, it looks exactly the same as I see it in my dreams. I can sense that I’ve been here for a very long time. On my way home I’ve found that I know all the places around. I am scared yet relieved because I think I’ll figure out something from this visit. I reached my home and on stairs, I saw women in her 50’s, my mother looks completely different. She didn’t recognize me, I’ve changed a lot in 10 years I guess. I said it's your son Kuldeep. She hugged me so tight and for a moment I forgot every pain that was bothering me, she asked me why he came here and kept on repeating that I shouldn’t be here. For a moment I was demented, why would she say that? I’ve come home after this long and she isn’t asking me how I have been? I told her I won’t be long but I have questions which are bothering me and I needed to talk to you about it. She said, ‘I knew one day you’ll come back with questions but they aren’t for me but I know who can answer them. Do you know why I send you away from this village? Because your grandmother told me to do so. It was her who made it sure to maintain distance from you’.
I was pissed off and wasn’t getting any reason behind all this chaos. I asked my mother where is grandmother, I want to meet her. She said to meet her tomorrow as its already dark today. I was too tired yesterday so I slept early and again I had the dream but this time it was bit strange the man in my dream was talking to me for the first time, I couldn’t understand what he was trying to say but something related to the child but I didn’t get it and finally man pushed me in my dream and it felt like he was very angry with something.
Today, I had the best sleep for very long. The morning was unusual, beautiful, and surprising the beauty of this village is noteworthy with beautiful snowy mountains around. I had my breakfast and I had to meet my grandmother now. I approached her and touched her feet but she didn’t recognize me, I told her I am her grandson Kuldeep. She could barely stand and been like this for years now. She patted me and said I knew you’ll come back but shouldn’t have. I said I have some questions to ask and I think you can answer them. I barely finished my sentence and she said, ‘I know it’s about your dreams and I know how you’ve been feeling about it. I know you don’t sleep much at night and it feels like you’ve been living someone else’s life’. She knew everything about my dreams and for a moment I was completely taken aback.
‘ I know you might be thinking about how I know all about your dreams but they might be your dreams but once it was my life. Don’t you remember the women in your dream? Yes, it’s me with your grandfather. When I got married to your grandfather for a long time he used to complain about the weird dreams and just like you even he had many questions about them, unfortunately till very late there was no one to answer them. Your grandfather was born in this village on the same day his mother moved to this village with his elder brother because the village they used to live in abandoned them as his father was of unsound mind. His mother told him that his father left them and they started a fresh new life in this village. But soon after that, his mother died too, he lived with his brother and made life in this village. Your grandfather and I had two sons but your father died years after he had you and our second child went away as your grandfather became mentally ill as he grew old. Your grandfather use to dream about a man and his family in some village and said I only see a man and his family doing routine work in my dream. They never interact with me but I see everything they do. It made him mentally ill as he couldn’t understand why is it happening to him. But I remember the day your grandfather died. He told me that he knows the man in my dream, he said …”
I flipped more pages but there was nothing more written on it. I bummed out after reading Kuldeep’s dairy. I became incapable to contain myself and I kept on thinking that his dairy does the implicit reason for his visit and maybe for his death. For hours my life was side-lined and I kept on thinking about Kuldeep. There were some questions in mind.
He told me he knew the man in his dream and he knew it was his grandfather but how he knew about it?
How his grandmother also knew about his dreams?
Why did his mother say he shouldn’t be here when he reached home?
Why his grandmother maintained a distance from him and send him out of the village?
These questions kept on haunting for months but I couldn’t figure out what would have happened to him.
One fine day I was reading some articles and at the bottom suggestion page I found a weird article which says, “ Atma, the complicated Hindu mythology”. I clicked on it and a new web page opened it reads, “ In Bhagwat Gita, Lord Krishna says, ‘The soul and the body are different. The body is transient and perishable, but the soul is eternal and indestructible. Hence, one should not grieve for the death of anyone. The soul wears the body like cloth and discards it at the time of death.
I researched it more and found many answers about what happens to us after we die. And as per Hindu mythology, The simple answer is, we can either be reborn (punar-janma) and experience life once again, or be liberated (moksha) from the cycle of rebirth (samsara). Also, I came across scientific studies that said Atma is nothing but energy that occupies the whole body. When the energy leaves the body, the body dies and wears a new body.
After getting deep into the concept of Atma I related Kuldeep’s life and suddenly I have all the answers. I called Kuldeep’s wife and asked her what was he doing on the day he went to his village she told me that he was cleaning his drawer as he misplaced some of his old documents and after an hour told me that he has to visit his village. Might be possible Kuldeep found an old album or a photo of his father or grandfather and for more answers about it, he visited the village.
I knew Kuldeep was born on 14th March 1985 and after digging more I found out that his grandfather died on the same day. Remember the story of his great grandfather? Kuldeep’s great grandmother left the village without him and the very day his grandfather was born. It might be possible his great grandfather died the same day because why would they leave him behind? And now Kuldeep’s son was born on the day of Kuldeep’s death.
Following the pattern, it can be concluded that when the one person dies his Atma occupies the body of new family member but why grandmother kept Kuldeep away from the village, actually Kuldeep was kept away from the truth not the village, here what’s happening is when the person knows about the truth about their dreams, they die. Might be possible Kuldeep’s grandfather knew that it's his dad in the dream and when Kuldeep knew it’s his grandfather in his dream he died too. That what would have happened with his great-grandfather. Remember Kuldeep had a dream on the night he was in his village, he said the man was pushing him and is angry and for the first time he was talking to him and said something about the child.
Grandfather in Kuldeep’s dream was trying to protect him and wanted him to leave the village and that’s what he would have told his wife when he died, he was warning him about his child because if it happened to all of them it might happen to his child too.
I think I’ve figured out what it is and for now, I am the only one who knows the truth but is it over? No, Kuldeep’s son in the future will experience the same and the only way to protect him was to keep him away from the truth.
Kuldeep’s son and his wife don’t know about his family and there is no one except me who knows the truth. I know I won’t be able to resists if in future he asks me about his father.
I don’t think there is anything beyond human capabilities but after experiencing all this pain and complexity I think that’s what would have happened. I don’t know it’s true or not, I am just CONNECTING THE DOTS.