I could distinctly feel them clamping my hands and legs down to the table. They were talking in whispers. The big man came very close to me, and said sternly, “If you co-operate, we can get over with this in half an hour”. I nodded silently, fully aware, that I didn’t have another option. He placed a white cloth over my nose. As I breathed in, and my eyelids slightly fluttered, I felt the lights rapidly dimming. My hands and legs trembled, then froze. He had stuffed some cold object into my mouth. I didn’t know what it was, except that it made me helpless..unable to talk, to scream, to protest.
Within those milliseconds of my fading consciousness, there were hazaar thoughts fluttering uncontrollably in my mind.
“Its been ages since I met my friends…when was the last time I had a hearty laugh, almost a laugh of abandonment ? What fun we had, sitting at the college entrance, and revealing to every passer by, the name of the killer in that thriller movie ! Where is Meenu these days? Her girl must be four years old. How time flies!”
“What if something wrong happens with me now ? Can I face my parents again ? All those years they toiled to bring us up. Dear Daddy must be watching the IPL match now.”!
“Will Mumbai or Chennai win the IPL series? Chennai! Chennai! I can atleast gloat in reflected glory ;-)”.
“How cramped is Chennai now. Hot, crowded, fast-paced. Incredible India indeed…takes an hour to commute the shortest of distances. In my next birth, I’d like to be born in America. Nah, America is a scary place”.
Talking of re-incarnation brought back a devotional song to my mind … translating into: “O Lord! Make me a temple bell in my next birth”.
Made me wonder, “Is that what I really want ?”. “Or am I so deep-rooted in this quagmire of material goods, that I am actually enjoying drowing in it ? The noise, the crowd, the competition, the budgets, the largely unnecessary quarrels…. the stress of just living ! Do I abhor this, or am I actually thriving on this?” I didn’t dare reply, too horrified to hear the answer.
Infact I couldn’t hear anything, anymore. It was dark all around, strangely quiet, almost vacuus. Then, abruptly, my thoughts stopped (phew!)…my senses were deadened. It was darkness all around. I couldn’t feel myself anymore.
Strangely, I wasn’t afraid. I was floating in the air….a surge of relief came over me, as I soared far away from the tethers of daily life. I had never experienced such restfulness before.
What was this quiet ? Death ? Or just a lull ? Is this forever ? Or will I be rudely thrown back into the gallows of life again?
I don’t know what happened with me in those thirty minutes. I didn’t care either. I only remember it ended too quickly.
I was woken up after half an hour, as the man had promised. It was all hazy. My hands and legs were slowly regaining the ability to feel. My throat felt a little sore. “Do you remember your name ?” he asked. Anxiety suddenly gripped me. “Why ? What are you saying ? Of course I remember.. its..its.. Priya”, I replied, still in a daze. I could hear my own alien voice blurting.
“Good”, he said. “The operation was successful, and your throat is fine now. Just don’t exert it too much. Your vocal cords are still tender”, he advised.
“Thank you, doctor”, I croaked, as my throat hurted. I couldn’t wait to get back home, do a bit of shopping, and chill out with a couple of friends.
(Somewhere deep down, those droplets of peace are already buried and forgotten, as if from a previous birth. They will probably resurface, when it is time to merge with that mighty, numbing ocean called Death.)