Thursday, February 14, 2013

If only wishes were horses.

It had always been a hurried morning routine for B as far back as she could remember. She'd get up at 8 while her alarm went off at 6.50. She would then reason with herself - it's too cold and she's late anyway - and with a promise of doing it in the evening, she would give the bath a miss and hurriedly get dressed and would be ready to leave in 20 minutes. Breakfast would invariably comprise of a McEgg burger and a cup of crappy coffee from the McDonald's at the Metro station, before she made an invariably embarrassed entry into the class halfway through the first lecture. Everyone in the class was used to her dropping in at around the same time everyday, and yet they never failed to give her amused or condescending glances as she entered.

On this particularly chilly winter morning, she was in a somber mood. She'd woken up to an unusually horrible dream and had picked up an argument with her father while leaving for college. Boarding the crowded metro, she spotted one of her classmates in the adjoining bogie, and before she could duck behind someone or make herself invisible, the girl seemed to have spotted her and was excitedly proceeding towards her already. She pulled a long face. The day seemed jinxed from the start.

The classmate, nicknamed Weirdo by the class, was a chatterbox, which in addition to her obviously visible weight issues and nonchalant propensity towards self-lionization, made her a pain in the neck. They exchanged the necessary pseudo-pleasantries and thus began Weirdo's podcast of the day, while B conveniently faded into the backdrop. Somewhere between her various sermons, the train stopped at one of the major interchange stations and a huge unruly crowd entered the coach and began pushing and pulling like crazy in order to occupy every last bit of space available inside. Jolted abruptly from her train of thoughts, B found herself being violently hurled around by the mob. Unable to find footing, she fell backwards with considerable force. She grappled about in thin air for something or someone to hold onto, but could catch hold of nothing and was convinced she was going to be a casualty of a metro stampede after all. But all of a sudden, out of nowhere, a hand positioned itself firmly on her lower back and helped her stand up straight and stabilize herself. In the maddening crowd, she could not catch a glimpse of her savior but she thanked the stranger with all her heart.

In another ten minutes the train reached her station and she proceeded to get out, followed by Weirdo, pushing her way through the coach full of unyielding strangers. The distance between her and the train doors was reducing at a snail's pace and she feared she'd be left inside. Almost as if on cue, she suddenly had this feeling that someone behind her was pushing everyone away so she'd manage to get out before the doors closed. And right before she stepped out, a sweet motherly voice of a lady whispered over her shoulder, 'Don't worry beta, I'm here for you.' She stepped out and swung around to thank the kind lady, but she was nowhere to be seen. Must have stayed inside the train to travel further, she surmised, and thanking her stars that the ordeal was over, caught up with Weirdo and rushed towards college.

The day dragged on, and crappy assignments and boring lectures left her tired. In the afternoon session, they received a particularly humongous home assignment that just reinforced her premonition that the day was jinxed. She could not help but wish that the kind mysterious lady were here to help her through the assignment too. But if only wishes were horses.

She somehow pulled herself through the day and reached home, distraught. After having a dinner spiced up with her parents' vehement lecture on her short temper, she retired to her room to struggle with the horrendous assignment she was expected to submit the next morning. One hour into the task and she was wishing she were dead. Her room was at the far corner of the house, somewhat set off from the rest of the house. The entire household was fast asleep by this time and there was an eerie silence all around. She decided to relax a bit and take a few deep breaths to aid concentration. She closed her eyes and could hear the rustling of dry leaves on the marble sidewalk outside. A cricket seemed to be croaking in the distance. These were sounds she hardly took note of on any other day. Or maybe they were only sounding on that particular night. She felt strangely at peace.

Thus inspired, she took one last deep breath and sat down on the bed again with papers all around her, deciding to give it another try. 15 minutes into it, she found herself again wondering how great it would have been if The Almighty could send down a messenger or angel to help her with her work. Much like the kind lady from the metro. She laughed at the seemingly funny thought and pulled the blanket tighter around her shoulders, for it had suddenly gotten colder. Damn these Delhi winters, she thought. Looking around for the source of the cold draft, she spotted the window open. It was while she sat there staring at the window, willing herself to get out of the cozy blanket and close it, that the window slowly creaked shut. On its own. Almost simultaneously the light went out. And she felt a warm breath on her neck, and a sweet voice whispering in her ear, 'Don't worry beta, I'm here for you.'
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