Not a Story

Sometimes the unexplained unsettling does in fact cross your path.

You all know, for the past several months, I’ve been mulling over the subject of supernatural – paranormal, unexplained phenomenon; events, happenings, strange observations that defy basic logic as well as most laws of physics or advanced mathematics. Well, it seems I’ve been poking around in all the right places; for something happened yesterday that neither bares any conformance with any of the governing laws that are in action to make this universe exist, nor with any of my own inner spiritual, intellectual as well as logical evolution that I have carefully, so slowly nurtured and aggregated with time. I will share something here with you all; although – I don’t know how or what you all will make of it. Or how, each one of you would choose to explain it with all different concepts.

There was this beggar sitting one corner of this street; just under a street light. I was coming from the opposite direction. Walking home. He was so anonymous, so earthen I had barely even noticed his presence until we were just about 15 yds from each other. I kept walking until I finally reached that point from where I was about to cross over to other side of the walk; I had to get some bread and some chicken soup sachets for the night; there was a small store about 5 mins from that place – stays open until the very last hour. It was already dark, around 10:25 pm, cold, chilly and rather tingling. Winter had really set in, I felt her cold, chilly bite; especially on my nose and around my ears. I had absolutely no warm apparel on me either – I simply hadn’t bothered when I had left in the morning. A blanket of light winter mist hovering so low; the famous Kolkata mist; for sure it created an atmosphere but I liked it. Most of most people would feel eerie, anxious, even a little hurried up under the situations, but not me!! Hey, after all I’m the big, bad mean Stripes, who terrorizes the entire jungle! Who or what in this night would come to trouble me? Bother what?? My pompous nonchalant entity thought to myself. Wimps are these pathetic excuses of insecure humans, who scurry home so feverishly as the allure grows oh so sensual, so very arousing on such late, lonely, cold winter nights. There’s a different world out here, so mesmeric, that’s simply screaming out to be enjoyed fully! There was moon alright, albeit a little hazy, dimmed when I looked up at it. The ‘super moon’ evening had passed just a few days ago I remembered. Strange world this . …..

It was just then as I bothered to look down and towards the dude; How old was this chap? I don’t know it’s hard to guess; with the relentless, cruel, gruesome life on the streets, without any care, nourishment or affection it really does add 20 extra years to your anatomy. Still, if I were to hazard a guess, I’d guess he was between 52 – 55. I don’t remember in perfect sharp detail, nor very brightly, but I think he was sat on a torn tattered rag; had some old used, thrown away apparel for clothes; torn at several places especially the one he wore for what would be some sort of coat. He was doing something, he had something in his hand. A coin. Yes it was a coin. A standard Indian 2 Rupee Coin – it sure looked like, but don’t ask me to bet on it.

He tossed it up, flicking it between his thumb and index; like anybody else would. The coin landed but not on its surfaces. It edged – what you would call a null result, neither ‘heads’ nor ‘tail’. He didn’t seem to bother so hugely and almost immediately reached out again to toss it. Again -- an edge. A null result. I was about to attend my cell phone to check some text message that had just entered; but I kept that part on hold for that brief moment; I put the phone back. ‘hold on, just wait a second what’s this … ’I though to myself and by that time the beggar had also noticed my presence as slightly tilted his head [but not all the way up to see me clearly] just about enough to let me know, he had noticed my presence alright. A little miffed by my presence, it seemed. He reached out again for the coin, it had rolled a little bit farther from his nest that second time so he had to get up on his haunches partly, to collect that. Time. Stood. Still. Endless, Infinite. As if in a lapse. Discontinuous. A fine thread, an invisible force, a wave front inside which I found myself screened, engulfed, encompassed. With this strange, Suspicious Beggar. He tossed again. This was the third time now.

My heart pounded. But why? The veins near my neck strained, swelled up; my eyebrows in an arc of disbelief as I stressed my mind to the maximum to comprehend what just unfolded before my eyes. I don’t know what I was seeing, or if I was seeing anything properly at all, for that matter. For that brief, fractal moment, I felt entirely completely segregated from the world, From Time Itself, from all everything else. As if someone had just plucked me out from that time line and placed me somewhere else; and, no matter where and when I was, only I existed. Only me. Nothing else. Only me, my mind and its desperate struggle; wrestling with itself – with the contradictions, the reasons, the Beliefs. For a moment I felt completely, absolutely overpowered, helpless. At the mercy of some other force, some other entity, completely in its grasp. Like that moment when one is just born, completely dependant, reliant and at the mercy of the others around him. Powerless.

CATATONIC. STILL. No Movement. STARING AT THE PHENOMENON WITH MY EYES STRESSED OUT.

The third toss had resulted in a ‘null’ again. Yes. There it was – the coin balancing itself on its edge for the straight third time. I don’t know. I didn’t know. I heard the beggar let out a very short, faint, but fairly notable grumpy sound – almost a snort. Then a brief chuckle as he reached out again, collected the coin. He looked up at me now. This time all the way upto my face. He eyed me. Not for too long, I’d say just about a brief 2-3 seconds. I had no words to utter, no sound to make nor any actions to manifest. I slowly saw him reach back slowly ease himself in, and then pull over himself whatever was left of a tattered, very dirty matted old rug. I was still stressed to some extent. Slowly permitting myself the time to come around, gather myself when I heard him chuckle again from inside and then utter a brief ‘goodnight’ [in our colloquial language/dialect]. Surely that was me he addressed!!

I don’t know how precisely to describe the feeling, how closely my words would match exactly what I felt on my body and my soul. But yes, it felt something like this – as if someone had indeed plucked my entity my total spirit right out of my blood and bone body for all that while; and had been toying around with it. And then, as he was done, and satisfied with it, he suddenly shoved it back into me again, inside my body again. I existed again. My eyes cleared, my senses gathered, my mind composed itself again. I collected myself. I had regained control over myself again; after what seemed like the MOST inexplicable, unforgettable, bone-chilling experience I have experienced ‘up front’ in my life. So Far.

I don’t know why, I didn’t feel like going for the shop anymore to get my bread, sausage and soup. I simply didn’t feel like it anymore. I remembered I had some amount of Carbonara and Sicilian Salad from the morning still saved away .….. maybe not enough to fill me up, but just about enough to do ..

I resumed my walk. Baffled. Shaken. Perplexed. Fazed. I don’t know . …. My mind, still desperately wrestling with itself.

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