It was a difficult night. My last night at TMTC on a training session. It was unusually hot night for Pune weather. I was not able to sleep.
Those of you who are not familiar with TMTC, let me tell about it. TMTC is a training center for Tata employees. Located adjacent to Pune railway station in a sprawling campus. The main building where classes are held is an old mansion of grand victorian design. The training sessions are fully residential. There are few guest rooms in the campus. After office hours the huge area with old trees becomes more of a tourist spot than a college. Concieving and maintaing such a place in heart of the city calls for a finely cultured taste.
This was the last day, many participants had left in the evening itself. My train was in early morning. I had noting to do so went to bed a bit early. Around eleven o’clock there was large bang in the ac and it went off with a smoke. Along with it went the power supply for the room. I came out of my room, but there is not a soul to be found at that hour so I went back to my bed.
I slept for hardly one hour, there was a sharp knock on my door. I opened the door thinking some electrician has come to repair the air conditioner. But there was a lady standing. She gestured me to follow her. I was dazed from sudden awaking, I stopped to ask her some thing. The lady turned back as if reading my mind. Put her finger on her lips, gesturing me not to speak and urged me to come with her. I was too stunned to think and followed her. She was wearing a flowing white dress. It was a full moon night, so there was plenty of light but there was a haze. The fog was very dense slightly above the ground. Top of the trees were completely hidden in the mist. At a distance some owl was hooting.
We walked for quite some thing, away from the guest rooms, crossing a lawn and the main building we went into a garden. There was a fountain flowing beside a rose bush. Just beside it there was a marble bench. The lady gestured me sit there and asked me to wait. Then just vanished.
I mean, here she was there in front of me, but then I could not see her any more. The fog was thickening. I waited and waited then finally got up to search for here. Suddenly she came out from the main building with a dazzling smile on her face. She asked me to follow her again, but this time I lost my cool. I asked her what is this about. She said nothing and gestured me impatiently to come after her.
This was getting too much for my nerves. I rushed and tried to reach for her hand. Then suddenly I fell down. I was falling into nowhere….
“Sir, Sir! Sir!!!” the chowkidar was shaking me. “You leave at once for the station. Your car has come” He said. “I was searching for you every where, it is already too late”. I saw my watch, the train is to leave Pune within next ten minutes. There was no time to think. I grabbed my baggage and jumped into the cab. The chowkidar was telling “It is not good to come near the main building….”
Later when I was settled in the train, it was passing Lonavala. In the cloud I could see two eyes as if waiting for me, or was it a trick played on my sleepy eyes I am yet to decide.