It is very late in the night.Well,morning if you read the clock the right way.The only person stupid enough to roam around in this unearthly time of the hour is me.The stillness that envelops me is overpowering.I wonder what i am doing down here instead of snoring in my bed.The owl on the tree near the compound gate seems to wonder the same thing.
I don't know for how long i stayed awake.All night i kept twisting and turning in the quilt spreaded out on the floor(my bed) of our one room apartment.After quite a few desperate and unsuccessful attempts to fall asleep,I woke up.The only sounds in the room were that of the toilet tap dripping and my dad's snoring.Then something quirky awoke inside me.They say strange things happen to you at such times.I decided to go downstairs and enjoy the moonlight.I rose as silently as i could,picked up my mobile and my note and headed for the door.Just as i was turning the lock,my dad gave a slight shuffle.I stopped dead and stared at him,feeling like a runaway bride before the day of marriage.
The descent down the corridor was scary.In the dark(Da society is saving electricity),it resembles a spooky dungeon.The light from the mobile wasn't enough to guide me through the place.Good thing,i was barefeet.Or the sound of my tripping would have awoken my 'friendly' neighbours and presented me with embarassment.Not that i am not used to it.
The place was empty.As empty as my brother's head.But there was also something mystical around it.It is amazing,how a less-than-ordinary housing colony is transformed into something mysteriously attractive with the fall of night.The cold breeze fluttered a few leaves as it floated across the deserted complex.Not a light stirred amidst the windows.All and sundry were deep in their sojourns with fantasies.I was feeling exihilirated.
After an hour the motionless silence was exciting me.There seemed to arise a suppressed energy inside me.I wanted to scream as loudly as i could to shatter this impenetrable silence.But i knew i shouldn't,so i couldn't.I sat near the watchman's cabin.He was asleep.I don't blame him.My mom said,"only people with lots of money and secrets don't sleep at night".The watchman didn't seem to have either.He was a hardworking man with little cash to spare and an open heart.Just like my dad sleeping on the third floor.So much for class divide.
The warm,humid air was making me sweat.I looked into the mirror hung outside the cabin(w'man beleives that if you sleep with your face to the mirror,you will be captured in it forever).I stare into it.For that moment,i am scared.Boy do i need a haircut?I look like a cross between Jim Morrison and Lennon.
The air around me is suddenly abuzz.The dawn seems close at hand.Birds are beginning to stir in their tree-houses.The sky has started to change into a recognisable blue.I decide to head up home.I switch on the Fm airwave in my mobile.and Billy Joel talks to me
In the middle of the night,
I go walking in my sleep,
To the jungle of the true,
To the river so deep.