I had quite a rough day at work and being a Saturday, thought of catching up on a 'no-brainer' Movie running at our nearby Multiplex.
'Fast and Frantic 2' it was.Thirty minutes into the film and I asked myself what made me choose this tortuous Screech of Fast Cars, Tatooed to the gill Hunks and Hot gals? My rough day was actually getting rougher. The crowd certainly seemed to be lapping it all up with glee.
Thankfully the Intermission came as a welcome breather.
Picked up a Sandwich and Iced Tea and returned to the cosy comfort of my push-back seat in the middle row of the Auditorium. Delicious stuff, at least better than the movie, I said to myself.
Was munching on my sandwich when all of a sudden the Screen blanked out, the gentle buzz of the Air-conditioning system stopped and we were engulfed in pitch darkness. And silence. Pin drop silence.
Power Failure? In Mumbai, a rarity. They'll switch to Generator Back-Up in a jiffy, I thought.
After a while, still no sign of Power. The Auditorium had become perceptibly warmer and I realised to my surprise that there were no noises of alarm from the Audience at all. Very strange, normally one would expect whistles and guffaws from the pranksters. Stranger still, it struck me that the bright red 'EXIT' signs on the Doors which were essentially meant for an Emergency were all turned off.
Now, this WAS enough ground for panic, if there was any: no voices, no light, just nothing. Difficult to describe how eerie it felt. Now the warmth inside was getting quite uncomfortable and I was sweating.
It occurred to me I could use the light from my Mobile display to help me get to an Exit door. There wasn't any display. Come on, now this is what panic does: I had switched it off at the start of the Movie! Problem was, it wouldn't switch on. Great, can't even make calls from it now.
I risked appearing foolish and shouted for help. Deathly silence. It was beyond my comprehension how a packed crowd could have disappeared into thin air? Wish I had joined them too.
DO SOMETHING, I told myself! GOD PLEASE HELP ME, at least NOW!
I first thought I was hallucinating when the Projector abruptly whirred into action and an Image of a flame appeared on the screen.
Am I going plain Bonkers???
The earthen lamp with a yellowish flame gradually came into sharper Focus. Although the Power supply still appeared to be off, a cool bluish mist appeared out of nowhere and engulfed me.
Unbelievably, I became calmer. I felt that the mist was making the flame appear bluish (not that I was in any mood to complain.) Gradually the small projection on the mammoth screen grew larger and just like in a 3D Movie, reached out to me. An indescribable experience and I was beginning to actually enjoy this. Noticed that all this while I had missed out on the gentle chirping of Birds and flute playing in Surround Sound!
Gotcha! It was a Demonstration of, of....Holography! That's it, can't fool me, am too clever for you guys. Take on me! Its better than the 'Faster' stuff!
My eyes were now shut and the flame was now shining from inside me! It got bigger and and bigger until I felt as if I was a speck of dust shining like Gold in this Gigantic bluish flame dwarfing me.
In what seemed like less than a minute, I was in a trance the kind of which I had never experienced in my life- Serenity, Relaxation, Joy, Bliss, Contentment, these are the words which would best describe the state I was in.
When I did open my eyes, God knows after how long, I was feeling refreshed. I noticed I was alone in the Auditorium. The Lights were now on, the show had ended and apparently all the people had left.
There was a lone Doorman standing in the Foyer. Could I meet the Multiplex Manager, I asked him.
I shook hands with the Manager and congratulated him.
'The Demo of the Holographic system was simply Awesome!'
I gushed. 'However, I have a complaint: Please warn your Audience about what they are in for. Certainly not for the weak-hearted!', I said, winking at him.
He looked at me as if I had landed from a recently discovered Satellite of a far off planet.
'What the hell are you talking about? We run the shows strictly as per the Schedule out there. I can guess about the holographic part, though. What have you been smoking?'
Having made a perfect fool of myself, I rushed out of the Mall to catch a breath of fresh air: needed it badly.
On the deserted road outside, a man grinned at me and said, 'Amazing experience, wasn't it?'
There, finally I had someone who knew what I was talking about.
'Were you there, too? But, hang on, when I shouted for help nobody responded. Guess, you must have been as scared as me!'
He just smiled at me warmly and said, 'Gotta rush back for the next show!'
'You just saw it didn't you?' was my surprised response.
'That's my job, I'm the Watcher, the Enjoyer. I watch people cherishing that experience. I watch all of you.'
I was so stunned that my legs gave way under me and I collapsed in a heap right there on the road.
'Hey, wait! I have some questions to ask you!!'
The 'man' who now started appearing like the bluish flame I'd earlier seen, waved back at me without turning and carried on into the mall.
It dawned on me that I'd just met GOD.