Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

It was a blurry sight.My eyes were watering and the smell of charred wood filled my lungs.A pyre,at a distance,was the cause of the sight and smell.For a moment, it seemed, that the whole world was engulfed in smoke and fire.
I started coughing and looked around.A few males,all with shaven heads and swollen eyes ,were whispering amongst each other."She died early",said one,"She died a premature death.God should not have done this to poor souls like us.She was a lovely child,my asset in life.She had never cheated on others,never made others sad...a very cheerful and loveable child she was."
Another man spoke up,"Probably that explains why God took her away from us.God did not want a beautiful thing to be ruined in this nasty environment.Be glad,Mr.Chopra, that your daughter led a life of a princess and died a queen in her father's arms.She did not stay to face the hassles of life and see the real picture of this evil world."
I drew closer to get a clearer sight of the man whose daughter had died.I noticed an HMT watch on his left wrist and immediately recalled that my father owned a similar one. Rubbed my misty eyes twice to have a look at the grieving father.
I stopped.Took a deep breath in.Rubbed my eyes twice again.Searched my pocket for a kerchief to wipe my eyes only to notice that i was in a blue uniform,worn by patients in a hospital.I looked up.It was my father crying for the loss of his elder daughter,ME.
I was dead.In a fraction of seconds,the last days of my life flashed in front of my eyes.I recalled all the events of that murky night when my tensed parents brought me to a local hospital ,since i complained of a stomach ache.Severe medication was prescribed and I was immediately admitted.Innumerable tests were conducted.After hours of analysis,the docs declared that I had a very rare disease which statistically affects one in every five hundred.
I was made to stay in the hospital for days together.Proper medication and diet had made me healthy.It was the Friday morning,just two days back,when I ,lying on my hospital bed and cuddled up in my father's arms,suddenly felt short of breath.I heard my parents screaming and calling for the doctor.My eyelids felt heavy.I just could not breathe.I opened my mouth to draw in air but to no avail.Clutched my father's fist tightly and then everything went silent....
I looked at the pyre and then at my father.I felt like caressing and explaining to him that I was dead in body,not in soul.I wanted to hold him tight and make him feel that I had not left him yet.Tried to hold him but could not.Helpless and desperate,I let out a cry and started weeping.
Suddenly,the message tone of my cellphone went off.I got up startled,with tears in my eyes.I looked around and saw the usual things-my laptop,a mirror,the clothes I would be wearing to the office the next day,a cupboard and my family photo.I took a sigh of relief that all seen and heard moments ago was nothing but a dream.
Not even twenty seconds had passed when I realised that something was burning.The smell seemed familiar; something very close to what I had sensed in my dream.A chill ran down my spine.The smell burgeoned with every passing moment and I could make out that it was coming from the leftmost portion of my flat.I was sweating profusely and my pulse rate must have reached an astonishing three hundred a minute.I assimilated the guts to head towards my kitchen and my bathroom,both which lay on the left of my bedroom.
The smell intensified as I drew closer to the kitchen.I swallowed and swallowed hard.The dark kitchen was full of smoke and the very smell.With a deep breath,I switched on the light.The whole kitchen was illuminated and my sight got blurry.And when I was almost sure of the thing that I would be seeing next,I see a steel utensil,all charred on the burning stove.For a moment,it seemed that a heavy knot in the throat had been untied and that I could breathe again.With the speed of light, I turned off the stove's knob.
Completely choked by the smoke,I placed the burnt utensil on the slab.I felt stupid and irresponsible after the incident.So tired I was after a hectic day at office,that it simply slipped off my mind that I had to put off the fire made for boiling milk,and that once I lied on the bed to rest,I went deep into slumber.I felt sad at the same time for the loss of litres of milk and a brand new utensil.But I had not totally recovered from the incident of the night.I tried to draw links and arrive at a conclusion for the events just occurred.Not that I could recall every minute detail,but things still fresh in my mind were that I saw a dream..a dream in which I was dead.I had seen my own pyre and my grieving father beside it.And it was when I tried to clutch his hand that I woke up to find that all was but a dream and that the smell of charred wood was indeed the smell of burnt milk in my kitchen.But what had woken me up? A message, yes, it was a message.I looked around for my cellphone to view the new text.
The message was from one of my office colleagues.The text said,"My sister was complaining of a major stomach ache for the past few days.Today,while we were on our way to consult a doctor,my sister went short of breath and blue by face.She was declared"brought dead" in the hospital.There is a ceremony organised,tomorrow at noon,in the loving memory of my sister and you ,my dear friend are invited to bless her soul and pray that it always abodes in peace."
I switched off my cellphone and without thinking twice started packing my bags to leave for home.The night had been too eventful and had shaken me to the core.
I related the night's incident to everyone back home.Some who heard it ,found it very intriguing and named it a "major coincidence" in my life...though I believe that somethings in life should be better left unnamed....