0/18 – The Prologue
The lights were blinding and the atmosphere was electric.
There was a deafening roar and the chants of “Billy…Billy” died out slowly.
The microphone was in my hand and the crowd was egging me on to deliver the killer blow to Billy Joe.
I obviously sang like a dream and I knew he was fighting a lost cause with his rendition of “Wake me up when September ends….”
I was pretty smug and confident about my victory in this competition, but I failed to understand why he was singing the same lines again and again and again and again.
Amma entered the room, switched off the alarm, gave me a swift kick and said, “Dei… it seems like you will actually sleep till September ends. Get up da, change that darn song. Why can’t you use ‘Happy’ like the rest of us”.
I woke up groggy eyed, croaky throated and glanced at myself in the mirror.
In an instant, I knew what a hangover looked like.
As usual, Amma had placed a cup of steaming coffee on the bedside table. She knew my Sunday routine. It had been the same for the past year.
I grudgingly got down from the bed, donned my glasses, took my coffee and put my phone in my pocket.
I went to the living room with the coffee in hand and was looking for Pa. I understood that he had gone to the bank, instead of just doing the transactions online. Silently, I vowed to myself for the umpteenth time to make Pa a bit more technologically sound.
I was sipping my coffee and had the Su–do-ku in my hand.
“Ma.. What’s the date??”, I shouted
“12th da Abhi… 12th june…”
I dropped the paper and ran back into my room. I started rummaging through my shelves and after discarding a few unnecessary documents and searching a little bit more frantically, it revealed it’s hiding place.
I placed it in a file and took it along with me to a quieter place.
I walked up to the balcony and looked out the grill waiting for a dramatic rainfall. This wasn’t a movie and the sun was scorching.
I settled down in the most serene and secluded place I could find, opened the file and took out the sheets.
I loved the first line of the eighteen pages that were to follow…
“Dear Abhi … I love you.”
I took out my phone, fought back a tear and smiled at the screen.
She smiled back, with the most captivating smile I’d ever known.
It had been a year already.