Before I begin the story, there’re two things you should know about me. First, I’m an ardent tea drinker – without milk and unsweetened; second, I’m not the ‘heroine’ of ‘my story’; I never was. But, call it a coincidence if you must, I’m glad two things happened that day. First, I was craving a hot cup of coffee (as a change from tea) and second, a dear friend of mine forwarded this Eleanor Roosevelt quote to me:
“We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face... we must do that which we think we can’t.”
Usually, I don’t bother to read forwarded texts, especially if they’re preachy, out of context quotes by famous people. However, this time, I kept it. Was it a coincidence too or was I too unconcerned about it, I can’t put a finger on it.
It wasn’t going to be an ordinary day; I had an inkling that it was going to be the most memorable day of my life. I remember it was a Thursday morning, my favourite day of the week. In spite of the slight chilliness of November, it was a sunny day. The day couldn’t have been more perfect.
The night before, I couldn’t sleep properly. Anxiety and excitement kept me up; for some reason, I was feeling quite ill at ease, as if it was the last time I’d be sleeping on this bed. I listened to music for a while, engaged in a long pretend conversation between my fiancé and me, fantasising a life of marital bliss. I was still up at the break of dawn, still unable to sleep. Finally, I switched on the lights and sat reclined on my bed. I noticed the things in my room, which I had been consciously ignoring until now. The curved crack across the ceiling, for instance, had magically appeared one day and I couldn’t be less bothered. Though not a gaping one, the crack seemed to smile at me. Similarly, the iron mouldings on the windows, the dents on my steel almirah, the chairs, laden with unwashed laundry, pushed into a corner of my room, they all stared at me, awkwardly introducing themselves one by one. I couldn't help but think, what if this was going to be my last day in my room? What if I never came back to my cracked ceiling, my things or to my bed?
I’m a habitual late riser. But, if it was going to be my last day here, I might as well start my day early. Being unfamiliar with the early hour, I was not sure how I wanted to spend the extra time I had with me. Everything was silhouetted against the navy-blue sky. Venus shone bright and prominent as the birds went about their daily business. As the sky gradually changed colour, I saw my milk man Shiva cycling down to my house with his milk crate tied to the carrier behind him.
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