He opened his eyes to find Sheila in a conference with the men in white. After they left, Sheila came to him with a reassuring smile.
“My God, you’re so beautiful, you’re my Swapna,” he said.
“Who’s she?” asked Sheila.
“Swapna means dream; you’re my swapna come true. My dream come true.”
“Tell me everything, I’m your doctor cum nurse. That allows me some liberty,” she said, giving him a peck on his lips.
Harry told her everything about Swapna.
“What else do you remember?”
“My work. I remember my workshop on Thane-Belapur Road.”
“How long ago was that?”
“I don’t know.”
“Can you recall any national event?”
“Demonitisation?” said Harry after some thought.
“You mean the one in 1978?”
“Okay. I remember now. Swapna and I met just before Woodstock 1969 and we parted ten years later.”
“That was a long time ago. You don’t look that old.”
“How old am I today?”
She handed him over two phones.
“What are these?”
“Yes, they are fully charged.”
“What am I supposed to do?”
“This is your identity.”
Harry fiddled with one of them before Sheila switched one on and held it in front of his face. The display lit up with an image of him.
“This is me!”
“Yes. Your face is your password, your identity. Your other phone accepts your thumb print as a password. We’ll try that later.”
“What do you call these mobile phones?”
“Because you can talk to or text anyone in the world from just about anywhere. It is connected to the internet.”
“What is the internet?”
“An international network of all the mobile phones and computers in the world connected a global computer network providing a variety of information and communication facilities, consisting of interconnected networks using standardised communication protocols.”
“Oh my God, the world has advanced so much in my absence. How will I catch up?”
“Not so difficult. Our entire knowledge is available on Google and Wikipedia.”
“What are you talking about? It’s all Greek to me.”
“Don’t be anxious. You will recover your memory. There’s been a lot of progress in just a few days.”
“Please help me get back my Swapna. I want her now.” Harry broke down in Sheila’s arms.
As the days progressed, Harry and Sheila make headway with their individual missions. He found new ways to flirt with Sheila, a woman half his age. It was challenging and thrilling, and kept his anxiety at bay. She didn’t seem to mind it and even went all the way with him.
“I’m just a dirty old man,” he blustered out one day.
“Why do you say that?”
“There is no ‘because’ here! It’s nothing to do with us. This is God’s desire, the God in you and in me, our purity, our bliss, and our souls.”
“You look beautiful.”
“I love it when you speak your heart out,” she said, blushing.
“You remind me of my soulmate Swapna. We have separated. I run a tiny workshop. I’m passionate about my work and her. These are the two passions of my life. I don’t know why I’m here.”
“Now’s is the time to find out.”
“You are so right when you say I should make the best use of this carefree time forced on me. I must look forward and keep my anxiety away.”
She nodded lovingly and caressed his cheeks.
A few days later Harry was allowed to visit his factory. He was told that he headed an engineering company with three factories located on highways. He also had a huge following on social media. This information was gathered from his mobile phones. It was difficult for him to fathom the advances technology had made. With this gadget in his palm, it felt like having the world in his pocket.
One of the doctors accompanied him. They drove directly to the shop floor where they were given safety helmets and eye protectives to wear. The sight of a fancy machine shop, a huge workshop of four long bays and a team of busy workmen made him envious of the person who owned the place. As he moved closer, he realised that the workmen were at attention, as if he was the owner. Approaching the end of one of the bays, he lost his calm on noticing the operator of a machine use it incorrectly.
Old memories came rushing back to him. He knew this machine! It was a big size VLT he had refurbished from scrap. Inspecting the gear box, he recalled picking it up from Daru Khana. It had once been part of a trailer. He had retrofitted it on this machine to give it a sturdy drive. This recollection was a miracle indeed. Gradually, one memory after another came rushing back. The entire place belonged to him, just as he belonged to this place.
The doctor helped him to get into the car and they drove off. Harry’s mind was racing as he started to remember everything. He finally knew who he was. He recalled slipping on the soapy water in the shower and hurting himself on the head as he fell to the floor and passed out.
The doctor was pleased with his recovery. The rainwater he thought he had licked like a dog, had in fact been water in the shower. He had lain on the bathroom floor of his Colaba apartment for eight hours before they had found him. The doctor also told him that his memories of Swapna, his first workshop and his first pet dog Boozo had kept him alive.
Harry picked up his phone and called Swapna. She was thrilled to hear his voice and told him that Arjun, Khush and she were in the car following his. They stopped and got together.
“This is a miracle after a nightmarish fortnight,” she said.
Dr Sheila had made this recovery possible. Harry felt indebted to her and made up his mind to do something for her in return. She had given him back his old life, but with a new beginning. He hugged Swapna tightly, never wanting to leave her ever again.