India vs Pakistan, Semi Final, ICC World Cup.
Streets were empty and all eyeballs were stuck on the television screens. I never really liked cricket matches. I found them to be very slow. I always found a match interesting if it’s in the last 3 overs of a nail-biting match.
This semi final, like all other India-Pakistan matches, was a big thing for India’s ego. Media was going all crazy with predictions and debate about this match. I was frustrated. I won’t lie that I wasn’t interested in the match, but I was more interested in the outcome of the match. I wanted to quickly know who would win. Sometimes, I have no patience for things, and this was one such moment.
I was lying on bed having Namkeen and watching the match. I never liked 50 over match; they take too long to finish. But still, I was giving it a try in hope I would like it. Namkeen in my bowl was getting over and my eyes were getting heavy. I was so bored that I was feeling about to doze off.
Suddenly, the doorbell rang. I went to see who else was not interested in watching India-Pakistan match. I took my empty Namkeen bowl with me to refill it from the kitchen on my way back. I opened the door and saw a man with huge build standing in front of me. I didn’t recognize the guy. I’ve never seen such a huge guy in my street before. I tried to think a little harder because the guy was smiling at me as if he had already recognized me and was waiting for me to identify him. He had glittering eyes and stubble on his face. He was wearing a bright yellow tee and dark gray trousers. I gave up on identifying him and asked him directly.
“Yes? Whom do you want to see?”
“You, Mohit,” he responded.
I was surprised. But I hate such guess-who questions. I know I don’t have a pretty good memory and such games make me feel bad about it. But I don’t shout on people whom I do not know. So, I tried again.
“Me? But I didn’t recognize you? Have we ever met before?” I asked.
“Yes and No. We haven’t met exactly, but we know each other.”
I was feeling him on my nerves then. I wanted to quickly go back and have some more Namkeen and this guy, standing here and smiling at me, was wasting my time. Then he said something I was not expecting.
“India will win the match by 29 runs and will win the final match too,” he said.
What? How do you know? What are you saying? Are you some astrologer? Magician? Do you want some money through betting? What the hell do you want from me? I had a lot of questions popping up in my mind but after going through each of them, I didn’t find anyone apt to ask.
“Okay. I don’t know what made you say it. I don’t even know how you came to know that I want to know final scores immediately. But I guess, I don’t know you and you can leave now,” I said.
He kept smiling. “You don’t really want me to go, do you?”
I didn’t know what to say next. I had never had such conversation before. I was confused and curious to know who this fat guy was.
“Okay, let’s start this way. Who are you?” I tried to start a conversation.
“I am Time.”
I wanted to slap him right in his face for wasting my time. I kept calm, instead.
“Okay Time, that’s good for you but I guess I don’t have time for you, Time,” I said sarcastically, at which I was getting better everyday.
“That’s the problem with you people. I don’t know what keeps you so involved with things all the time. Anyways, I came here to tell you a few things as I see you are an impatient one. I can tell you 3 things that will happen in future. You may ask whatever you want to ask.”
I started to believe this guy in yellow tee. We were still standing at the main door opening in the street. I didn’t want to invite a stranger in my home because for one reason, he was huge and could beat me easily and two, I didn’t want to share my Namkeen with anyone of that size.
I had 3 things to ask from him. His prediction about the match would take a good time to get tested, so as first thing, I wanted to ask him something that could be tested easily.
“What will happen in the street in the next one minute?” I asked expecting him to feel scared of my smartness.
He told, “A red car will come from that side,” pointing to my left, “and this dog,” pointing to a dog sleeping nearby, “will chase the car.”
I grinned at him because I knew no car would come. No one in the street had a red car. I waited for next one minute to see if he really could tell the future.
50 seconds passed and I was smiling. My eyes felt on the guy and found him smiling too. He was damn smilling at even 51st second, and that made me lose my smile. Then he winked at me and signaled me with his eye’s movement to look towards left. I tried to look at far end of the street and there it was - the red car.
The car went past us and as he predicted, the dog chased the car. I was terrified.
I swallowed and said, “But no had red car in this street.”
He helped me in quenching my curiosity by telling me that the third street from our street was getting dug due to some wiring and people couldn’t use that street, and thus, the guy with red car had to go through our street.
I didn’t want to believe this guy but I had once in a lifetime chance to know 2 more things from my future. I didn’t want to lose the opportunity. And I went ahead with my first question.
“I cannot wait to know my marks in my Computer test. I am expecting really good marks and the results are still 2 weeks away. Can I know them right now?”
“As you say, sir. Let’s go two weeks ahead in time and see how much you scored. Hold my hand,” he said bringing his hand forward.
I was reluctant but slowly I brought forward my hand and kept on his hand. He didn’t clutch my hand; my hand was simply lying over his. I started feeling dizzy and everything around me got blurred. And after a few moments, when everything got cleared, I found myself in college corridor.
The big fat guy said, while moving towards my classroom, “We are two weeks ahead in time now. Let’s go and see how much you will score in the test.”
When we reached the classroom, we stood just outside the door and peeked inside. The teacher was distributing the answer sheets and I saw myself sitting with my friend on the second desk from the front.
“Yikes! I look so fat from sideways.” I exclaimed on seeing myself. Now I know why I do not have a girlfriend.
He interrupted my thoughts, “Stop blabbering like girls. Concentrate on your marks. Teacher is about to hand over your exam sheet to you. Get ready. Here she comes. 3. 2. 1.”
I saw myself getting the sheet. I was expecting some great marks. 20 seconds passed but I didn’t see future-me happy or excited. I got nervous. I asked, “Why am I not happy? Did I get low marks?”
“Let’s go closer and see it ourselves,” he suggested, “but do not touch anything else we will go back in time and won’t be able to come back again.” We moved carefully towards my seat. I saw myself sitting silently. I went closer to see the marks I would score.
I had scored 96 marks over 100. It was a good score. But future-me wasn’t happy about it. I was confused. Those marks supposed to be the highest I would ever get, but I wasn’t happy or excited. I decided to ask the fat guy.
“I scored more than what I had expected, but why am I not happy and excited?”
“Because you already know that you’d score 96, that’s why you aren’t happy when you actually get your result.”
“Oh! That’s sad.”
Suddenly, we were back to the present, standing at the door in the street.
I mumbled, “These were supposed to be my highest marks ever and I was not happy about those. That’s no good.”
I tried to stop thinking about the marks and concentrated on the last thing I would want to ask this fat guy.
“So, I have one more thing to ask. Can I ask it now?” I asked.
“Sure, go ahead.”
I was a little nervous in asking this particular thing, but I went ahead. “I really like this girl in my college. Whenever I see her, I feel something nice. I think I love her and I am planning to express my feelings to her. Will she say Yes?”
“Are you sure, you want to hear the answer?” He asked in return.
I was already nervous and his question made me even more uncomfortable. I gulped down my saliva and nodded my head slowly.
“No. She won’t say Yes to your proposal.”
I was taken a little back. I wasn’t expecting a negative response to this question. I ordered my mind not to believe what this guy was saying. But my mind was struggling hard to follow my orders as he had already proved that he can predict future correctly.
I tried to shut down negative thoughts popping up in my mind and asked, “Okay. Forget about whether she would say Yes or No, just tell me when would I be ready to express my feelings to her? Will I do it before the semester ends?”
He smiled at me. I wanted to hit him hard in the face. Then he opened his mouth. “Well, you will not really express your feelings to her ever.”
“WHY?!? Will I be so coward?”
“No, you won’t be a coward. You would have expressed your feelings just because you wanted to know if she would say Yes or not and when, now, you know that she would say No, you wouldn’t do it at all. Simple!”
I was numb. Would I not even express my feelings to her, I was thinking.
He stood there smiling at me and the empty bowl for Namkeen was about to slip from my hand. A strange silence surrounded us. I felt as if everything was standing still. Then, he broke the silence.
“I have answered all three questions of yours. Now my time to go has arrived. It was nice meeting you, Mohit.”
“No No No. Wait.” I had nothing to say but I didn’t want him to go just like that. I was confused.
He said, “I know what you’re thinking - whether is it all true that I have told you or not. Isn’t it?”
I nodded slowly.
“Okay, so let’s do this one thing. You can ask me one more thing,” he told, “but, I will tell you what to ask. Done? Otherwise I am going.”
I didn’t want him to go. I agreed. He told me what to ask and I asked.
I asked, “Is everything that you’ve shown and told me about future, is really true?”
“Well, that is for you to find out,” he answered and clapped his fingers in my face.
I woke up from the sleep. I had fallen asleep while watching the cricket match. No one ever rang the doorbell. I rubbed my eyes and looked around - cricket match was still going on, empty bowl was lying beside me and everything seemed normal.
Although I knew it was a dream, it felt it to be so real. I couldn’t believe if it was really just a dream.
I watched the remaining match with such a curiosity that I had never shown towards a cricket match before. I really wanted to see if India would win by 29 runs. They did.
I went out to see if the third street from my street was really dug. It was.
Two weeks later, I had to get my test scores. I was curious to know if I would get 96. I got. I was excited and happy.
Did I express my feelings to that girl? I did. Did she say Yes? No. Was I heart-broken? No, probably because I didn’t get my expectations too high.
Well, I must say, like always, Time didn’t fail to surprise me. But that dream made me realise that there’s no fun in knowing future. After all, it is called future for a reason. It is best if kept unknown.