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April 2011 Volume 13 , Issue 4 submit to us!

by Pali Tripathi -- Contributing Author [Email This Story]

Her thoughts broke with the sudden jolt of the cab. Once again she had lost track of time and distance in the various alleys and the by lanes that the cab driver maneuvered through to reach her office. Once again, she cursed herself for reaching so early. It was a routine she detested.

The alarm had rung sharp at seven that morning too. She snubbed it, impatiently, like one would do to an idiot who butted in just during the most interesting part of the conversation amongst friends. But the snub was always accompanied by guilt, and she peeked through her quilt, lazily looking at her cell phone from a distance. It appeared almost mocking at her. She then stretched her arms, carefully avoiding toppling the heap of books and work and an occasional empty water bottle that had made its way on to the bed. She buried her face into the other pillow she always snuggled to while sleeping. The sinking feeling came back again. She thought of the minutes ticking away. She willed herself to not leave the bed, for five minutes more. She never could.

She dragged herself to the dressing table, inspecting her hair and face. Both looked the same. She always wondered if sleep really did work the wonders it was credited with. Today would be a mad day again. She shuddered at the idea of straining her eyes on her laptop till 12 midnight.

She sat on the bed, thinking for one more time-"I wish I would wake up glad. I wish I would wake up thinking about somebody and not an unsent mail in the mailbox. I wish my mornings were not so miserable each day of the week.”

The second alarm broke her reverie. "Shucks. . it's 7:30 already -- it will be one hour in the traffic if I don't rush.” She got up with a start and hurried towards the balcony, which resembled a storeroom now. She reminded herself to ask the maid to clean it up on the weekend.

Clothes from the previous day hung there limp. She picked up the towel and noticed a strain of pink over the cream colored trousers she had worn the other day. She added one more thing to the list of things she always forgot to tell her maid -- Wash colored clothes separately. She entered the bath and put on the geyser. It was a small one and did not need to be switched on before long. She was about to turn on the knob of the shower when she remembered she had forgotten to brush her teeth.

And as always, she struggled with making a choice between getting done with the shower and then brushing her teeth or brush and then head for the shower. She found it amusing how she repeated this everyday of the week unfailingly.

There were days when she would totally forget to brush her teeth and remember just when she was heading out of the door. That day, she decided in favor of the shower first. The taps needed plumbing. The water from the shower was a meek drizzle. It made her sleepy waiting for it to soak her in. But she always preferred it to filling the bucket and pouring water over herself. The latter she thought needed too much effort.

She switched off the fan as she entered her room to get dressed. She opened the Almira to decide on what to wear. Heaps and heaps of clothes-of late, mostly trousers and shirts, an occasional skirt, a couple of blazers ,a few dresses, and the rest of them were old clothes she now wore at home or night dresses she loved shopping for but was seldom motivated to wear. It was so much more easier slipping into a pair of old pajamas and a faded t-shirt than removing the tags from a brand new knee length t-shirt she had picked up on one of her trips. They were new; they always made her feel she was dressed up to go to sleep-an idea she found difficult to relate to.

She did not like the creases on the shirts that the "istriwalla" had left behind in the form of folds. She picked up a white shirt with gray stripes and switched on the iron to erase the creases. She lifted her gaze away from her hair as she combed through them to look at her watch. She had forgotten that she had not yet strapped it to her wrist. She picked up her cell to check the time. It was ten minutes past 8. The taxi wallah who dropped her to her office would be jittery. She knew he would flood her with a flurry of remarks the moment she entered the cab while she desperately tried blocking him out behind the Economic Times she tried reading on her way to office but found so unbelievably boring that she ended up fiddling with her phone if there was any time left after the call with her mother.

As she strapped her sandals to her feet, rushing to switch off the lights her roommate always left on, she remembered to pick up her watch just before she locked the door.

She felt a sense of unease. A discomfort at not knowing how she had just started with a seemingly perfect morning and yet ended up feeling lost. As always, she pushed the thought to the heap, which was growing larger by the day. As the cab started, she looked outside the window and told herself once again-"It is a perfectly normal day, and a perfectly normal life. I have nothing to complain about." She hung on to that thought desperately until it gave way to another- Maybe I don't want 'normal'. She always laughed at these contradictions within. Today was no different.

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Features -- April 2011 -- Mid Month Issue

Pali Tripathi
-- Additional Work --