1: Darkness brightened
Pitch dark. Extreme silence. Time had ceased to exist. Felt like vacuum. A peculiar noise of beeping rang through the room. I could see nothing else but a blur of green floating at a distance, illuminated with dim light. The beep intensified and the image brightened. I gasped, feeling cold air brushing all over my skin. I swallowed. It felt great. I swallowed again. I didn’t know if I had even swallowed in ages. Again the same darkness spread all over but the beep became louder and came from somewhere very close. I breathed in a little more and swallowed again. My index finger moved very lightly without requiring my conscious effort.
The blurred sight flashed for a second in front of me. After a few flashes, the sight became clearly visible. A green curtain, at a distance, was swaying a little. I slowly lifted the pupil of my eyes and a clock showed 11:55. It was too bright with tube lights making it almost impossible for me to figure out if it was five minutes to noon or midnight. I lowered my pupil and skimmed the green screen inch by inch. Green. Green. Green. I looked to my right. I looked to my left. Everything was just the same; green screen.
I tilted my head 90 degrees towards my right, lying in the same position in the bed. It was an ECG which was beeping. I swiftly brought my hands over my nose but wasn’t able to reach the skin of my nose. An oxygen mask was fixed over it. I pulled it down as I tried to get up from the bed. The sudden exposure to a different atmosphere made my respiratory system cough out to balance the change. The rectangular screen covered area around me cracked in one corner and someone hurried from nowhere.
‘Relax’ he made me lie on my back facing the ceiling; same position as before. He mounted back the oxygen mask over my nose. I was forced to stay put. I was too weak to rebel. He slid his hand into the pocket of his white coat. When his hand reappeared, it held a syringe with a yellow liquid filled to its half.
‘This should be a hospital’ I finally realized seeing the white coat and the syringe. ‘Why am I here? How long have I been here?’ Before I could think further he pricked me with the needle. He quickly disappeared into the crack in the screen, from where he had come into the “screened” area.
All green, again. The beeping sound started fading. The sight of the screen started blurring out. Light dimmed gradually. Pitch dark. Extreme silence. Felt like vacuum again.
I had no idea how many hours or days or even years had passed since my lapse into nothingness, again I could feel my index finger moving without my conscious effort. I heard some noise. Not the beep that I could recollect, so I expected the sight to be different too. I swallowed to ensure that I was still alive. I slowly opened my eyes. I did not see the same green, the only thing I remember. It seemed to be someone’s bedroom. I looked around to spot a clock or calendar. A digital clock made me worry less about it being day or night; it read 11:55 pm. ‘Am I stuck with 11:55 of some year? Year? What year am I in?’ I looked around.
The room was huge. The bed was huge too. The bedside table had a night lamp with something written over it. I rolled on the bed to have a closer look at it. It spelt something like a medicine I had heard long before. A pen stand that was crammed with pens also had a peculiar name printed on it; that was also a medicine’s name if I had to trust my faint memory. The word ‘Year’ echoed inside the walls of my skull, again. I looked on the other side and there were 3 wooden doors which were just cupboards. I felt helpless. I hesitantly looked at the night lamp again. I had no idea how I had missed out the digital clock that blinked in the pen stand. I plucked out all the pens from the stand in a jiffy and brought the clock close to my eye. The clock read ‘11:55pm, 30th Oct 2010’.
‘So I am in 2010. But what day is it? Am I in a dream? If yes, when will I wake up?’ I sat erect and stuck my cheeks to my palms. Suddenly a strong desire of touching my face occurred to me. I touched all around myself and felt like it was the first time in ages. ‘How old am I? Have I slept for years together?’ I tried to pull my hair to check its colour but my hair was cut too short to be seen by myself. I checked my hands. I twisted and turned my wrist. I stretched my leg and looked at my feet. I felt wrinkles neither on my hands and feet nor my face; it was smooth and soft. ‘I am young. I am still young. I..’ The word “I” disturbed me whenever I mouthed it. The trickiest and most painful question occurred to me. ‘Who am I?’
The dressing table with a big mirror dragged me to it with the desire to know who I was. I stood facing the mirror. The female who faced me stared into my eyes. I asked her the same question that bothered me ‘Who am I?’ She spoke along with me but I couldn’t hear her voice, I lifted my right hand and she did the same. I lifted my left hand, smiled, frowned, and opened my mouth, and she did everything, ditto, in sync with all that I did. ‘Me. This is me.’ I said it aloud as I was so much excited to figure out how I looked. I wasn’t able to recognize my own self. I wasn’t able to figure out why I was there and since when. I had no clue of who I was other than how my mirror image looked. I was thoroughly confused. I shut my eyes close enough that it hurt my eyeballs. I led my fingers into my hair and pulled it forcefully. I dropped myself down on the floor, onto my knees. I tried hard to think and dig out answers for my own questions from my brain. Silence prevailed except for the swish of the ceiling fan.
‘Who am I? Who am I? Who am I?’ my scream broke the silence, wherever it prevailed in the vicinity. I heard the door being unlocked, I felt insecure. I rushed back to the bed and lay on my back, I closed my eyes tight. The sound of footsteps came closer and closer. It stopped. I didn’t hear anything for the next few seconds. Suddenly someone kissed my forehead and said “I love you, Meera.”
‘So is my name Meera?’ I asked to myself. I had no courage to open my eyes.
‘I will always love you Meera. Open your eyes soon.’ Said the male voice. I trusted the voice and opened my eyes. I saw a guy standing close to the bed. He was short, dark and round, his belly bulging out of his shirt. Though I was not sure of my own age, I could bet that he was older to me. He wore a pink shirt that exactly mismatched the brown pant underneath. I realized only after examining him for a few seconds that he was the doctor who had pricked me to sleep for I-don’t-know-how-long. I gave him a frightened look.
He was standing next to me, near the bed. He bent down and brought his hand near my forehead. He was not surprised that I had opened my eyes and his face was emotionless, as though he knew I woke up long back and I was faking now. I drew my head away from his hand before it could land on my forehead. He brought himself closer. He sat on the bed as I drew myself farther away from him.
He came closer and closer; I moved farther and farther. The shade of the night lamp hit my head; I had reached the end of the bed. He still did not stop trying to reach me. He forcefully pulled me close and rubbed the back of my head where the lamp had hit.
‘Relax’ he said again.
‘Please no syringe. Please I don’t want darkness. I don’t want silence. Please.’ I begged trying to pull myself away.
He let me free and got up from the bed. He pulled an arm chair that was at the corner of the room nearer to the bed.
‘Listen to me.’ He demanded.
‘You are Meera. Meera Prabhu. You forgot the past, every bit of your past, in an accident.’ He started briefing. All I could remember as he spoke about the horrible accident was light, too much light; bright light; fire; heavy fire; again bright light; smoke; then darkness. I just saw darkness for some time.
When I opened my eyes again I saw myself lying in his arm; his face was so close to mine. He was asleep. I pulled myself away from him. My action woke him up.
‘Why are you sleeping here with me? Who the hell are you?’ I stuttered.
He pulled me towards him, back to the same position. I tried moving away till he said ‘You were in love with me. You would have died if I had not nodded to your proposal. You were crazy about me. I am Ashruth, your love. We would have got married by now if the accident hadn’t happened.’ He was about to kiss me when he ended his sentence.
‘So you are not my husband? We are not married yet?’ I rolled away from him and sat up.
. “You were crazy about me!” he crooned.
I could hardly believe this but I had no other option but to listen and trust his story.
‘Come here. Come close to me.’ He demanded.
I was not even sure of who I was. I could hardly believe that I had loved him in my past.
‘First tell me who I am.’ I could hardly think beyond that. He started telling me, my own story , the story I was dying to know. I sat with hope that this story would answer all my questions.
click to read -- Chapter 2
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