I went to an unknown area to visit the ill kids, to spend time with them and to understand life, the blessing of God to mankind. This place was far from home, it was a remote area and I planned to go anyway. The rebel in me was so stubborn. When I reached, I waited for the kids to come downstairs. I wanted to see their happy faces. But, when they came down, they seemed to be blind and they behaved like my smell irritated them to an extent that they walked towards me with hungry faces, waiting to rip my flesh out and drain me off blood. They behaved like how new-born vampires would behave to the smell of humans. They ran towards me for the wrong reasons and I couldn’t take it anymore. I ran off. I didn’t know how to appreciate life anymore.
My next step to this fancy rebel adventure was to simply get in a rickshaw. I was sweating like a pig and I forgot to carry my bottle of water. The area was so isolated that there weren’t any shops around. I couldn’t find a rickshaw easily either. Ten minutes of secret prayers got me one. Finally! I guided him the way home and I told him which route to take. But, with time I figured he hadn’t taken the route I asked him to take. I thought he’s taking me through a shortcut. I thought this was God’s way of cutting me some slack and of making me reach home safely and faster.
Then, the way looked weird. My gut feeling shouted at me telling me something was horribly wrong. The thoughts in my head got weirder. My imagination was killing me and my eyes flashed with red color to fear and tears. I thought to myself that the man wanted to kidnap me. We went through long, narrow lanes and dimmer lights. He kept talking to me about making me reach the city area faster. He looked at me through the mirror a couple times and he smiled like a young lad. Well, he smiled a lot. And, his smile made me frown and I didn’t show it. My heart was beating loudly and I asked him where we were and he said, “Paradise.” He said, “Just you and me.” He stopped the rickshaw and that time, he didn’t look at me through the mirror, he turned his head to see mine and he smiled slyly. I knew just what to do. I ran off. I didn’t know how to appreciate life anymore.
This place he got us to, was a maze. There were wooden chairs and tables all around. They were stacked up in full stock. And, there were floors full of this! I ran downstairs to the basement. I climbed table to table, I tripped on a chair and tore my jeans too. Blood oozed out coloring tables around too. I folded my jeans to avoid blood spill. I didn’t want it to be easy to be found by him. He was out of my sight, but I ran faster instead. I found a hidden room in the basement area. It was a bathroom probably or a closet. My vision was getting so blur. I could barely see. When I stopped I saw myself in a red room. Blood flooded like water in that small room and I opened the other door hoping for it to be my escape. To my surprise, I saw a woman sleeping there. And, the noise of the door woke her up. She was my relative and I was almost fainting. She was someone who I thought would never help me. But, she guides me towards the door that leads to the secret door, to escape. And, she was standing there close to the door bidding me goodbye with a silent stare and an expressionless face. I was fainting and I felt myself falling but before my head could hit the ground, I read the name tag pinned to that door. It read, “Paradise.”
Was I fainting or was I getting up? At this point, I didn’t know who and what to trust? How far have we reached to want to suck blood out of our own relatives? How far have we come to want to see others suffer? What bad have we done to see ourselves bleed endlessly in our dreams? What bad have I done to see such things? Or, is this God’s way of sending me a message, to show me that people who are family are actually not family, that even our own children will want to suck our blood? Is it a message to tell us that we all believe and think of Paradise, differently?
I just woke up from this dream. And, I cannot physically or mentally function. There’s no one here. There’s no one in the room or at home or in my life to tell me that it’s okay. Life is like this. It’s a nightmare, I can’t escape. It’s a nightmare that I can’t talk about to, to anyone. It’s a nightmare I live alone, every day. It’s a nightmare I wake up and sleep to. And the bitter truth of life is that my nightmare could be someone else’s Paradise.
Crafted with brevity for select stories to make certain you see what others don't; Page One is delivered every Sunday
Two exclusive fortnightly newsletters, sent on Saturday alternately
a) Reel and Real with Rony Patra
b) Mixer with Ayush Garg