I looked up from the book, into the blinding light of CFL in the opposite diagonal of the room.
It was 4:30 A.M. I had finished my fourth book in 3 days. I had lost all the pain which has made my eyes run during first 30 hours. Now they were numb as in cast in stone. Even the blood vessels had jammed.
I tore off the thin blanket and went out. Silence and discrete fluorescent lights pervaded the hall. I went up, straight to the highest point of my hostel. The skies were thundering. It had been drizzling since last 6 hours and had just subsided. The needles of water riding over wild winds splattered on my face. Those wild winds, always and endlessly coming from vast steppes of west, like a call of the wild. I looked at the sky, looming large and ominous. Lightening struck, and for a moment, everything was alive, with a rabid rage, like a last breath, fighting against divine fury. That moment…when everything was so frightfully alive…
I had been terminated from Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur. I failed in three courses last semester.
I knew i had lost it. A mercy appeal was filed, i did it more as a formality than with hope. My fate was decided. I had 7 days, to leave the hostel. To undo my last three and a half years. But i was not thinking of that. I was thinking of the nook in MT, that was exclusively mine. It was my adda in the evenings, when me, Proxy and Jeet used to discuss Aerodynamics’s teacher’s waistline, broken bonds at school, and lessons in philosophy given to Kaalu, squirming chaiwalah boy. I was thinking of the same wild winds, felt at nights when i wandered on the roof, unable to sleep. Last May days, when two of us, me and Jeet, were almost terminated for possession of weed. All the nights, spent wandering the campus with Priya, or alone, I loved it either way.
I knew it was coming. I didn’t feel anything, except a mild revulsion at the manner in which the decision was delivered, and a faint reluctance in facing my parents. To go through the process of explaining it to everybody. They didn’t know it yet. But it came only for seconds. Rest there was numbness. I was searching for the spark, but it wasn’t there. And i was irritated.
This night was the last night. I had no sleep till last 50 hours or so, a cloud of smoke hung under my room’s roof, and i was all alone in the hostel. I had to leave in the morning. I still had not found the spark. I wanted to hit somebody, or burn something.
But the moment, when everything was suddenly alive, the lightening pierced through every single particle hung in the air, it pierced through me, it electrocuted me back to life. I was frozen for a few seconds. And suddenly i was laughing like a maniac, like a beast, howling, in wild defiance and awed reverence at once, to the untamed, divine force of nature, screaming in the pain of healing, as if all the wounds had been scalded at once. The storm raging inside me became one with the storm outside. And i cried, and i screamed.
At last, i fell silent. The storm was over. Raining had stopped. Rays of sun were peeping through the long line of trees behind Hall-3. I got up, all drenched, looking at the silent prairies in the west, and then at the orange skyline in the east. And my lips were crooked into a strange smile. A new life had started.