I was fast asleep. A quick afternoon nap, I had lied to my prof about being sick,bunked college that day and was enjoying my lazy day. So happy and I had the best dream in a long time. I dreamt about my best friend Niku and me pulling a crazy prank on our professor. I couldn’t wait to tell her about it. I was going to call her up when my mom shouts at me for not waking up early, for lying to my prof and not having food on time. Oh such a moment spoiler! And which sane person on this earth wakes up early on a holiday!
But then again if I say anything now, I know I’ll be doing dishes for the whole of next week. So I slowly pull myself out of my bed and finish my daily chores, yeah brushing and having my breakfast. Coffee in my hand and I skim through the newspaper. I mean is there anything more peaceful than the combination of these two? (Of course I mean Page3 when I say newspaper!)
Then I remember I have to call Niku to tell her about my dream! I pick my phone and dial her number, well it’s ringing. That idiot wasn’t picking up my calls! Nothing annoys me more than this. I decide to boycott her calls when she calls me. I turn on the WiFi and check my msgs on Whatsapp.So many notifications! What has happened I wonder!
I read a message from my classmate Suresh ‘Earthquake in Nepal! Any news from them?’
I call him up almost immediately, ‘When did it happen? Did you hear from them? They are safe aren’t they?’ I bombard these questions at him in a single breath with my voice shaking.
Suresh replies in negative. I was breathless and collapse into a chair. My mom panics looking at my state, questions me what happened. I tell her to watch the news and hurriedly try calling Niku on her phone,leave a zillion msgs ‘ Are you’ll okay? Are you safe? Please reply! Please I’m so scared please reply!’
I try calling the restof them on their mobiles too. I call the helpline number , no use. The rest of my classmates were panicking too. We had no clue where our friends were at that very moment. We didn’t know if they were safe. They had gone just to enjoy, a last trip before the college ended. I didn’t go in spite of them forcing me to because I had to prepare for my exams. I so regret it now. I do not know where my buddies are, where my Niku is , where Avi is . I just do not know. I was getting dreadful thoughts and I cannot even explain how anxious I was. Tears haven’t stopped from the time I heard the news.I kept praying for their safety. I kept checking my phone like a fanatic for one msg from Niku and Avi. I could feel every second passing, every minute seemed like an hour. My mom kept comforting me saying Niku and the rest of them would be Safe. ‘Yes they will be. They have no other choice but to be safe’ I kept reassuring myself. They will be safe.
5 hours passed and no msgs, no information about them.Around 6.30 I get a phone call that felt like heaven, the name flashed on the phone screen Niku . I picked up the call, I cried and laughed at the same time ‘Niku…’
‘Yes. I’m fine. At the airport. We’ll be flying out tomorrow. I’ll come home and call you.The network is shaky bye’ She said in a shaky voice with most words unclear.
‘I’ll be waiting’ I said from this end. This one phone call calmed ns me down a little bit. Mom forced me to have dinner, I ate very little. I sat infront of the TV watching the horrifying news, tears running down my eyes but thankful that my friends are safe. I could imagine how traumatised they were at that exact moment. I tried calling Niku,Avi and the rest of them but phones were not reachable, that’s okay at least they were safe.
I couldn’t get much sleep. I kept twisting and turning the whole night. I reached the airport first thing in the morning. I kept waiting for them to arrive at the terminal, I couldn’t wait to laugh at silly things with Niku and for the warm teddy bear hugs from Avi. All of their parents were at the terminal too. Niku’s ma sat beside me with her swollen eyes and red nose, not taking the eyes off the passengers arrival point. I gave her a tight hug and held her hands tight. We waited for them to arrive. There after long hours of waiting I spotted them. We ran towards them. Aunty and I hugged Niku together. She was in a devastated condition. I smiled at her. ‘ You were brave!’ I said hugging her tight.
She kept looking at me while I went and hugged the rest of my classmates. All of them looked at me the same way Niku did.
‘Come let’s go home’ I said.
Niku and I got into her car. Aunty and uncle sat in the front. They dropped me off at my home,
While getting down I asked her
‘ Avi went directly to Mumbai right? Is his phone reachable now?’
‘Avi… Is never going to be reachable now!’ Niku said bursting into tears.
I understood the look on everyone’s faces at the airport. I blanked out and my world went spiralling. I collapsed.
Niku held me and took me inside my home. My mom was delighted to see Niku, but didn’t understand my condition.
I think that’s what Niku said to my mom ‘Avi passed away.’
‘Omg!The boy You did your assignments with na beta.’ Mom almost said something more I don’t remember.
Niku stared at me helplessly and I just sat still unable to comprehend, I couldn’t scream. I couldn’t shout. I couldn’t do anything more. I had no voice. I didn’t exist anymore. I didn’t make any sense anymore. I was void.
#NepalEarthquake #beSafe #prayers