I felt a great surge of agitation envelope me. I did not know if I was dead or alive. I realised I was in one of those deep slumbers that makes you feel almost dead. Was I having a nightmare? The ringing of the distant mountain bells was coming closer and closer. Finally it pierced my skull and started drilling into the grey matter within. It was intolerably painful! I regained some consciousness – it was the wake-up alarm of my cell phone.
I willed it to switch off automatically. But that didn\’t happen. I fumbled along my bedside like a drunk and managed to get hold of the phone. It felt like eons before I could manage to switch it off. And then the peace that followed was enormous! But the realisation that it was the first day of 2003 AD and I had to go to work soon made that feeling very temporary.
Delhi was having a very chilly winter. The warm blanket felt like a mother\’s womb. It was 6 am. I knew that it would take me another twenty minutes to muster up enough courage to expose myself to my cold room. I lay there thinking and gathering will power.
I thought about the people I loved and the people who loved me. I planned the day\’s work. I wondered about my next assignment. I felt bad for the condition of the world. I decided not to have breakfast. I tried to cook up an excuse against getting married anytime soon, that I could give to my parents. Somehow all my problems seemed to get solved if I could just do one thing right now – go back to sleep!
I was warm but stiff. I tried moving my arms, but no success. Wiggled my toes – some success. Let me try and move a bit. I\’ll open my eyes the last; no point in feeling any worse than I already am. It took so much planning just to get out of bed on a winter morning. But it wasn\’t working. Finally, with a quick jerk, I threw the blanket onto one side and sat upright. I was numb. I opened my eyes but didn\’t move them. I was born! First day of the rest of my life! Quietly I cursed to myself, \”Happy New Year asshole!\”
Somehow, surviving in adverse conditions gives you a kind of satisfaction that you do not get in normal and more comfortable situations. There is an immense sense of achievement even out of small things like getting up in the morning or driving to work through thick fog. You feel good about yourself. That was a challenge – a compulsory one – and I made it! Its my accomplishment for the day!
Two hours later I was done with the newspaper, tea, motions, shave, bath and dressed to kill. I locked the house and strode off to the car with a purpose in life. I don\’t know what it was, but I felt it there – somewhere within.
I did have breakfast – an apple.