A Sign of Life!

Here I am, playing football with Baba. Is Maa there? No. We are in the park. No. It’s a field. No. It’s my school’s annual sports meet. Where are my friends? I can see them in the classroom. Which class is this? Fifth? Sixth? Seventh? I am sitting on the backbench; we are laughing about something. But I fall quiet when the teacher looks at me. I can’t feel the chill that runs down my spine. I know her. I don’t remember her name or nickname. I am back again in the park. The field. The ground. Baba is smiling, mildly, as he pushes the ball towards me. His lips are closed. I can’t feel the ball touching my feet. It’s just an object bouncing off me. The ball is gone now. The ground is breaking. The cracks are getting wider. I am falling. Baba? He is not here anymore. I am alone. No. I see people. Or are they ants? Things are falling around me. The ground is shattered. I am running towards the window. It’s like that game. You have to step on the right stones to cross the water. I forget the name. I am running, stepping, jumping. But gravity overpowers me. Physics wins. Physics? It was a subject in school. I don’t remember if I liked it. Did I hate it? What is hate? What is like?

Here I am, running, again. The ground is not breaking. There are walls with posters. Political parties. Movies. Advertisements. They are a blur. A mix of orange, green, white, red. I am laughing. No. Smiling. My teeth are out. I am bathed in sweat. I don’t feel hot. I can see others, people walking, selling, talking. I can’t hear voices. I can’t hear noise. The silence doesn’t scare me. Scare? What is that? Bits and pieces appear from nowhere. Maa is talking now. We are in the living room. No. My room. No. This is not our house. We are in a village. I can see a pond. There are trees, lots of them. And ducks, cows, cats. I know the walls are not made from bricks. It’s brown. It’s mud. There is a smell. Smell? I don’t know what it is. I can’t smell. It is dark now. But I can see a lamp. There is kerosene in it. I can’t smell it. Shadows appear on the walls. Humans, insects, leaves. There is a breeze. The trees dance. Now we are outside. There is light. I am batting. I am bowling. Batting? Bowling? Is it a game? People are running, laughing, fighting. They know me. I can’t remember their names or faces. It’s a blur.

Now, I am on a train. I am alone. I am smoking. The smoke rushes inside. Now, I am standing near the door. The air is slapping me. I don’t feel pain. Pain? What is that? Someone is there. A girl. She is pressing her lips to mine. I have no emotions. Emotions? It’s just another object touching me. Now she is lying there beside me. She is talking. I can make out the words H-A-P-P-Y. What is happy? I don’t know. She is still there, beside me. She is not moving. Is she dead? What is dead? Her chest rises and falls. She is alive! What is alive? I don’t know. I can’t feel anything.