Summer evening rains are the best in Bangalore. No matter how bad the heat is during the daytime, by evening it becomes cool and breezy. Looking at the floating clouds from my office window, I decided to leave for home as rain and traffic is not a pleasant combination to have here.
Every time I am in my office lift, I feel the set monotone of my life. At times, I really think that I am constantly on a giant, invisible lift without knowing which floor to get down to. Things have become so systemic in my life that it can go on autopilot. It rains almost every evening at this time of year. Then the insane traffic becomes unbearable; people hurry and take detours to avoid it only to create the very traffic. Even the playlist of the driver who drops me home daily has not changed since I do not remember when. There has been no evening these days when I recollect my day at the office during the trip home and end up facing quarter-life crisis questions – “What am I doing in life? Where are things going? What do I plan to achieve in the end?”
There is this peculiar thing about thoughts; they thrive on their own gargantuan network. Sometimes when I come out of a long ride through this network, trying to recall the point of origin, everything seems haphazard like the Scary Movies where each scene spoofs a different release making no sense except the cheap humor. The evening, the rain, and of course the amount of time at hand because of traffic in this city is the perfect recipe for dipping into a galaxy of thoughts.
My cab was stopping for a longer time at every signal. I hate signals. They make me restless. I don’t mind until my cab is moving even at snail’s pace. It is like my thoughts get linked to the movement of the cab. I cannot think when the vehicle I am sitting in is not moving and I am forced to notice the surroundings. With dreary eyes I looked around, only to realize that I disliked everything around me – endless signals, the senseless traffic, light brown color of car standing next to my cab, people being restless in their vehicles fiddling with their phones, bored auto driver, ugly real estate hoardings promising a stay away from hustle of traffic, the big mouth lady driving her car and talking on phone, Urgh! her dark maroon lipstick. A sudden quiver ran into my body asking a loud question – ‘How did I reach here in life?’ Everything appeared annoyingly obnoxious. I calmed myself down thinking it was just me chasing the wrong line of thoughts. The strong annoyance on such petty things makes me think about the toll mundanity is taking on me. I have started believing that it's part of growing up where it would be difficult to find beauty in things. Or at least I couldn’t find it that simply.
I forced myself into the bliss of thoughtlessness. I lowered the window to enjoy the rain with the playlist of old Hindi songs my chauffeur had. It is indeed easy to rely on someone else’s choices as you do not need to take the responsibility.
This glorified bliss lived a short life. My driver announced that a tree succumbed to the rains blocking the pathway. Anyone in the right frame of mind would be annoyed but I was relieved. It is like the flight layovers, that gives you a feeling of having extra time squeezed which is unaccounted and you can do anything you want.
I shifted to another side of the car window and tried to gauge the traffic. I poked my head out to see a long queue of vehicles ahead. Tracing through the queue, I got distracted by a roadside place gleaming with very shimmery blurred lights. I told the driver that I would be back in a few minutes. I got out and took a stroll to the place. It was like a dark magic drawing me in to it through its glittery trap.
The place was full of luminous artifacts with intensity somewhere between soft dim and blurred bright. It had a very sophisticated interior with the right amount of lighting at the right places. The entire space was made of glass - doors, windows, pillars, ceiling, floor. Walls, fixtures hanging from these walls, and even ceilings had smooth, transparent, glassy touch. The chairs and big center table kept in front of glass wall also felt glassy.
A very thick layer of rainwater was flowing along the outside surface of the glass wall. I knew this city’s traffic very well and could tell that things were going to be stuck for quite some time. I had this urge to explore the place in its entirety. The place was austere with a glimpse of mysticism. Something strange was there in its décor; the amount, the color, and the direction of light were giving it an enigmatic touch. It is like one of those things that makes you feel bizarre. you just cannot pinpoint the emotion that it evokes, but you know that it is something you have never felt before and you cannot describe or relate to anything.
The place was quiet with no one inside except a person at billing counter with an insipid look. The light inside the store appeared colorful but you just could not identify the color. It was a mix of sea foam green and canary yellow or might be a mix of honey orange and pistachio green. I cannot recall now. Every corner of the space had some thematic lights in such a pattern that it provided a unique touch to all the corners and kept the center of the place almost dark. The darkness eluded the corners for separate spaces. Through various fixtures, the lights were highlighted in such a way that all the four spaces looked like frozen scenes from a play where actors would come and assume their role keeping the space in the background. Lighting and the decor evoked the feeling that there was a story to be told in that very place and moment.
I sat on a glass stool with light flickering from its core. There was a huge oval glass table decorated with clove shaped forest green lamp at the center giving a hint of greenness. One side of the table had fancy glasses filled halfway with wine beaming in the gentle green light of the lamp. I reached out for the glass and realized there wasn’t any wine in it. It was just a molded piece of art to mimic the feel of freshly poured wine in a glass. My interest in them made the keeper ask if I wanted the piece to be delivered to my place. Suddenly, I realize that my cab was waiting outside to drop me to ‘my place’.
I decided to come back and explore the place on weekend with my flatmates and left. I could see my driver waving at me as traffic was clearing. I sat in the cab and reached home in fifteen minutes. I was wondering – ‘Why did not I see the place before?’. I go to the office every day by the same route and I have taken the route on many of my Sunday mornings runs too. Maybe in the morning, they put the shutter down.
I reached home feeling refreshed and exhausted at the same time. It’s like you come back from a nice beach vacation all refreshed but your whole body aches. I just went into the shower and slept after that.
Next day I woke up after a solid ten hours of sleep that too when Cindy screamed at me to ask whether I want Broccoli in my omelette. She thought I might be under the weather because of last night’s rain. I tried to recall the last night….The Light House.
We all were bored of regular restaurants, cafes, and breweries of the city and hence were excited to see the place. I was wearing my seat belt when Cindy asked me to feed the location of the place in the navigation. I typed “The Light House” as a destination but couldn’t find it. We wondered how Google could miss such a place. We just put the traffic signal’s name in the destination. We parked at the mall very close to that signal and decided to walk to the place. I remembered the precise location and the distance from the signal to the place.
There were many shops in line. After walking for a while, all my friends looked little tired and stopped to ask me where on earth was the place. But I myself was startled. I went into the nearest shop and asked about the place giving them the description. I remembered the name of the place, it was “The Light House”. But the shopkeeper told us that there was no such shop in the area. I asked a few others and heard the same. I enquired the hawkers sitting outside the shops, and they too denied. My flatmates came to me and asked if I really visited the place yesterday. What could have I answered? The place was there yesterday in all its entirety. There wasn’t any explanation that I could think of. We all were exhausted and felt like eating at the nearest café we frequented. Cindy went to get the car.
When I sat in the car, I noticed the same wine glass art pieces kept at the front of the driver’s seat. I was bewildered. When I asked Cindy about them she said a bored looking guy was standing near the car window and started knocking, insisting her to buy. She was annoyed and the pieces looked lovely, so she just bought them.
I couldn’t say anything anymore.
It doesn’t matter if the Light House doesn't exist today. It did exist the night before! And, I have the wine glasses from the place.