There has been a change in the atmosphere inside the campus. In the past couple of days, it has begun raining; the neatly ploughed fields beside the campus are drowned, the deepest of furrows marooned, only the tractor stands in the middle of the fields, lonely as if awaiting its turn to pluck the soil with its sharp rusted teeth on the trail. The sun is covered with thick veils of translucent clouds; the whole sky now looks seamless as if the painter has dabbed the borders of the sky on his painting board with cotton buds.
Just as the driver of a four wheeler, after driving up an incline, pulls his feet off the throttle on a long ride and the four stroke IC engine idles, so the campus is idling presently. The driver sits back and relishes the scenic beauty of the lush green fields on either side of the roadway that converges briefly into a bridge over a canal; the driver stops the vehicle and sits by the bridge-with the sound of water running into rock crevices in the background, he lifts his head and gapes at the bluish sky scarred with a straight line of smoke (a jet plane must have left the trail of cloud). And, the driver wonders, amazed by the straight line of thin streak turning into a thick amorphous cloud and finally disintegrating into the bluish sky.
Seated with his back against the cement wall, sound of water pulling his nerves taut as strings of a guitar, he reacts promptly – he descends into depths of serenity as if water in the canal carried rich sediments from the Himalayas and paused just for the moment on its way to the ocean, for he was present there; birds paused briefly in their flight, swooped down upon him, for he was separating grass stalks holding them by their tips and reaching out to the roots as if he was searching for something (but what! He no longer remembered, but it did not matter anyhow); the wheat fields on either side of the road swayed towards him, for they too wished to be present; the sky lowered itself down; and the clouds enraptured with delight, drizzled, for never before have they all witnessed a person so calm and assimilated into nature.
It is perhaps the atavistic nature of an MBA course, or the anachronistic feeling of a great laker, because we had no classes for the last couple of days. And, this is such a rare moment that every one of us has been epitomizing the driver. Our reflections over the serene comforts of the driver are needless to say, ephemeral, for we have received the time table for our next week and it is anything but serene.
The sun has come out into the open and the lonely tractor in the fields beside our campus has already begun its work. The driver of the countryside is no more than a lucid dream, for the running water, birds, fields, sky and the clouds have all disappeared now, and the roadway if anything is chaotic with vehicles honking horns rapidly. The driver gets into the vehicle and as he drives, he reflects on the brief but enraptured moment of experience he had. As the roadway is punctuated every now and then with small bridges such as the last one, great lakers burn their midnight oil amidst chaotic schedules, anticipating another one of those days with nothingness, another one of those bridges.