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|by Shekhar Misra|
The smoke is heavy, I can see nothing. Breathing is difficult. I try to move my legs to get up but they are not moving, they disobey my order as I experience excruciating pain.
I always felt that I was an unwanted child. My elder brother was the good dependable son, my younger sister the young rebellious one. I was no one. My papa never paid much importance to me. My mother tried to engage me but she was not a woman of much caliber and raising three children on a meager salary of a school teacher plus the household chores always got better of her. Papa’s lone remark about me that had a profound affect was, “One can’t plan a career for a mediocre like you”. It summed up his and mine assessment of me.
My mediocrity might not have been so hopeless in a different situation or household but it just faded away in comparison to the genius of my brother and sheer literary flair of my sister. It was decided by my family that to my benefit I should be admitted to diploma in electronics. But I ran away as I didn’t want to bear the shame of being called a “diplomchy” throughout my life. I wish I could tell Papa “No matter who you are, dreams can are never be mediocre”. Though it didn’t help much but as least I got admission in B.Com. Post B.Com. I had few choices, all equally hopeless. But I opted for a call center job as it allowed me to attain financial independence immediately.
Sound of horns, people shouting, footsteps, heavy weight being lifted from my legs. “Get him in”. “Do not worry”. Darkness, dizziness. I want to die. Just let Him take me away. I do not think anyone will notice.
The two years of job is perhaps the best phase of my life. Though helping Americans to operate a microwave was not always fun, but it at least made me realize mediocre is the middle of the spectrum and things could have been worse. Money was not great but good enough for a single twenty year old. But single is a very dubious word in BPO industry. It doesn’t mean, having no relationships, but just that you keep yourself available to everyone. But I am unadulterated-ly single and the closest I came to losing my virginity was buying condoms for friends who had forgotten to buy one in the hurry to tear their partners clothes and then sitting in the drawing room with a beer can and remote while your bed is being marauded.
Bright light, I tried to open my eyes but nothing is visible. A hand immediately covers them. Being pulled on to a bed. “We will need blood”. I do not know why everybody is so excited. Just let it go. I do not want to survive with so much pain. I touched my fingers and they have become pudgy.
But I will love to lose my virginity to Dhruti. She is so stunning and I was hopelessly infatuated by her. It is just that I have been in this condition since past two years. Panku, my roomie asked me several times to go and talk to her and propose. It was not unusual in our industry. Girls generally agree, even if it just to experiment. But I was looking for something more meaningful. I would have anyway spoken to her but I could never find her alone. She was always with a different guy. All this also reminded me how I was living my life just going through the motion. With only a bachelor’s degree, chance of career advancement was very slim. Probably I didn’t want any chance; I was happy here. I have friends here, I know the place. Even if a butcher unties the lamb, it doesn’t run, because that is its world, even if it is going to end tomorrow.
So many voices, breathing is still heavy, but there is no pain, there is no feeling except numbness. Someone laughed. A long deep and detailed laugh, I also wanted to join but thought perhaps this is not the right place. I am falling into a black abyss. I have clinged on to the edge with the finger tips but it is slipping. I am falling into a bottom less pit. On the way down I met Dhruti she said “Talk to me, I am also sad and alone.” I met Panku who was sorry for the sordid happenings and started explaining. But they were going by fast as I kept falling.
When I entered the room it was filled with smoke and a strange smell. Many of my friends were lying there. Everyone was in slumber, and in different stages of nakedness. All under the effect of the magical white powder. I turned to leave but I saw Dhruti lying heaped on few others. She looked peaceful. I couldn’t resist bringing her to my room and she slept through the weekend. When I returned with the grocery I found my room locked with Panku inside. Panku whose support I was counting on to tell Dhruti what she was to me. I promised myself that I will perhaps in another life. That was enough for me to leave this place, how could I sleep in that bed again where my love had made love. Just for completeness I slapped Panku hard as I left.
I can see through my closed eyes, someone working on my leg, something moving there, few people hovering. The tunnel is widening now there is faint light. I saw papa standing in his trademark lungi and ganji, he smiled, an understanding smile. “Those who inflict wounds on other, demean them are the victim themselves, they are victim of their guilt. They need sympathy and forgiveness.”
Though one thing good that came out of this shock was I had more time for myself and I had no inertia of staying here now. I prepared desperately for MBA as it seemed to be the only hook that could pull me out from here. The harder I studied, the more my resolved weakened. But finally I made it through the written rounds. For first few moments I felt pride of a cub who just got down his first gazelle but still I was in no mood to appear for interviews. I just loved the bleakness of my situation. But as destiny had other plans I anyways boarded the bus to go for interview.
“It was your destiny that you have survived”, told me a huge lady in a white dress - “only five out of sixty two, accident was that bad”. The bus overturned negotiating a sharp corner; you were lucky that you fell on a heap of bodies and just got away with a minor fracture in the right leg. I also came to know that it will take me 6 months before I will be able to walk normally again. But it took me 6 mins to take two decisions - first of going for MBA if I get through and second of fulfilling the promise in this lifetime.
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