The Day My Life Stood Still…

“India is my country, and all Indians are my brothers and sisters”..And so runs our students’ pledge. We all have taken that pledge every morning in the assembly, though half-heartedly, because the system was hell-bent on transforming our heart-throbs into our sisters.

India is a country full of diversities, but it’s united still. The number of days we have festivities, far outweighs the number of non–festive days. Ours is a country, where when a child gets ready to go out with friends, he is advised not to eat outside food, not because of hygiene. We have outgrown those times. He is sent off with a warning, “Son, today is ‘Sankranti‘ (the particular event is subject to change), so don’t you dare to eat anything outside. Else you will ‘destroy’ the sanctity of the house.” As if bad breathe arising due to onion consumption would scare away the Gods from entering and blessing the house.

Ours is a country where we donate thousands of bucks to the temple, or to the temple priests to get close to Gods, literally, but sidestep the ones who really need our help, with rude remarks. And even when some of us do decide to display our ‘charity’, it’s usually with a rupee coin, having failed to turn up a fifty paise one. But social matters aside, let me describe the inhuman incident, that assassinated any little faith that I had on the Hindu religion.

I had hit the sack quite late the previous night. Had been chatting up with a ‘long lost’ pal on facebook. These social networking sites are quite awesome. They help bring back lost memories, and help make new friends, some of which are quite beneficial to single-ready-to-mingle sort of guys like me. I usually stay up the better part of the night surfing through the jokes posted here, looking up some ‘interesting’ profiles and teasing friends on their various posts. A friend of mine had posted a quite desperate update on his shattered dreams of being with his crush, and as was my nature,by choice, I was brutal on him. But little did I know about the wrath of Aphrodite. She had most probably been keeping tabs on me, and the way I played with the emotions of my acquaintances, who had any glitches in their love-life, and struck me hard, when and where it hurt the most.

Anyway, just as I was saying, I slept late at night, and normally, late to bed means late to rise. But the ‘normal’ term hardly ever applies to me, courtesy of my ‘awesome’ family. I was first woken up at 7:10 am, just after 3 and a half hours of sleep, and advised to start my day with the pranayamas. But all those who know me and are aware of my well-built physique, must also be aware of my enthusiasm towards yoga, or any other physical exercise. And like any of you would expect of the Great me, I stood up to them, figuratively, and continued on with my sleep, with the feeling of victory helping me on my journey to complete my hibernation, well till the latter part of the morning. But my victory sleep was cut-short , by the random variable inserted into my life’s equation by my parents, which heavily tilted the balance into their favour. My arch-enemy, the only one capable of defeating me in house-hold politics, my biological brother had just arrived the previous evening, after having finished his exams. The fiend brutally jerked me from my peaceful slumber, turning deaf to my pleads and used his brute force to drag me up to the sink and splashed ice-cold water on my face. The experience was the same as what one feels while operating switches fixed by the highly ‘qualified’ electricians in government quarters. But still, I wasn’t dissuaded from my goal. I made a bee-line towards the bed, trying to help Hypnos hold on to whatever control He had on me. After walking a couple of steps, I found the Lady of The House blocking my way with the greatest weapon available to her, and it was not a ‘belan’ or a broom for that matter. Standing beside my 5 foot tall mother was the 6 foot walking master-of-disaster, the abominable brother. May God curse that abomination, and may he be denied sleep for 72 continuous hours. Only then he would be able to sympathise with me…

“Have you no shame??? How dare you sleep so late? Look at he neighbours children. They have been up for the last two hours!!!”, mom’s voice boomed, scaring the sleep away from me.

“What can i do, if they have no life, or a facebook account for that matter”, I thought to myself. Voicing these aloud, would have given the Satan incarnate an opportunity to strike me down with his signature cold-hearted comments, and I wasn’t ready to give him that satisfaction. And also, my answering back at that time would have acted as the residual current required to fully charge the in-built radio, situated in mom’s larynx, which has been known to last 3 hours and 40 minutes at a stretch.

“What’s for breakfast today”, I inquired. “paratha and potato curry.” “But i want Dosa!!”, I exclaimed. We have such kind of  ‘conversation’ almost every morning, with little variance.

Mother looked irritated now. “Today is such an auspicious day, and you are talking of eating outside food! Have you forgotten, today’s purnima.”

I just don’t get what’s so special about the heavenly bodies playing hide-n-seek. We have better light shows during the Puja celebrations. But anything beyond our understanding is considered Godly (or demonic, according to convenience). And Hindu culture and tradition is not something to be messed with. “Arrey han! I remember. You were mumbling something about it yesterday.”

“So bathe already. The sun’s already up,” she was exasperated now.

“I’m going na, have some patience”. There’s something mysterious about the water early in the morning. Somehow it feels extremely cold! Maybe that’s the reason I tend to bath well after the hour hand has crossed twelve, and after the sun has done the work of geyser for me, if at all. Anyway, i finished my duel with the freezing water, and practised the ragas at the same time.

Here I have left out two important details. One, we had moved to the locality recently. And two, my heart had run away from its cage the second day of our arrival and made contact with our next door neighbour, and stayed with her, leaving aside the few minutes it zaps around the malls and parks. She is around 5 feet 3 inches, the ideal height for me, fair skinned, contrasting my dark complexion, shoulder length black hair and a slim figure. She’s even 2 years younger than me, info collected after pestering my mother. I hadn’t been close enough to look at her eye colour, but I was sure, I would like it too. She probably even liked me, ‘cos every time she caught me staring at her, she gave one of her trademark smiles. Oh the smile!!! It captivated my heart, the first time I saw it, and continued to do so, even 8 months later.

Now, where was I? Yeah, woke up at 7, slept till 7:10, had my face violated by ice-cold water, and then the whole body felt like it was plunged into the Arctic. After that, I was advised to tuck food into my ever-expanding personal well, which I did quite willingly and with much gusto. The whole process was completed by 8 o’ clock. Then I switched on the computer, only to be kicked out of the commander’s seat by, you can guess who. So with a broken heart, and luckily with intact bones, I dragged my feet towards the bed, and switched on the television. I started surfing through the channels, as would any other teen in my position. But I was halfway through the procedure, when I heard the voice, whose owner commandeered my heart. She was outside our door, calling for my mother. I dashed to the mirror, checked my hair and made suitable changes to it, powdered my face (there wasn’t enough time to apply any sort of cream). And like a loyal son would, I stood behind my mom, as she opened the door to let my heart-throb in.

She was in a black salwar-kameez, with golden floral pattern, and the dress looked stunning on her. I took extra caution checking her eyes out, it was long overdue. Her eyes were brown coloured and I decided that it would be my favourite colour then onwards. She was chatting with my mom, but what they were talking about, I know not, for I directed all the powers of my senses to my eyes, for it was now the most important part of my body now. She held something in her hand, but I couldn’t make out what it was. My sense of vision was for viewing her face only.

Slowly, she walked towards me. I was hypnotised by her smile, the smile forever etched in my memory. She took my hand in hers. It was our first touch. Her skin was softer than the finest velvet, and smoother than silk. Her hands, like Zeus himself, sent bolts of lightning through my body, sending me crashing through the roof of the seventh heaven, and then beyond. She was near enough for me to me to smell her, but unlike some lecherous beings, I decided to let my sense of smell take a vacation, and let the eyes do the work. She was looking down for some reason, maybe because she felt shy. Mother was standing beside us, smiling. Probably she liked her too. Opportunities like this present themselves rarely, I wasn’t one to miss such a glorious one. I was going to profess my love to her, then and there, no matter the consequences.

Suddenly she knelt down, and touched my feet. I was puzzled. Usually the girl touches the feet of her husband, AFTER the marriage. But girls these days are quite advanced. Did she love me too??? Was this her way of expressing her heart’s desire??? My heart jumped back inside my rib-cage, doing every sort of known, and some highly fantastic somersaults. I was about to say the three words, when I noticed a colourful string tied too my right wrist. Now the reason behind her ‘shyness’ became clear. She had been tying a rakhi to my hand. And the purnima that my mother was referring to was Rakhi Purnima, the festival day when a sister ties a rakhi (a coloured string) to her brother, making him promise that he would protect her. It was the reason I was woken up and expected to bath early.

My life, my dreams were shattered. My heart self-exiled itself from my body, and has not returned ever since. From that day on, I have held a spite against the Hindu religion, which turns the ones you WANT to love as your girlfriend, to the ones you HAVE to love as your sister. And irony of it, I had just teased a friend of mine, the previous night saying, “May God make the girl you love come to you, and tie a raksha bandhan on your hand.”

Well, I now agree that God does exist, and HE exists to kick me in the face, and then joke about it.

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