‘There is more to life than what we have seen. The day school ends, we shall all cross a threshold. That day, a door shall forever be closed upon us. And the privileged ones will all leave behind their naivety because that is what the other side of the door requires of us.’ Words she had spoken and words, which could not have been truer. In an attempt to be courageous, she might as well have found the secret of life or at least that of survival.
She is jerked back to the present as the car drives over yet another speed breaker on the state highway. She is enveloped in the night’s darkness. The road sky is bereft of street lights and the velvety night sky is barren. She cannot see anyone. No one can see her. She realises that her i-pod which she had been listening to, is still playing. She switches it off. That she gauges is another light being put out. She hunts for the earphones, she had plugged into her ear at the beginning of the journey but had lost them in her bouts of dozes and preoccupation. Strangely, she does not know where the car is. She smiles wryly, wondering what is new about that. She seems to lose way frequently nowadays. And in her search and chagrin, she loses grip on her music player as well.
The car lurches forward again. This time, it is over an unexpected pothole in the road. She jolts forward and falls on the luggage. She had not realised how cramped she had been, sitting for six hours in the back of the car until it had been too late. She was stuffed along with luggage – suitcases, cartons and with loose bags thrown somewhere. She is petite and everybody thinks it is easier for her to fit in – convenient. For whom, she wonders? She hears others in the front seat, telling the driver to take it slow. She does not make a sound – cramped and sore, though she is. She just assembles herself back in the small seat as if she were but a piece of broken machinery. Well broken, isn’t she?
As impossible as it sounds, she goes back to her quest of finding her travel companions – the player and the ear plugs. She realises that they are not on the seat. They are probably lost in the crowd of other inanimates. She tries to search for them with her hands but she cannot find them. The rhythm of the silent drive is broken yet again. Abandoning her search, accepting the inaccessibility of it, she resumes her seat.
Her inability and realisation of failure together with all her bouts of preoccupation and her epiphanies attack her. An incoherent sob escapes her, choking her. She tries to muffle it. She knows that this is yet another sign of a failure about to greet her. She gives up. She does what she has been doing for a while now. She buries her head in her arms and buries her self in herself. She cries – silent but loud sobs. She cries. Nobody listens to her. Her world, however, echoes with them and her spirit suffers yet another fissure from the incoherency.
The honking of a truck and slamming of doors wake her up from a fitful and sob induced sleep. She feels the salty tracks of tears and kohl lining down her cheeks. Quickly trying to rub them off with her hands, she flutters her eyes to clear the haze. A sharp piercing light, a light so bright that it initially hurts. She tries to escape it: bury her eyes deep down in the sockets, guard them with eyelids. And she would if she could. Slowly, however, she brings herself to face it. Then, the door sounds and is opened. All the bags, cartons and cases are removed – noisily, slowly but efficiently, bringing in light to her darkened corner.
She realises that they have reached. She will also reach her destination. She contemplates bidding her time as she gets off the car. This probably is the first stop in a long journey to find words, which will string together answers that she has been looking for forever.