Corporate offices, if you ask me in some way, are nice. At least they won’t let you feel the weather outside. Sweaty mornings, scorching afternoons, crimson evenings or muggy nights. It all looks the same from your pushback chair and eternally drawn curtains. Whatever the weather outside, you remain cool inside. And whatever be the time, nine o’clock in the morning or nine o’clock in the night, if your ruthless manager smilingly asks you, ‘Howz it going?’, you make an inscrutable face like Alfred Hitchcock and say, ‘Just Great!’ I have been doing this for a long time. From the day, I enlisted myself in the rat-race. From the day I started searching for that crisp currency paper happiness.
I read somewhere that the great John Lennon wanted to be happy. Just happy. It so happened because the legend was told by his mother at the tender age of five that, ‘Happiness was the key to life.’ I don’t remember if my mom had told me so and if she did, it did not register as for lesser mortals like me, happiness was and is always the by-product of the golden word – Money. So, as I was saying, I have been packing bags, travelling places, shuffling jobs, meandering through life in search of that happiness. I don’t know how close or how far I am from it. But still when it rains in the evening and I suddenly pull apart the corporate curtains to have a glimpse of it, I can clearly hear my heartbeat. Like a dull thud against my ears. It makes me feel that I am still alive. And I badly, sadly and heartily miss my Naughty Boy days.
Those were the days of my life! Feeling a thousand rain needles on your face and running with the plastic ball towards a hazy water-bottle crafted goalpost. Or playing Hide & Seek on the cemented grounds of your school. With Naughty Boy on your feet. I remember it became a fashion in those innocent times, wearing Bata’s Naughty Boy. And I remember I pestered my father to buy one. Concrete classrooms, muddy playgrounds or tarmac roads, it never left you. Nor did the innocence. In those happy times, when life was without video games and play stations but was a lot of fun. When radiant eyes were filled with dreams of ice-cream and chocolates and when the girl who sat next to you was really your dearest friend.
Days changed. Time passed. I grew up. Naughty Boy was gone. Torn and tattered. Thrown away from my life. But even today, somewhere I dearly miss that Naughty Boy in me. I miss it badly. And every day wearing those Ganuchi shoes makes me feel so incomplete. And every day while on the road, as I watch those innocent faces in not so innocent times, in our metro jungle, video game addicted kids, with mammoth sized schoolbags, I miss the happy smiles missing from their faces. In a city where skyscrapers and plush malls have edged out playgrounds from neighbourhoods, I stop my car, and at times try to look at their feet. Do they still wear the Naughty Boy? Is the Naughty Boy still alive in them?
Saptarshi Basu is a gold medallist in mechanical engineering and has worked in the IT industry for the last eight years. However, writing has always been his first love, his passion. His debut novel-Love (Logic) and the God’s Algorithm is now a national best seller in Infibeam, a premier online store. His second novel, Autumn In My Heartwas published by Vitasta Publishing with Times Group in November’11. He maintains a blog http://saptak-firsttry.blogspot.in/ and writes screenplays for movies and columns for some online magazines.