You know that feeling when you can see red under your eyelids? And then if you rub your eyes hard enough you can see the stars in your eyes. It’s like a small glimpse into the universe for just a few seconds.
Indra turned and tried to pull the bed sheet up in her sleep. Small beads of perspiration beaded up o her neck. Amma must have switched off the air conditioner and pulled off the curtains.
She knew it was time to wake up or she would be so late for college but she wanted to complete her sweet sweet dream where she was spending her day lazing around on the beach. But Amma had now started to resort to her last measure in the arsenal for waking her up:
The pulling of the bed sheet. “Amma!” she opened her eyes groggily and they were filled up with tears so Amma now seemed like an angel with her curly white hair flying around her head appearing like a halo, only this angel had a spoon I her one hand and an annoyed look on her face and was babbling “What use is of the alarm clock anyway, I do every job around this house, including the alarm’s”. Indra very gently just get up close and tried to kiss the annoyed angel but she instead shooed her away to the bathroom.
Quickly showering and rushing her teeth, she got dressed and ran out of her house as fast as possible. It was only when she had boarded the metro did she heave a sigh of relief. Indra was good in her studies and she had joined a course that would eventually help her to become a sound engineer.
She loved mixing the sounds, she loved to leave her touch on the music, her strings. In the metro, she took out her earphones and religiously plugged her ears. And clicked on the last played soundtrack on her phone to get the music started. It had become much more of a habit now than anything else.
She wanted to drown out the noise of people chattering loudly on their phones, of aunties chattering the latest gossip, it was a tad hard to resist the gossip, even of people she didn’t know, it was fun to eavesdrop, the conversation as almost always hilarious, but it was the lover’s quarrel or otherwise talks she was most afraid of, it was unbearable really to hear people talk about their supposedly cute love names out in public and then the giggling of the girls, argh!
She got down on her station and then started a boring day of lectures where again the professor’s voice just touched her ears and moved away like a tangent on a circle. She received some messages from Hitesh in the middle of the class and jumped up because she had forgotten to put her phone on silence the ping of the whatsapp messages got her blushing because it was a notification she had put up for him only.
After a long day at college, she began her pilgrimage of going back to home, for which she hoped she better got rewarded sometime in her life. She knew the announcements in the train by heart now and could recite them in that same tone and accent flawlessly.
When her metro emerged from the underground during the duration of her two hour pilgrimage to home, she was surprised to see that the sky had darkened and here were rumbling clouds ready to pour in the distance. When the time came for her to take an auto to reach home, it started to rain cats and dogs. Nevertheless, she managed to convince an auto driver to take her home in the downpour. No thinking he was overcharging her too but her mom had already called her once and had urged her to come home early. She hopped in the rickshaw and an involuntary shiver ran down her spine at the crack of the clouds. The situation appeared to be a perfect imitation of one of the scenes from her beloved Scooby doo cartoon.
Her auto reached an intersection and like it was his birth right, the auto driver began to crawl towards the middle of the intersection despite the red light otherwise asking him to stay put. Indra was busy scrolling through her phone for the lack of something to do when the meaningless rap of an Indian singer reached her ears and she tried to ignore the hideous piece of what people nowadays called ‘music’ but couldn’t resist looking up
Blackness everywhere, she tried to move but she didn’t feel anything and there was sharp pain on the side of her head which was beginning to radiate with time. She sensed some pressure on her fingers and again slipped into the soothing blackness.
She found herself in bed, again muted light filtering in through the windows and rotates her eyeballs to find her Amma next to her, bleary eyed, she tries to reach for her before darkness claims her again.
White walls, white fan and white hair,”amma” she tried to call out but her throat was too parched. Her mother suddenly looked up from her slumber position and was startled for a minute. She saw her mother’s mouth move but couldn’t hear anything. Maybe it was because she felt something heavy and padded covering up her ears.
She tried to lift her arms but she couldn’t as Amma almost launched herself on her and hugged her in her spread eagled position.
She tried to speak but she couldn’t even after Amma fed her some ice chips. She was starting to feel trapped as she began to realize that she couldn’t hear the fan whirring above her head, she couldn’t hear the sound of the beeping heart monitoring or what her Amma was saying to her. She tries to speak but the vision of Amma blurred as a nurse came into her room and injected something in her IV drip.
When she wakes up again, she calls for her Amma but she can only feel her facial muscles moving and couldn’t hear the sound of her own voice, thinking that her ears now needed to be popped or something, surely she should hear something despite the bandages and she tried again, again but no sound reaches her ears. She came to the realization that like a typical Bollywood movie she can’t hear anything beeping despite being attached to so many devices.
She reached for her mother, calls out to her again but again she realizes that she can’t hear her own voice and in desperation tries repeatedly until she sees her mother’s tear stained face .Her mother gave her a letter and she started to cry, silent tears at first when she read that her auditory nerve got damaged in the accident and she won’t be able to hear again, and then the horror dawns when she can’t even hear her awful soul sucking sounds one releases when someone is crying as hard as she was and she realises that she can now only hear the thoughts bouncing around in the in her head which is now like the surface of a lake with no ripple in sight.