“Good morning sir” the office guard greets me. I nod at him smiling. I adjust my hair and I swipe my card. Winters are at their peak.
I reach the department and as soon as I approach my desk there is a secret Santa gift waiting for me. I am elated. I open up the present in excitement, what is it? I am unwrapping the gift swiftly, there is a book. I open the red ribbon, and I look at the cover of the book. It is something extraordinary, not an ordinary book, but a book of Sufi musings.
I am curious, who is my secret Santa? or maybe a secret mind reader. I flutter through the pages and I find two Sufi music concert tickets inside. My eyes open wide in amazement, Holy Cow, I grab my chair, trying to understand, is this real, or this a dream? I always wanted to go.
I look around, I am one of the first few in the office cabin, no one is that early, but whomsoever planted this, is surely early. I leave the gift on the desk, and I move around the pillars, meeting rooms, bays, and cabins looking for all the people present, I can’t find anybody. I look at the bags, the lunchboxes, trying to find the suspect, the secret mind reader. Who is this secret Santa giving me personalized Christmas gifts in the office? I have reached the last bay in the office and as I am about to turn, from the big glass window, I see a few people standing downstairs, drinking tea, near the tree from a tea stall vendor, some of them smoking cigarettes. I crave to smoke my own.
I turn and I return to my desk, having checked all the possibilities of the people, who gave me this. Can it be a woman? A man though? Someone who knows me, and my love for Sufi music, a rare thing, no one knows about. Who is this secret admirer? I look at the Sufi music concert tickets, as I check them out for this weekend, I find a note on the back of them. Want to meet me? Will see you there @8.
I look at the handwriting, analyzing all the notes I have seen from the people in the office, my intelligence bureau is at work, Mission Find the secret Santa. The concert is on Sunday and I can’t wait to know who is it, I look at everyone, are you the one, are you the one? Who I am going with to this concert?
I spend the whole day speculating and without a clue, everyone asks about the gift I got, I hide the tickets and I show the book, which everyone finds dull, except me. All of a sudden, my monotonous sad life, is full of mystery surprise, and what is next to come, I am high on this feeling, excited, and in the search of unknown, this heart too likes a little chase, someone secretly admiring you, knowing you, I feel desired. I am eagerly impatiently looking and asking around, who kept this book here, who is the one?
After spending all day in the plight with no hints from the HR team, I am enraged, who is it? I smoke a cigarette and I think Do I have to wait until the concert itself? I think this secret person might be having fun, seeing me restless and finding out who is it, and laughing about my investigative plans to find this out. It must be someone who knows me, I hardly know anyone in the office. Is this a trick?
I lie down in my bed and I read the indian sufi poetry from the book and I am already in love with the words.
मैंने उतार दिया है चाँद जमीन पर और गिरा दिये हैं तारे ,
एक नश्तर से फाड़ दिया है आसमान का सीना और रोक दी हैं बहारें।
मैं समंदर से मौजें चुराता हूँ और उन पर मोती सजाता हूँ,
फिर आसमान गिराता हूँ और समंदर उठाता हूँ।
वो नश्तर से जो टपक रहा है राग तरंग,
उसे तेरा काजल बनाता हूँ।
वो जो सजें हैं तेरे मौजों पर मोती,
उन्हें तेरे तर्ज़ बनाता हूँ, उनसे तेरी अदाएं सजाता हूँ।
अब तो इन बहारों को भी सुना दो फ़रमान मेरा,
इंतज़ार करें, कुछ वक़्त लगेगा,
मेरे यार की ज़ुल्फ़ सवरने में,
बड़ा गुरूर था इस क़ायनात को अपनी रूहानियत पर,
मैंने पलट दी कायनात तेरे आने की खुशी में।
I read another and I sleep, with a face I have known ever since I joined office. I reach the next day, I am seated and I look at the back diagonally from the pillar of my desk. I see you working on yours. Your glasses and your kohl eyes looking over to your laptop. I take a look for a second and I am reading the book again. I look at the laptop screen which is taking some time to fire up and I see you looking at me from the hazy black laptop reflection, and I am now sure, it’s you.
I smile at my own sharp self. I try recalling our first meeting in the conference room. I along with Sam was giving a presentation to everyone on the floor. We had snacks afterward, and everyone walked away except you, you asked me questions, I remember eating and answering them. You ate along with me and Sam.
You always smiled when you meet me in the hallway, near the coffee machine, near the vending machine. I never bothered thinking about you. I go for my cigarette break and I think is it something more, or just purely a coincidence?
I observe her daily and I wait for the concert day. I dress up, sprinkle the perfume and I drive. I wish I could have picked her up. I reach the venue with the tickets in my hand, as soon as I reach the area, I find her, dressed in the ethnic Indian white suit with glorious earpieces. She looks like a damsel.
I smile at her and wave. She waves at me, she looks nervous. She walks towards me, I sense her dulcet face.
“Hi Santa,” I say and she laughs. I walk with her. “How did you think of this, I loved it, It’s a wonderful gift,” I tell her looking at her face.
“I just asked Sam!” she says. “So the first thing Sam said was this, unbelievable,” I say surprised. “No it was one thing we had in common, I always wanted to go with someone who loves Sufi concerts.” I laugh and acknowledge “People don’t believe that there is such a thing!” She laughs, nodding her head, raising her finger in agreement.
What a fine evening, I look at the lovely decor, the stage all set with the lovely tones and with her dressed so beautifully by my side. I couldn’t have asked for anything better to end my year with this and who knows to start with the new beginnings.