“It’s gonna be alright.”
These were the words which frequented him and haunted him as well. All throughout his life he has been hearing the same words in different contexts and found out that the end result would be the same. It was not going to be alright at all.
The street lights flickered in a shade of malignant yellow, the shadows playing about as people walked with bland faces and emotions. The rain was incessant. It brought about a cool yet eerie atmosphere onto a place which was already drab and lacking colour. He liked the rain. He stood there watching the feet of others splashing in the puddles made by the downpour. The careless feet, making their owners’ costly shoes dirty as they stepped in the puddles of various dimensions, showed a mark of solemnness in their motion, often slowing down to let the scenario sink in before continuing forward. The umbrellas opened and presented themselves like ebony foliage, protecting the many whispering heads underneath. A strong wind blew, causing the people to increase their grip on the handles as the rain skewed in direction. Yet he stood there, motionless, amidst the raindrops like they were his close friends. He drew a single rose, that he had in his hands, to his nostrils. It bore no smell. He looked up into the dark skies above, squinting, as he saw the millions of raindrops crashing in on him from the heavens. His vision tunneled as he closed his eyes, now feeling the rain’s heavy impact upon his forehead.
It was reopening day at school. After a long and tedious vacation, Omar was to attend a new school as his father had gotten a transfer from work. You might wonder how a vacation might get tedious, which means you have no idea how Omar’s family works. Omar’s father was a reputed police officer in the city who was hell bent on giving top notch education to his one and only son. He insisted that Omar attended extra tutoring and coaching classes through the vacations so that he could get an edge over the rest. Little did he know that most parents adopt the same technique when their wards come to reach the so-called crucial stage of graduating high school. Omar did not seem to mind as he got used to the idea. He was not a super genius or a 24×7 toiler, like the many hopeless chaps in his coaching class. Whatever he seemed to do, it landed him in the average zone. No matter how much he tried, he was to remain there for infinity. It was as if the average zone was made for people like him. But he didn’t mind as long as he did not sink below average.
It was his first school shifting after studying for 9 years in the same school. He felt a sense of helplessness closing in as he saw the yellow school bus from afar. It was his first school bus experience too. He did not have a socially awkward personality but change scared him. Maybe it was because change had eluded him for a long time that he got unfamiliar with the concept.
The bus screeched to a halt in front of his house and the doors opened. As he climbed onto the bus, he noticed the smell of fresh paint waft into his nose. This bus must be brand new, he thought. He imagined a thousand set of eyes glaring at him as he entered the bus, but the scene was quite the opposite. Nobody was minding him. He felt at ease due to this and found his way to an empty seat. He sat down, took out his iPod and plugged in his white earphones.As the school was quite far away from his home, he had to have some sort of entertainment through the journey. He did not want to mingle just yet. He was reserving that for class. He noticed that the seat in front of him was also empty and torn, just like his. Guess you really can’t judge by the cover, he thought. With a slight smile, he closed his eyes and pushed the play button.
The journey quickly came to an end as the bus reached the school. It was quite a huge school, with two basketball courts, a swimming arena, large grounds and many other qualities that you would expect in a fine school. He got off the bus and took a whiff of the air.
It was the air of change and he did not like it. Change, in its entirety, has a smell of its own. The whole school seemed to be engulfed in that smell.
Walking through the large grounds, he was taking in the various sights. He saw many students in matching uniforms , carrying heavy bags laden with thick, fat books. Some even had such books clutched in their hands. He walked past what he figured was a petrol station. That was unlikely. Which school would have its own, private petrol station? That is just preposterous. It turned out that it was actually a petrol station for the school buses. He entered the main block and found his way to his classroom. It was not an unusual classroom. All classrooms seemed to follow a common format, just like this one, when it comes to the setting. It looked and felt just like any other classroom he had been in, except maybe that it was a bit more roomier. The seats were spotlessly clean and there were no drawings, doodles or scribbles on the desks. There were a few students who already seated themselves in the places of their choice. They were not unruly at all. The students started flowing in, one after the other, in quite a dignified manner. He found himself a seat in the middle row, not too up front nor to the back. Judging by the sights, he expected a teacher to walk in with a cane and yell “ How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?!” He chuckled at his own cleverness and took out an empty notebook and pen to jot down notes. A tall, middle-aged man entered the class and took out a register and started roll call. Omar knew what was to follow.
Any new year would start off with everybody telling who they were, where they were from and what their interests are. It doesn’t matter whether its the first hour of the day or the last hour, every teacher that walks into the class room on the first day is bound to ask for introductions. Why can’t they think ahead and figure out that we have already done introducing the first hour itself and there is no need for reminding us who these people were. Nobody listens to them anyway, thought Omar. But this time there was a difference. A difference he should have anticipated and came prepared for. The intros were to be in English.
Being a posh school, they focused on the ability to speak, read and write English proficiently. This spelled trouble for Omar as he studied for 9 years in a school where he spoke entirely in his mother tongue. He watched all the students walk up to the dais in the class room and speak. His hands started to shiver and a cold chill crept over his body. He was getting tensed. Ultimately, his time had come and he somehow scraped through the situation. He made use of whatever English he knew and could come up with and managed the scene without any harm to his ego. But the impression was set. It was concreted in the minds of the other students and the teacher that this was a boy weak in English. Omar made his way back to his seat with a sense of half satisfaction and half embarrassment. He prayed that the other teachers would not ask for intros as well. That would be just horrific.
Two hours passed like a whirlwind. Nobody asked for any more intros. Regular classes had started and people were getting into the mood of school, trying to get rid of the vacation hangover, whereas some were getting used to the new atmosphere to study in, like Omar. The bell rang, signaling for the start of the short break. Everyone made their way out of the class, some to socialize, others to have a cup of tea. Omar was beginning to get up from his seat when a boy came up to him.
“Hi, I noticed you during your intro. It must be scary for you to speak in English, yeah? Don’t worry, there are many of us here like that. You’ll get used to it. Its gonna be alright.”
“Thanks for the reassurance. My name is Omar. Omar Musthafa. Lets go get some tea?”
“Sure. The name is Allen, by the way. I’ve got a feeling that we are gonna be good friends. How come you are so weak in the language?”
“I’m not that weak. I just don’t do well under pressure, in front of an audience. I know English well enough not to make a fool out of myself.” Said Omar, sipping hot tea from a paper cup.
Omar paid for the tea and started to walk towards the main hall with Allen.
“So what do you guys do for fun around here?” asked Omar.
“I’ll introduce you to a friend of mine, Naveen. He’s fun to hang out with. We go out to the mall, play, the usual stuff. You are more than welcome to join us! It’s not like we are an overflowing group!”
Allen and Omar was about to go back to class when a voice called for them from behind. It was Naveen.
“Hey man, you had tea without me? Whom did you blackmail to get the money this time, eh?”
“Listen, dude. I don’t blackmail. This guy generously bought me tea. It’s not like he is buying me a Ferrari or anything, is it now? This is Omar. Omar, this is the guy I was talking about.” Said Allen.
Omar smiled and shook Naveen’s hand
“Woah! That’s one vice grip there! Glad to meet you, Omar. Call me Django with a capital D. The D is silent by the way!’ said Naveen.
“Oh, would you quit calling yourself that? It sounds so immature.” Said Allen.
“Let me not remind you what the people are calling you, Mr. Kanju!”
Omar got well acquainted with the both of them as they sat next to each other in class. The day went by like any other class day for Omar. He felt that the atmosphere was a bit lighter now that he had made friends. He felt confident that this year would go by smoothly, now that he had company. They chatted through the periods and had fun throughout the day. The day ended with a message from the headmaster that students should not damage the school bus seats or something along that line. Omar made his way back home in the school bus, eager to tell his parents about his day. His parents were obviously happy to know that the first day went well for him.
“Better choose your company carefully, Omar. Your peer group decides your attitude.” said his father.
Omar went online and quickly opened Facebook to search for his new friends. He had got friend requests from them already. He quickly accepted them and waited for them to get online as well so that he could start chatting with them. Omar went to sleep that day, a contented human being.
The next day at class was one of the most eventful days ever for Omar. The first hour was Communicative English. This brought dread and fear into the mind of Omar. He knew that this hour would come but didn’t realize that its arrival would be so soon. The teacher started the class with a few, simple exercises, like dictation and word filling. It felt like the calm before the storm for Omar. He knew that something that required oral effort would come soon enough. He tried to remain camouflaged behind various heads in front of him for some time. Then the teacher caught sight of him trying to avoid being seen.
“You. Middle row, fourth seat from the back. Stand up.”
Omar looked back as he counted the number of seats behind him. He gulped as he reached the number three. It was him. The teacher had asked him to stand up. He feared the worst. Maybe he had to recite a poem from memory, or perhaps share a prominent life incident in front of class? Thoughts ran wild in his head as he reluctantly stood up, his eyes still facing the seat which he once occupied. He waited for the teacher to speak.
“One must be confident enough to actively participate in class, instead of cowering behind the person in front of you. Let’s start a new activity. It is one of the most important abilities that one must possess in order to expand their knowledge as well as to make a good impression in front of others. That is, of course, question formation. Now, you must form a carefully worded and meaningful question and ask that question to me. Can you do that?”
“Well, go on then.”
Omar hesitated. He had only one question to ask this teacher.
“Is C.E. really necessary in our school curriculum?”
The moment this question was heard by the students and the teacher, it was as if an atom bomb had been dropped right on top of the teacher’s head. Surprised gasps filled the air as the teacher stood there in shock. Naveen and Allen hid their heads beneath the table in disappointment. The teacher had only one thing to say.
Omar was more surprised than the rest of them. He was happy that he was able to ask a good question. It was a question that kept circling around his head and when the opportunity came, he got it out. He was wondering what was the wrong that he had done. But it was not in his character to question a teacher as it would mean disrespect. Besides, he hated that hour. Omar put his book inside his bag and walked right past the teacher, without glancing at her at all. He was, in a sense, glad that he could escape from her class.
He entered the class the next hour and everything went by like nothing had happened. Naveen and Allen met with him during the break.
“DUDE! That was so awesome! How did you even manage to ask that?” exclaimed Allen.
“It was NOT awesome at all. My question is, how COULD you even manage to ask that? Couldn’t you think of anything else to ask?” said Naveen.
“What was it that I did wrong? Teacher told me to ask a question. I asked. She told me to get out. I got out. No problem.”
They left that topic there.
Omar’s school days went by with him chatting with his friends for most of the time and hanging around parks and malls. Studies also followed in its own path. They were one of the fun groups to hang out with in school, although they gained a bad reputation among teachers as the naughty ones. Allen was the outdoor type of guy. He used to go out to adventurous places, riding his bike, with Naveen and Omar, one of them often riding pillion or sometimes both of them. Allen was not a workaholic like Naveen and always saw the lighter side of life. Naveen on the other hand was more cautious and concentrated on studies along with hanging out with his pals. He always said that he was the one who kept this group sane and well out of trouble.
One day, when the three friends went to school, they found out that the school was closed due to a strike by a local political party. Apparently, the party want reforms on the educational policy and hence ordered all the schools in the vicinity to close down for the day. They had not informed them in advance either.
“If they are really concentrated in education, shouldn’t they be opening more schools instead of closing the ones that are open? Can’t you see the irony here?” asked Naveen, infuriated.
“Chill, man. Let it be. It’s a holiday today. Let’s go do something.” suggested Allen.
“There’s a new biriyani place nearby. Shall we go there?”
“Sure, Mr.Money bags. Do you know how much a biriyani costs nowadays? How much do you have, by the way?” asked Allen the Kanju.
“I have sixty rupees with me. It is enough for a half plate of biriyani. Check your wallets. See if you guys have the same.” Said Omar.
They searched and emptied their pockets and found out that each had enough for half a plate of biriyani. So they decided to go to the Biriyani place at last.
When they reached the hotel, it was not quite as posh as it seemed from the outside. The tables were clean and had a red, plaid cloth over it. The chairs were sturdy and people flowed in. A waiter in a white hat came and took their order quite hastily and went. The trio waited for their food to arrive with rivers running in their mouths because of the tempting smells from the kitchen. The three had a thing in common and that was their love for chicken biriyani. All three of them had ordered the same. It was quite a long wait for their biriyanis to arrive and when they finally did, it was a mouth watering sight. They quickly dove in and started eating.
“Wow. They sure serve a lot in this place! I’m going to make a mental note to come here now and then!” joyously said Allen.
After they had eaten their share and washed up, they sat in their chairs like royals after a feast. They were filled to the brim. They were so happy and content that the only thing that would make their day was a nice, relaxing nap. But they had forgotten one thing.
The white hatted waiter returned with a small, white slip of paper. Naveen took the paper and read it. His mouth went wide open. He stood there, dumbstruck, after reading the small slip. He handed over the bill to Allen without saying a word. He stood up to take the bill but soon found himself sitting down again.
“There must have been a slip up in this slip, surely!” exclaimed Allen.
“Slip up in a slip? Really? I don’t find your sense of humour enjoyable right now, Allen!!” said Naveen.
Omar took the slip to see what the matter was. He too got incredibly shocked at what was written in that slip. It had said,
“ Chicken Biriyani (F)……………………3 Nos………………….3×110.
TOTAL AMOUNT…………………………………………………….330 RS.
/////THANK YOU. COME AGAIN.\\\\\\\”
The amount had been 330 Rupees. It was far more than what they thought it would be.
“Thank you. Come again?? That sentence is taunting us! We are not going to come again, because we would be working here for the rest of our lives! Washing and scrubbing dishes is not my thing, guys!” said Allen, now getting quite scared.
“There must be some kind of error. What is it?” Naveen said.
“I got it! We ate 3 full plates instead of half plates! See the F in the brackets? This is the slip up. No wonder we got so much to eat! That waiter must be deaf!” said Omar.
“Now what should we do?”
“What else is there to do? Hope the manager is civilized and tell him our situation. That’s all.”
“Are you sure? I have heard these hotels have gundas at the back, to catch people who steal.”
“What did we steal, anyway? It was not our fault. It was that damned waiter.” Said Naveen.
The trio made their way up to the cashier and asked to see the manager. The manager walked in. He was one hefty man. The very sight of him shook the confidence out of the three. The manager walked up to them and talked in a bass-rich, deep tone.
“What is it? What seems to be the problem here?”
When they heard that booming voice, Allen’s legs shook. Omar started to speak but nothing good was coming out. It was all gibberish nonsense. The situation did not seem to favour the boys. When it seemed like the scene was taking a turn for the worse, Allen quickly pushed the manager down and high-tailed it out the door. Omar quickly followed suit. Django hesitated first but then realised that he was left alone in a hotel with a large, heavy man who probably has gunda contacts. He made a dash for his life, out the door. The three ran swiftly through the streets and entered the back alleys. Allen looked back to see if someone were following them. He could not see anyone on their tails but he didn’t stop running.
They bolted as if their life was in danger. They ran for what seemed like miles and miles until they reached a small ground where they used to play football. Allen stopped to catch his breath as he panted away. Omar soon joined and he quickly lied down on the ground. He was also panting heavily. There was no sign of Naveen. They feared the worst. What if the fat guy had caught him or the gundas were beating him up now? They looked at each other and in mutual understanding, decided to go back there to get Naveen back. They were cursing Naveen for being such a slow runner.
As they started to run back, in the horizon they saw a figure running towards them. They were alarmed. It was maybe one of the gundas. The silhouette started to grow in size as it neared them. Then they were able to make out the features of the person. The bulky, fat tummy rolled up and down as Naveen ran towards them. He was sweating profusely. He ran straight into the arms of Omar who almost fell down due to his weight.
“Django! You are alive! The gundas have not eaten you!” exclaimed Allen.
“Why…..did you….run?” asked Naveen, amidst pants.
“Are you crazy? Did you see the size of that guy? He wouldn’t listen to reason even if the world ended now!”
“But why did you have to run away? You know I’m not athletic! This body was not built for sprinting. It was lucky that I managed to escape their clutches.”
“Whatever, at least we all got out alive and safe.Lets go home now.” Said Omar.
The three friends took the first bus home and never spoke of this incident on the bus. They never went back to that hotel or to its vicinity as well.
The days went by more smoothly after the little altercation at the hotel. They spent most of their time studying as they had to prepare for their exams which were right around the corner. They also found time in their busy schedules to go out and have a bit of fun as well. Omar’s father had reminded him about the true purpose of school and how one should concentrate and should not allow distractions to side track the main objective. In reality, Omar had grown tired of hearing the same drivel time after time that he let it in through one ear and out the other.
His school days were normal unless it was the CE. period. The teacher still held a grudge against Omar’s rude behaviour. She would always pick out Omar to do a task or lead a group when it came to presentations and such. Omar knew of it. So did the others. But they didn’t mind as long as they weren’t involved in any of it. One day during the C.E hour, the teacher said she had an important announcement to make. As part of the school annual day, there was going to be a skit and this class had to perform it and as expected from her, she chose the only person whom she thought was eligible to lead a troupe of actors.
That was Omar.
And the skit was to be in English. Of all the tiresome tasks that were assigned to him throughout the year, he found this one to be the heaviest. How was he to direct a play without having any experience? Or maybe this was how you gain experience. Still, he figured that this would surely end up being a flop and a comedy rather than a skit worthy enough to be performed on stage and that too at the annual day.
At first, he resisted but the teacher was adamant that he was to lead the troupe or at least act in a major role. He couldn’t act and he had the worst case of stage fear too. So he chose the alternative and went with the direction of the play. He had to make a play based on mythology or religion. These were tough topics for anyone. Noticing that the teacher was trying to put him in a hard spot, he realised that there was only one thing left to do. Considering whatever he come up with would be taken as a farce, he figured why not make a comedy? That way he would have the satisfaction that the audience is laughing because they are supposed to and not because they are making fun of him. He gathered his group of friends and announced his idea to them. They all seemed to agree and so it was decided that they were going to perform a humorous play. Omar had the idea for the play as soon as the word comedy came to his mind. But he was not sure how the audience would take it. Still, he thought that it was the only shot that he had and he stuck with it. He told the idea to his friends and some of them greeted it warm-heartedly while others raised their eyebrows in question.
This was not going to be an ordinary play.
It was going to be a play like nobody had ever witnessed before. All the proceedings of the play went on quite secretly and everyone involved was sworn to secrecy as well. No outsider knew what the play would be like, not even the C.E. teacher. They all had to wait until the annual day. The students worked hard and stayed back after school to rehearse. They were a dedicated bunch. They struggled to learn their lines and act casually until finally, the day had arrived.
Many dignitaries were invited as it was an auspicious occasion. The main stage was decorated, the head master and the chief guests were seated in the front row. The chief guest had a large flower bouquet with him which was presented earlier by the head master. The entire school filled up the seats, including the watchmen, peons and other non-teaching staff. Bright lights were hung along the walls and music was playing. Everyone was in a joyous mood. Little food stalls had been sprung up here and there. One could notice groups of students huddled at places and chatting away happily with no concerns at all. Suddenly, there came an announcement.
“All students are requested to take their seats as the entertainment programs are about to begin. We start with a play by the students of class X-A. The direction is by Omar Musthafa. The play is based on the themes of religion and mythology. Hope you all enjoy the play.”
The spectators clapped their hands as the curtains rose up, revealing what was supposedly a house. It was quite a modern looking house, with a car porch and flat terrace. The setting seemed to have some sort of an old world charm to it too. The house was made of cardboard and one could see through the cutout windows that it was the home of two people; a man and a woman. Green grass was laid at the sides of the stage. Music started playing and a group of students from the back of the audience started to cheer and shout. In fact, the shouts drowned the music. The music ended with a man coming out of the house. He was wearing a blue shirt and a tie and looked very formal and handsome. He went over to his car which was parked in the porch and seemed to talk to the lady, who was his wife. They did not have any microphones and so a recorded voice was heard through the loudspeakers.
“Listen Sita, I’m going to the market place to get some groceries. This place is not as safe as it used to be and so I ask you to lock the doors and shut them tightly until I return.”
The lady nodded and the guy rode away in his car and out of the scene. The lady went back inside the house and the music started again.
Soon after the man had left and the woman had entered the house, another man came on a motorcycle on to the scene and parked it behind the bushes. He looked left and right, dropped his stick of beedi, went straight to the door and rang the doorbell. The lady’s hesitant face was shown through the window while the doorbell rang again. She went over to the door and opened it. As soon as she stepped out of the house, the guy ambushed her and caught hold of her. It was a kidnapping. The music started to rise violently and everyone was shocked to see what was happening. In fact, everyone was a bit confused on where all of this was going. After all, the theme of the play was religion. The guy took off in his motorcycle along with Sita.
After a while, the husband returned and noticed that his wife had been kidnapped. He quickly calls the police and they arrive on to the scene. The sound of the siren was too shrill for some of the audience that they had to cover their ears. The policemen scoured the scene of the crime for clues. They started to move the bushes and crouch near the grass when one of the policemen jumped up and shouted “Found it!”. He held up a little piece of rolled up paper in his hands. The head of the police came forth and took the little roll and smelt it, licked it and then threw it back on to the ground.
“This is Kaja beedi. And there is only one guy around these parts that still uses that brand. It is Raavan. Don’t worry, Mr.Ram. I will bring him to justice.” Said the police man and he sped off in his jeep with his constables.
The next scene showed what seemed like the gallows and a hang-man’s noose dangling in the air. The head police officer was escorting the guy who kidnapped Sita and ominous music was being played. Mr. Ram was watching from afar as the guy was tied to the noose.
“And so ends this life of an evil scum!” exclaimed a voice as the guy was hanged till dead. The actors bowed and the curtain dropped. The audience noticed their cue to clap and some did while others were wonder-struck on what had just happened. They couldn’t make heads or tails of the play. Some of the clever ones figured it out and announced it to the others. Some got irritated with their story line whereas others took it in the lighter sense. People argued over this play for a couple of days, stating the delicacy of the subject and how the teachers should have overseen this and cancelled it. But some supported the humor behind it all and praised the students for seeing the bigger picture. All in all, this play was the topic that everyone was talking about for quite some time until it finally died out. Omar was glad that it aroused such a reception. It meant that people were scrutinizing his play because they found it interesting. He gave a beaming smile to his CE. teacher after the play. The CE. teacher looked quite cross and annoyed. Mission accomplished, thought Omar.
People forgot about the play after a while and things went on as usual. The exams were just around the corner and everyone was busy with their syllabus and previous question papers. Omar and friends too were slogging it out, especially Naveen. Naveen didn’t come out of his house during the entire study holidays. He was completely engrossed in studies that his mother had to force feed him. One day, Allen called up Omar during the afternoon,
“Hey bro, why don’t we get some fresh air? I’m sick and tired of learning history. It’s blinding me! Meet me at the bus stop near your home. I’ll be there.”
The phone went click.
Omar got dressed and said bye to his Mom and decided that it was good for him to get some fresh air. Too much of anything is bad after all, even studying. He went to the bus stop and there he found Allen waiting on his motorcycle. They gave high fives to each other and Omar sat pillion on the bike.
“Lets go to the Mall. At least there’s air conditioning there.” Said Allen as he started the motorcycle and drove off in quite a speed.
“Woah! That was a smooth start.” said Omar.
“I don’t understand sarcasm, if that is what you were aiming at!” came the reply.
The mall was quite far away from the bus stop but the traffic was light. Allen sped through the streets as if he knew them like the back of his hand. He whirled and turned sharply at corners and the engine seemed to like it. Omar held on tight as his hair fluttered about in the wind. The sights flew back as the bike rushed forward to its goal, dodging the obstacles in front of it as a form of mockery. Allen was enjoying this ride. The sun was directly above them and it was scorching hot. But the cool wind made by the motion of the bike cooled the two boys. They reached an intersection, an intersection which changed their lives forever. Allen revved the bike and sped straight into the intersection without glancing either left or right.
It was a mistake he would have regretted, if he could.
Omar flew over Allen and right into the cold, grey side walk. He could hear metal clashing over metal. The sharp sounds pierced right through his ears as he blacked out.
Omar opened his eyes.
The raindrops were beginning to hurt his forehead. He had returned to that cold, damp atmosphere. The footsteps had ceased as they now stood in motionless silence. The rain, however, did not. The skies opened themselves, showing no signs of pacification, just like the wailing mother that he saw in front of him. Insecure, helpless and distraught, they stood like concrete structures waiting for a wrecking ball to demolish them. The feeling washed over him like the defeat of a lifelong dream. A persistent wind frustrated many an attempt to wipe off a lonesome tear that managed to escape out of its flooding ivory cage. The flickering, incandescent lamp finally gave in to itself and died out, revealing the true colours of twilight now that it remained unhindered. The umbrellas were the only constants in this scene as the emotions within him varied vigourously and violently. Yet he stood as he stood, concreted to that one puddle in the ground, the ripples splashing against his boot like tides on the shore. He could see the backs of many men and women in front of him , some leaning over others’ shoulders while some resting their heads on them. A man in black was speaking atop a mound. He seemed so calm and distant in comparison to all the rest. He was speaking but words were not coming out of his mouth. He was uttering but not a single syllable was to be audible. He was waving his hands in the air in a definite pattern, as if to symbolize something that isn’t there, but it didn’t convey anything. Omar’s vision blurred, like after brandy taken in sufficient quantity and it says “Now come, fool, come and dwell in poverty of the fact that you lack the courage to move forward, to walk past what once was so near and reachable and that you have now lost the ability to grin and smile when its needed the most.” He started to walk forward, somehow lifting his numb legs off the ground and placing them one in front of the other as he left wet prints on the ground. His mind was blank and nothing entered it nor left. He shoved many people to walk past them and reach forward. Nobody seemed to mind. As soon as he reached as far up front as possible, he noticed the man in black staring at him. The man continued his fruitless talk, which was clearly not lucid. Omar went down on his knees and placed the lone red rose on a spot on the ground near the mound. He rose up and started walking back.