It–It can’t be… But it is! I can see myself! I’m 5 years old. Dad’s performing the Diwali puja rituals. An innocent smile spreads across my baby-face as I hear fire crackers burst outside. Phantom-like, I observe my (once) happy family and a tear rolls down.
A momentary flash of white light and there I am again; only this time, 16 years old, receiving my ‘Prefect’ badge in school. I watch my proud, confident self read out a note of thanks.
*Flash* Scene 3 – Me, from around a year back, sitting on a rock facing the sea and laughing, carefree. Through this strange, hollow darkness, I observe my younger self, wishing I could reverse time.
Yet another flash. But I can’t see myself anymore. I can’t see anything, actually. A thick black pall engulfs me. I can’t move either but I hear voices. It’s all coming back to me. I realise what’s happening but it’s too late.
‘Whatever you do, don’t drink and drive beta,’ – mum’s voice. ‘Ek aur shot pee le kuch nahi hoga,’ – Karan’s voice. ‘At least I’m more sober than all you drunkards put together. I’ll drive,’ – my voice. I can’t breathe properly but sounds I hear; wheels screeching, friends screaming, a cyclist whimpering, a windshield smashing to smithereens and a horn that won’t stop.
Strangely the excruciating pain is now easing out. I can feel my wounded body slump and my spirit rise to look at my lifeless form. My head rests on the steering wheel. That’s why the horn won’t stop. Noooo! I don’t want to go. I want to live, please.
My soul weeps terribly but it’s just too late. Words reverberate, shattering the deathly silence – Whatever you do beta, don’t drink and drive.