She no longer needed an alarm to get her out of bed at 4 in the morning. She was always up by 3:45. The morning chill each day kept her frozen in bed for exactly fifteen minutes. Not more, not less. Or at least that’s what she claimed while her husband claimed it was a pointless ritual of hers.
She loved the smell of the morning and prayed to the Sun to let the smell of mornings continue all day.
One day the Sun will listen to her prayers.
She heard sounds of the people down on the street. It was a race between the rickshaw wallahs carrying the street hawkers and the trucks of huge supermarkets to grab the best vegetables and fruits every morning. Each day fights broke out with street hawkers swearing at the corporates for stealing their livelihoods a day at a time! They too looked at the sky and prayed to their gods in desperation and second rate vegetables on their carts.
She twisted and turned in her bed, warming up her muscles, bones crackling and stretched under a warm comforter. She had made up her mind. Nothing would stop this 73-year-old lady from waking up when the clock struck 4.
She propped herself up on one elbow and reached out for her spectacles on the bedside table. But, they weren’t there. She left them there every day! Perhaps she forgot last night. She turned on her bedlamp, squinted under the sudden light, and tried searching the drawers of the table muttering under her breath about the pains of ageing.
She sat up and tied her hair in a bun. “Hare Krishna”, she whimpered as she got out of the bed with a deafening noise of her joints crackling and made her way to the switchboard and turned the lights on. I must remind Aditya to move my bed near the switchboard, she made a mental note to herself to ask her son after he wakes up. She made such mental notes daily, only to forget them when she sees her son and rushes to make the morning tea for him.
She turned around and as she took a step, she heard a crack. She looked down to find that she crushed her glasses. The kids! they are out of control. Her six-year-old twin grandchildren Abhi and Raj were unusually interested in her glasses and kept stealing them the previous day.
She was not someone who got angry easily. And especially not in the mornings.
Mornings were meant for chanting the name of Lord Ram and dedicate the time to the gods who made her life worthwhile. There’s a no bigger joy than to see your family happy with everyone doing what they dreamt of.
She found her spare glasses in the washroom, cleaned the lenses with one end of the saree and put them on. They seemed a little heavy on her right ear, but it was manageable. She then brushed her teeth. There was a faint hum all the time and there seemed something wrong with her right eye. She was seeing three dots everywhere she looked and the third dot kept blinking. She made another mental note to clean her glasses again with the special cloth her daughter in law always asked her to use.
She bent down to the washbasin and spit the foam. When she looked up in the mirror, the was a huge green mushroom with eyes and legs, the size of her head sitting on her shoulder. She took a step back in fright and dropped her toothbrush.
“Good morning, Mrs Sharma”, spoke out the mushroom now floating around her hair.
Rama Rama Rama, what is happening!!
She felt nauseous and felt her blood pressure shoot up. She walked as fast as she could to her room, opened her bedside table and took her BP medicine, but the floating mushroom never left her.
“You can call me Vimi, and I am here to help you!”, Vimi said and with fireworks behind her. “This dose of medication wasn’t prescribed to you. Would you like me to call a doctor?”
Why am I hearing things! Hey deva, help me. What is happening to me?
She understood nothing. This was scary. This was what her son Aditya and daughter in law Vidhi would call freaking out.
Why is this ghost behind me Deva? What sin have I done?
She had to repent for something she had done, perhaps in her previous life. She got up to go to the prayer room and chant the name of Shiva to seek forgiveness.
As she walked Vimi danced around her head and asked, “Would you want me to tell you about the world?”, Vimi asked. “No no no! Go away!”, she shouted as she passed the open door of the kids’ room. Abhi woke up listening to her scream.
“Beta, I’m sorry. Go back to bed,” she said. He lay back down. But the lion by his head and a horse-headed man around Raj’s head stared at her and said, “Good morning!” with a smile.
Why is this happening to me!
She ran towards them and started beating the horse head and the lion which just flew around and escaped her blows. “Dadi! What are you doing?”, Raj woke up and asked her surprised to see her in such a state. “Beta there is something around you! The devil is dancing.”
“Beta, wait. I need to do a puja and everything will be alright. Lord Shiva will help us!” and she dragged herself as fast as she could to the puja room. It wasn’t just her,but the ghosts have attacked her grand children. She had to find a remedy.
When she reached she turned on the light, sat on her chair, got out her rosary, closed her eyes and begged, “I apologise, Deva. I am impure and yet I am here. Please forgive me, but please get these ghosts away from me and my family!”
She began chanting Lord Shiva’s name so loud that Aditya and Vidhi came running down. Aditya puts his arm on her shoulder and asked, “What happened ma?”, concerned over his mother’s sudden fear in the morning.
She looked at him and screamed as much as her lungs allowed her as she saw a blue ball with a face bouncing off her son’s head and a pink jellyfish over her daughter in law’s!
“Ma!”, Aditya held her with both of his hands but she lurched behind in fear of what was happening. He held on to the chair and stopped her fall, knocking over her spectacles and a little piece of it broke apart as it fell to the ground.
“Ma! What happened ma?”, he asked concerned, ready to take her to the hospital if required as she closed her eyes tightly. Vidhi brought her a glass of water, “Please drink water, Maa-Ji”
She was breathless and her chest began to burn.
Vidhi and Aditya looked at each other with concern. “Ma, come, let’s go to your room. You’ll feel better.”
She resisted. “No, I want to be here. I need to pray! Ghosts have possessed this house!” She refused to open her eyes.
Om Namah Shivaay! Om Namah Shivaay! Om Namah Shivaay! …
Vidhi sighed and picked up the spectacles and saw the broken piece and picked it up too. She looked at it and smiled, “Maa-Ji, everything will be fine now. Open your eyes. Don’t worry.” as she understood what had happened.
She refused to open her eyes. Aditya looked at Vidhi and with a motion of his head, asked her why she was smiling.
She showed the little broken part to him. She held the new Spectacles mounted AR module, a spare that they had bought just in case the kids broke theirs.
“Ma, everything is fine now. Open your eyes! The kids did this Maa-Ji”, Vidhi said, trying to control her laughter.
Aditya broke into a laugh.
Abhi and Raj giggled behind them high-fiving each other.
Happy Halloween folks! This was an attempt to try out different genres through magic realism and science fiction!
I hope you liked this! Please do drop in your feedback as well if you can! It would be highly appreciated!
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