Nicholas' Phantasmic Journey :: Part 3
Devasis Laishram *
Part 3: Nicholas Meets Nicholas
"David! Pass me the ball," yelled Nicholas, who was not more that 8 years old.
With the ball in his possession, he sprinted past the firm line of defenders and with a swift swing of the right leg, let the ball soar in the air for a second or two until it finally made a bulge in the net that caught it.
Shrill voices screamed at the top of their lungs and Nicholas, who was now floating above the little Ronaldos and Beckhams-for it is a trend to wear one's favorite player's jersey whenever one played the game of football- suddenly remembered the incident he was watching. It was his first ever football tournament, and even though it was a small one, organized by a handful of local youths hardly a few years older than him, he remembered feeling utterly happy to have won it.
Pats on the back and words of appreciation followed his winning goal as little Nicholas shook hands with the other players. He was exhausted and was now sitting on a bench nearby, drinking a bottle of water mixed with glucose powder, a universal after-match drink for young boys. The rain had stopped by now and the sky was clearing up.
"Go and talk to him Nicholas," said the maiden and before he could protest, he felt gravity acting and was now on the ground a few metres away from his younger self.
The inexplicability of the events that has happened till now was nothing compared to what he felt when he saw himself sitting there on the bench. It was completely mind-boggling to be staring at his past self, a face he's seen so many times in the mirror yet somehow forgotten. Can one even recall one's own image in a mirror from 10 years ago? He hesitated for a bit but was eager to talk to himself and so he sat beside him.
"Hi there, what's your name?" he asked, making sure that the boy in front of him was in fact his past self and not someone who looks incredibly alike.
"I'm Nicholas," he answered.
"My name's Nicholas too," he said. "That was a nice goal you scored by the way."
"Thanks. This is my first tournament and I scored the winning goal!" he said boastfully. "Do you play football?"
This question troubled him.
"I did a long time back, but not anymore."
"Well, as you grow older you stop playing and start doing other stuff."
He thought of what "other stuff" he did and parties and fights and booze and smoking weed and getting wasted being the only thing on the list he answered, "You know, things adults do. You'll know when you grow up."
"I'm going to be an astronaut when I grow up," came his reply, "or maybe a painter."
Nicholas remembered wanting to be an astronaut, remembered staring at the cloudless night sky, the stars alluring him, making him blissful, making him wonder what it would be like to be in the midst of them, among the billions of specks of sparkling light that spread across the horizon. He would then draw what his imagination would make of outer space. He would draw the earth, a ball of blue and green, with a background completely black except for the white dots that stood out brightly and then he would draw himself, floating in the infinity of the unknown.
"Are you an astronaut?"
He laughed out loud at first at the idea then answered apologetically, "No I am not." since he was, in a way, telling this child that he doesn't grow up to be one.
As if he read his thoughts, he replied, "It's alright. Dad says not everyone gets to be an astronaut and that I have to study really hard if I want to be one. But I also want to be an artist. Mom says my drawings are really good and everyone at school likes them too."
This troubled him even more. He tried to wrap his head around why he stopped painting. He was good at it and really enjoyed doing it too. He suddenly felt embarrassed in front of this little boy for he wasn't particularly good at anything. He wanted to say, "I'm good at …" but there was no word to fill the spot, no talent, no achievement, no hobby to assure this little boy that his dreams have been achieved and that he grows up to be someone who's good at least something. He had always been proud of his lifestyle, his parties-where all the hot chicks came-his designer clothes, his ability to flirt with and impress any random girl, his vast 'friend circle' which consisted of rich kids like himself, and most importantly, his looks; he was exceptionally proud of his firm jaw-line, his properly arranged nose, lips and eyes and his amazingly silky hair, hair which he meticulously took care of. But before this kid, all of those became mere trivialities and he was flabbergasted at the fact that despite the pride he had in his 'talents', he couldn't say a word to impress him; kids are indeed quite different from girls at a bar.
"I have to go now, my mom's here."
"Mom!" he whispered.
"Hello there." said his mother who was smiling broadly at him. She looked a lot younger and had almost no wrinkle on her face.
"Hello," he stammered.
"Quite clever, isn't he," pointing at the child before her, "and very inquisitive too, always asking questions. We're sending him to a boarding school in Kolkata next year. His father thinks it'll make him more independent, though I'm not at all happy with the idea of him being far away from me," and smiled affectionately his little son. "Anyway, it was nice to meet you Mr…?"
"Nicholas, my name's Nicholas."
"Oh! What a coincidence. This little guy's name's Nicholas too. Well, we'll be off now. Goodbye Mr. Nicholas"
And both were gone.
Nicholas only now realized that there was something very disturbing about this, something strangely familiar, like a déjà vu, although he couldn't quite grasp what it was.
"Do you remember Nicholas?" asked the maiden who finally revealed herself. "Do you remember this meeting?"
It suddenly struck him then.
"This has happened!" he exclaimed, "I remember this, this has happened! It was a long time ago and I was a little boy, but I remember!"
"Wait, what's going on here?" he finally asked, now that he got his chance. "What's happening here? Who are you? Where am I? And how can this have happened before?"
"Hey! Wait!" the maiden was floating away again. "Stop!" and he followed her. By now, Nicholas had gotten a hang of flying.
To be continued ..
* Devasis Laishram wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer describes himself as
"I am from Pishumthong Ningom Leirak and i'm currently doing my B.Tech in Punjab. I would be totally delighted if someone called me a "volatile-Promethean"; volatile, mostly because I completely abhor invariability and stagnancy and I constantly seek new interests and hobbies and promethean because, well, who doesn't like to be called ingeneous! Even though I am a sad perfectionist, and a brutal skeptic, I do like to keep my mind open to new ideas and theories for I believe with the microscopic consciousness of the human brain, nothing is definite. I love writing, music(those by artists from a proper music college), reading novels, travelling, gym-ing and hope to add a lot more to the list. I hope to write fantasy novels mixed with a sort of philosophical non-fiction."
The writer can be contacted at dipu(dot)dvs(at)gmail(dot)com
This article was posted on September 14, 2013
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