Read a tale of endurance, will & a daring fight against Covid. Click here for "The Stalwarts" by Soni Shalini.
Read a tale of endurance, will & a daring fight against Covid. Click here for "The Stalwarts" by Soni Shalini.

Aditi Mishra

Drama Others


Aditi Mishra

Drama Others

Escape - At 103.3 MHz

Escape - At 103.3 MHz

9 mins

Has life become stagnant? They say anything that's stagnant rots from inside and eventually kills you. I have often wondered about it. I still do. When you have given a lot of efforts to goals and dreams at early stages in life, and destiny has other plans for you, you could feel blank, unsure of how to deal with things that you have to drag along everyday. It wasn't something that had popped up in my mind that day. I have been wondering the same thing for three years now, everyday when I enter the place, for another day to drag with. My phone vibrated again. I answered the call.

"Yeah. Just left from the office."

"Is everything alright? I had called you twice before this."

"Yes. All good."

"How was your day? No issues I hope."

Normally, I would have spent half an hour discussing about my workplace, but that day I was tired to do so. My mind was wandering into the deep questions about the time and place I was living in.

"I don't want to talk about it right now. I will seem wrong any way. How was your day?"

"Mine was good, but you could at least tell me. You don't talk to anybody as such these days."

"Please mumma. I'll tell you when I have reached home. Bye."

I disconnected the call. Not that I didn't want to blurt it all out, but I feared that my rage, my excitement level or my stubbornness for my dreams might scare her again, and more than me, she might spend a sleepless night. Probably, she would, even now, but stress or hyper excited mode wasn't to be distributed to others, not to her at least. Moreover, this was usual. I always had such thoughts at the back of my mind.The same things could be communicated when I had calmed myself down.

It was already 9-30 P.M. and I was getting late. I decided to board the first bus I saw and change to a connecting one to my place at an intermediate stop. In not more than five minutes, I saw a bus numbered '103' coming my way, which was strange because I had never noticed any such bus earlier on this route of Pune. But since I was late, I didn't pay much attention to it and boarded it for a stop I knew on the way. There wasn't much crowd that night. It wouldn't have mattered anyway.

I took a window seat, plugged in my earphones and turned to my playlist. None of the songs from my collection seemed to set my rhythm for the journey back home. I switched on the radio, in a blatant hope to find a radio station playing some soothing tracks, unlike the trending ones. To my disappointment, none of them seemed to relay signals that night. I kept switching between many and finally stopped at one which played some English songs. As I settled down to follow my chain of thoughts, it started playing 'Paradise'.

And with that, I brought my background trails into the mainstream, which had been bubbling to be noticed throughout the day. I contemplated upon the possibilities of following what my heart had been telling me to do. As I felt my own helplessness to be able to do so, I felt a wave of rage inside me. I wondered if I had turned into a coward. I wondered if the warrior in me had eventually vanished. I wondered if I had become one of those who simply wanted to escape from realities at any cost but were aware that it was not possible.

Looking out from the window, everything seemed just the same, as it was every other day. At a distance, there were hundreds of such places like the one where I worked, and thousands of such employees like I was one. Perhaps each one trying to find a meaning to the whole idea of existence, or may be it was just me. Apparently, others seemed to exist in the idea of a delusional world, that was a reality for them, because they had become a part of it. That was the reason, I seemed to be on the path of an ideology, that was always contrary to the rest of the crowd.

Nevertheless, all this seemed way too complex. I wondered how things had been simpler when I was a child. I could dream of being anyone, living anywhere, doing anything and it never seemed distant. It was always right there, as I had wanted it to be. That was a practical manifestation of the phrase which had become a part of my vision since the last three years to escape, 'Experience Certainty'. Isn't it quite a strange aspect of human minds that once we start traversing a trail of our own thoughts, we tend to visit every place, meet every person involved and live every moment again? As if the world we live in, doesn't exist and things are just as they had been.

The radio station now played a fantasy tale of a little girl caught among devils. I found it interesting and switched on 'Live Recording'. She had been brought into their world when she had barely started knowing her own world. So, she didn't know why she existed. I wondered how many people thought about the reasons behind their existence in this world rather than just about their survival. Or how many ever remembered that they had wanted to be someone else when they were in Kindergarten. That's the point. We could laugh at all of it or we could take it further, but it surely remains inside us.

And then as we grow up, peace resides in all the silent moments when we think of coming back to a place called home, because it reminds us of our firsts, perhaps our first steps, the first time we learnt to write, to read or the first friends we made, the first places we visited outside home. They seem to own us, irrespective of the number of years that have passed. It seems more like a call, a frequent knock on the doors of our hearts, to be the same, whether it is possible or not. May be, because we still think that those little dreams of innocence had a far better prospect for us as people, rather than as robots.

I could not help but think of all the people who had once been in my life, friends, teachers, acquaintances, loved ones, neighbours. Was it possible that they had went through or were going through series of unanswered questions and sought answers at the back of their minds every day? Could they too possibly wonder that on a cool summer morning during their vacations, when they woke up next to their belongings, as little kids, picturing their lives, or their dreams, unaware of the worldly propaganda, they had been right or wrong? Or could they wonder if the pretty pictures of their fantasy tales on summer evenings could turn true?

The tale on the radio continued to state that the little child just noticed that the only way to breathe without any trauma was either to escape from there by taking a leap through a ridge, that would be courageous on her part, but wouldn't be final as they would have to be faced later, or to stay there and keep fighting against them till she won. The tale did not reveal the choice she made. It was left for the listeners to decide on their own. Either way, she was declared a warrior.

I smiled at the coincidence and at the rawness of the conclusion. Either way, you are a warrior, it said. When there was light, we would know we had the courage, but the real test of faith, patience, perseverance and courage came along when darkness seemed to prevail for so long that we started doubting our existence. Pretty much true it was. I realized at that moment that perhaps, each one of us believed in the existence of a fantasy dream that we had once seen in innocence, whether as a child or after we grew up, and no matter what happened, a part of us would never stop believing in that. We could always go back, visit those summers, wish that child a great time, and come back to know that a part of that child we used to be, still remained and always would, inside us. It had always calmed us down. We had always known that part of ourselves, there wasn't any reason we would ever let it go.

I concluded that as long as I believed in my existence for the cause I had dreamt of at any point of time, it wasn't always necessary to take a leap that wouldn't turn into a last one. Some times, courage meant to face the turmoil, deal with the devils, go through it, and still not give up. A true warrior could leave the battle field at any point, to come back, or would stay, no matter how clueless, but would face it, to keep fighting till the end, which could lead there. I had always been a warrior. I still was. I would always be.

The intermediate stop had arrived. I got down and saw bus number '103' leaving. I clicked to switch off the Recording mode and noticed the Station which I had been listening to. It was then that I realized that the radio station was a channel at the frequency 103.3 MHz. That was impossible! English channels at 103.3 MHz were relayed in few Western countries(especially the States) but not in India at all. Moreover, it was not the kind of station to discuss topics of such insights. In the state of disbelief and confusion, I started walking towards the bus stop, only to realize that it wasn't an intermediate stop, but my actual stop!

This couldn't be a fantasy tale. I walked further to find that I had arrived at my actual destination via a bus which I had never seen before in the city. Bewildered, I checked my phone again, the recording of the story was still there. I smiled at the experience I just had and entered my place. If nothing, yes it had reminded me of something again, of who I was and what I could do.

"Reached home, mumma. I am good. Nothing much happened", I called her.

"You sound better now!"


Though I still wonder about the number '103', for it has been so many days but neither did I see that bus again on my way or find the one that drops me to my destination, nor have I found that radio station again. Probably, it was another world where I had been for some time, or the Law of Attraction just decided to synchronize a frequency at similar wavelengths. Or perhaps, fantasy tales do come true, maybe just to escape into an insight!

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