It seems I can’t breathe anymore. There’s a heavy weight on my chest. A stinging pain ripples through my body. I feel stifled. My eyes are closed. I know it’s midnight. I’m supposed to be sound asleep now. But I’m not. Somewhere in my subconscious, I’m wide awake. But why? What’s this pain that is slowly and literally gripping my heart? I can’t move. Only I manage to splutter some words that make no sense. Maybe I’m trying to shout. But my brain is too numb to decipher the signal from my heart. The weight on my chest seems massive now. I’m trying to inhale some air but it doesn’t seem to flow down my open mouth. Can this ghastly experience be a mere dream?
I open my eyes with a jolt. Yes, it was a dream. A dream. I have a sigh of profound relief. I sit upright and take three deep breaths. Breathing has never felt so heavenly. I look sideways and frown. Where’s my husband? Is he up already? But that’s utterly improbable. I look out the window. It’s bright outside. But not as bright as the rays of the morning sun. What time is it? I feel panicked. I take my mobile off the side table to check the time. It’s 4 in the evening. What! My jaw drops. I clearly remember closing my eyes to sleep last night. Then I had that frightening dream. And I end up waking at 4 PM! I’m about to toss my mobile at the bed but I stop. There’s something else that has caught my eye. I unlock my mobile again and my face freezes out of sheer horror. The date flashing on my mobile is 13th May, Sunday. No. It can’t be true. Today’s date is 14th May. Today’s Monday. Throwing the mobile away, I run out of my room.
There’s absolute silence around. I walk to the nearest room which is my elder daughter’s. I push the door open. A Bollywood song is playing on her mobile. She’s nowhere to be seen. The door to the attached bathroom is closed. She must be inside. The curtains are pulled; room looks messy with clothes all over the place. I’ve seen all this before. It was yesterday. Right at the same time I walk in. I open the cupboard to arrange her clothes as I did yesterday. And instead I stumble upon a piece of paper. I very well know what it is. It’s her seventh semester result. I know why she stashed it away. Because she had failed in two subjects. This all has happened yesterday. I take the paper and close the cupboard. She comes out of the bathroom. One look and her face turn white as a sheet. I don’t glower at her like I did yesterday. Because it’s not a surprise to me anymore. Instead I feel bad, looking at her grim face. She starts spluttering excuses. I’ve heard all this before. I wonder what is happening. Have I time traveled to yesterday? I shake off my bizarre thought. I am dreaming. I conclude. Is it a dream inside a dream? I pull myself out of my thoughts and snap at her like I did yesterday. I ground her for a month. She starts crying; she pleads with me to listen to her. But I turn my back to her. Yesterday I did the same; I left without paying heed to her request. But now, for some unknown reason, I stop. And I turn back.
To be continued…
Written by Chirasree Bose