It was a long corridor. They were standing in the middle of the corridor. There were no doors as far as his eyes could see. There was nothing in the place, no corners and no darkness. At the start of the line there was a man standing who was talking to the people on the line. This man had graying hair. He was dressed simply in a white kurta. His face could not be seen. The young man was in his late 20s. He had blue eyes. He was the last person in the line. It looked like any line in a supermarket except for the fact that the place was actually empty. The people present in the line were not in any hurry.
The man with the blue eyes could see everybody in the corridor. A woman had reached the man in the white kurta. The man in the white kurta asked her some questions. And she replied back. Some of the things seemed to make her catch her breath. At one point during the interview, she shuddered. The man with the blue eyes continued to observe this with fascination. Then after a long time, the man in the white kurta wrote down something on a book. He wrote with a quill. The man in the white kurta asked the woman to move forward. She moved along the corridor. The man with the blue eyes kept on looking at her till she disappeared from view.
The man after her seemed like a wealthy man. He was extremely nervous. As compared to the woman ahead of him who had been calm but sad, he was nervous and agitated. He gave the impression of someone who had done something wrong. The questionnaire for this man seemed longer, since he was unable to tell everything properly in the first place. The man in the white kurta kept on asking him questions. After a much longer time, he was satisfied. He wrote down something on his book. He asked the man to move behind through the same corridor. The man started pleading, in response to which the older gentleman only shook his head sadly and indicated that he go back. The man then started moving back through the corridor.
At that the man with the blue eyes glanced back for the first time. He saw a similar view as he was getting ahead. It was another corridor stretching into nothing. He watched the man till he disappeared from view.
The next person was a small girl of about eight. The man in the white kurta had bent down to speak to the girl. He barely spoke to her for a few minutes. He just smiled & indicated to the girl that she move forward. The girl went on hopping. She was the only one among us who was oblivious to where she was. After her came an old couple. They were holding each other’s hands. They seemed perfectly happy to be there. They had found their peace. They had no regrets. The man in the white kurta was happy to see them. They spoke as though they knew each other. He guided both of them forward. And they moved ahead. After a few more people, the man with the blue eyes was face to face with the man in the white kurta. The man in the white kurta was an old man with graying hair. He had never seen a man with such a gentle eyes. There was a lot of wisdom on that face.
“So, what have you done?” the man in the white kurta asked him. “Nothing” replied the man with the blue eyes. “Are you satisfied?” asked the man in the white kurta. “Do you ask everybody the same question?” “Yes” “Has anybody been satisfied?” the man with the blue eyes asked. “That is a very small percentage” said the man in the white kurta. The older man paused and allowed the younger man to speak. When the younger man did not talk, he continued,”Did you notice the couple who went before you? They were very satisfied. They had seen all that they wanted to see. They were ready to go ahead.” There was another pause in their conversation. After a while the man with the blue eyes asked “Did you know them from before?” “Yes. A long time back. But I am happy that they are satisfied with their journey. Not everybody can say that. What about you, young man? You have still not answered my question. Are you satisfied?” the man in the white kurta repeated his question.
He started thinking about that. He had missed out doing a lot of things. But as he was not given any warning, that was bound to happen. He thought about all the people who would miss him. He regretted not being able to say good bye to them. He thought of all the things that he had wanted to do. He thought of all the things he had planned to do in the future. He had assumed like all humans to live forever. It never occurred to him that he wouldn’t even make it to his 30th birthday. He had planned to ask a girl to marry him this weekend. He felt pain that she would never know how much he loved her. He hadn’t spoken to his mother properly in the morning. He wished that he had left her smiling. He wished a lot of things now. But his time was through. “What next?” the man with the blue eyes asked him “heaven or hell?”
Contributing Story Teller:: Medha Bhatt from Goa. I am an aspiring writer.
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