It was around 1 AM by the time I brought my laptop to a closure and sunk myself into the bed. I could feel my muscles relaxing, and as the cool air of the ceiling fan blew right over my face, I slipped into the luxury of sleep. As minutes passed, I sensed beads of sweat sprouting on my forehead. The ‘sprout’ phenomenon slowly, but severely, crawled over my entire body and ruthlessly pulled me out of my short-lived slumber. I was introduced to the ghastly revelation any sound-sleeper would encounter : power cut.
The room was etched with strokes of darkness; the very darkness which splashed huge amounts of sarcastic laughters right on my face. I grabbed my mobile and with its help, slowly and steadily footed out of the room. I continued my sluggish walk till I reached the hostel entrance. I saw the watchman drenched in the waters of sleep, and stepped out, onto the road; and soon I was engulfed in the breezy midnight atmosphere of Madras. I looked up into the star-lit sky, immersing myself in its infinity. I gazed at the stars and wondered if any being existed over there. And then my mind wandered to the land of questions; of how the universe had formed, of how we human beings came into existence, and yes, lastly, of how TNEB could have a heart to cut the power at this hour of the night.
My belly began to rumble. TNEB woke up not just me, but also my hungry side, and I whisked my eyes across both the sides of the road. All my craving eyes received, was closed shutters and glowing street lamps. With lost hopes, and a grumbling stomach, I decided to make a return, when my ears got tickled with the jingle of a bell. I turned around and my glance rubbed with a mobile icecream wala crossing the road at a distance. I fast-footed towards the vendor before he could disappear in the dark, and exchanged my 25 bucks for a chocobar. My dry tongue came back to life and my taste buds seemed to dance with the touch of the delicacy.
‘One more?’ The vendor offered. I made a polite refusal and retraced my way to hostel. And that was when the ‘something’ moment happened. The very moment which made the dark sky colourful, which made the breeze more breezy, and my eyes hesitant to even blink. I saw her walk past me. She wore a pink coloured tee and shorts, her hair wavering front and back in the wind. I saw her approach the ice cream vendor, and the next instant my feet took a U turn.
‘One chocobar.’ I announced to the vendor. He looked at me, startled, and then made alternate glances between me and her. I guessed that he understood my ‘come back’ motive. He pressed the chocobar pack into my hand with a tinge of sarcasm. I saw her face partially lighten up with the small lights attached to the ice cream cart. I should say, she looked BEAUTIFUL. She threw a random look at me, and I looked away. She then paid the vendor and left. I stood there motionless, looking at her walk away. I couldn’t move, as some unknown fear held me back. But the fear of losing her dominated the former, and I took steps forward. The chocobar seemed to melt with my nervousness. As I saw her beginning to fade away in the darkness, I increased the length of my strides. She turned right, getting away from my sight completely, and that was when I began to run. I reached the turn, and looked all around. All I could see was the very same closed shutters and glowing street lights; and yes, the chocobar having taken the liquid form in my hands.
I sensed the beads of sweat evaporating from my forehead. I opened my eyes. The power was back. I woke up with a startle and looked around. There was no her, neither the ice cream guy, but my roommate, who was asleep having stretched himself to the widest extent possible; his couple of bracelets creating a jingle whenever he moved. I looked at my palm; there was no liquefied chocobar, but profuse sweat vanishing fast with the ceiling fan air.
I gave myself a laugh, and sunk back into the bed.