It was all sudden. I had just started feeling peace brimming my mind when it all vanished, replaced by head-banging headache.
I was sitting in the drawing room and flipping through the newspaper.
It was seven in the morning. Following my weird habit, I stopped at page 6, of the newspaper, having the obituary column.
Seventh from the top right was the 19 years old girl’s picture. The description below it said-
I stared at my name and then at my pic. It wasn’t really a nice one…the camera couldn’t hide the pimple on my left cheek! “Damn!!” I said. It took me a few minutes to realize that it was my pic indeed.
“Hey!! Wait a minute!! What am I doing there!!?”
I was shocked. What exactly am I doing in the OBITUARY COLUMN!! I certainly had a secret wish to see my name in the national daily ,but certainly not in this way!!
Well yeah, my days weren’t going good. I had been having
suicidal thoughts most of the time. But I knew I could never have done it. I had never been a loser… (Okay maybe I had, was just trying to sound all cool there). The real reason I couldn’t do it was that I was scared. God, I often woke up in the middle of the night feeling so damn scared of the ghosts, imagine killing myself…I’d die of fear before I do the actual act! So I hadn’t, yet here I was staring at my pic in the obituary column of a national daily.
Thousands of thoughts crossed my mind when suddenly the surrounding noise caught my attention. I rushed to the room where I had slept the night before and saw my mum, grandpa and brother crying over the bed, and as I lean a little to get a better look, I saw myself still. Kind of unborn, lifeless.
“HEY I AM ALIVE !! SEE… I AM HERE!! I AM NOT DEAD!
WHY ARE YOU ALL CRYING?!?!”
What was happening i myself couldn’t make out? I was thrilled. So scared. But somewhere I knew that someone would surely believe me.
My heart started aching as I turned around and saw my father running through the door towards the bedroom. Throwing his touring bag sideways, he leaned over the bed and saw me in a way he had never seen me before. It seemed he couldn’t believe his eyes…
He was expecting the closed eyes to blink and the frozen lips to speak–
“Hello Dad. How are?” in the tone they always spoke.
He expected the still hand to hide in my Mom’s hairs the way I always did whenever I sat beside her. But they did not. The closed eyes never blinked. The frozen lips never spoke. But he continued to look for them as a tiny tear trickled from the corner of his eyes… and before I realized, I was in tears too. It sucks seeing your parents cry, and even more when you know you’re the reason.
My mom was crying her heart out. My father took a last look at me and then took his eyes off me and hugged my mom.
“I AM NOT DEAD !! Damn it! How can I die so soon!? I didn’t even hug you Mom and Dad!
I AM NOT DEAD!”
I shouted at them, but they weren’t listening. I wanted to squeeze myself in between them, but as I tried doing that in vain, I heard a soft whisper -“Wake up the last time Please.” My brother had one of his hands on my forehead and the other shaking my shoulders the way he does when he wants to wake me up. His face looked so sad, on the verge of tears, that, for the first time, I wanted to shout at him to wake him up instead.
“HEY I AM HERE! Look at me for God’s sake! I can’t die like this bhaai…you know I can’t! We’re still to have our last laugh together! I AM HERE!!”
I shouted at him who was busy shaking my shoulder !!
“Grandpa at least you listen to me !! Tell them I’m not dead! We haven’t played carom for so long! Let’s do it now!
C’MON I am NOT dead!!”
I was on top of my voice with my grandpa, but he didn’t listen…
I felt so helpless! So weak, then as if on cue, I rushed to find my pillow, and found my cell phone beneath it. My heart, full with God-knows-what feeling, hammered hard against my chest, as I tried to pick it up and reach out to the one person I knew would believe me…the one who always had, no matter what. Even if things are not good, far from it, I’ll not be left alone. But I just couldn’t pick up the damned phone! The one device that had brought to me some of my happiest moments…messages that connected me with my world…that very device betrayed me now!
Suddenly I was restless! I had to go out of here. Now! I need to say something! Do something! And before I knew, my home was full of people – close relatives, neighbors, and my friends. Most of the people kept silence, some were whispering and very few were crying... I was being taken to the drawing room. People saw me as I came. My best friend was looking at me in disbelief. “This can’t happen” I heard her say…and the rest were all in silence .
But I ….. I had a lot to say…
“I am really sorry for my words spoken in anger.
I am truly sorry for the times that I’ve hurted you.
I never meant to.”
I wanted to tell them how dearly I felt for them.
“You’ve helped me through my problems…made me smile so many times…” I looked at my best friend who was staring at me. Her expressions were as helpless as mine. I held her hand in mine, though she never realized it, andsaid “I’m sorry for not being as good a friend to you as you were to me…I’m sorry…” I turned away from her and looked at the rest of them.
“Love you…thanks a lot for being with me.
Love you. Look at me you idiots! Stop crying!”
They didn’t listen. Nobody did. And soon, reluctantly,
I believed in their eyes. I believed in every person there who didn’t listen to me…who did not
I had this sinking feeling in my heart… I had to get out of here, to the place I knew I must visit before I go forever. If there is indeed a forever, that is.
And I rushed out closing my eyes and reliving all those moments that egged me on…
In a perfect world, I would have reached the place in seconds…now that I was a spirit and all, and would have met the person, poured my heart inside and out and left earth unburdened. But no, this was my world. I couldn’t move. I felt as if I had been pulled apart by my head and heart. I had thought I could still go there. Wishful thinking. I couldn’t. I had lost everything.
With my heart heavy with ache, I started hating myself. I wanted to scream, to hide, to escape, to run away from there… away from my mother’s cries, away from my father’s eyes… my brother’s hands, away from the soft touch of my grandpa…from the love that kept me going…away from myself!!
I saw my brother still teary-eyed getting the woods ready. We’d fought like cats and dogs even after mom had laid out the “No Hitting” rule. We’d bruised each other so many times. But we had been each other’s best and only support on many times as well. On times when we didnt score well in school or college, when we knew our parents would be disappointed, it was always just us…helping each other out. Never saying it out loud, but in subtle ways…like I doing everything that he told me to without questioning, he accepting my harsh words without lashing back, talking to me as if we’re best friends. It was awkward at times…me and him, talking sweetly. But it helped, always.
“Bro I love to listen to you and your college stuff and
things you want to share with me…love you.”
I saw my Mom, talking with relatives as she broke in tears again…
It was then that it occurred to me how beautiful she is, how beautiful is everything that she does for us…
“Mummy…you are beautiful. I know this is not enough but…Thanks! I had been a tough teenager, but you forgave me every time. I know I haven’t been the best daughter in the world but I always loved you. I LOVE YOU!!”
I shouted in air, but her cries swallowed my words.
My father was making my final bed… He stayed away from the people he loved the most so that they spend their lives with comfort.
I saw my father, who had given me those words of wisdom all through my life, who was the one who could stop my tears no matter what. The one who wanted me to learn from my mistakes and therefore never stopped me in doing what I wanted to do. He always saved an extra bite of chocolate for me.
“Thank you papa. You were always my ideal, my hero.
Love you papa…Dad!!!”
I tried to hug him for one last time, to hide there like I always did when I was too happy or too sad.
He didn’t listen. My grandpa was talking with the relatives about me, I never told him that I love him, love to listen to his stories. To take evening walks with him and listen to his unshakable faith in God. To take his pictures. I never told him that I loved to be with him.
“Love you .”
Nobody was listening to me. My heart sank in guilt!
How the hell can I die so soon? Without saying all that I wanted to? This is so unfair! So impossible! Just one more chance God. One last chance. Please. Please let me say just one sentence to people I love and people who love me…please God!
I was shattered. I was in tears. I can’t go like this. I need to say something, everything that I’ve kept inside for so long. I’d been afraid to say it, afraid that they don’t need it. That it won’t make any difference. That they’re better off without me. I had inflicted the hurt by not telling them that I love them because I was afraid of getting hurt myself. I was so screwed. I didn’t share ‘cause I thought people won’t understand me, and even worse, that they’ll judge me. And I just might end up hurting them.
We keep our distance from people thinking that we’re not worth it. But now I had learnt my lesson. I had been wrong. The only reason why we are ready to bear a rose’s thorns is because we get its scent to soothe us! And the same goes for Life… We take chances, risk our life, love and feelings ’cause we know that there exist a reason which is worth it… That reason, that risk…those are the things that make the book of our lives worth reading…worth turning every page and see what life has in store for us. It was one of those moments you know? That just happen with a blink of an eye, without you planning for it, or even dream of it. The realisation dawned upon me. I should have risked, tried harder, because it was worth it.
But I had kept my heart locked up because I was afraid it would break. And now? It had.
“PLEASE LOOK AT ME… PLEASE! PLEASE!!” I shouted with all the strength I could muster.
From a distance, I heard my mum shouting my name…She was holding me in her arms…saying –
“Mansi? MANSI!! You are safe baby. Everything’s fine. I’m right here. Did you see a nightmare?!? You were shouting like crazy!!!”
I threw away the blanket off my face. I opened my eyes and saw my mum in the dim light. Beautiful even at night. “You are beautiful Mom” I said as I hugged her tight. “I Love you”.