Going down the memory lane, somehow I was reminded of this particular event which is still so brisk in my memory as if it happened only yesterday. Something about that incident still gives me a goose flesh when I come to think of it. It was one of those mornings in the final semester. And this morning was something I could never forget. I don’t know what happened that day and how did it happen, but surely it could have killed anyone of the 5 people those were present in D-321 at that time. And “myocardial infraction” would have been blamed for the causality.
Taking you back to the final semester of ours. What a semester it was ..!! Really ..!! This was the only period in my life where I, actually, was able to follow a time table. Having got a placement very early in the semester, done with all the entrance exams and awaiting the results, not attended even a single class in the entire semester ( we even bunked the internal exams ), all that we had to do was to kill a lot and a lot and a lot of time by instrumenting one or the other “innovative” ways of ours.
In a nutshell our day used to start very early in the afternoon and used to stretch to early in the morning until 5 or 6 ( yeah “Early to bed and early to rise” has been my motto all throughout my life 😀 ). So this particular incident which I am referring to took place during one of those “early” mornings. Tired by an eventful day ( after spending a lot of time at Nescafe, followed by a tour of the
only most happening place in the city and infinite rounds of “29” ) we finally decided to retire for the day. Though we happened to have been allotted single seater rooms in the final year ( the rooms which were really spacious – the only thing I could actually boast of our college ), we still loved to flock together in a particular room numbered D-321, which was our bedroom to say the least.
Now let me introduce you to the characters of the stories and the venue where the incident took place. It was a messy room, clothes spread all around, walls filled with all types of creations and censored writings, cooler struggling to keep up with the outstanding demand (we bought the cooler on a sharing basis – one of the reasons for high occupancy of the room 😛 ) and the most useless part of the room – its 5 occupants who were lying there, snoring in a way as if they were the most carefree persons on this planet.
One of them was “yours truly” who was occupying the bed that day (we got the chance to sleep on the bed on a rotational basis ). The other lucky person whose turn it was to enjoy the royalty of the bed was Abhishek (who, for the records, has a phobia that the day he sleeps alone in his own room would be hijacked by a group of hippy aliens who would do weird experiments on him). I guess due to the same reason he has never considered the possibility of sleeping in his room right through the four years. Now coming to the subjects who were lying on the mat on the ground. Nikhil and Ashutosh, who were the day scholars and were residing illegally in the hostel ( Courtesy to the awesome electricity in Ghaziabad and the fact that their inverter was not strong enough to offer them even few hours of sweat-free sleep). And in one of the corners, lying like a denounced poor kid, who appeared very thankful to His Almighty to have got some space to sleep, was the “official” owner of the room, Emraan.
So the things were going on much like an usual day. Tired from the day, I lost my conscious in a matter of seconds and was pushed to the lap of dreams. I don’t exactly remember what I was dreaming because the event that followed made me forget everything that was in my mind at that point of time. There was a huge scream in the room, one which shook me from head to toe. I knew that something terrible has happened and someone was hurt very badly. I sat up, shivering, and what I saw at that moment heightened the horror even more. Nikhil was shouting relentlessly, the shrillness of his scream increasing progressively. The terror was clearly visible in his eyes. Emraan was standing just a few steps away from Nikhil. He was bending down and had his hands locked with those of Ashutosh. They both were also shouting like anything. Things were very clear to me by then. Something had happened to Nikhil. Something very bad. Something had bitten him or may be he saw something that had scared the hell out of him. And apparently both Emraan and Ashutosh knew what has happened.
It was such a tensed atmosphere. I didn’t know what to do or how to react. The first thought that came to my mind was to run outside the room and search for the cause. Then I thought of searching beneath the bed for any snake or something on those lines. My mind also struck the possibility of a dog biting him ( The same dog who had been coming to the room quite often to find a shelter beneath the bed). All these things happened in a flash of a second. Unsure of what to do, how to react, I also started shouting like anything ( possibly to call out for a help or may be that is what we normally do when we are scared like hell ). In few moments Abhishek, who was sleeping beside me, was also up and he did no different but to follow suite. And there were we 5 of us looking at each other and shouting like someone has thrust a sword up our ass. We continued in the same way for few minutes until we began to realize that it wasn’t helping our cause in any way. And then slowly but surely we started to calm down. It was time to act sensibly and quickly find out the cause and arrange for the remedy. Something had to be done pretty quickly.
Abhishek ( to Nikhil ) : What the hell happened ???
Nikhil : *blank*
Me : For God sake speak what happened ???
Nikhil : *blank* … simply staring at everyone
Everyone (in unison) : Say something … Why the hell were you shouting ????
Nikhil (who finally spoke but only to add to our shock) : I don’t know …
Me : You don’t know ??? … Then why were you shouting ??? …
Nikhil : I don’t know … (His face was still blank. He appeared clueless as to what has happened, as were we)
Abhishek ( to Emraan and Ashutosh ) : Why the F were you both shouting then ??
Ashutosh : I woke up to find these two morons shouting and thought something wrong has happened and I too started shouting.
( Everyone’s glare turned to Emraan)
Emraan : I stood up to search for the water bottle and suddenly he sat up and started shouting. I thought he saw some ghost and hence I also started shouting.
(At this point everyone was blank … The silence was broken by Abhishek, who turned to me and asked me the very same question)
Abhishek : Why the hell were you shouting???
Me : For the same reason for which you and everyone else were shouting.
( *Blank* *Blank* *Blank* )
And then we sat there for how much time I don’t exactly remember. Not uttering a word, not even moving a bit, just staring at each other. There was a pin drop silence in the room and I was wondering why has not anyone approached us by then listening to the havoc we just created. It was almost 2 minutes of non stop screaming on our part. 5 idiots sitting there and shouting. And shouting for what??? They didn’t know.
It took quite some time for my heart to stop pounding and come back to normal. The recovery phase begin then. All of us started cursing Nikhil like anything. Sometimes one by one, sometimes in unison. And there he was sitting there, head bowed down, listening like an obedient child who just committed a mistake. I wonder if he was listening to us at all and not still in a shocked state, lost in the thoughts trying to recollect and find an answer to “What exactly did happen to him??” Nikhil has been known in our group to do unconventional things, but this was far far fetched.
Then after we were done with all the curses and abuses, we sat down wondering what could have happened to him?? … May be it was a scary dream … May be Emraan woke him up while he was trying to get the bottle and it triggered him in some way … May be he woke up to see the dog sitting right there in front of him (which must have given him an impression of a demon sitting underneath the bed). Unable to recognize the creature in front of him and not knowing what to do, he must have screamed, while the dog escaped amidst all the confusion … Or may be it was a combination of all three … May be …
We all sat there, trying to find the fun part in all the confusion. Someone was blaming Vinit to have come there in his animagus form (the dog) and scared Nikhil. Someone was reflecting upon the fact what the dog would have gone through seeing all this ( he surely wasn’t coming back to this room of freaks). Many things said and done, we decided to forget the incident by shoving it away in a laughter and go back to sleep. But no one slept that day. Everyone was lying there with their eyes closed. Everyone was lying there scared. Everyone was lying there, still having the goose flesh …….. Everyone was lying there, asking this very question to themselves – “What exactly did happen??” … Especially Nikhil …