My Muse - Ram Teri Ganga Maili

Author: 
Subhash Mathur

Subhash Mathur was born and brought up in small towns in Rajasthan. During his school and college education at Jaipur, he was keenly involved in sports, journalism and public speaking. His civil services career has given him a platform for spreading his ideas about modernising tax administration to benefit the common man. Post retirement he is devoting his energies, along with his wife Tilak, to public and humane causes.

Raghav reached Jaipur around nine in the morning and checked into a modest hotel near Pancch Batti. It was close to his 4 p.m. interview venue at the Far Eastern, a new chain of departmental stores with huge expansion plans. Multi city, multi locations. They were expecting the economy to boom.

Raghav, a Junior Executive with a firm manufacturing desert cooler pumps, was looking for higher pay with more supervisory duties. On tours he badly missed his four year young cutie pie, Anita.

After a good masala double omelette breakfast followed by an hour’s sleep, Raghav set out to explore the streets of Jaipur. He didn’t get very far. He quickly spotted the iconic Raj Mandir, a movie theatre that boasted of a 70 mm curved screen, Dolby surround sound, push back chairs and thick carpeting from the late 1960s. All tourist buses halted there for a glimpse. Their cafeteria even served exquisite lunch. All veg, of course.

Raghav decided to watch a movie if something worthwhile was running. Luckily, they were showing Ram Teri Ganga Maili at the matinee. Great. Mandy was his hot favourite. The dance under the waterfall is skimpy backless choli and flowing white saree took sauciness to another level. The Great Showman, Raj Kapoor, at his best.

Raghav joined the Balcony queue with just three guys ahead. He was looking forward to a good Latte with Lays chips along with the ticket in his pocket. Just then he heard someone saying something to him.

‘Saar, excuse me, would you mind buying a ticket for me also?’

Raghav was perplexed. He couldn’t spot anyone near him. He glanced around again just to be sure. ‘Who are you? And where are you? I can’t see you. Is this a joke?’

‘Saar, let me introduce. I am Jaspreet, the friendly ghost who talks. Saar, Saar, don’t feel alarmed. I am harmless.’

Raghav was all shook up. He couldn’t believe what was happening. A ghost was actually talking to him! He should be shaking in his pants and taking cover. And hollering like hell. The ghost was commanding him to stay calm. And cool. He didn’t believe in ghosts. In fact, he laughed at people who narrated ghost moments. But here was a Ghost actually talking to him. Even if he was a friendly Spook. At Noon, in bright daylight. In public. And wanting to see Mandy dance.

Strange are the ways of the world. Didn’t these guys move around past midnight in flowing black robes with white crosses and protruding teeth? They made everyone run like hell. Scaring the shit out of even the strong hearted?

‘Don’t be silly. I can’t see you? How do I believe you?’

‘Saar, I am standing next to you. Naturally you can’t see me. I am a ghost. But one hell of a friendly guy.’

‘This is utter rubbish! You kidding me? I am not the Fall guy. I think I should report you to the Police.’

‘Saar, who’s going to believe your story? You have no evidence. Thanedar will roll on the floor with mirth and laughter. Something like LoL. Banish the thought, Saar!’

This ghost was now mocking a Human. Role reversal? Strange things were happening. Raghav decided to play along and humor Jaspreet just to get at the bottom of the whole thing.

‘Alright, I will buy the ticket but how will you repay me?’

‘Saar, that’s simple. In kind, of course. I always do that. In the interval you distract Popat with an order of Cold Coffee with Ice Cream. And I will snitch away a plate of hot Samosas. I love my Cold Coffee with hot Samosas. Two tickets for the 12 o clock show please. For Ram Teri….. That will be 300, and thank you Sir for the exact tender. Good now, let’s get our Latte with Lays, Saar.’

‘How did you know about that?’

‘Saar, I can read your mind. Easily. I also know that you have a 4 o’clock appointment with Suresh Nagar. No wonder you are coiled up just a little. Saar, just relax. It might be good idea if I slipped in with you. For the interview. No No! Don’t protest Saar. I will help you out if you get stuck. Believe me, Saar, I am fully familiar with your work and stats at your present job. Nagar will never be any wiser, Saar. You get the job. And you can spend more time with your cutie pie Anita.’

‘Yaar, this Ghost fellow knows too much about me. He can read my mind easily, thought Raghav.’

‘And after that we celebrate at Niros. Bheja Fry, Black Forrest, with chilled Kingfisher beer.’

‘Lovely.’

‘Just to put you to ease let me brief you about myself. You agree?’

‘As if I have much choice here.’

‘Saar, in my previous life I was an alumni of Department of Information and Computer Engineering from Cambridge. Some of that learning is still with me. You know something? I can solve the crossword of The Times of London in less than ten minutes except on Saturdays.’

‘Why not Saturdays? I asked. In all innocence.’

‘Saar, they don’t publish one on Saturdays. Simple.’

‘Holy Shit!’ thought Raghav.

‘I could have easily won a fortune by now but you know my limitations. They can hardly hand over cheques to a person they cannot see. Now, can they? And Sudoku and Rubik’s cube are like putty in my hands. Less than 5 minutes. And I admire Carlsen a hell of a lot. The chess guy. You know why Carlsen beats Anand consistently like no one else.’

‘Search me. I am sure Jaspreet has a theory. So go ahead and shoot.’

‘Saar, Carlsen can read Anand’s mind. So he’s always three steps ahead of Anand. He tanks a few games just to keep the World Championship going for at least a week. Carlsen is a Giant, Saar! Giant. Compared to Carlsen, Kramnik was puny. But he toiled like an Ant.’

‘Gotta trust Jaspreet. He’s the wise guy around here,’ thought Raghav.

‘Ah ! I see the gates are opening now. Let’s move in for the Anthem. After all I am a Patriot. Still.’

‘Hold your horses! Not just yet. My turn to ask Questions.’

‘Go right ahead, Saar. I am ready.’

‘Do you by any chance know one Kangana?’

‘You mean Ranaut Saar? No Saar, not yet. My loss, Saar.’

‘No No! Kangana @ Ratna from the Raman story.’

‘Ah, that! Wheels within Wheels. Enjoyed reading that one! But that Kangana. Very clever. With a wicked smile. And a stunner too. She sure can spin a Web. Real fast. Did she fool Raman? Or what?’

‘So, Jaspreet, tell us the reality. Need to kill the Curiosity Cat. Jaspreet, just do it!’

‘Saar, Let me try. Raman did meet Kangana! And took her home! Indisputable. But did Kangana and Saritha meet?’

‘What do you mean? They met at the front door. The story says so.’

‘Saar, was Saritha even real? Or did Raman invent his daughter? To blind side the readers? But why do we need to speculate? You should ask Kangana herself!’

‘How do you mean? Don’t string me along.’

‘Saar, Kangana is travelling with you to Gurgoan. Do buy her a ticket. And I have a dirty feeling that the two of you will get along like a House on Fire. Saar, she’s a Jolly Good Fellow. Enough yap yap, Saar. Now let’s go and watch Mandy.’

[And the Legend of the Ghosts Mean or Friendly lives on.]

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