I was reading Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome the other day. Inspired by J’s splendid description of anecdotes, I thought of sharing a small yet interesting event of my life as well 😉
It was the time when my parents were doing PhD from IIT Kharagpur. I was about 7 years old. My mother had gone to Kalyani for a day and were to return late in the night. That left me and Papa at home, which meant we will have dinner outside.Its ironic to think that once I used to wait eagerly for an opportunity to consume outside food and now I would give anything in the world for eating home food. Truly you come to know the value of something when it is no more with you. Anyways, focusing on the narrative, we had our dinner and returned home. I was very happy and we were watching TV. It was a Monday night and we were watching Om Namah Shivay. For all my friends who remember, this was the glorious time when we had only DD National and strangely enough we were quite content and thrilled by the serials coming on it. This show in particular was my favorite due to its wonderful title track ( You can watch it here ) where a man made of fire danced the mighty Shiv Tandav !! Needless to say I would always try to sing along and dance by copying the steps of the Fireman , but was never able to do it properly.Suddenly my father remembered that he had to make an urgent STD call.Mobile phones were not the necessity of life those days as it is now ..god knows had we lived without mobiles at that time.. people met and talked..how strange and idiotic right !! Since we didn’t have landline also, my father needed to go to DVC market to a telephone booth to make the call.Usually, the simplest and the best thing to do in such a situation would be to lock the door from outside without me worrying about opening and closing the door. But I somehow had got an eerie nerve that day ( What’s the fun in not taking risks..so life should be complicated ) and demanded that the door would not be locked from outside if I am inside and I took the responsibility of taking care of the house and myself.Much to the dissatisfaction of my father, he instructed me not to open the door for any stranger and he will be back within 20 minutes.He also told me not to sleep and I just laughed at the idea and argued back saying that how can I fall asleep when I am watching such a lovely serial.Moreover, I am grown up and not a kid anymore !! So, he left and I immersed myself in TV.
After a certain period of time ( I don’t know how much..strangely I had no idea ), I heard my friend crying out my name and banging the door. I immediately went upto the door to tell her that I it is not advisable to call me to play at this hour of the night and she should be mature enough and go to sleep. I was about to say this when I heard atleast 10-15 more voices shouting and hands banging loudly on my door ( enough to wake people within miles). I felt a massive intrusion of my personal space and leisurely time. Why the hell are these people behaving like this!! Also, this is my door, not their personal property to damage by knocking it with hammers.I opened the door and shouted, ” What is the matter?”. I got a cold chilling look from all my neighbors like the one you get when you come across White Walkers.There was some relief in my friend’s face though and then suddenly she said, ” You Kumbhakarna !! All of us were so worried “.
I was like what are you saying? She then unfolded a narrative which I was completely shocked to hear and hard to believe in.She told me that I had fallen asleep and was not opening the door.Initially, my father tried knocking, shouting my name,everything which could be done, for 10-15 mins.This was followed by the whole locality gathering there and each one of them trying their best to wake me up ( basically to prove their heroism). My immediate neighbor Aunty had even tried blowing Shankh and ringing bells.Some children took this opportunity to try to wake me up by bursting thunderbolt-crackers outside the door.People were knocking with hammers on the door.This noisy and jolly procession continued for about 1 hour with people making weird suggestions and some others just gathered to gossip and intensify the situation.They were kind enough to draw the attention of my father and the crowd on the fact that how dangerous it can be for the life of a small kid like me if door is not opened in time.What if gas leaked from the cylinder and the house caught fire or some short circuit happened because of the running TV..Poor Disha won’t even notice since she is sleeping 😦
At this point, I would like to describe a bit about the building we lived in.Our house was on the 3rd floor and had adjoining balcony with a neighboring house on the 3rd floor on the right hand side, with a gap of about 2 feet between them.My father was trying to jump from the adjacent balcony of the other house to the balcony of our house in an attempt to eventually disturb me from my dreamy world and suppress the growing tension and anxiety. Breaking the door was also an option, but I guess my father being an Amitabh Bachchan fan was more comfortable in jumping than breaking doors like Daya. He was just about to jump when one brilliant person gave the advice that I will hear my friend’s voice only because of the intimate connection between us and also the fact that a girl child’s voice is very shrill..and hell yeah it worked !!( don’t ask me how or why). My father came after 5 mins (after he was informed that the door is finally open ). He had an expression of utmost anger on his face, but a slight sense of relief can also be seen hiding under it . I thought he would shout at me but he simply hugged me THAT time (later I got an earful from my mother and father both ).I felt quite embarrased and ashamed thinking of what would have happened if my father would have really jumped and risked his life just because I couldn’t stay awake for some time !! All my neighbors then went home happily after witnessing and being part of a fun drama for the day and I was given the nickname ” Sleeping Beauty ” by my father for the rest of my life to be teased with 😀
To this day, I can’t recall the time I fell asleep, woke again and how I remained deaf to all the violent noises made outside my door.I still strongly believe that the events of that 1 hour or so never happened. All the people were simply lying, trying to pull up a prank on me or maybe this was part of a deep conspiracy to defame me which needs to be looked at carefully by the FBI 😛 Anyways, I have now come at peace with the theory that during this time ( if there were such a time) I was in some parallel universe performing the magnificent Tandav on stage, leaving people of some other planet to be in complete awe and mesmerized by my performance 😉