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Participate in the 3rd Season of STORYMIRROR SCHOOLS WRITING COMPETITION - the BIGGEST Writing Competition in India for School Students & Teachers and win a 2N/3D holiday trip from Club Mahindra

Saanvi Thapar

Tragedy Classics Inspirational


4.7  

Saanvi Thapar

Tragedy Classics Inspirational


A Day Relived

A Day Relived

11 mins 162 11 mins 162

For one moment, Amiya was on the road, thinking: projects, meeting, exams, lectures; the next, she heard a honk and screeching of wheels. She screamed as she saw the truck’s face closing. Before she could move, everything went dark.

When Amiya saw her body from the top angle, hairs ruffled like a nest, emaciated limbs covered in plasters, and an unconscious bandaged face, she gasped. No voice came out. It is a nightmare. Her eyes tried to wake up as they often could, but they didn’t open to reality. She ascended, away and away from the little white room, passing through the ceilings, away and away from the land until she could see the blue orb speckled with green, far away, as darkness took around, towards the centre of the universe. She didn’t know how she knew that. 

She attempted to remember what had happened, but her head pained. She saw green, red, and white points glowing like fireflies all around. Her head felt heavy. She stirred as she felt a presence, like a vast amount of energy concentrated near her.

Then another possibility occurred. Had she died? A screeching sound and a truck’s face flashed between her eyes. Her head throbbed. She shook the memory away.

‘And what justice should I pronounce upon this lady?’ a deep voice said. Amiya attempted to speak something, but no words came out.

She prayed to get out of this dream. Amiya had given up on God, but the heat was unnerving her. She could almost feel her tears coming.

‘Praying will do no good,’ the voice said. ‘You are dead, so to answer your query,’

‘I am not dead,’ she thought furiously. ‘Wake up, wake up-

‘You will not.’ The voice laughed. ‘Funny, my other part of consciousness was just conversing with another soul-with-identity. She noted that we only remember God in tough times; everybody does that.’

‘Are you God?’

‘I am his servant.’ He spoke.

‘Why am I here? Who are you?’

‘I am God’s servant. I already told you that. You are here to receive a present before you go into the halls of justice.’

If the presentation was a lighter one, she would give a mocking laugh.

‘I am not kidding. We give a gift to all those who die in their youth.’

‘Then enliven me.’ Amiya thought.

‘I am sorry, but I do not control your fate. Your actions do that. The gift is something else. You will get to experience any one day of your life before your soul passes on its identity.’

‘Please,’ her voice in her head trembled, ‘I will do anything. I don’t want to die.’

‘I told you already; only your past actions control your fate.’

‘I killed no one!’ she thought.

‘Who knows,’ the voice said. ‘Now choose.’

Amiya let a heavy silenced pass. The more she tried to get away, the more she felt trapped in this place. She thought of something unintelligent.

‘Have you decided the date?’ the voice said.

‘Is this real?’ she thought, ‘Really?’

‘Why wouldn’t it be?’

Amiya took a sharp breath. ‘Anyone day, you say?’

‘Yes,’ the voice said, ‘Your birth, your parties, your trips…’

Amiya brooded. She had been sick during most trips. Celebrations weren’t as grand. She could become a kid and exploit all advantages of it. That elevated her heart. But she couldn’t recall the exact events of any one particular day; all the memories seemed distant and blissful as apricity.

She thought harder and remembered her brother’s fifteenth birthday. Her heart fluttered with excitement. All family members, cousins, uncles, and aunts, great and small, had attended it. Even though she didn’t know any of her cousins till then, they talked like they were long-lost friends. All day they had eaten and played unceasingly. They had woken up till late, unwrapped gifts together, and played with them too.

‘Have you?’ The voice demanded.

14th May, she calculated years in her head. 2000.

‘My brother’s 15th birthday, 14th May 2000.’ After a while, she blurted, ‘I can’t live again, can I?’

‘No. Are you sure about it? The date, the event, everything is fine? It cannot be reversed.’

Amiya thought for a moment, running calculations in her head again. ‘Yes, his birthday is on the 14th.’

‘You will wake up on the morning of 14th May 2000 in fifteen seconds. That will be your soul’s last journey on Earth in these clothes.’

Amiya counted till 15. She hoped it was a dream and she would wake up in her room. Someone shook her hard.

She heard a voice that she had so yearned to hear for years. I am dead. Really.

‘Wake up, sleepyhead.’ Her grandma’s sweet voice said. Amiya’s soul could feel how tired and lethargy her body felt like she had not slept all night. The soul wanted to spring up from bed. She realized she had no responsibilities and burdens now. It was just school, family, and friends. For the first time in years did the soul feel peace, and a tinge of excitement in her heart.

‘Amiya!’ her mother said, and this time, she jumped off her bed and headed to the washroom. The soul was confused. She remembered or thought she did, that the day had been a holiday from the start and she hadn’t gone to school.

‘My birthday is today. My party. My party.’ Her brother was singing. The soul smiled after seeing that goofy smile.

Tomorrow,’ said Amiya.

Her brother looked at her in annoyance as she giggled. But the soul was in another dilemma. Tomorrow? Memories crashed now, clearer. She understood what the voice had pointed at. They had postponed the birthday party to Saturday as his birthday fell on a working day.

The soul wanted to scream. This was the last chance to relive life. God had already killed her. What else did he want? This was supposed to be a present!

The soul hardly noticed the events, overwhelmed and dazed, thinking of all the negative things of her life. There were countless meetings to organize, lectures to attend, and projects to make. It had burned her out. She suddenly remembered that her mother had asked to call her, but she had denied it on the account of work. They hadn’t talked for days. Oh, mom…

When the soul shook those memories, Amiya sat on the bus, drawing on dew that had settled on the window. How she loved doing this. The soul realized she hadn’t done this for years. Amiya started humming. It was not in the perfect note or melody, but the poem’s original version hit the soul’s mind. It was The Sparrow by Paul Dunbar. Whenever her mood was elated, the soul recalled, she would burst into singing this:

So birds of peace and hope and love

Come fluttering earthward from above,

To settle on life’s window-sills,

And ease our load of earthly ills;

But we, in traffic’s rush and din

Too deep engaged to let them in,

With deadened heart and sense plod on,

Nor know our loss till they are gone.

It seemed like Amiya sung this poem for the soul. This somehow calmed the soul down. It was true in her context. The soul decided to walk on the talk and observe the moments around.

Once in school, the day passed slow. Amiya got a scolding for incomplete history work (Half the class stood and sniggered with her). The soul remembered with a wry smile how she made fun of Mrs Bakshi. Amiya slipped in the sports period while kicking a football, making an embarrassing scene. Everyone laughed, and Amiya couldn’t help but join them, too. Maths floated over her head like it was an unfamiliar language. She kept the topics to learn from her mother once at home. She loved the English period, though, answering every question thrown at. Mrs Sharma loved her dearly.

The soul had forgotten to experience such blissful joy. And she realized that after a few years, Amiya would forget them too. She wondered how had she forgotten to have such fun.  

Amiya bought a Bunta when the school bus dropped her. She still had to walk into her lanes to reach her house. The Sun was high above, making her sweat. That cool and refreshing drink soothed her throat.

As she sauntered on the streets, Amiya heard a bark. She tried to avoid that. She hated pets, mostly dogs. They were innumerable in the streets, always tagging along for food or barking.

The dog gave a weak bark again, and it forced her to look. How Amiya wished she hadn’t. Her heart broke as she dashed there. A puppy with brown wet, dripping water lay on cardboard. His pathos eyes sparkled on her. It was his leg that made Amiya grimace. It was in a pool of dark red colour as if a bike had run over it. The pup seemed unable to move. It whimpered. Amiya looked around for his family or owner, but the street was deserted.

Part of her wanted to move on, ignoring him. She had to reach home in fifteen minutes to accompany her mother and brother shopping. Amiya couldn’t be late; she didn’t want to miss shopping and then devouring golgapas. The thought excited her, but another moan extinguished it. Thousands of pets died every day. Who cared? She stood, gave the pup a brave smile, and trotted away. She clutched her locket, as she always did when she fell in trouble. Her mind had a brief debate over the pros and cons of her action. A whisper reprimanded her.

The vet was a good thirty minutes away. An hour to come back. Her mother would be more annoyed than worried.

That was the boldest decision of the day. She stopped her foot in mid-air and forced her body to turn back. Amiya hated pups, and she hated cardboards that dirtied her clothes. She hated how he smelled, or how deep the wound was. She hated that ugly shade of red, and she hated those miserable eyes.

But she picked up the cardboard anyway and ran opposite as fast as her feet could take her. She didn’t care as she splashed dirty water on herself; she tumbled often but regained balance at the last second. By the time she reached the vet shop, her lungs were gasping for air, her neck was soaked in sweat, and her stomach hurt with cramps.


The way back was faster, but by the time she reached, her mother had left, with only grandma home. That was a mixture of relief and disappointment.

But yet, that part was far less than a sense of pride and joy that bloomed in her heart. The soul couldn’t believe that she had done this. Now the memory ripe to her. She would be scolded, but it would get over.

Amiya changed her clothes and sat beside her grandmother. They had a beautiful green yard where her grandma grew dahlias, roses, and morning glories. Sparrows perched on the big neem tree and chirped.

Her grandmother smiled. Even at this age, she had long and sleek grey hair, and her posture was perfect. The soul was hopping up and down. She had missed her grandmother. She was the only person in her house who understood her perfectly and sometimes acted like a partner in crime.

‘I wish I could go shopping. Why didn’t you go?’ Amiya said as she stroked her hair.

‘But then you would have missed this bloom.’ Her grandma said as she held a bright blue bud. ‘You can go on shopping a thousand other times, but this beauty is rare.’

For a moment, they watched the blue bud dance in silence. A sparrow came down near, pecking the ground for worms. More birds followed.

Amiya gave a sly smile as she jumped near them. The birds fluttered away in a gush as they had failed in their tails. She laughed. It felt so good.

This moment made her feel rooted back again. If she could have her life back again and undo all those mistakes. Why did she have to focus on work so much, when she already had touched the goal? Why couldn’t she take a break and enjoy the little things around her? If she could see all beauty and goodness and joy around again…

As the time rolled by, having one last dinner full of talks, chaos, those goofy smiles, and mocking eyes, the soul knew she was at peace at last. God had probably wanted to teach her a lesson. No trips or celebrations could give her happiness so deep and fulfilling. She relished it, sad to know it wouldn’t come again.

Time flew. The soul could feel Amiya’s eyes droop. She would fall asleep any time. She thought of her grandma’s beaming face, her mother’s hugs, and her brother’s laugh. That provided comfort, softer than pillows.

And then she was floating back up, up to where the energy pervaded.

A very white flash blinded her. Then darkness enveloped.

She heard shrieks around. She bumped her head as she tried to stand. Something crackled and chinks filtered in. A brown body lay perched above a wiggling creature between its beak. She moved to grab it instinctively. It went down with relish. The young sparrow cried for more. She couldn’t understand, but she moved her head as she heard a mellifluous tune. The song was:

So birds of peace and hope and love

Come fluttering earthward from above,

To settle on life’s window-sills,

And ease our load of earthly ills;

But we, in traffic’s rush and din

Too deep engaged to let them in,

With deadened heart and sense plod on,

Nor know our loss till they are gone...


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