Summit Apartments, Vadodra.
Something strange is bound to happen today.
I woke up in the morning with a buzz on gtalk. It’s my sixteenth birthday today. The piano tune coming from the apartment next door on left, the canoodling of the couple from the apartment in front of my window and the throaty voice of Jai abusing his wife from the apartment on right – well, all is same as any other day in this city has been. Hey, but what is this? I have a vague feeling something happened with me last night. What was it? Ummmm. Nopes, can’t recollect. Let me try some more. Still, same result. Zilch. What was it?
Ok, what can I do about it. So, I will now go and prepare my breakfast and lunch. Here I go. I know this is sounding like a running commentary but bear with me.
Wait, someone is knocking at my door. Why is it giving me shivers? Must be Avinash, his fridge breaks down way too often.
I have opened my fridge now and its’ not cold inside. Has mine gone awry too? Perhaps. The frozen pizzas are frozen and still it’s not feeling cold.
I have now turned on the oven and its’ not hot inside. Are my utilities planning a mutiny of some sort? Hold on guys, I will leave this place in a month. Have some patience. Let me try the microwave.
Wait, the knocking is growing heavy. Why am I sweating? But, of course – the cooler needs to be switched on.
I am still trying to recollect the night while the clock ticks on the microwave display. Another 75 seconds till the cheese melts. 60 more. Zilch again.
I have become a good cook on this trip of mine. Last night, I cooked……………. Shit, why am I stuck at this word?
Knocking continues. Go on lad, I don’t care. I have my pizzas to savor. Wow! Not the pizza, the rhyme of care and savor. I have become a good poet too. Last night, I wrote………….What did I write? Must be saved on my laptop, I can check later. It’s already 8, I must rush through all the daily banalities to catch my bus to my workplace.
Oh, fuck. This knocking must stop now. Let me open the gate and give this one a good lashing. I am now walking towards my gate. The alarm-clock starts to sing some crap. I had left it on snooze. Maybe. I will first attend to the barbarian at my gate. Oh, no. There is no barbarian at the gate, there are barbarians. Dozens of them. What do they want of me? Another question unanswered. What a waste of day. So many questions and no answers.
I have this gut feeling that the key to all answers is somewhere in the memories I cannot recollect.
I will first open the door. Once again the bloody knob. Its’ not coming out. Why are they coming inside, why can’t I stop them, what are they all staring at, what is there on the sofa?
No. This can’t be. Its’ me there. Colored in red. No, colored in blood. Murdered.
Now that I know that I am dead having seen my body as bodily evidence, I have all my memories in place. I came back last night as usual on the same local train with Jai, Avinash and Simran. After dinner, I went to bed with my favorite novel, the latest one in Harry Potter series.
And then…… wait, someone is knocking at my door. Why is it giving me shivers? I know the answer. 7 fortnights ago, similar knocking took everything from me. No, took is not the correct word, snapped everything from me. Everything was over in a flash. I tried to look through the window and remembered the futility of all this done in the same room by her, my mother.
Knocking continued. It hardly mattered anymore. I unlatched the knob with unsteady hands and twittering nails. It was them, once again. They had got this whiff that I remain, yes, a living being referred to as remainder. They sprang out a sheet. I didn’t bother to read and saw upwards. They sniggered thinking I was saying my prayers. I winked and soon my wink turned into a full-fledged laugh. What more can they do to me?
One bullet, then another, and another and then a few more.
I went down with a smile spread on my lips and a prayer to cure these mentally challenged bastards. And, in the list of patients, add those too who will kill them for the same hatred.
I was Aslam. Yes, I was.