Ninenty Nine And A Half

Ninenty Nine And A Half

1 min 2.1K 1 min 2.1K

Chapter One

My 12th Boards percentage was 90.

I sat in front of the monitor for hours, eyes frozen on my score hoping on the miracle of constant stare that might increase my percentage even by 1%.

I cried at that and Dad replied with,“I didn’t expect much anyway, that’s enough for us anyway. Enough for you.”

Mom was happy. Her happiness was well evident in the enthusiasm she showed while preparing for the small congratulatory party.

“The last year University cut off had been 90%”, I heard Dad talking to Mom in the kitchen that night, “She doesn’t have much luck with University admission if the cutoff increase by even a unit percent”.

It didn’t need much elaboration on the mentioned University. Henry University is the only one in the whole of state with the highest cut off and the only University Dad wants to send me to and the only University I have been told as the best in Assam since eternity. I cried myself to sleep that night.

“So, you will be opting for Arts,right?”, Dad asked a week later.

I had looked at him to try and understand the correct response he wanted for his question, but just as usual his face had been indecipherable.

“Arts will be easier for you,” He briefed to my silence,”There are many arts school in the neighborhood, I will enroll you to that ...what was the name of that College? Academia something? Whatever it is, it will be near to home.”

“No, I will be trying for the Science stream,” was my abrupt reply, followed by my uncertain voice,” I don’t want to leave Maths.”

I have always been good at Maths. The Mathematics paper on my Boards had got me a 98. My Mathematician ability is probably due to Dad. Just as the saying goes ‘Blood is thicker than water’,my skill with numbers is an inherited characteristic from Dad ,who is a Mathematician himself.

“I ticked out Biology from my core subjects and am replacing it with Statistics,” I announced while filling out application forms of prestigious colleges, including Cotton University,” I will have Physics Chemistry and Maths, with Statistics optional along with English and Alternative English.”

Dad nodded with a smile. That was his approving smile and it never failed to make me excited.

“But what if you don’t get into Henry?”, Concern obvious in Mom’s question.

“It’s all right, If Cotton or no colleges take her , I will enroll her in one of the best Private Institutions”, Dad replied before my mind even had the chance to decide a back up plan, in case Cotton didn’t happen.

“You are taking Science?”, My elder brother, Neel asked over the phone that night,” Are you sure?”.

“Why can’t I take Science? What is there to be sure?”,My agitated mind that had been asked the same question again and again for the last few weeks, relieved itself on the phone,” How can you and Dad ask me take up arts after having preached me all these years that the weak prefers Arts and Science is always the best?You were the one who taught me in school that the one who knows Maths best rules the world, You taught me to ridicule the girl who got more marks than me in Literature. How can this mind of mine which has already been trained to consider Mathematics as king can devote to other subjects no matter how much it likes? Why didn’t you teach me to treat all the subjects as equal?Why do you guys think I will not opt for the only thing that has been taught to me as best since my childhood? WHY? ”

There was a pause. A pause in which I contemplated apologizing for the outburst, for blaming things on my only brother who haven’t been home for four years, whom I haven’t seen for four years.

“Shh”, He replied before I could even utter any apology ,” You might wake the house up and then forget about having outbursts in front of me.”

This had me extra cautious and I whispered at the phone after tiptoeing around my room to the door and checking the lock again.

“Why won’t you come home?”

“Well….I will come back when you miss me enough”

“But I do”.

“That’s what you think, But that’s never enough”.

“Geez, Than you might never come home.”

There had been a small laughter followed by some loud sounds.

“Dada?What are you doing?”

“Taking aim to shoot.”

Back when were kids, asking Neel what had been up to would come with an exact reply of “Taking aim to shoot” which generally had been the cue to stop disturbing during his video games. Now, the same sentence held the same meaning in a varied away. I heard a loud cracking noise at his background.

“Dada?”

“I don’t know when I might get in touch again. I have to go now ,”He replied to my worried voice, his voice a fading cluster among the loud voices,” Just don’t end up replacing the ‘me’ Dad wanted to make. It’s your life you are going to live in ten years, not Dad’s. ”

Without giving heed to Neel’s advice, I went up and got myself admitted under Mathematics honors in Henry University whose cut off miraculously stayed the same as last year to my Dad’s surprise.

Chapter Two

Henry has been nothing but a chaotic University for the first week. I get lost often, forget directions, end up in different classes, or the worst miss classes. The first two days, Dad would drop me and lead me to my class, and I wouldn’t get lost. But since the third day, I have been leaving house without telling Dad and he finally understands that I don’t want his assistance all the time.

Although, it is the second week and I am yet not familiar with the routes and alleys to classes and buildings of this big college, yet I prefer getting lost and searching my own ways out. College gave me the freedom I never knew of. The freedom of choice through experiences, with nobody dictating out the pros and cons , with nobody marking things as right and wrong, the freedom of choosing the things under one’s one violation. I suffered a lot of falls during my one week in the college, but they were experiences I gathered and I am proud of them.

“Hey Junior!”.

I nod my head at the girl who waved at me and gestured me towards her.

“New?”,Another girl from the same group asks me and I smile at her.

“Want to join our club?”.

“Club?”

I look up at the pamphlet handed to me. Cultural Club. My lack of interest in this club won’t hurt the number of the club since I am well aware how a lot of people sign up for Cultural clubs. I shake my head a no and apologizing I hand the pamphlet back. There are many other clubs lined in a row under a big tree. The club members trying to get attention to have students join the clubs. The second row has the two clubs my father enrolled me into during my admission. The MathematicianS’ and the Physics Club.

Two days ago , I attended the MathematicianS. Mathematics have never been boring, and I was always adept in it but somehow I ended up zoning out through out the club activities. The same happened with the Physics club. Since, the start I have been zoning out quite often and I have zoned out at least once in each and every corner of the University. Just like I realized of having zoned out half a second before I am shaken to reality by a ball that hit right on my nose. The football sized ball tosses me to the ground and I fall on my back as laughter rings around me.

I spring myself up holding my nose,my quick sense alarming me of the increasing number of people around me. I grab my bag and without looking up at the bearer of the shoes and heels that are surrounding me, I make a run out of the crowd pushing away people only to be grabbed midway while I struggle to let myself free of the hold. I didn’t have to struggle more because I was let go after a while, but not before pushing a small pamphlet in my fist.

“What happened to your nose?”, Dad asks staring at my bandaged and slightly swollen nose, on the dinner table.

“She got hit by a football”, Mom answers for me.

“Football?”, Dad frowns,” What were you doing on a football field?”.

“I wasn’t on a field. The ball just came flying at me from nowhere”, I clarify.

“Right,” Dad deadpanned ,”Don’t get involved in useless things. Go with the chief motive to study and score enough points to get selected under Ivy League. You have research papers to take care of too.”

“Yes”, I reply as I play with the rice grains.

“I will get you enrolled under a professor of the University to help you with the research papers,” Dad said.

I nod.

“Is it of any use?”, The maid asks pulling out a crumpled pamphlet from the trousers’ I wore today.

I grab the paper and iron it to straighten the crumpled spots.

Comics’ Nezt- It reads.

“That’s useless”,Dad says,” Nothing but a waste of time.”

The maid takes away the paper from the dining table and throws it at the dustbin by the corridor.

Later at night, I tiptoe around the door and search out the crumpled pamphlet from the dustbin.

Chapter Three

I just missed the MathematicanS meeting. To drive away the guilt for having skip the MathematicianS meeting, I keep reminding myself that it’s a class I skipped, just a small club meeting where they would most probably ramble about the 50th decimal place of Pi, which I already know.

I bite on my nails as I read the signboard hanging on the door for the twentieth time.

Comics Nezt. I have no idea, why ‘z’ is used instead of ‘s’, and it somehow bothers me to see ‘z’ in place of ‘s’.

My Dad will probably disown me if he finds me skipping MathematicianS for Comics Nezt.

“Oh come on!”.

I throw myself back as the door suddenly bangs open even before I decided to knock it.

“You have been standing there for almost half an hour, come inside will you?,”A girl wearing tassel earrings, and with weird looking glasses exclaims holding the door open.

“Mrig!”, She looks past and suddenly waves.

“Don’t tell me you are just standing here to decode the use of ‘z’ in place of ‘s’, just like all those weirdos in the University”, A guy shoulder buts me and greets the girl with a high five and enters the Comics Nezt.

“Come in”, The girl smiles and ushers me in.

I follow her closing the door behind.

For the first time in my life, I am glad I tried something out of impulse. I would have regretted my whole life if I hadn’t skipped the Maths club today. I stand in a big hall, with thousands and thousands of animated drawing ranging from the most famous ones to the ones drawn by amateur artists, with hundreds of comic figurines, small and big, and figurines of Marvel Character tall enough to touch the ceiling, and talking of the ceiling, it’s decorated by animated pictures of flying characters.

“It’s beautiful!”.

“We know”.

I move my eyes to the chorus of voices that replied. There are around seven people in front of them. Three of them are busy with their graphic tablets while the remaining four is busy staring at me.

“Hello, I am Mridusmita Barooah”, I introduce myself and it follows exchange of introductions with smiling and welcoming faces.

And for once since the college started, this is the only club where I didn’t zone out.

I have been skipping a week worth of club meetings of MathematicianS. I am afraid, someone might tattle my father if my attendance comes out nil. I sigh and brush past my worries as I come to stand in front of the door that reads “Comics Nezt”.

I enter to an empty room lit only by a bulb. I have never found the club this empty. Besides, we have a contest to prepare for by the month’s end, it’s not time to ideal away leaving all the works. I surprised myself by the hint of anger I felt over something which is just a week old for me. I shake my head and laugh.

“Penny for your thoughts?”.

I jump with a shriek at the sudden voice.

A laughter burst out and Mrig stands up from behind the desk. He displays the pen explaining why he went under the desk.

“Did I scare you?”, He asks,” I wasn’t expecting anyone with everyone planning to go to the movies with the new film out”

I near him since the light isn’t enough to illuminate his face.

“I am not scared, I am sorry if I disturbed you”,I say looking at him.

“Why do you look at people’s eyes? Why do you do that?”.

“Pardon?”.

“Why are you trying to read someone’s expression to dictate what kind of reply is wanted from you?”, He says with a questioning gaze.

That catches me off guard and I try to focus on the wrinkles on his forehead.

“You are doing that again,” He points with a nod,” Stop it. Stop trying to come up with replies to impress persons, start speaking your mind out.”

That’s what Neel used to say to Dad.

“Stop, stop trying to make her submit to the answers you wanted, for heaven’s sake let her speak her own mind”, That’s what Mrig said before he left home, four years ago.

I shake off the wavering thoughts and turn on two more lights and go to the desk I have been assigned to and pull out my tablet from my bag.

“Is your nose okay?”.

I stop myself from looking at him and touch my nose instead. The swelling has stopped, but there is still a small band aid on the scratch from the ball on the nose’s bridge.

“I still pains when I sneeze,” I say, controlling my best to stop trying to understand the other’s thoughts.

“I am late since I didn’t get the chance to talk to you before like this, but I am sorry.”

This time I couldn’t but look at him. He smiles an apologetic smile.

“My feet happen to be very sharp, I had no idea it will bounce on the wall and hit you,” He says.

“Was that you? But I got an apology some days back, written on a paper,”I reply remembering the small note of apology left on the desk of this hall.

“I thought you knew it’s me, I left that one,” He says,” I thought you noticed me by your desk”.

“Yes I did, but I thought you were there to look up at my drawings”.

“You don’t draw that fine than me”.

That mutes me.

He laughs.

“Kidding,”He explains to my silence,” Don’t be so serious”.

I smile at him as he goes back to his work.

“But “, I ask, unable to surpass my curiosity,” What happened to your face?”.

I narrow my eyes at his face. His face is swollen, just like my nose had been after getting hit by the football but his features look more pathetic. His eye lids were swollen and a big long cut climbs up to his forehead.

“I tried boxing,”He says, running his finger over his eyelid, and smirking as if he owns his scars with pride.

“Oh”, I scowl.

“What’s with the look?”,He laughs ,”I didn’t get into any fight, I actually tried boxing in a ring in the College Boxing Club”.

“Oh?,”That has me excited and I look up with interest ,”Why?”

“Because I wanted to”.

“Why get beaten just because you wanted to?”

“Because my dream is to try everything in the world I want to try before I die.”

I laugh at that.

“That’s impossible”.

“No that’s not”, He smirks, his eyes hold another story and my interest grows,” I have done almost half of everything I ever want to do.”

“Like?”

“Didn’t you see me in Physics and Maths club in the first few days?”.

“Huh?”

“I was there too and I am still there and you should be grateful to me for giving your proxies on behalf of you”, He winks.

My visible sigh of relief.

“I am in almost all the clubs of colleges”, He briefs.

That defines, why he is so irregular in the Comics Nezt.

“Even if you say so, later you will find it impossible to manage the club activities with your studies, specially if you have a major like Physics”, I warn.

“I have already completed my two years in the University and I have been staying at the top in my studies and club activities.”He challenges back.

“But yet so, even if you have another hundred years to live, it is just too short to realize all your dreams , and then again new dreams will weave with time,”I say,” Even a hundred year is too short”.

He smiles at me, his eyes twinkling,” I just need six months to realize all the dreams I wove and I am yet to weave, Just six months”.

I laugh at that, and shake my head.

“And then with your dreams realized in just six months, what will you do in the next ninety nine and a half years?”, I ask.

“I will watch you realize all you dreams.”

Chapter Four

The semester is almost coming to an end. I am proud of myself and of course thankful to Mrig for maintaining with my attendance, for being able to maintain both my studies and my comic designs without letting Dad know. Mom knows, but she doesn’t really care what I do, if I am jumping around with happiness and that’s what I am doing nowadays. It’s tough and I get tired by the end of the day with all the running around I do to reach classes and my club in time. I hardly get time to rest, but I like what I am doing, it keeps me on my toes, keeps me refresh and most importantly it gives me thrills. Maybe, this is what a dream is, the dream that made the ever obedient Neel go against Dad’s wishes and leave his IIT admissions to go for NDA, the dream that makes up the love, four years away from home steals away, the dream that Mrig talks about, the one that doesn’t exhaust him even when he has to run around from class to class and from clubs to clubs. The dream that makes you feel as if you have been emptied of the old century tiredness and filled up to brim with lots of fresh spirits and enthusiasm. It snatches away your air, only to reimburse a lot of it back the moment you feel air’s absence. That’s how it feels to live through your dream everyday. Everyday is full of adventure and excitement.

“Mind to elaborate what makes you display your 32 teeth?”.

I jerk away from my thoughts at the strict voice.

“Ms. Barooah,”The calculus Professor Dad has asked to help me with my research papers inquiries.

I shake my head a no and return to the notes I have been given to read.

“Your exam is right on door, it’s not a even a week away,” He implies, taking the book away from me,” How are your preparations?”.

“They are going well, I have finished with my major papers preparation”, I reply confidently.

“Very well, I expect nothing less from a student preparing for an Ivy league”,He says, “But what are your plans for the winter vacation? I talked to you Father, he is very willing to send you to Bangalore for your internship experience.”

“What?”.

I had no idea and here I even applied for the Comic Con fest contest. I was even taking up time in building a convincing lie to tell my father so that he allows me the a week long visit to Delhi for the fest.

I bit on my lip to taste the metallic taste of blood, my ears shut to the background’s voice while the words ‘Father’, ‘Internship’ and ‘Bangalore’ ring in my ears. Things blur till I can only focus on the integration sign on the book, which soon gets wet by a drop of tear.

“I heard about the Bengaluru internship,” I say, nibbling on a lettuce leaf.

“Yeah, since Ivy League entries might need internship certificates too along with the research papers, we can’t afford risks”, Dad concludes.

“Um, Dad, I searched out some info about it,” I say, sitting straight ,” Delhi has some good paid and unpaid internship offers.”

“I am not sending you to those worthless ones, you will work under a ISI retired Professor and also attend his workshops. Only two students get such a chance, and I got the chance for you,” Dad says,” But don’t think about these things, concentrate on your exams, I will manage your internship locations and others. Make sure you get no less than 10 points this semester.”

I nod an yes and leave to sleep.

At night, around 1, Neel calls. He always calls the moment before he has to go do something dangerous, and this time instead of comforting him, all I did was cry. I cry to the phone as silent pause from the other side of the phone sings me to sleep.

Chapter Five

I notice Mrig on the football field scoring a goal as his friends cheer for him. He is right, he is really and exceptionally good in all the things he do. Two days ago, I saw him attending two clubs together. The astronomy Club and Geek’s Mountaineering Club at the same time. His state that day perfectly described the to and fro motion of a pendulum. Some days ago, I even saw his updated social media status where he wore his mountaineering tracks and shoes and was with the mountaineering club dudes.

Our eyes meet and I ignore him, hurrying my footsteps when I know he is running towards me.

“Hey!”, He stops me with a small pull of my arm.

“Hey!”, I greet.

“What’s up with you? I haven’t seen you in the Club”, He says through skipped breathes.

“It’s not like you are regular,”I reply.

“Come on, Neha even told me that you have been absent for almost three weeks and that you have been ignoring everyone,” He complains.

“Exams, you know”.

“Exam? They happen all the time, but you can’t abandon your dreams for some exams?”, He takes deep breathes and wipes his sweat on his sleeves. He is sweating quite a lot even for a player in this cold weather.

“It might seem as ‘some’ exams, but they are the ones that are important if I want to be able and independent in later life, my stupid dreams won’t feed me “, I reply back, only to realize a moment later of my harsh tone but Mrig doesn’t seem to mind.

“The dreams you seem to think as ‘stupid’, they are dreams to die for someone,”He says, his breathes shortening.

I watch him as he wipes his sweat again and holds his waist for support.

“Are you alright?”, I ask looking at his pale face, and the way his breathes are getting shorter.

I reach out for him, and hold his hand.

“This is terrible,”He mouths and I squirm towards him to listen more clearly ,” I wasn’t expecting it for another month, Damn! I wanted to see the movie Fantastic so damn much”.

“But…”, I stammer as his hands slipped from mine and he falls down, eyes closed,” Fantastic is going to release the next week”.

Chapter Six

It’s has been five days since the day Mrig fainted on the playground. I have followed his ambulance along with the Comics Nezt’s members. He had been put under intense care, and he has been still for the last five days. I have visited the hospital everyday in these five days, and Neha has always tagged along with me breaking down whenever we near the hospital.

He has leukemia. Neha had confessed on the day Mrig fainted, on the way to the hospital. Movies and novels often has leukemia patients and it seems to be such a common plot of a movie, but hearing Mrig suffering from leukemia shook up the walls I built to block the reality of life.

I visited the hospital a little early today. I didn’t even take a bath so that I can hurry up and not miss a minute when Neha phoned me this morning to inform that Mrig has woken up.

I sit and wait for my turn in the waiting room, deleting my mobile history that has only recent searches on leukemia.

“The doctors aren’t giving out positive signs.”

I straighten out at the sudden voice of Mrig’s mother’s voice coming from the next waiting room/

“He could have survived another year or two more had he not gotten himself involved into such heavy physical activities,”It is my curiosity that refuse to get up and leave the room and starts eavesdropping the conversation of Mrig’s parents.

“Dreams. Dreams,” His mother, cried out with gritted teeth,” They are now pushing him to death.”

‘Dreams to die for’. I remember Mrig shouting it out before he fainted.

I concentrate on my phone when I hear footsteps getting louder.

“Aren’t you going in?”.

I look up to see Mrig mother smiling at me. It’s marvelous how eyes can dictate the emotion of the smile that the lips play. I stop scrolling on the page about ‘Leukemia symptoms, causes, and its cure’ and nod at her.

I hesitate before the already opened door, and bit my lips.

“Oh man! Don’t tell me you have fear of sick people “, Mrig’s cheery voice knock down my hesitation and I enter with a smile.

My smile broadens when my eyes catch the embroidery prints on his hospital’s patients’ dress. He follows my eyes and smiles.

“I woke up at night yesterday, and none would let me near to the mobile so I practiced my ‘Art Club’ skills”.

“It’s beautiful”, I say as I go to sit by him ,” I never expected you to be so good in sewing.”

“I know, I am just perfect,” His eyes twinkles as he uplifts his face to enhance the feature of his jaws ,” Does it make you want to not let me go”.

I laugh. And he follows.

I observe him as he takes deep long pause only to laugh again ,” Wow,”he claims,” A five day long sleep has woken the flirtous me”.

“How do you do that?”, I ask mimicking the same question he asked me once.

He crinkles his brows at that and I wish he remembered ‘Pardon’.

“How did you hide five long years of pain behind that smile?,” I say to his sad smile “You mastered the art of trickery well too”.

There is a small pause, where he does nothing but smile. A kind smile, conveying the saddest life with wet eyes. And I see there the same guy I meet everyday at college with the same smile, maybe I am not good in reading expressions at all. Maybe, he never tricked anybody, it’s just us who never noticed his continuous time outs during football matches, his small wait for breathe during the rush among the clubs, his fatigued eyes, the change in his complexion or more likely, his drives to fulfill all his dreams and his spirit to realize his dreams shielded everything else from us. Because that’s the charm dreams carry.

“The weather is nice, cold and dry”, He says, looking out of the window, to avoid the confront of my tears that dropped without notice ,” And a pretty girl comes to visit a handsome boy in a hospital without flowers, How unromantic. The movie Club of college won’t even grade this movie a single star.”

I stare at him dumbstruck as he pouts. He snickers at my dumbfound expression.

“I forgot I am talking to the most serious girl of the college,”He taunts, and it’s my time to pout.

He laughs, tries to laugh at least before his laugh is cut away by sudden bouts of skipped breathes.

“Are you okay?”, I reach for the alarm, but he holds my hand midway to the alarm.

He takes deep and long breathes to calm himself down.

“Hey! Are you really not going to participate in the comic fest when you are so good? Are you really going to abandon your dreams?”, He asks, his voice broken.

It surprises me, he surprises me, or most probably his ability to surprise people surprises me. The guy in his death bed, with his dreams cut short worries about my dreams.

“I won’t win anyway, what’s the big deal in participating,”the cowardice self in me speaks.

“What’s the big deal in winning anyway, you will be chasing after your dreams,”He retorts back,” No wins don’t bring regrets, but no trials surely do”.

I shake my head, my cue to him to leave the topic as it is. Untouched.

But he isn’t someone who reads people’s expression, or more like refuse to submit to the answer people want. He speaks out his mind.

“Why did you even take up Mathematics, you could have taken specialized arts classes only and in that way you would be able to concentrate in one subject.”

“What do you mean by opting for Mathematics? .”

“Do you even like Maths?”

“I don’t really have to like it when I am so good at it,” I say ,” I will come to like it eventually”

“Liking something and being good at are different things, fellow Junior,” Mrig comments ,” You have got the whole order wrong. Trying to be good at something comes after liking it, not the other way around.”

“You speak in jargons, fellow Senior,” I reply.

“You can decode the jargons later, just be a little faster than regrets.”

He sighs.

“Want to be my partner of an hour to watch the leaves fall?”, Mrig asks, looking out of the window.

My confused eyes follow his gaze out of the window.

“Sure”, I say and pull out the gift I brought for him.

“What’s that?”, He asks at the forwarded gift.

“A dream,” I reply.

He looks up at me with innocent curiosity, and reaches for it only to stop abruptly pulling his hand back to his side, befogging my mind.

“What’s wrong? I just wanted to make sure all your dreams get fulfilled,” I say bewildered by the rejection ,” I had a pirated copy of Fantastic delivered that released two days ago, just because you were so eager to watch it.”

“I am grateful for that,” He says,”But dreams aren’t realized without efforts. Then how come this dream come to me as a gift, going against the universal rules of dreams?”.

“Then, don’t you want it?”, I ask, puzzled.

“I can’t let go of it when it is so near me,” He winks ,” Let’s trade that dream with something more expensive of mine. Realization of every dream requires a price, and let me pay the price in exchange of that dream.”

“Oh okay,” I say, laughing,” What is it that you are giving me?”

“Live my ninety nine and half years worth of dreams.”

Later at night, I wake up to a phone call from Neha. My heart breaks to pieces at the sudden cries of pain over the phone and I weep along. I grab my pillow and mutter to it with a clogged nose,” Ninety nine and half years worth of dreams to live”.

Chapter Seven

My phone has been ringing continuously and I stare at the screen just as I did a minute ago when the phone rang, and just like I did three hours ago after I landed in Delhi.

“Hey pal!”, A poke on my shoulder has me turning around to a curly haired girl ,” Pick up your phone, it has been ringing for two hours. It’s distracting me.”

“I apologize, but I can’t pick up the phone for I fear the phone will drag me to Bengaluru.”

“Oh, okay,” The girl replies, giving me ‘Is she a runaway from asylum’.

“Stop reading people’s emotions”, I mutter to myself, scaring the girl more.

I laugh and turn back to the face the long queue of the registration counter of Comic fest.

“Silent it atleast,”The girl probes from behind as my phone rings again.

“I can’t, because the ring tone encourages me to charge forward,” I say smiling.

Among all the messages on my phone, a email catches my eyes and I open it to the address of Neel.

Whoa! I got a call from Dad, after five years and I knew even before I picked up that Barooah family had another rebel going for her dreams. Don’t worry about the consequences and just keeping charging forward. Don’t look back. Your dada will always be there for you .

P.S. I have been told to call you and inform them of your location. So, just in case, delete the email after reading. It’s always better to eliminate proofs even before you are suspected.

I laugh and delete the mail.

“Next”.

I smile at the lady at the counter as she smiles back and hands me a form.

“So, young lady, What bring you here?,” The lady at the counter asks the typical question of formality with no curiosity of any kind,while I fill up the infos in my form.

I grin and hand the form to her ,” I am here to live ninety nine and half years worth of dreams.”


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