I have tried to understand the concept of time for a really long time now. After all these years, I have realised and come to a conclusion that such a concept doesn't exist and it's just a term. My interaction with people from different nationalities, origin, race, and color has given me a better understanding about this term and also helped me a great deal in my research on the theory of 'Do beedi ka samay'.
This theory is a revelation in understanding the behavioral pattern of the human species. Why 'Do beedi ka samay' you may ask?
While working closely with the tribes of Tippasandra, Bandra, Byappanhalli, Kuniyamuthoor, Sundakamuthoor, Kalasipalayam, Murgespalya, Lal Chowk, Subhramanyapuram, Kovilpatti, Kuppakonamuthoor and a lot of other palyas and puthoors, the one common factor that I have seen is Beedi. Everything starts and ends with beedi. 'Hey, come. Sit and have a beedi'. ' Am sorry to hear about your mother. Here this is a special beedi'. Beedi before you go to sleep and beedi immediately after you wake up. A beedi with your chai and a beedi while you work. A beedi in the hand and a beedi tucked behind your ear for future consumption. So, talk about time with these beedi idolizing crowd, time is also measured in beedies. When I explained one of my concepts with them, a wise old man after taking a deep drag on his beedi said, 'Do beedi ka samay'. The gathering said in unison, 'Do beedi ka samay', and there was a loud roar. I was offered a beedi as a token of appreciation.
The wise old man's words kept haunting me for a long time. 'Do beedi ka samay', he would say, while smoking one. His voice would echo in my head. He would also have an evil villanous laugh. The laugh kept getting louder and louder as the days went by. One night while sleeping, I heard the again. The laugh was loud and haunting. I woke up startled, breathing heavily and drenched in sweat. I couldn't take it anymore. I got up from my bed. The tribal mosquitoes didn't like it either. They wanted my blood and I wanted answers.
I walked aimlessly as far as my legs could take me. I couldn't continue like this. Aimless, lost, confused and haunted by the wise man's words, I was losing it. My legs gave way and I fell to the ground. I don't know for how long I was unconscious. A hand was trying to push me. It was shaking my fragile body. 'Sirji, Sirji', I could hear a mumble. I groaned. With great difficulty I opened my eyes. The sun's rays were piercing through my eyelids. I shielded my eyes. After what seemed like ages, I finally managed to get up and sit. My head still aching, my legs bruised and bloody and the voice of the old man still loaded in my brain. I wanted it to stop. I wanted to leave. I wanted...
'Sir ji, Doctor saab ko humne bulaya hai. Woh do beedi ka samay mein aajayenge'. I got up. My eyes popped on the floor, when I heard the man say that. I took my watch and saw the time. It said 6:20 am. I began to wait. Did he mean the time from when he said it? Did he mean from the time he saw me unconscious. God. It was too much to handle.
I was looking at the watch. I was looking at the man. He smiled a reassuring smile and lit a beedi. Ah, first beedi, I thought. He took a deep drag, spoke to me and the others who had gathered around me and then let the smoke out. He stubbed the beedi after that with his fingers. Oh, No. That's one beedi down? I wondered. But instead of throwing the beedi down, he placed it behind his ears. He began to write something on the sand, squatting while he did that. You always smoke a beedi squatting, that I learnt from the tribals, which a french friend of mine still practices till date. After talking to the group for an additional twenty minutes, he took the beedi from behind his ear and lit it again. This he continued leaving regular intervals. Till finally the beedi was over. Ah! Am I getting to understand something here? Maybe, just maybe I was getting closer to the elusive secret behind 'Do beedi ka samay'. I looked at my watch. It was 7:20. One hour for one beedi. That's it. I had cracked it. I had finally cracked the secret behind the wise old man's words.
I was hysterical. I was elated. I was going insane. I got up from the ground and started jumping, screaming, going red on my face. Tears swelling up in my eyes. I held my hands over my eyes, buried my face in my palm. I cried. Like a baby, like a mother who had just given birth, like a father during his daughter's wedding. I cried for another beedi ka samay.
As I looked at the puzzled, quizzical faces around me, I began to smile. I looked at the wise old man who had come while I was crying. He was glad to see me smile. I looked at him and said, 'Babaji ek beedi milega?'.