Shades Of Red
Shades Of Red16 mins 21.4K 16 mins 21.4K
The day was a normal Monday for the rest of the world and was not marked as a festive day in any of the calendars round the world. However, it was way more festive than Christmas or a Diwali for two persons – Rahul Roy and Seema Sen. As many of you have already guessed it, they were one of those uncountable victims of cupid’s arrows. Both of them were residents of an Indian metropolitan city. They first met five years back on a social networking site when Seema had mistakenly sent him a friend request as she was new to the site and quite unaccustomed to its interface. However, then none of them thought that a year later they would fall for each other. Since then they have become inseparable souls much like Juno’s Swans. In their three and a half years old relationship, they had seen it all together from the highest of flights to the lowest of falls. At times, they had fought like cats and dogs and at other times, they would be the most romantic couple in the world. Whatever the mood was and whatever was their situation in life, one thing was always certain – they couldn’t live without each other. Even in the harshest of situations, they fought together and did not even think once about parting their ways. This bonding was the magical essence of their relationship.
The magical bonding of Rahul and Seema however, did face a tough test at the start of the fourth year of their relationship when Rahul got a chance to pursue his Masters in a reputed college in a far-away Indian city. Rahul was not ready to go that far away from Seema and even Seema couldn’t accept that but then again, her dream of the manifestation of Rahul’s talents in front of the world was way bigger than the pain she was feeling in her heart at the thought of staying so far away from her Rahul. So she made use of the immense strength which is an inherent gift of every female, suppressed her pains and made Rahul pursue his Masters (only she could change his mind in this world).
Both of them were very scared, as they had heard enough of the myths that long distance relationships don’t last. However, in this case, the distance had just the opposite effect as with every passing day their urge to see each other, to hold each other in their arms and to smother each other with kisses, grew exponentially thereby intensifying their love.
Rahul’s semester just got over two days back and he was free to come home for a month. He took the first train out and was arriving on that day making it the most special Monday in both of their lives. They would be seeing each other in person after six very long months and had loads of things to share with each other accompanied by uncountable number of kisses and hugs. He was too excited to sit still on his bunk. So he walked up to the door and gazed out into the scenic beauty they were passing through as he thought – My eyes are thirsty of your sight Seema. I am dying to see you. He then looked at his watch with utter disgust and thought – If only the train had not been late, I would be in your arms by now Seema.
Seema was ready from the morning to welcome her guy in every possible way her love knew. The plan was simple. Rahul would inform Seema once he reaches the station and his mobile network starts working. Seema would then leave for his house which was half an hour away. There she would wait to welcome him. Rahul’s family had accepted her so there wasn’t an issue. She needn’t tell her parents anything as they didn’t question her much. She took a sick leave from office. She checked her phone every couple of minutes to see if she had any text messages from Rahul. Her impatience showed how eagerly she wanted to see him, how badly did she want to rest on his chest and listen to the symphony of his heartbeat.
Rahul’s chain of thoughts broke due to the screeching sound made by the train as it pulled up at the penultimate station. The train was already an hour late and was scheduled to halt there for about forty-five minutes before starting for the final part of its journey. All of this meant that Rahul was still about three and a half hours away from Seema. Disgusted with the delay and impatient due to the passionate desire of the sight of Seema, Rahul went back to his bunk. He poured the left-over coffee from the flask into the cup and started listening to some romantic songs while sipping it. He once again got lost in the gathering of his thoughts, each of which led to only one subject – Seema.
Seema was bored of waiting for that one phone call from Rahul, since the last time his mobile network allowed her to hear his voice which was about five hours ago. Tired of listening to the denial of her efforts to get in touch with Rahul, by the mechanical voice of the mobile operator, she picked up the newspaper for the umpteenth number of time since morning. On failing to find an unread news, she turned to the page of astrology. As always, she checked Rahul’s fortune for the day at first. She couldn’t find anything significant under the Taurus column but the health section where it was written – Expect to have serious health issues today.
The weary locomotive started rolling its wheels after a long forty-five-minute stop. Rahul lay absolutely still on his bunk, lost in thoughts of Seema with his eyes closed and headphones plugged into his ears that poured in the musical favourites of the couple. Thanks to the great suspension of air-conditioned coaches and his absent-mindedness, the lover was left undisturbed in his state of trance.
Fifteen minutes had passed since the train had left the station and was at its full throttle when Rahul was brought back to his senses by a tremendous jerking. The word jerking might be an understatement as it seemed as if the train had jumped off a cliff. The compartment was airborne for a couple of seconds before finally hitting the ground. As the compartment was tripping over, Rahul fell off his bunk with his suitcase falling on him. After getting completely overturned, the compartment finally hit the ground and the impact of the fall made it look like a box of cardboard as the compartment got squeezed to almost half of its dimensions. The few passengers who managed to stay in their senses at the time of final impact felt as if a stone weighing thousands of tonnes hit their compartment crushing it completely.
An extremist movement was going on during that period of time in the state. So, the extremists decided to grab the government’s attention and send the politicians a word of caution by derailing the train. Being a non-political person and a novice in the subject of social and political science, I cannot and rather don’t want to argue about the righteousness of their demands. However, as a thinker I can say one thing, that day the extremists were successful in transforming red into something beyond just a shade of colour – they succeeded in establishing red as a symbol of brutal murder via their modus operandi.
The site of mishap seemed no more than the backyard of a slaughter-house to the onlookers consisting of the slum-dwellers who lived in thatched huts and temporary shelters on either side of the railway tracks and initiated the rescue processes as soon as possible. All the nineteen compartments of the train were squeezed to half of their dimensions or so. Anybody who didn’t see the scene that day would never believe that blood can be accumulated in such quantities at a single place and that human blood could stain such a large span of area to such an extent that hardly anybody could recognize the original colours of the tracks, compartments, upholstery and soil at the site of the mishap.
The compartments on being tripped sideways blocked the entrances on one side completely leaving little space for entry and movement of the rescuers. Hence few villagers entered each of the compartments through the emergency windows started searching for survivors and any form of response by shouting and beating against the walls. All they came across were dissembled body parts, smashed skulls, broken limbs which got cut away from the victims, dead bodies or nearly dead passengers who breathed their last in front of them and a pool of blood – one which reflected the shades of red.
It would seem to any observer of the situation that the sole intention of the initiators of this catastrophic act was nothing political but it was to exhibit before the world the different shades of red that Mother Nature has created and also to establish the colour red as the emblem of death and massacre in the hearts of those who relate the colour to the passion and vibrance of love.
As the villagers carried on with their search, they observed the diversity in the shades of the colour red. Most of the victims’ corpses were covered with coagulated blood which was so dark that one could mistake it for black instead of red and this particular shade was the most common in the scene of massacre as if it was reflecting the darkness in the hearts of the terrorists responsible for this butchery.
Those who breathed their last, were covered in a different shade of red. It was a mixture of the brighter shade of uncoagulated blood of the victims who recently passed away, with the darker shade of the coagulated blood. In fact a part of the blood started coagulating, making it a very symbolic representation of the situation. The lively brighter shade of blood was eventually giving into the cold darker shade of death much the same way as the love of the victim’s loved ones, gave into the hatred of mankind. That day, Death was clad in robs of so many shades of red that even Mother Nature regretted the creation of the colour red.
As the villagers carried on with their rescue mission, they reached a compartment which got almost crumpled like a piece of paper. The villagers hardly came across any dead bodies in one piece. All they got to see were limbs and victim’s heads and intestines and several other organs of the victims, that lay scattered all over the place. After a long search, they finally discovered the dead body of a young boy who was in his early twenties. The villagers worked swiftly to remove the suitcases that lay over the boy. As they removed all the suitcases, they found out the reason of the boy’s death. An iron rod was plunged into his heart which might have broken off somewhere of the compartment and found its way into the heart that treasured his lover’s picture in it. The heart which was beating at double of its rate even a few minutes ago with the charm and intense passion of love now lay in his chest completely still and lifeless. The iron rod plunged one heart but killed two. His cheeks which were longing the touch of the lips of his maiden were cold and lifeless. His arms which were dying to wrap around his girl lay their immobile. His lifeless eyes were now an empty canvas in which one could see the several pictures of dreams he dreamt about his queen even a few minutes ago. His ever-smiling face bore every possible expression of pain and agony but smile. The headphone was still plugged in his ears and somehow his broken phone still poured in his ears the song which was special for both him and his girl. Rahul was snatched from Seema by the claws of death forever. In other words, Hatred – the greatest creation of mankind successfully defeated Love – the greatest creation of Mother Nature.
Rahuuuuuuuul – Seema shouted with all her might. She was panting like hell. Understanding surfaced in a couple of seconds, as she realised that she fell asleep on the newspaper that she was reading and all those horrified scenes that she saw about Rahul’s train accident up till now, were just a part of a very bad dream.
These night shifts are taking quite a toll on me – Seema thought as she sat up on her bed but then the dream was truly horrifying and she was quite worried about Rahul. As she picked her phone up to try and call Rahul, her mother who heard her scream, rushed in and asked – Seema what’s wrong? Why are you shouting? Is everything okay?
As her mother finished firing questions at her, she assured her that everything was alright and she then told her about the dream (obviously skipping the part of Rahul). Her mother on hearing everything, said – Poor child. You must have heard about it already and being such a soft-hearted girl as you are, it has made an impact on you and hence you had such a terrible dream.
Seema became worried by her mom’s words for some unknown suspicion as she asked – Mom. I must have heard about what? I have not heard about anything that justifies such a horrific dream.
Her mother was quite surprised at her daughter’s question and replied – What do you mean you haven’t heard anything? Your father is following the incident on the news channel since morning. The extremist revolutionaries have derailed an Express train which was en route to our city. Your father is watching the news channel at such a high volume that I thought you must have heard about it by now.
Seema didn’t have time to listen to what else her mother had to say as she rushed out of her room into the drawing room. She had only one fear in her heart as she prayed – God! Please don’t let this happen. Please don’t let my dream come true. Hurt me in any possible way you can but please don’t let my fears turn into reality. Please don’t.
Seema’s prayers stopped midway as she looked at the gruesome scenes that were being telecasted. She didn’t pay any heed to what her father was saying to her as she was concentrating on the news reporter’s words as much as she could and then she heard the three things that she was praying not to hear – Rahul’s train’s name, number of his train and the most dreaded phase – The police and officers of railway department report all the passengers to be dead.
Seema sat down on the chair mechanically. All the lovely plans and passionate desires that she held dear to his heart till then, all were burnt into ashes by the fire of hatred of mankind. The sight of the dead body of Rahul that she saw in her dreams was now right before her eyes once again as she closed her eyes. She now believed that God gave her a glimpse of her love’s final moments in her dreams. She could feel the pain Rahul got when the suitcases fell upon him. She could feel the agony Rahul suffered when the iron rod broke his ribs and plunged into his heart. She could feel the pain right in her heart as she kept her trembling hand right on her heart. She knew that Rahul’s lifeless eyes held her dreams before losing the shine of life. She knew exactly what song was Rahul listening to. Throughout their relationship tenure, Rahul’s smile always used to wipe out all the pain off her face but today she felt very helpless as fo the first time, his smile got replaced with expressions of pain and she could do absolutely nothing. She just sat there with her eyes closed like a piece of lifeless rock till she was shocked and forced to open her eyes by the news-reporter’s high pitch voice who was excitedly conveying an update which she just received. Seema was in such a state of shock that she could follow only the last words of the reporter – Let’s hear it from our field reporter Amit.
The pictures which were telecasted next didn’t shock Seema as she knew she was hallucinating while she looked at the field reporter Amit standing with none other than her Rahul.
Amit started in a seasoned reporter’s way of throw – Thank you Malini. I am at the penultimate station of the train’s scheduled voyage. I would like to inform our viewers that the railway officers got their reports slightly wrong. It’s true that no passenger were found alive at the crime scene but then what they inferred from it was wrong as all the passengers of this train are not dead and it’s better to say that all the passengers who were on board are that time are dead. Yes Malini, our viewers have heard me exactly right. There was one passenger who was not on board that time and so is saved from the perilous fate. We will hear it directly from the man as to how he got lucky and we will of course start with his identity.
As Amit finished, the camera zoomed-in on Rahul and he started in a nervous voice – Hello. I am Rahul Roy. I was a passenger of this train (he showed his ticket to the camera). I would also have died by now, had not my luck and the love of my girl saved me. As I was sitting in the train waiting for it to end its scheduled halt here, I caught the sight of a lady selling a bouquet of red roses on the other platform of the station. I saw that it was still fifteen minutes left for the train to get moving. So, I decided to go over to the other platform and buy the bouquet of roses for my girl. However, nobody told me that the train’s halt was cut short by ten minutes, since, it was already running late. As I was buying the bouquet, I saw the train moving. I ran as fast as I could but the train was gone before I could make it. I cursed God for missing the train but now I thank Him for saving my life.
As he finished, the camera zoomed-in on the bouquet of red roses in Rahul’s hands. The crimson red colour of the roses bathed in golden sunshine seemed peculiarly calm and yet lively. This particular shade of the red seemed to resemble a wry smile that Mother Nature gave at mankind. As if, Mother Nature was telling the hate-seeking humans that no matter what, love always wins over hatred and matter how hard men try to kill, life and love will always find a way to survive. The crimson red was strong enough to tame the darkness of death and yet it was bright enough to spread the message of life and love.
Seema didn’t hear a word of what Rahul said. She was convinced that he was hallucinating till she saw the roses – a sight that made her understand the supremacy of Love over Hatred. It had a magical impact on her. She came out of her state of trance. The calm and passionate crimson red succeeded in removing from her mind all the other shades of red that were haunting her till now. She finally understood that she wasn’t hallucinating and it was her Rahul. He was alive and all she could do was just cry her heart out as crazily as man could ever do. She cried out her pains because she knew her Rahul was there to wipe away her tears.