By Pooja Iyer
It was a very normal day. I woke up like every day feeling lazy and wanting the night to last longer. I didn’t want the day to start. I didn’t want to go to college. Back in school days, I always wanted to go to school and have fun with friends but now, I just didn’t wanted the day to begin. I didn’t want to meet the people I had in college. Mainly, I didn’t want all the drama to take a toll on my day. With so many frustrations in mind and so much reluctance to move on with the day, I just woke up and started getting ready for leaving to college. I had done my home work, studied for the quiz which we were supposed to have that day and most important of all, I had packed my lunch box into my bag.
I was waiting for the bus at the bus stop, earphones plugged into my ears and not caring about the world. That was when he came up to me and spoke. He spoke to me like we had known each other for years. I didn’t recognize him and I didn’t remember seeing him anytime either. For some reason I couldn’t understand, I spoke to him like he was a very close friend of mine and got so engrossed talking to him that I didn’t notice the bus leaving right in front of me. It is not like me at all to talk to somebody I don’t know or recognize. But that day it felt like I was really drawn to speaking to this person. I don’t know for how long I was talking to him and all of a sudden my phone started ringing. I stepped aside to answer it. It was my mother and she sounded pretty scared on the phone. I asked her what was up and she told me that the bus I was supposed to take had met with an accident on its way to college. She was extremely worried as she thought I had been in the bus. I reassured her that I was safe and that I’ll be home in a while.
That was when the weirdest thing happened. The guy I was talking to, had left. I didn’t know where he had gone or why he left all of a sudden. I really wanted to thank him. He saved my life. I couldn’t see him anywhere. I waited for a few minutes to see if he would come back but he didn’t. I didn’t have a choice but to leave. My mother was worried and I was sure she would be worried until she saw me. And so I went home. I told my mother what had happened but I just told her I was talking to a friend. She would freak out if I told her I had no clue who the guy was. I couldn’t just bring myself to forget the whole incident. I was alive today because of this guy and he had mysteriously vanished all of a sudden. Main reason I couldn’t get over the whole reason was that I did not get to thank him at all. But at this time there was nothing I could do about this. So though I couldn’t get hold of him, and though I think back to the day at least once a day, I was able to get along with my work normally. I did not repeat this story to anyone else lest they thought I was a crazy girl.
My college was located almost 35 kilometers from my home so I had to take a bus, travel for an hour and a half and then take an auto rickshaw and travel for another 20 minutes before I reached the college. This was fun when I stated off as a fresher. For someone who hadn’t gone further than a 20 minute walk to school before, this was paradise and the travel time was the best time of my life. After that though, the long travel, the same people and the hectic traffic started to get boring. I started doing reckless things along with my friends. My college in particular had a lot of restrictions for every possible student related matter. Funnily, that acted as an inspiration for us to do exactly what we were forbidden to do. Nothing too serious or any life threatening things but just silly stuff like bunking college, going late on purpose and things like that. I started having fun. I made a lot of new friends, witnessed a lot of fights and got involved once that gave me the ultimate lesson of never being in a fight again.
Life was absolutely normal for almost a year and a half. We got very used to going to college even during festival times. It was on one such festival day. We had all gone to college just because of a lab we had to attend. It was raksha bandhan and my brother had come home from his hostel so he could spend the weekend with me. I finished all the formalities for the day and since my mother had gone to her brother’s place, I didn’t really want to cook, I decided I’d have lunch in college and left telling my brother that I’ll be back in evening.
We had decided to bunk college that day. Could you blame us? It was a festival. It was supposed to be a holiday and out of a class of 60, only 15 of them had turned up so there was no point in staying and even most of the faculty was on leave that day. We were in an auto. My friends and I really liked sitting at the back of the auto because we had a better view of the road. There was a car speeding from the distance and we could see that they were out of control. One of my friends had this very annoying habit of provoking others till they lost patience and she was doing the same with them. I tried to stop her because I thought it was a bad idea but she wanted to have a laugh and kept signaling them to drive faster so they’d come closer. They did came very close, we could see their faces very clearly through the windshield. They were clearly drunk and they had beer bottles in their hand. They were laughing and I was really nervous. They definitely seemed out of control and they seemed to be coming too close to the auto. I tried to stop my friend but she found it funny and kept egging them on to drive faster. 2 minutes later, the car had collided with the auto and I was flying, literally flying before I hit the road. That was the last thing I remember for the next 25 days. That was what everyone thought at least. I was however able to listen everyone talk and in my mind I reacted to everything that was going on around me. Only problem was, it felt like I was paralyzed. I had no idea what was going on but I couldn’t move my body at all.
That was when I saw him again. Sitting in the corner of a dark room, softly smiling at me. I tried to speak and he put his fingers on his lips signaling me not to talk. That was not all. I could hear him say, “You don’t have to say anything.” But I was pretty sure he did not open his mouth. I thought I was imagining things. I immediately heard, “well, you might be.” I then realized I could talk to him in my mind. It was probably all going on in my head and with literally no physical activity, I found a friend inside my head! WOW! Was I going crazy or something? I didn’t care. I couldn’t move, couldn’t walk and I was absolutely frustrated. There were so many people coming to see if I was okay and I hardly recognized any one of them. For every person that came, my mother would ask who it was and this friend of mine would say the name that I would say out loud. Problem was she would ask me again who it was and I wouldn’t remember.
It was not easy on anybody. The whole situation. I had no idea how I had got myself there or why it had happened to me. But I knew dwelling on these wouldn’t get me anything so I was simply preparing myself to deal with it. My friend didn’t say why and how all this happened. I tried asking him and all he would say was “Oh please!” and that would simply divert my mind to Barney Stinson from How I met your mother and then we would have telepathic conversation for a long time. The next few months were very confusing. Today, I hardly remember any of it. Not just months but most of what happened for the next year and a half is just a distant memory to me.
Next thing I knew was I was preparing hard to get an admission into a university to pursue my masters. There were times when my friends would speak of something that had happened in the last 2 years and I just wouldn’t remember anything. I would simply just agree with them and nobody would be any wiser of what had happened to my memory. But even after all this, I knew what it was that forced me to survive the whole ordeal. I knew there were people who cared about me and I knew their world would collapse if something had happened to me. I knew who my friend was and I knew why he was there with me during those times. He kept me sane. He kept me sane long enough for me to take a second chance with life.
It was very difficult and I knew I had coped with it with help. Today, I consider myself to be one of the luckiest and happiest persons on earth. Not because I am rich, not because I own something that’s rich but simply because I know there are people who love me and there are people who have tied a web around me just so I don’t leave them and go. And I am lucky because these people can sometimes be very strict and shout at me or fight with me but these people, I know for sure, would never let me go even during my most insane times.
About the Author: Pooja Iyer is a mechanical engineering student at Western Michigan University. She is originally from Bangalore and her interests are music, reading and writing.