Tuesday, November 13, 2007

One night of solitude

It was 2 am in the morning and Sheeba wakes up with huge bang in her head. Her whole body was shaking and there was intense pain in the back of her head as if a thousand needles were injected together! Heart thumping faster than ever... she could hear her heartbeat. With shaky hands, she touches her temple to feel the nerves.. lo! they were bulging out and were beating equally fast! Looked like her heart and head were competing with each other.

"Hmm... Am I dying? Or am I having a nervous breakdown or was it a bad dream that left me in this state?".. She asked herself. Without even a clue of what was happening to her, she sat down and tried calming herslef. Picked up the bottle of water by her bedside and drank it all in one go! It tasted different! Sheeba felt her forehead again.. no.. it was as cold as ice! No trace of fever. Her hands and feet were freezng too! She was thinking to herself.. this could be an effect of a very bad dream or an indication of falling sick. To avoid panicking, she sat down on her bed, heart and head still beating fast.. closed her eyes and tried calming herself. Immediately a series of pictures started flashing in front of her eyes. She felt as if she was watching a slide presentation of her life! Pictures after pictures... more pictures kept rolling..

Her life as a kid, school, parents, family, friends, home town, different experiences, work place, beautiful mountains, places she had visited.. everything kept rolling one after the other. Pictures of her brother, the games they played, the fights they had, the arguments they had, the warm hugs.. she opened her eyes. "No, this is no good. I should not get lost in my past right now. I need to get some sleep.. have a long day to go tomorrow".. she tells to herself and decides not to drown in flow of picturesque memories instead grab some sleep before she geared up for a long day ahead.

She sinks back into her bed, hides herself under the warmth of her comforter. 5, 10, 15... 30 min pass and she would not get any sleep. She was completely awake and her brain was active. Suddenly she remembers her mother saying "start counting when you cannot get sleep. That would put you to sleep immediately". So, she starts counting.. 1, 2, 3... goes on and on and after sometime she realizes that she had counted over a thousand and still no sleep! Hmm.. she chuckles and feels happy that she had disproved her mother! Immediately she picks up the phone and calls her mother. When the number was being connected, she has several thoughts running in her mind. "What if mom is asleep? or what if she is busy with some work or what if she is not at home, what if she gets scared that I have called her up at this unusual hour?" .. Her fingers press the off button involuntarily. " No.. I need to talk to her. I cannot stop this urge". Sheeba dials the number again...and disconnects it once again when she has those thoughts. "Oh.. what is wrong with my fingers? Why can't they stop this nonsense?" She grins and after sometime repeats it again. After several such attempts, she finally decides not to do that anymore and divert her attention at something else.

Well, how about talking to a close friend? She picks up the phone again and dials his number. "Well, would he be annoyed? Or maybe he would get worried. Possibly he may even come to see me if Im ok. Oh.. it is not reasonable to wake him up at this hour and trouble him. I will not do this." She tells herself and disconnects. But within seconds, she was redialling his number. Again... has series of thoughts and feels like it would be weird to call him up at that hour and disconnects. Her fingers would not listen to her anymore. Involuntarily they would press the redial button and she would then disconnect it within a few seconds. This goes on and on..

"Hmm.. what am I doing? Let me do something else instead of crazily pressing buttons over the phone", she said to herself. Her head was still heavy. To get rid of the pain, she swallows a pill. Since it would take sometime for the pill to be effective, she picks up a book "Blindness" and starts reading. As she goes through the first few pages, she realizes that it is a depressing book talking about a city where everyone are blind. There was no point in reading it anymore. Thinking this, she puts the book back in its place and looks around in her room.. hopeful of finding something interesting to do. Suddenly she gets a thought.. "why not clean the room?" Sheeba had always been a well organized person. Her room was clean as usual. But to keep herself engaged, she decides to clean her room and starts organizing stuff on her table, her bookshelf, clothes.. within an hour she had cleaned up the whole place again! She had a smile on her face. At the same time she had a feeling.. a feeling of loneliness.. she felt like crying. Falling back into her bed, she covers her face with her hands and starts weeping. Tears just keep rolling.. nonstop!

It had been quite sometime since she was staying alone, away from her home, away from her parents.. and she had been through so much of pain, fear and loneliness that she had no clue of what kind of mixed feelings she had in her mind. It was as if the tears were not just tears, but bundles of emotions wrapped up into small crystals of water! She wept and wept for quite long until her eyes would not produce anymore tears. Then she felt much better. Her heart was now less heavier. It was about 6am by then.

Sheeba walked over to the window, and looked out. It had snowed outside, very mild, and it looked as if someone had painted it all white with a paintbrush. A squirrel was actively looking for food. She watched the squirrel for sometime and felt happy that it was lonely too.. but very active. Sheeba's life had been so full of experiences. Every experience had taught her something new. Some experiences had filled in more energy and enthusiasm in her and some had left her devastated. But she had made sure to fight back and keep moving ahead. Watching the very active squirrel, she suddenly felt like she had new enthusiasm filled in her again. A night of extreme solitude had helped her relieve pain and filled her with new energy.

With a huge smile on her face she goes into the kitchen to make herself some coffee...


Anonymous said...

An experience in every Sheeba's life staying away from family..penned in a very nice way...especially the squirrel which brings back smile on your face...

Aakanksha said...

Good story.

It relates or provides an example for my post "When solitude becomes bliss". http://aakankshakalla.blogspot.com/2007/10/when-solitude-becomes-bliss.html
It also reinforces the Zen idea that sadness has a depth to it, happiness is very shallow.

I also think of the two lines of one of my favourite songs, "Dard ko apne saath lele, dard bhi tere kaam aayega".

Good work Sneha Didi =)

Noorie said...

Good write up dear. I agree with Mr/Ms.anonymous "An experience in every Sheeba's life staying away from family". These nights question the very purpose of life...

vatsa said...

I keep thinking most of the times what ails us, human beings, in circumstances such as this.

One question that raises on such long nights is - 'what is it to be alone and what is it to be lonely'?

On thinking more and more, one comes to believe and understand that each(as against "many") one of us are living in OUR OWN world, created by ourselves.

Thus it is said "to be alone in a crowd and to be in a crowd when alone".

For instance, imagine a situation of a child who is separated from the parent in a gathering (thanks to Indian movies). The child is alone in the midst of the crowd .

In contrast, one could be gone for a trek and forgot to switch of mobile! Imagine the situation when most of his/her friends call up on that day(thanks to Murphy's Laws). This one is in the midst of the crowd even while away from all and being alone

Thus goes on the saga of the representative of (m)any as in this story.

Partha said...

@Vatsa - thats true.. I guess loneliness here refers to emotional loneliness and not to physical loneliness..

with 6.5 billion people, we rarely get a chance to be physically lonely :)