Free Fall -देवसुत and Rahul Bose

posted Jun 27, 2014, 6:22 PM by A Billion Stories   [ updated Jun 27, 2014, 6:25 PM ]
There was not a day when my father would not mention about the universe, about the galaxies, about the stars and how they form and every law of the universe he knew, he would explain in the terms he thought i would understand given my age. His eyes would go up with his hands to show the stars and then would come down to show how sunlight covered them in the day. He would make the sound of a propeller to explain how a boat moves through water, then would just open his mouth and produce no sound at all to explain the explosion of a star in space where there is no air to carry the sound.

He would take me places and show me things - how leaves breath, how atoms make molecules, how the ocean becomes the clouds, how tigers play, how insects crick, how the sun blazes, how quarks spin, how light interferes, how mountains sing, how oceans growl, how birds fly, how planes crash, how gravity pulls, how the sun bends light, how time elapses, how are we born, how we die, how we incur sin, how we suffer, how we rejoice, how we sleep, how we eat, how we see, how we learn, how we remember, how we forget, how we sing, how we cry, how we feel pain, how we live, how current flows, how voltage drops, how resistance heats, how fractals have a different dimension, how games are played, how to win, how to lose, how to love, how to fight, how to pray, how to make, how to destroy, how to sustain, how to abstain, how the music vibrates, how the wind resonates, how the light waves, how everything is just a vibration. Learning from him was exciting. He was a great teacher.

I was not fascinated by everything he told. Some was exciting, some was just another fact, some was not very clear and so I would ask questions and he would answer. If it was still not clear, he would think and tell it again. Some of these answers spanned over days or months till I got it - or so he thought, based on my reaction. One of these concepts was of zero-gravity. I was just 4 when he told about it the first time. I was excited, but could not relate to it. He knew that I did not get it. But then, he was a great teacher - he would wait till he observed that I was ready for the next level of understanding. Then one day, he demonstrated by jumping off the sofa, and showing me how a water droplet falls from a tap. I still did not get it. There were other things he told me in the meanwhile, but when it would come to zero-gravity I would not understand it. I knew he thought of sky-diving with me to explain it - because he told about sky-diving as well, but that was too costly and I was too young. So we saw videos of sky diving and astronauts floating in the space station over the next year. I did understand, but this time, father was not satisfied. Time rolled. My schooling progressed not much at school but at home with my father. In the school it was just A B C D.

Then we planned the trip to Nainital, Himachal Pradesh, India. On the train trip, he showed the landscapes and how it changed every 100km and why it is that way. He showed the birds on the electric wire that ran with the train, he showed the fields where different crops were grown every 3 months. Then came the mountains and the sheer depths, the Himalayas and how they have formed and that India was called "Jambudweep" by the ancients when the ocean was in the place of where Himalayas stand today. The train journey ended and we went in a car to the hotel where we would stay. The lake was stunningly beautiful in the middle of the mountains, the play of sunlight on the shimmering waters was truly inspiring. That night was silent and the cold had just set in. Our blankets warmed us.

The next day we took a walk around the lake and then walked up to the sky-car to go to the other side of the mountain quickly. I was getting excited. The sun shone bright. I heard my father's comment to the operator about the non-maintenance of the sky-car ropes. "No grease" he had said "would cause more friction, reducing the life of the ropes, apart from the higher electricity bills." I did not pay much attention as I was waiting excitedly for the sky-car to come. Rs. 10/- was the ticket. It was free for me since I was not of age yet. Father bought it for himself.

The sky-car came and its passengers descended. We got in. Father was silent. He was allowing me to experience it. I knew that. I was sitting on his lap. He was holding my left hand. The sky-car moved and proceeded up the rope-way to the next mountain, the passengers chatting with each other, above the din of the un-greased rope-way. We were reaching the middle of our short journey.

One cannot always predict these things, but that day, right in the middle, one of the ropes gave way. There was a sudden lurch, the safety brakes on the other ropes latched and the sky-car stopped in place. People screamed and then stopped when the sky-car became stable. Somebody made a call on his phone. I could feel the silence that set in even though my heart was pounding. When I looked at father he smiled at me, still holding my left hand. What was there to fear when father was here?

Minutes passed and there was talk of rescue. Helicopters were coming to pick us up. Then there was another snap. Another rope had broken. I felt father's grip on my hand tighten, and he passed his right arm around my waist. The sky-car was swinging now. The passengers were screaming again. Father was cool, but he had moved me with him and was near the door of the sky-car, tightly gripping the bar on the door, shifting his weight in trying to reduce the swinging of the sky-car, just like I did on the school swing. His right hand was on the latch that opened the door, but he was not opening it yet. The helicopters were nowhere to be seen. Minutes passed again. The swinging was less, but the wind had picked up. Father, whispered in my ears that we were 150ft above ground, about 130ft above treetops. I was not listening.

The 3rd snap was not heard by any. The sky-car went into a free fall, father had opened the door and we were out of the sky-car in a flash. He had seen it coming. As we fell, he held me by the waist above him and whispered 3 words in my ear - "Zero-gravity love you". I heard the sky-car crash on another tree. I did not feel the impact much, but father did not make it. I was terrified. I cried and held to my dear father. Rescuers found me alive. The next day, the headline of the local newspaper read: "17 dead. 6 year old survives miraculously". Time flew till I was 18. I do not remember the passage of years in-between.

Life had been never the same again. I had to find my own answers. The memories of the crash had stopped haunting me, but sometimes, I felt lost, there were questions popping in my head. Why me? How?

And slowly the answers came. Sometimes, in sleep, or just after I woke up, or under the shower, or while driving the bike, or when attending the physics class. Slowly, very slowly, I started getting the answers. Was it me? Was it father? - I used to think sometimes.

That day, it was not a miracle. It was father. In the free fall, he had positioned himself under me so that I could be saved from the impact. It was he who was the miracle. He used zero-gravity and our center of gravity to rotate and position me in a way that insulates me from the impact, just like the astronauts in the space station. It was he who took the impact. It was no miracle. And he had not whispered but shouted to make me hear. He had said: "Experience zero-gravity son. I love you." That was all he could say in the short time it took to fall 150ft. I now understood zero-gravity, perhaps a little too much. The mango tree which father had planted in the garden had started bearing fruits.

One day, the postman delivered a parcel to me. I could not figure out who could have sent the parcel by registered post. It was addressed to me from Mohammed Iqbal and Associates (Advocates). I opened the parcel amused. My world fell apart.

These were legal papers that showed that my father was not my biological father. He was a Hindu. I was a Muslim. I was his adopted son. I hated my father for the first time in my life. Why did he not tell me the truth?

Days passed. Slowly, I went through all the papers. One by one. And slowly I realized, he was telling me. He had been telling me. He told me how to pray which was not the Hindu way. He himself went to temples with me. And we had visited Masjids where he had taught me to pray. He had told me how I was born. And he had arranged for lawyers to send me these papers when I would be 18, even if he may not physically exist. It was my right to know and he told it.

I felt his presence near me. He had been there always with me. And then in his characteristic style, his words popped in my head: "Son, remember this - there is religion enough to hate, but there is not religion enough to love".

After that, I knew what I had to do throughout my life. My father was not separate from me anymore. My father was me. The guidance came from within.

I did my post-doctoral fellowship in Bio-sciences and consult in hospitals about how best to help patients of cancer recover fast. Today I have a wife and two beautiful children. I know how to teach them.
-देवसुत with Rahul Bose.
-Completed: 26-6-2014, 9.36am.
-देवसुत and Rahul Bose

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Submitted by: देवसुत and Rahul Bose
Submitted on: Thu Jun 26 2014 10:40:48 GMT+0530 (IST)
Category: Original
Language: English

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