An Imaginary Expedition

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
They echo in my every heartbeat. I thought for once that he was imaginary. But the story turns into an eventful end.

Submitted: March 11, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: March 11, 2017



“When we would be able to see him?” I and my little sister chorused.

“He is on an expedition, my kids,”Mom replied. The thoughts yet bang against my head and the very first thought which comes is ‘for how long will he be on an expedition’. Its been 12 years since I have not seen him , and saying that he is unknown to me will be no wrong.

To be true, we were packing. To be really true, I was myself not in the mood of a trip and to be truly honest, I wanted to sleep. But, for my little eight, who gets excited about ‘trains’ and ‘autorikshaws’ , I decided to be quiet. She is just like the small bud , even in the family of buds, she is not the matured one. She is just opening up for the world. The time when she would face this world, she would realise that this life is no more a smooth life but a battle where we just need to stand, fight and win!

Three black suitcases were arranged. It looked stuffed up just like the modern days burger. I was totally tired and there was something quite remarkable. The time I started this write-up , mamma was working quite hard , mastering the PACKING field , but now when I looked at her, she is just snoring; not the giant snores but the cute ones. Wait, let me run to her & peck her a kiss. Done!

“ Paa…paaaa..Stop! You can’t cross that boundary. Wait,…Pa,..aapaaa… No! There is a beep , could you hear?? No…No…. Boo….oommm! (  #Explosion ) I woke up panting. I was totally in miserable condition. But it was not “Totally” as my hand was under the warmth of the lady for whom I am utterly precious. Well, I just hit that alarm clock hard with my feet and wiped off my sweat. Yes, the mornings are considered to be cool and calm, but the scenario was just opposite to it. LITERALLY OPPOSITE!

I am writing and thinking.  Thinking about this house , thinking about the canary , thinking about Timmy, thinking about neighbours , thinking about the sky and land and weather, thinking about the water , thinking about my mom, thinking about my sister , thinking about everything which existed in this world, let alone HIM! In what genre do I put my thoughts of ‘him’ into? A Fiction? Considering this whole world to be the number line, that infinite number line, and taking alive people to be plus one, plus two, plus three and so on, the dead to be the middle Zero, then He would be the imaginary side!

Well, if he was on imaginary side, I would like to give this time to him , to wherever he may be, he shall be elated. Because I am his origin, overall! A 5’10” male, skinny with glimpse of muscles, shiny appearance , small little brown eyes , not those Chinese ones but the Indian version of it and with tints of eyelids , the eyebrows not in shape but still beautiful. Yes, it was beautiful , the lips carved into a smile, a big white tooth-ed smile, smart and physically fit , not those abs, but magnificient in the most evident sense of “magnificience” . It was He! My Imaginary HE!

“Make it out fast , son! Its already late. The autorickshaw is here.”

“Mamma , Your son is here on your command. Let me pack up this diary because this is my ONLY friend . Isn’t it overall a truth that  a non- living thing is a better friend than these livings? They are more trustworthy. Like , if I would have shared this to a breathing person , he or she would have listened to me and my thoughts would have find a space in them, for some moments, and then everything vanishes- my pain, my thoughts. Livings empty themselves for millions lined up in their life. And to my diary, I am the only one in its life.

The big crowd of people, the hawkers monotonous shouts , the must- watch dog fights, the big station stalls, well the stalls are big with just the presence of “things” which were only things in general, lifeless , going from factories to the whole sale market , then to small shops , to hawkers and roadside stalls. ‘They are always on an expedition’. But, He is not a thing . Mom had said to me that he is alive . Mom never said that he was lifeless- lifeless, without life; lifeless, the pain and sorrows ; lifeless- the Imaginary One. I am on an expedition of the thoughts where the three beasts: He, Imaginary and Expedition are severely battling. There is an output I just processed,

“He is on an imaginary expedition”. Never will I know the real sense of it as I myself don’t know how it came out to exist or was it always in the world . The ‘always’ which we say to the living that they would ‘always’ remain with us even if they are dead, the ‘always’ like that Sun would ‘always’ rise, like ‘always’ was beyond time and I wanted Him to be beyond time. I wanted him to come back to me. I literally desired it.


So, I was looking at the stalls. Now, the crowd is little as compared to the time I arrived at the station.The monotonous calls of the hawkers have faded , the street dogs ran away without leaving a single food wrapper on the floor and then there was this Gigantic hero , rushing forward towards us , cutting the wind , calling out loudly to the world to acknowledge its presence because it was thing and it was not a thing. It had its diesel oxygen , had its engine heart , it had its giant body. In the most fictious sense, it was living a life.

“The train is also always on an expedition across the country.” Considering it lifeless and just a ‘thing’ would be against my wish.I had this wish that one day the imaginary would turn real , that once, maths would also be easier , that for a moment we shall not be battling with complex numbers , that for one day I would have a life in me and for one day she would be happy, for one day, the little eight’s heart  would dance with joy , that one day , I would be on the seventh sky , that one day when there will be no complex numbers , life would not be a maze, for one day , I shall not be lost in the labyrinth , for one day , I would be swathed in ‘WE’ , the four , with my fictious – yet – real man, and not with many lifeless things and things with life.

“ Mom, its , S8 , I am damn sure about it. “

“Its S7.5 brother,” I turned back and saw her innocent face. Yes, she was my dear sister , I kneeled down , took her hands into mine, ‘There is always the chance of doing mistakes’. Upon rechecking our ticket, we found out that my sister would not have been more right. There was “ S7, S7.5 , S8” , and hers was S7.5. I felt embarrassed at the moment.

We took our respective seats. We hurled up our suitcases up above the cabin. I was on the window seat to take the view of the outside world , not the train life but the life outside it. The most excited girl was in her deep sleep , not the always – deep sleep but the temporary deep sleep. Like she has many days to live . Like I utterly wish to let her live more than anyone , I utterly wish that she stands out the most brave girl of our origin , like I wanted all cells in her to breathe , each and every cell in its real sense , Yes, I needed her to live my life and I wanted her to get more days than I got. And then what do I do? Peck her a kiss? Yes, I was a kissy fellow ! I hugged her too.


The train was still at halt. The people were quiet , there were sounds , the mixed sounds, the laughter , the cries of the baby , the talks of the adult , uhh.. many to mention. So I diverted myself to look outside. Suddenly, I remembered the presence of my Mom beside me. She had a magazine opened in front of her but her eyes were focused on the roar of the engine which began some moments before. It seemed as if she belonged to that engine or that engine belonged to her. The tears were rolling down her eyes , the evident streak of tears , the tears which fell on the Saree and made it wet. I realized right now that there are some existing and many non – existing things in this world which actually has a great impact on our lives . Yes, the great impact where the  imaginary man stands tall in the list.

The train began with a rough start, and we all were in a uniform movement backward and then it was okay. We were all in our comfortable position accelerating forward defying the space and time. The place where the train once stood was empty and then for all the next destinations , it would be the same. I just took hold of Mom’s shoulder, and laid my head on it and then it was….

Mornings have never been like this for me. It was bright and sunny, cool and calm. I woke up, took my breakfast and then rushed upstairs. There was a storeroom and I was actually finding my rag pet puppy and the cotton filled toy puppy. I was making my way through the ‘things’ and then there was this frame which fell down…I slided my hand through the air to catch that frame and..

“SO..nnn…Ahh..hh. And I felt a sudden force on my hand and the feet at the same time . The causes were different.The former was because of Mom’s hand and the latter was the result of…I myself don’t know. I had this vague feeling that my hand was getting wet and my eyes were wide-open , the image was yet blur but there was this red colour , the scratch and the blood. I screamed in pain. I just looked at Mom and she was just looking at that roaring engine-the sped up engine. The streak of the tears were quite remarkable . And then, I suddenly felt something under my feet.The frame!! God! Was I in dream or reality , I could not figure it out. The time I was going to pick up the frame , my mom shook herself a little . And I turned towards her . She was in the same stationary state all over again. The frame which was marking its presence on the train’s blue floor was now not there. It was invisible . Like those imaginary numbers which never really existed , still it exists in us . I let go of that photo frame.

The outside view attracted my attention. Yes, there were free birds flying , bringing in me the memories of my canary caged at home . The workers were working in the fields ; sowing the seeds , nurturing the plants which would once be tall plants , which would then once bear the dried leaves , which would once leave all its neighbours , which would once empty the space , which would once go back to where it originated from. I looked at the kids playing marbles and then my little eight’s presence made me nostalgic. So overall, the outside world was the same as my own little world.

The train halted at another station. It was half an hour stop. So , I decided to move out of this closed space , this bogie which consisted me. Although, don’t be in the thoughts that I possess Claustrophobia !  I was finally out now. Mom was in the train with her doll . I was near the water basins , reading the train’s name, which I was actually noticing right then .  What sort of mess I am!!

It was “ Lahore Express”. Lahore is a place in Punjab, to  where I belong. There was something remarkable about the name plate of the train. The name plate had a red streak in between , on every name plate , was the same condition. There was no reason that popped in my head for this red streak and the name plate’s uniqueness. Right in front of me, I saw Mummy , wiping off her tears and coming towards me.

“ Why are you out?” – I asked mom.

“ Because you are out “ ! – Mom replied.

Mom, that’s not any reason.

That’s the only reason. I can’t let my body work without my heart. Could this be the reason, Ankit?

I love you, Mom!

So do I , Son!

She was the most beautiful lady of my life. She was better than a God . She was better than anyone could ever be . She was ethereal . She was something just beyond words. And I fulfilled my kissy character.

“Ankit, do you know how and why a person is alive? Like you see, I am walking , I am crying , I am looking at you , how” ? – Mom questioned with innocence carved on her face.

“ Because you allow yourself to.” – This was the only answer which occurred to me at that very instance.

“Pretty well! Yes, because I allow myself to . I am surviving without lungs . Because, I literally am compelling myself to live.” – Mom seemed thoughtful.

“Without lungs”?? I questioned.

“ Completeness comes with the incompleteness. You were once in my womb. You were just  a cell , then you grew into an embryo, then you had eyes, hands , feet and belly and then there was the birth of my Ankit. So , now you get?”- I was drowned into the purity of her soul!


“ I lost my lungs where my Oxygen reached quite so many years before.

Don’t fear Cancer. I never had any.” – Mom murmured lost in her thoughts.

“ SO you and Anamika are my heart  and the substitute of my dead lungs.”

“ Are heart and lungs only the means of survival?” – I asked.

“ No, Son! I have intestines , the stomach , oesophagus , and every other system a body should contain for survival . They are made by your canary , your writings, your aunts and neighbours – the WORLD in general.”  I wondered if she was a biologist , a philosopher or she understood life in the best way.


“Ankit, I have a heart too. But the imaginary one like those complex numbers with the imaginary part. Same am I , the complex body with an imaginary part. Like it’s on an expedition. Same where He is.”

There were streaks once again on her cheeks . Her eyes were deep red , not like those of vampires and aliens but like the innocent red, where I felt like being an antman , going in her eyes , painting the Cornea white and the Iris black . I gave her a hug and wiped off her tears.

The kissy boy had a kissy mom.

Yay! She kissed me . And then I caught hold of her hands and it was actually one minute to the train’s start.

There was a melody reaching my ears.


Look ye’ the world , the place where I stand

The graveyeard where there is only soil and sand

Look ye’ the creator of the world

The deaths too have their flags unfurled

Look ye’ the creator of me

I wonder if you need it to see

Look ye’ my elder brother

I never want this plus to dig in further

Look ye’ the world again

He may be drying the blood stain

He may be missing the bandages

Because he only lived his life’s four stages

And then see these white flowers

Which stand on these graves white towers

Look this soil standing so still

Like this emptiness can never fill

Because this graveyard is death’s attire

His journey to the cemetery was without the byre

His journey was never so smooth

Because he was the darkness’ truth

The graveyard is black

Inside is no white

Its only him and the bugs

He is so still

Not anything to fill

Emptiness to grill ….


It was not a melody of celebration. It was the pain in the voice . It was the pain of her soul that she was uttering. But the pain right now? At this small age? What is she suffering with? I rushed inside the bogie of the train. And she was …

Not there!

I was totally worried . I asked my mom if she knew where Anamika had gone. All of a sudden , from the window, outside the bogie , I could see her. She was near the cemetery. The cemetery of brave people, the place where the dead lived, the dead which are turned alive into the memories! I called out her name. She was in her imaginary world. She never listened to me. I had to run and I ran.

These things happened in just forty five seconds and there is only fifteen seconds left for the train’s departure. Mom was inside the train and I promised her hat in fifteen seconds, I would actually return back, ‘ return back’ from the cemetery with myself , with Anamika and without him.

The area of Cemetery was under my feet .

Forty-sixth second:

Sister?? What happened? Wipe of your tears.

I hugged her and she was still crying. This was the first time my hug had no importance and it must have a soulful reason for its failure in showing its effect.

Forty-seventh second:

She had the soil in her hand.

“ Brother, is He here?” – She asked me.

“ Hey , do you know what you are saying? It can never happen.” – I answered to her silly thought.

Forty-eighth second:

I know , I had thought of imaginary numbers and yes they were unreal and for now, I really wanted them to be real. I wanted maths to be really tough , I wanted complex numbers to contain infinite powered to infinite imaginary numbers and I wanted him to exist.

Forty-ninth second:

Come, run with me ! We need to go , Anamika.

For this second, I had tears for the first time. I and Anamika were crying in the same pain.

Fiftieth second:

We were running towards the train.

Fifty-first second:

We entered in our A/C chamber and occupied the empty S7 and S7.5 seat.


Mom was looking at us . She was honourably looking at us. She was happily looking at us. She was looking at us with everything in her eyes, let alone the bad will.

“ Son, you are brave. You are the same brave as was he. It was just nine seconds…” She stopped in the middle.

“Nine seconds to…” I wanted her to complete her own incomplete statement.

“Bomb diffuse!” – She finally replied.

“Bomb?? We are not discussing war . Are we ?” – My tone was more of a scolding than the questioning one.

“He died nine seconds to bomb diffuse.”- She uttered it with her trembling lips which never really wanted to utter.


I was awestruck. I was in the most bitter pain of my life. I was drowning inside the poisonous fluid , I was actually dying or wished to die . I couldn’t live with this mere thought of him being a ‘dead’ than an imaginary soul. He was alive. Or I just desired that he should be alive. For me, For my sister, For my mother, For the country.!

I was sobbing. Mom took no mention of it. Yes, she was using her substitute lungs. She was compelling herself to live. To my side was Anamika . I touched her heart and it was S-T-I-L-L. I was , for a second, in coma.

Sister… wake up! I actually bet her up in my anger of losing her too. I never wanted to be just two. I always wanted to be four , but I am currently three. And I am actually happy.  If the world was Alladin’s lamp, I wanted to be the Alladin.

She opened her eyes.

“ Brother, I was giving him my breaths , not all but some to let him breathe.” And I was ashamed right now. Totally. She was not small but she was bigger than me. She was immature yet matured . She was lively yet lifeless.

Mom intertwined her fingers into mine and then I intertwined mine into sister’s. It happened naturally.

“Let us give some of our breaths to him. All three of us.” My family of three chorused.

We took rest from the beating of the heart. For three beats, each one of us beating it together , we gave it to him. He needed it if he was imaginary . He needed to come back from his expedition . He has to cuddle with me . He has to make me eat. He has to see my book ,like look , what his son was studying. Yes, I wanted to be a S-O-N. I wanted to be a papa’s teddy. I wanted to utter this word, my heart was crying, screaming bitterly. I was in LITERAL pain. And then after nine beats altogether, we gave our heart the command to beat again. Beat! Beat ! Beat!

Mom asked me to bring the biggest suitcase down. And I did what she asked me to do.

She opened up the bag.

There was the photoframe. I turned it towards me and there was this proud young man, 5’10” , the real man, not the imaginary one. Yes, he was my papa. He was my father. He was my dearest lost soul. God, bring him back to me. Find a way out. Nothing is I-M-POSSIBLE.

The photoframe was wet with my tears, the tears fell down from the frame and evacuated in the space.My tears had no importance , like it was meaningless to shed.  SO, I dropped my hand inside my bag to bring out the second thing. The Father’s letter to a Son.


See, you would never come to know that right now, I am by your side. You are in your baby pants, you are hitting my face with your sweet, little feet, you are uttering innocent monosyllables, you are smiling, you are a BRAVE son. You have to stand tall in this world. You have to be a God-fearing , mother loving and sister- caring man! I am going on an expedition to Lahore . Lahore military Camp needs a brave man to diffuse the bomb . And I need to go. You have to live, Son. I will bring gifts for you. I am sure your mamma will give you this letter one day- to show that your dad loves you so much. You are the genal evolution of my origin. I love you son.

And your mamma is packing up my bags right now. She is a kissy lady. I fear, you would be the same. J

I was silent, sitting still with my wide eyes , pooling out the tears , I was uttering no words. I was totally lost. Completely in the thoughts of baby Ankit with his brave father. And Yes, my father was brave, wasn’t he?


In the midst of all this, there was a man passing by our side.

“Namaskar, Sahiba”- He said.


Mamma was lost. I shook her up. “ Moooommmmm”


“Ye…e…e….sss!”- I was glad she woke up.


“Patel Ji? ! How are you here? You were…” – She was surprised.


“Dead. I was considered dead.”- Patel Ji said.


I understood right now that the thing which we “consider” is not always true.


“ How did you survive and why didn’t he? Why?” – Mamma was fiercely questioning. Like her hopes got revived that now he was also alive. It felt so soothing. Everything in the world right now was a harmony. The perfect Melody.

“To your surprise, the bomb was diffused by Ankit’s father.”


 Ankit’s father! Wow! The shiver ran all along my spine. And I was the proud son of a worthy father.


“And, then? He was dead?

God’s so cruel!”


“ May I take the seat, Sahiba?”


“ Sure, Patel Ji”!


“ Do you know why this name plate bears a red streak in the middle of it?” – Patel Ji offered an answer for this question and this was an offer to be grabbed.




No, Ankit. It’s your father who made that. The Lahore is not only a place in India. It’s in Pakistan too. It’s a symbol !


Did you all listen? My father was not actually among the complex numbers , he was the +1 , +2, +3 and so on.. He was an infinity. Not just infinity but he was infinity exponentially increased 100 times to infinity.


Mom, did you hear?


Mom had a real smile in these twelve years.

“Yes, Son. He is alive . My Lungs is not dead. It was just on an expedition for getting repaired.”


“ So, he diffused the bomb and he is alive. Where is he then?”


“ The other bomb explosion took him in the P-A-K-I-S-T-A-N. He is taken under Pakistan Control.”- Patel Ji answered.


“ And So this was the border of bloodshed. It was the border separating me and Papa. It was separating my family, the three of us , from him.”


“ How far is it from here?”


“ Just the next station.”


O..M..G..!! What is the hell is this surprise.  I cannot believe I am going to meet my imaginary soul who was actually residing in the real body.


“ Mommy, I love you ! Sister, wake up, We got your father.”


I will never mind now to pass from these places full of dead’s haunting soul, the cemetery scenes. This was a Trip on which I never really wanted to come. This was the Trip which actually made me meet my father. This was the trip which made my dream come true. This was the Best trip. I loved going on this “Imaginary Expedition”.

“You may never reach him.” – Patel Ji said a battling statement.

“ Huh..”


“There is still the border, Ankit.” L


~ Ankit Kumar Upadhyay.

:Dedicated to the family of the people of the world.

~Because families can give us life and take our life.

~ Salute to all the people on their Imaginary Expedition.

© Copyright 2019 ankitkupadhyay. All rights reserved.

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