THE LOOP – Anish Roy

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Author     : Anish Roy
Company : Applexus Technologies
Email        : anish.roy@applexus.com

 

                                                                   

THE LOOP

 

4:53 PM

 

I had a severe headache and took home early from office.

 

Five minutes into the waiting at the bus shed, I felt irritated. “Gosh! Where have all the buses gone? It’s been ages since I’m waiting here”, I murmured impatiently. And when a bus finally arrived, I heaved a sigh of relief.

 

I hopped in quickly and took a seat next to the window. I love the air brushing my face when the bus speeds the highway.

 

Two seats apart I noticed a baby girl fidgeting on her mother’s lap. As her mother tried to control her, she burst into a scream. She tried her best to free herself. In the effort she unwittingly caught hold of her mother’s gold earring. And she pulled it hard, really hard. The earring gave away into her hands. The young mother yelled in pain and held her ear in agony. For a moment the child stopped her scream, stared at the earring and threw it away in anger.

 

While I felt pity on the women for her pain I couldn’t help but think “Hmm.., if this is all what gold is worth as a kid, when does the obsession actually start? Why do people pierce and hang polished elements on their body? Does it give them supernatural strength?” I felt the whole concept of wearing the yellow material very absurd.

 

As I sat there engrossed in my thoughts, someone sat next to me. I turned my head to look at the person but my eyes were still locked on to the child. And I said to the person “I think every woman in this world should do that. Throw away gold and their obsession for it. What do you think?”

 

There was no response.

 

My eyes swayed from the child to the person sitting next to me. For a moment, I was dumbstruck. The person was wearing all the gold ornaments she can. And what’s more baffling? It was my mother. I queried “Mom! What’s with you”?

 

What happened next was much weirder. She stood up from her seat and took hold of a bucket of water.

 

Needless to say, I was downright embarrassed. I looked around and uttered “Mom! People are looking at us. What are you up to?”

 

Without uttering a word she threw the bucket of water on me.

 

Startled and baffled, I opened my eyes and looked around. It took me a moment to realize where I was. The wall clock showed 09:06 AM.

 

09:06 AM

 

“Ho damn!” I voiced. “I’m late to office again”.

 

Sitting on my sleeping mat completely drenched, I saw my mother standing with an empty bucket in her hand.

 

She shouted at the top of her voice “This month the water bill is going to be high. I can’t be wasting buckets of water on you every day just to wake you up. You are not a kid any more. Act like a grown up. Be a man. Now, get up and be ready in 5 mins”.

 

She went back to the kitchen furiously.

 

“Alright! I’m drenched, so let me skip bath today”, I thought. Like a fast forwarded video I ran around the room to get ready for office. While negotiating a leg into my jean, my mother yelled from kitchen, “Did you message Renu that you will be late?”

 

“Bloody hell” I fumed, “I forgot that”.

 

With a thud, I fell on my face with one leg inside the jean and the other out. My head rushed with the thoughts of Renu, my HR at office.

 

“Now, what do I tell her? She has excused me a dozen times before. She will be terribly angered to see me late again today.” I felt.

 

My brain started to work fast. It doesn’t usually. But now, I had to cook an excuse, really quick.

 

Still on the floor, I stretched my hand up over the table to search for my phone. “Ah! There it is.” Without bothering to get up, I started to text “Hi Renu, I’m extremely sorry. I’ll be late again toda…“

 

Before I could finish texting, I heard my bedroom door creak open. I saw the door open gently.

 

Mist seeped in. Music filled the room – very soothing and romantic. And in the midst of the mist I saw a very beautiful figure of a person. A perfectly chiseled hourglass silhouette. As she slowly, as if in slow motion, stepped out of the mist, I gulped and gasped. It was her – Renu.

 

“Wow!” was too short of a word to describe her but I couldn’t think more.

 

She was dark, adorable and beautiful, and stood there like an angel. My heart sunk in her beauty. My eyelids ceased to blink. Butterflies hovered over my head.

 

Feeling discomfited, I stood up with one leg still searching for the other leg of the jean.

 

“Gosh! What is she doing in my room”, I mumbled.

 

She giggled at my plight. Her looks slicing my heart into pieces. Finally, gathering some nerve, I asked “Renu, how come you are.. err.. in my room?”

 

Her smile vanished. The mist withdrew itself through the door. The romantic music turned horrible. Butterflies fell dead.

 

Renu roared like a tigress “Your room? Where do you think you are? Are you insane?” I saw blood boiling on her face.

 

The sudden change jolted me really hard. I shook my head in dismay, rubbed my eyes and looked around. I saw my colleagues laughing at me, some even staring across the cubicle.

 

“My! My! Where in the world am I”

 

I looked at the watch. It showed 03:13 PM.
03:13 PM

 

Renu stood there with fumes puffing through her ears. And she continued to yell “What do you think about yourself? You have been sleeping at your desk for the last couple of hours. And how dare you ask me, what I am doing in your room? So, you have been dreaming, eh??”

 

Was she the one that I though was beautiful? Ewwww!!! she wasn’t gorgeous anymore.

 

I asked Josh in the nearby chair, “Hey, what happened?”

 

“Buddy, we went out for lunch. After that, you said you wanna rest for a while and you dozed off on the keyboard. By the way you were sounding like our office generator” Josh replied with a cynical smile.

 

“Give me a break. Don’t tell me I was snoring. And you idiot, why did you not wake me up?” I enquired biting my teeth.

 

Josh gave a hearty laugh.

 

“One more time I see you do this, you are out of this office”, Renu thundered and walked away swiftly to her cabin.

 

I hung my head in shame. Some of my foes walked by and made funny faces to intimidate me. But something else bothered me more – the dreams, one within another. I realized that I was actually at office and did not leave home yet. The dreams were surreal.

 

I pinged Sreejith, “Bro, I need help. I want to get rid of these dreams.”

 

He pinged back, “Perhaps, you are watching too many Christopher Nolan movies.”

 

“In that case, let me hold Nolan accountable. I’m sending him a court notice” I pinged back with a grin.

 

Meanwhile, few of my friends came around learning what had happened. They pulled my legs, cracked jokes and roared with laughter. Laughter is very contagious, so, I joined them too. I couldn’t help but laugh at my own quandary.

 

Quite unexpectedly something soft fell on me. And I heard a very familiar voice “Don’t you let me sleep? What’s so funny in the middle of the night?”

 

I tried to see around but it was pitch black. I couldn’t see anything. Did the power go off or is it my eyes? I wondered.

 

“Come on guys, stop the prank”, I shouted at my colleagues. But there was no reply.

 

Still in the dark, I moved my hand to check what fell on me. It was a pillow. Someone had tossed it on to my head. I rubbed my eyes again and with eyelids half open, I checked the time on my phone. It was 1:46 am.

 

1:46 AM

 

I sensed that I was sitting on the floor in my night dress. “Damn! Not again. Was that another dream?” I quivered. “Now how do I know I’m not dreaming again?”

 

On four legs I started to move around and bumped on to something. It was the cot in my bedroom. Standing on my knees, I moved my hand across the bed and found my little brother. I poked him and said “Da, do you think this is a dream?”

 

He did not answer. I poked him again and raised my voice “DA.. I fear that I’m in another dream. How do I know if this is real or not?”

 

“I had a long day, why do you disturb?” he mumbled and tossed over to face me. “Show me your hand”, he said.

 

I stretched my hand. He gently rubbed my hand and without notice gave a stern pinch.

 

“Oouucccch!” I yelled out in pain and swiftly pulled my hand back.

 

“Now, do you think you are still in a dream?” he asked.

 

Rubbing the spot where he pinched, I said “I seriously wish this was a dream. You pinched me really hard, you dumbo. It hurts!”

 

I sat on the bed for a while not knowing what to do. A little while later I started to feel sleepy. I pulled the blanket up and lied down.

 

“How weird. First thing in the morning I’m gonna post about my dreams in FB” I said to myself.

 

“Hello” 

 

I heard someone call. I turned my head to check if it was my brother. He was fast asleep. “Hmm…that’s strange. I thought I heard someone call”, I tossed over and closed my eyes again.

 

“Hey, it’s your stop. Get up”

 

I again heard someone bellow. I pulled my head up, looked around and saw the bus conductor staring at me. The bus that I had took from office was at my stop.

 

Confused, I asked the conductor “How long was I sleeping?” He did not seem to mind. So, I looked at my watch. It was 5:21 pm.

 

5:21 PM

 

“Ha.. so, I had been sleeping only for half-an-hour” I murmured and got up from the seat. My headache now seemed mild.

 

As I got down the bus, I smiled at the baby gal remembering what she did few minutes ago. Her mother had blood clot on her ear and she seemed worried for losing the gold earring. I quickly looked around the bus to see if my mother was still around with all her jewels on. But she wasn’t there. After all it was just a dream. Probably my headache was creating hallucinations.

 

I walked towards my home. There was a sense of euphoria all around. And then I remembered, “Damn! I forgot about the India Pakistan match”.

 

In the nearby shop many had gathered to watch the game. I rushed to the spot.

 

“Hey, what’s the score?” I asked as I evaded through a sea of people.

 

“India could win, the chances are high”, someone replied.

 

India needed 12 runs to win from 4 balls. My heart beat fast. I saw few chaps already getting ready to burst crackers. Bikes zoomed across the road in elation.  Youngsters were excited and screamed “Indiaaa… Indiaaaa.. “

 

The score moved to 6 runs to win from one ball. Tense moment. My BP shot up. As the bowler charged towards the batsman, the crowd silenced itself. All eyes were glued to the TV screen as if to hypnotize the bowler.

 

‘Knock’. The ball scraped the sky and landed outside the stadium. India won the match by 3 wickets!

 

“Woahhhhh…” the crowd around me erupted like a volcano. Red, blue, green, they threw all colours on everyone. Shop keepers distributed sweets. Children danced. The old were in all smiles.

 

I ran home wild, all excited. There I saw my family in full jubilation. My dad was jumping up and down on the sofa like a kid. My younger sister screaming at her best as she ran around our home. My brother with his friends were doing stunts in ecstasy. I joined my dad on the sofa and jumped up and down. We were one crazy family!

 

I asked dad “Papa, where is mom? Is she out to distribute sweets?”

 

“No, there she is” he pointed towards her. I looked back, still jumping up and down on the sofa.

 

There she stood, with a very stern face. She had a bucket of water in her hand.

 

09:06 AM

—- The End —-

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