Sunday, December 5, 2010

The long night

Nitesh was about to hibernate his laptop and leave for home  like usual at 7 pm, but today  he had to stay back till midnight -  for the clients in US relaized exactly when he was about to loggoff that an important metrics had to be published that very night.
Nitesh is a 30 year old engineer , slightly on the healthier side but certainly not obese. He always dressed as in a t-shirt and jeans , yes in office and even on Mondays illustrating his carefree  attitude. He always made it a point to leave office by 7 pm so that he could pick up his wife Samina from her office , but today he did not mind stretching work till midnight as  his wife was out of town and so anyways had to eat outside , at least canteen food would save him some bucks , though it would not be as delicious as that of a restaraunt but it served the purpose.

He was sitting in his cubicle preparing the metrics which was much awaited for in US. He was completely engrossed in the excel  he had been preparing for years now, but something preoccupied his mind  today and was competing with the excel to take the most of  his mind. There was this vague feeling of fear in his mind . Something that told him that he should hurry home tonight. The feeling made him uncomfortable he was not used to fear , atleast not fear without any reason . Perhaps its was his wife whom he was missing after all it was the first time in 3 years post marraige when he was to spend a week away from her . He drank 5 cups of the tasteless coffee in a span of 2 hours thanks to this weird feeling which was preventing him to concentrate on excel .

12:00 am - perfect time to sleep with his wife's tugged in his arms as always , but tonight he was sending the mail with a sign of relief at sharp midnight to the clients . He logged off immediately to prevent any more inflow of work for that day, after all it was 5 hours beyond his usual time of work an also the fear which was getting intense and he was not sure why .... He picked up his laptop in a state of confusion and hoped his wife was safe at her parents house, it was too late to call her now  anyways so he could only hope . With all this confusion he got into lift of the 30 floor building where he worked. The building was modern in all aspect , after all it was completed a few months ago and was designed by the posh team which had earlier designed the tallest tower of the world.  Nitesh loved every aspect of his job and this building was a part of the sense of accomplishment , the confidence that he is finally  on the road to success.  each time he left the office and stepeed in the lift , he would smile to himself and would enjoy this feeling of acheivement. Today like everyday he was enjoying the feeling of success , his eyes were shining with pride if only anyone saw them for he was alone in the floor , in the lift and perhaps in the building too, after all friday nights are not very popular for working late . Suddenly the lift stopped at th 13th floor. He felt comforted in the thought that some other person was also working at such a late hour on a friday night .

The lift doors slides open and all he saw was darkness, he could not see anything at the floor it was pitch dark .Well he knew that the building had some floors which were under construction but why was it so dark and why did the lift stop there. He pressed the ><  button , but the damm button wouldn't work . He was getting impatient , it was as if someone was watching him , someone who was hiding under the blanket of darkenss, but why would anyone in the right mind do that. He was not sure why was he feeling insecure and helpless, was it the darkenss or just a tired mind. He had to  press the emergency button afterall it was more than 5 minutes since the lifet remained  there stuck in infinitiy ,  staring at the infinite darkenss.

Finally he managed to reach the ground floor  and headed straight to catch an auto . As luck would have it he could not find a single auto that night , though it was well pass midnight, but the last thing he had anticipated was walking home at such a late hour. Thankfully his house was not that far and he could reach home in the next 30 minutes.  He had this feeling that he was losing everyting , the feeling of life being sucked out of him . He started quanteplating why was his mind insecure suddenly .He sincerely was mising his wife, he had to call her right then , and he reached out to his pocket only to find that he had forgotten the phone in his office . He was too tired to walk back to office and get it, he could always collect it the next day.

Nitesh loved  cozy evening walks, in his courtship days with Samina, they used to go for long walks at midnight , romancing in the chilly weather of Delhi. Tonight inspite of the feeling of insecurity, he could not help but enjoy the beauty of the night. The Leaves rustling among themsleved whispering to each other like couples do . The sweet wind carelessing the face , the moon shining bright and a not soul to be seen on the road. It was indeed very romantic. He knew he had to take Samina to such walks again, it had been quite some time since they both had a romantic walk , after marraige they both were crazy working to climb the  success ladder . He was  annoyed to think that the last romantic moment they shared was  almost a year back .

Just as when he was begining to enjoy the weather, he reached his house and was filled with frustation again. There was a power cut and he had to climb 5 floors to reach his cozy bed. While on the stairs he was feeling uneasy, his mind was again filled with insecurity , he begin to feel like a lost balloon in the sky, aimless and totally out of control.  The only good thing was , surprisingly he was not exhausted while climbing the stairs , perhaps the recent physical activity at the gym was finally reflecting on his stamina. he was just about to reach the third floor , when he saw a couple of shadows , standing in the lobby, A family perhaps he saw a man , woman and a child. They just remained their standing , staring at him right into his eyes. Due to the darkness he could not see them totally, His body turned cold and he sensed a strange cold gush of air out of nowhere.Why were they standing there at such late an hour. His sense of civic responsibility was coaxing  him to ask if they needed help, though all he wanted to do was to get back to the safety of his apartment.
He walked towards them and asked if they wanted any help, but they still remained  motionless like a mannequin except for the fact that they were all smiling, at him now. They had the " I know something, which you don't " look. Their eyes were penetrating deep inside him . He felt as if they knew everything about him and were laughing at his ignorance . He couldnt take that stare any longer, if they required help they would have said so expicitely atlest hinted at it .He climbed up to the 5th floor as soon as he could and rammed the main door and locked it hurriedly, as if he knew someone was there outside waiting to walk in. and this scared him .

The power was still out, and as he lay in darkenss in his bed staring at nothing but darkness , he could not get over the family, who were they and why did all of them had that grin on thier face. He really missed his wife , if only she was there beside him tonight. He could not sleep , as his mind was occupied with insecurity  and fear . He was not sure why was he feeling like this tonight, everthing was fine till he was in the office, rather  he was in the best of his spirits as a project in which he was working on  since the last couple of months was finally about to yield results. He got up and stood in the balcony perhaps fresh air would help him get some sleep.

Unlike him Samina was very spiritual and believed in spirits and all sorts of unnatural phenomenon which cannt be explained yet by science. She used to say that there                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         are spirits all around and she felt that this buiding was haunted, ofcourse he never believed her, not that he does now. He was just quantplating things, the family he saw still occupied his mind,could they be spirits haunting the building. He laughed at himslef, he actually was thinking that he saw spirits. A restless mind and power cut could really make a man think all sort of things specially when his wife is all the time talking about ghosts and haunting stories

He was sure if he tell her about the family, she would  be sure that they were spirits and were haunting the building , ofcourse Nitesh was brave to look at them and still be alive. How he wished she was there/ Her thought always bought a smile on his face ,and on this particular time he was more laughing thinking about the conversations they would be having when she comes back . Just as when his mood was calming down with the thought of Sabina, he saw the family - three of them again, this time they were on the road in front the apartment he livedin, and were staring at him . He was not sure of what should he do or how he should react. He walked back into his apartment into the dark room , he was scared again .

He went back to his bedroom and just wanted to sleep , why were they staring him like that , who were they , did he know them , were they trying to say something to him perhaps warn him of something. He was getting restless. He was feeling week too , as if his energy was being sucked out every minute every second , but that perhaps was, because he was too tired and the night had not really been how his friday nights go in general. he had forced his eyes shut , but nothing would ease his mind and put him to sleep. Suddenly he heard footsteps in the living room , like the ones a formal  leather shoes would make . He must be thinking a lot of things, he assured himself that there was no one there and thus these foot steps are a figment of his imagination..

All he did for next 5 minutes was roll from one corner of the bed to the other, though the foot steps were not completely gone but were less infrequent and he had got used to ignoring it. As he rolled next time to face the door of his bedroom ,he turned pale and stood up shocked. He was not sure of what he saw ! Did he actually show a face there peeping inside , Gosh he really was too tired perhaps.

He looked at the wall clock it was almost 4 am in the morning and he felt dead , deprived of sleep and energy. He wanted to go to the next room and  be assured that there was no one there and the foot steps and the face were just a result of a tired and insecure mind but his mind which was insecure when he left office was exhausted now  . He felt as if he have had no food since days not that he was hungry but he was just too deprived of energy. He lied down again , he was not sure of what was happening, he was as if  in a state of transition. . The footsteps in the next room were getting fainter. Each passing minute made him weaker, he was not sure  what was happening. to him . All he could do was lie down on his bed.

He laid in his bed exhausted forcing himself to sleep , but still could only just lie there motionless .speechles  .  He looked at the clock it was 5 am , the whole night had passed and he did not sleep. He could not even move now, infact he could not even feel his body. He was now worried , he could not do anything he felt trapped and suffocated. Then he saw was that family again the man , the woman and the kid staring at him , this time beside his bed , and their face also looked exhausted  but they were pale and this time their face reflected peace after all the time they had been waiting for since last night had finally arrived.

8 am
The headlines of  newspaper read  - Nitesh(30) a  promising young Engineer of an leading IT company  and a family comprising of Natnalaal (40)  ,Sheela(35)   and Tarun (10)  died  of a lift mishap . The lift got stuck at the 13th floor and then the pulley holding the lift broke crashing Nitesh as  the lift fell directly from 13th floor to basement . Nitesh was killed on the spot liitle after midnight yesterday. Whereas the family was on an adjacent lift whose pulley also broke in a similar manner killing the family on the spot a little after midnight. A investigation is under process.