I woke up with a start and looked at my watch. It was 6AM.
I had to report for work at 8AM and yesterday it took me nearly 3 hours to get there.
I wish we had finished it yesterday. But something or the other just kept happening. The weather was not right. Some Machines were not working.The main guys got held up while finishing day before’s work. And then after a full day of just waiting around – everyone was asked to go home and come back tomorrow. Going home was another story. The seniors went back in their fancy cars – probably having drinks & dinner as they were driven back home. Where as all of us junior folks were given a ride to the nearest bus station, from where the bus took another couple of hours to drop us to the centre of the city. Another 20 minutes walk – until we finally reached our rooms.
‘This can be the biggest day of my life. How can I wake up late!!’ I thought to myself as I quickly dressed up. 15 minutes was all that I took, running through the door to catch the first bus out. As soon as I turned the corner towards the bus station, I saw the bus pulling out of the depot. Probably the driver heard me yelling at the top of my lungs, and he slowed down just enough for me to board the bus. Panting and sweating heavily, I took in gulps of air as I caught my breath. Finding the bus full, I sat down at the door steps. Out on the highway, the fresh, cool air on my face felt nice. Reminded me of my home in the hills. Reminded me of my family – My father who was so upset when I left home for work five years back; My mother who was both upset and concerned on seeing me go; My brother who always encouraged me; My friends who loaned me money to follow my dream. After today, won’t they all be proud of me!
The bus slowed down near my stop and I literally hit the ground running. I kept running until I saw my team and my supervisor. Expending the last bit of energy I had and pushing every muscle in my body, I finally reached my supervisor. It was just before 8 AM.
“Mac reporting sir.” I said, gasping for breath and hunched over my knees to support myself. I felt as if my heart and lungs were about to burst.
“Wow. Good Morning! Are you ok? Here have a seat. Want some water?”
“No thanks sir. I am fine. Can we get started? Today is the day.” I said, looking up and still managing to smile. But I did not get a smile in return. My heart skipped a beat. I could see that my supervisor was a little worried actually.
“Erm. So sorry Mac, but we got started without you. After the full day we wasted yesterday, I had to start two hours earlier! I am really sorry Mac, but I had to give away your job to someone else!” he said worryingly, looking down at me.
I just didn’t know how to react. This couldn’t be happening. This was supposed to be my big day. Why god, why? All the tough times. The time away from home. The hungry nights. The nights with no roof on my head. I mean, sleeping out in the open! I started feeling dizzy and buried my face in my hands.
“I’m so, so sorry Mac. You have been such a great guy. It’s just that things just went out of my control. Last night, my boss called to start everything two hours earlier and by that time you had already left. Apparently, we are all going back to Bombay by the end of the week.”
“No worries sir. I know you tried your best. Thanks for everything.” I said, smiling feebly and finally being able to stand up. I still felt like someone had punched me in my gut. However, a bigger worry now crossed my mind. How will I now get back to Bombay? I had spent most of my remaining money on this trip. And no work today meant no pay. I had enough to stay and eat for tonight, but that was it. What now? I knew I was too proud to borrow money. And if this was Bombay, I could still bunk with friends. But where do I go now? Maybe I should call it quits and head back home?
Lost in thought and walking away slowly – I suddenly felt a hand on my shoulder. It was my supervisor.
“Mac. I just have been informed of another opening. It’s probably lesser than your earlier one but it’s open. Do you want it?”
My eyes welled up. “Yes sir. Absolutely. Thank you so much!” I said as my supervisor smilingly patted me on my back and briefed me about my new job.
3 hours later, I was sitting on top of a hill with a Gun in my hand. The rest of the guys were in the clearing below him and even though I could faintly make out what they were saying – I could not see their faces clearly. It was blazing hot but I had to sit there and wait for my supervisor to signal to him. As I saw the rest of the folks below, I wondered how it would have been if things had gone according to plan yesterday. He and 2 more guys were supposed to attack the village yesterday and teach those two a lesson. He would have shown everyone his mettle yesterday. He had prepared himself for the fight. However as fate would have it, 3 other folks went and attacked the village this morning – unsuccessfully. They had to beat a retreat though and had just come back injured. Now the big boss was really angry and was giving them a piece of his mind in the clearing below.
Suddenly I saw my supervisor signalling to me. This was my cue. Resting my gun on my knees, I said…
“Poore Pachaas Hazaar”
Aaaaaaannnnnd Cut. That was it. That was my only line. Nowhere as powerful as the fight scene which I had just missed out on. I wistfully imagined being in a scene with Dharmendra & Amitabh, followed by the scene with Amjad Bhai! That was my scene! How did I not get it?! I did everything right, but still. Fate maybe. But after all that I had been through? I mean I was this close to making it big. Wonder when the gods will listen to me. But chalo, something was better than nothing.
I felt the dialog came out right. Hopefully a few people will remember me in this movie.