(on March 24th, 2005 - R.I.P. Rajesh BlaaZe Raman)
About a month ago, we had planned a trip to visit Nandini's parents on the Holi weekend... by train. We had the tickets booked and the trip was scheduled for thursday 23rd march, 8.50 pm train till Abu Road from Bandra Kurla station, and from Abu Road to their house by road, to the top of the mountain. We were to be picked up by Nandini's brother, Bobby.
Incidents Not Allowing Us To Leave
5pm - thursday march 23rd
Mum, Nandini, Mrishti had all packed their bags and were sorting out the other last minute stuff. I had just completed packing by bag - and was in the process of packing my laptop. My trolley bag was packed with everything that was BlaaZe...my whole life work actually - my cv from 1991 till date with all the works completed. 5 videos of my new songs. my discman. my best clothes. video camera, lyrics note book, unreleased music collection and some photos.
As i started to pack my laptop bag, i found a sealed envelope, in my grandfather's name...V.Gopalan, with our old house address in Chennai. This has been in the laptop bag since the time of my fathers demise i assume, and though i had seen it earlier, i never had the inclination to open it. However, when i showed it to mum, she asked me to open it, and as i did, we were surprised to see a silver pendant inside...Guru bhagavans. Mum placed it on my chain and as i wore it, i thought to myself that thatha has now wanted to me to wear this...Now.
Just then, nandini came in and said, there has been a problem with tickets..they are still waitlisted and the travel agent says it will be impossible to get it confirmed. After a few moments of thinking, we thought it best to actually go to the station and try to hustle to get on the train, as is vey common here through the railway authorities. Plus we had packed 7 pieces of baggage and 2 hand bags, including the baby pram for mt. abu and a walking chair for another baby.
As we went downstairs, i went to get a cab. For over ten minutes i was on the road looking for a cab...NOT EVEN ONE...in mumbai city 8pm??? Very strange ! Nevertheless after a long wonder as to what is goin on, a cab arrived. We rushed to the station and had a close miss with a bus...almost banged into the side of the cab...though rough reckless drivers are common in mumbai.
At the station, we tried all possible means to get the ticket, which was now waitlisted at numbers 3,4 and 5, to be confirmed. The TT said..not possible at all. Another uniformed officer said in good clear english...Do not board this train. Even the offer of money to another TT did not work. As we were moving back from the platform, a lady dressed in all-white, came upto only me in the whole station and asked for something. i usually would oblige, but knowing that i would be sleeping in the train, i carried no change in my pockets, and hence refused the lady. But as i saw her again, i thought it was a widow in white...with a passing thought of Nandini...... still i walked away. As mum and Nandini followed, they assumed that since i usually wear bright clothes/bandana etc, hence the lady approached only me...and we walked away.
We came home and were extremely upset that our planned trip was not going to happen. We still tried to get the tickets for the next day. And also decided that mum would go straight to baroda in the afternoon train.
Friday, March 24th
We woke up and the discussions about how to leave were still on. Mum's train was at 14.50pm to Baroda. I was ready to go and drop her at the station, and as we stepped out of the house, i tripped and fell down the stairs. Seemed like a bad sign. Mum said a prayer, and we continued though.Nandini and Mrishti were leaving the house to come down, and just then, Mrishti vomitted all over nandini, hence forcing them to go back in the house and clean up. As we sat in the car to leave, just as i started to reverse after packing the bags in the back of the car, i suddenly noticed an unseen Maruti right behind the tail bumper..parked all this while! Hence the car was unable to reverse.
We decided not to pursue this trip or any trip at that moment and came home.
As we sat around gloom faced, i mentioned that we would never know why we were stopped from going, but we all agreed everything happens for a reason, so no need to sulk. Just then, akka had called to tell us that today, march 24th, 2005, our thatha was to attain Moksha * We then explained how i had found the silver pendant in thathas sealed envelope and after that our trip kept getting blocked etc...and felt he made me wear that now, after all this while to protect me.
As we spoke that we would never know the truth, Neelkandan ** called and asked if we were all fine. We said yes. He said he just felt like speaking to us and the rest will be told later.
We waited till almost midnight to hear from … ... then, he called.
He mentioned that in his prayers he was told to tell us that today morning, from Abu Road station to Mt. Abu there was to be a major accident...and...One of us would not be alive anymore.
As for the pendant from my thatha, his attaining moksha this day, my bag full of my life's work, the lady at the station in white, the delays, the hindrance with the cab and so many other trivial signs which led us away from the disaster....these are the works of my angels. All around us - every day - everywhere. Thank You All for my BONUS TIME.