I turned around for the millionth time and looked at the ceiling. I took some comfort in the familiar whirring sound of the fan. Such a simple life, a fan leads. It just has to keep whirling around, staying put in place. Apart from getting dizzy, it doesn’t seem to have any other problem and is quite happy to swing its blades in a circle.
I couldn’t understand myself or my thoughts. It was obvious. I had expected myself to be extremely ecstatic and jump over the moon when all the angels above finally answered my prayers. It could have been the shock of having been given, what I had asked for. Really? I wondered if something was wrong with me. How could the guy who seemed as delectable as the forbidden fruit earlier, appear as ordinary as a morning newspaper suddenly? I got up and started pacing the room. No wonder they say women are complicated. I looked at the clock and was surprised to see that it was nearly half past four in the morning. Needing a caffeine hit immediately to gear up the cogs in my mind, I decided to make do with instant coffee.
Opening the door, I peeped into the living room. It was pitch dark and I cursed Jahnavi with a thousand ultra-huge boils on her face for not keeping the incandescent lights on. She had wanted to study for a test in the other room and had promised to switch them on before she went to sleep. Clearly, she forgot and I sincerely hoped for three extra zits on her nose. I am terrified of darkness and would sell my soul before taking a walk through it. I took my mobile phone out and pathetically used it to light up the area as I walked forward, watching the floor. The throw of the light wasn’t enough to radiate a mosquito three feet away and that was how I ended up bumping into something really solid.
I was paralyzed with fear and my traitorous throat muscles worked down instead of up, leading me to gulp down rather than scream out. In the feeble light, I discerned the marauder to be Appa and he closed my mouth before I could scream in relief. He was dressed up for skiing. The only things missing were the gear and a pair of snow-goggles. He saw me look at him weirdly. It’s been a long time since I saw Appa at about 4:30 in the morning. Heck, I don’t even see him at breakfast anymore. I have it at about half past eleven in the morning, a few minutes after waking up, when everyone’s left for the day.
“I am going for my morning walk.” he explained.
“Ah, of course. But is Switzerland a kilometer away?”
“It’s December right now. And pretty cold outside. Don’t give me that talk. How many days has it been since you came down from the fifth floor anyway, Madame Princess? Sorry, should I say weeks?”
I muttered an apology under my breath and moved over to switch the lights on. I had to escape before he started off about my non-existent job early in the morning. Ushering him out quickly, I closed the front door after him. I made some coffee in the kitchen and was walking to my room when I heard a giggle emanate from the study. Jahnavi is not a morning person; wild horses wouldn’t be able to drag her to study or revise in the morning, however important the test is. And that surprised me, the fact that she was awake at this time.
I pressed my ear to the door. It was apparent that she was in a deep conversation with somebody on the other end of the phone line. I am basically not an eavesdropper. But certain circumstances pull out such instincts even in the most goody girl.
“..ha ha.. You can’t call that ‘love’. I am sure it’s just a brief infatuation...” Jahnavi was saying, with laughter in her voice.
Love? Who the heck is she talking to at this time in the morning? That is so unlike her.
I pushed the door open unceremoniously and she was so shocked to see me, it was almost funny. She immediately cut the call and put it by her side, nonchalantly.
“Who were you talking to?” I demanded. If she had asked me to mind my business at that moment, I would have had no choice but to do just that. But Jahnavi opted otherwise.
“I wasn’t talking to anyone. I was just setting a caller tune on my phone.”
“At this time of the day?”
She shrugged indifferently. I want to reassure you at this point that I don’t consider myself as the worldly know-it-all woman, but I am not a Kuyili from Kottaanpatti village either. It was obvious that she was lying. Curiosity reared its ugly head inside me and I had to find out who it was. I had to get hold of her mobile phone and only cheap tactics would work.
“Okay. Let’s get to bed. I haven’t slept through the night. You must have stayed up the whole night as well. You have a test today. Get a few hours sleep before starting for college.” I managed normally.
She agreed with me (Thank God for that) and picked her stuff up from the table. We settled down in the bedroom to sleep, my coffee forgotten in the study. The seconds ticked by painfully as I waited for Jahnavi to go into deep sleep. After nearly half an hour, during which I was highly strung up to fall asleep myself, I heard her breathe evenly. With a pang of guilt, I reached over for her mobile phone and checked the call log. I forgot to breathe for the second time that day. I recognized the number and the person.
It was Gautham who called her, who was talking with her about stuff like ‘love’, at 4:30 in the morning.
Gautham… My Gautham???