Some people like you never change, do you? I once knew you as a reader and now I know you as a person, a mischief-maker! It so happened that you were once reading my book and I happened to see through the pages and at you. The way you looked at me, the words in me got a unique meaning, the meaning you gave with your understanding of the text in me. Yes, I am your book. But beware! What you’re doing, I am writing in me. I am seeing you, the world around you and most importantly, the things you do!
So hi there! You seem to be quite pleased with yourself, I see! Nice! I suppose that’s a good start for the day. I peek a little more out of the book and I see you with suspicion. You aren’t your usual self, or should I say that you are. They say a person’s eyes say everything but the dark bags under your eyes are saying even more that you were awake the night before. Now, what is this new game you are upto? I wonder.
I have decided I am going to stay awake tonight to keep a check on you. You finished your dinner and are entering the room. I can see that you are pretending to sleep, as you know mom will check on you. The activities in the drawing room, I ignore as I focus on you and only you. Those activities are fast forwarded: the chitter chatter, the noise from the tv, everyone laughing at something funny Kapil said today on tv. Now, its all over…the soiled dinner plates are piled up in the sink, thereafter, the maid rings the bell and is now washing the dishes…all the chores of the house and the usual evening life has now finally come to an end and everybody is switching off the lights and preparing to sleep. I still see you waiting impatiently for that dead silence. I too grow impatient to know what is this all about. You are no more in your teens and have celebrated your 22nd birthday. So, I wonder if it’s a girl that’s keeping you awake, are you planning to sneak out of the house in the middle of the night to keep up with your promise of a rendezvous with someone special. Hmm…that’s good thinking on my part. I have dealt with such subjects before and they say, we books are actually the mirror to the world. We hold in us not just travel experiences, info, but also emo.
Ah-hah! So, you are sneaking out eh! You tiptoe to the hall room and then slowly open the main door. But whats this, you are carrying something in your hand. Wait a minute, are you kidding me! That’s a remote control car. And hey, whats it that you plan to do with it in the corridor at 3 a.m. ???
You control the joystick and direct the car to the next door neighbour’s house and knock the door by slamming the bonnet of your remote car once, then reverse, then twice, then reverse, then thrice and then move away your car behind the pillar that is the way to the stair case. After a moment’s silence, you quickly bring the car back home and close the door, now peeking outside the window to see if the lights in the opposite house are on and for some reaction, whatsoever, to confirm if your prank was successful.
And now, I see a glint in your eye as you are able to see some silhouette appearing on the curtain, a glimpse you may say, of the happenings in the house. With some insane satisfaction that you derive out of this stupid mischief of yours, you come back to the bed and giggling to yourself, you fall asleep in minutes.
Yawn! I too am sleepy. See you tomorrow!
The morning is the usual and nothing important to mention about it. The night falls again and darkness falls on your mind, with your evil plots coming alive again. You repeat what you did last night. But just when you are about to enjoy the silent happiness, you hear a soft knock on your door. You freeze. Oh shucks, you exclaim! Hiding your mouth behind your hands, you are dumbstruck. What would follow next? Has the neighbor come home to complain? If so, why is he knocking so softly…I should be expecting hard blows on my door…and a lot of tamasha…but no, this is something I don’t comprehend. But before you continue with your confusion, a second knock followed and then a third! And then, none! Terror is all over your face. You muster courage to open the door, after a thousand afterthoughts, and you peep through the keyhole first. Nothing! No one! You’re scared and so you rush into your room, shut the door and try to catch up on lost sleep, driving aside any thought about this entire episode.
The next morning you wake up all dizzy and tired but a whole lot worried. You manage to refresh yourself and take your seat at the breakfast table. No sooner do you start nibbling at the omlette, served hot on your plate that the bell rings. Now anything that’s got to do with the door, excites you and you turn around suddenly. Your mom opens the door to greet Mrs. X, welcomes her in and asks her to join your family at breakfast. You stood there staring hard at the saree-clad woman with nothing but pure fear. You recognize her as your ex-principal, at a glance. Just that, she turned out to be your neighbor was no cause of fear but the fact that she was dead 6 months ago and you recently shifted to this new flat of yours, unaware she was not just your ex-principal but your dead ex-neighbor too, dried up your eyes with panic and your face was the color of a stale frozen fish, blue with horror.
Mrs X greeted you and mentioned to your mom that she was once a principal of your school. Your mom was surprised at this piece of news and became even warmer with her hospitality, also nudging you to greet and welcome her appropriately. Your principal looked straight into your eyes and said, “I will teach you how to welcome guests and most importantly, to not disturb them when they are asleep in the DEAD of the night.” Your mom was in the kitchen by then. The mention of the word ‘DEAD’ made your spine shiver. You were dumb-founded and were unable to get a grip of yourself. That night things changed. 3 a.m. was no more a time that you eagerly awaited for. It was the time when fear knocked at your house: 3 times…the once soft knocks now sounding like hammer blows in your head. You learnt your lesson: