|   Mar 11, 2017

I lived in an apartment shared with 5 others girls on ninth floor. With normal routine life, staying alone, day to day struggles at work and personal life, I was getting frustrated. And this one particular day seemed to be the worst, as for me any day that starts with a bad note can never turn good later on.

I woke up with the bitterness of yesterday’s work problem that was continuously spoiling my personal relation with the person I wanted my bright future with. And the sourness coming into this relation wasn’t allowing me to be as productive at work that I usually prefer. The loop was endless. I wasn’t happy in personal life because of work pressure and my work was suffering from carrying burden of not being happy in personal life. I had decided to solve at least one of these problems today. I opened eyes and heard the other girls shouting name of the watchman as there was no water in bathroom. I shared the apartment with working girls and few students. All were screaming as everyone had to reach office and college on time. I thought to myself not to take it as negative sign and it’s just a common small problem. Half an hour later all were out of apartment. Two of them took bath with whatever water was there, one girl skipped bath and one girl went to neighbor’s house for quick bath. Now it was only me and another girl left behind. I was always the last one to leave as my office started late and the other girl worked in call center and was having night shifts. Still because of this problem I was running late as compared to any other day. After getting ready quickly I made tea for myself to kick start my day. My mobile rang and I ran to receive call expecting it to be from my mom dad only to realize that it was a promotional call. When I came back to kitchen, the regular visiting pigeon had spilled my tea. As I am the last one to leave, we were now out of milk. So not only did I get late because of cleaning kitchen but also I had to leave without having any tea. My patience was giving up now. Still I was trying to keep calm. I lost it finally when I realized that the lift is being serviced and so I will have to take stairs. All I could do was to storm out of the house banging door right behind me waking up the poor girl who was awake whole night. But I could not care less. I was angry and frustrated.

I ran down the first two floors after which my bag fell off my shoulder. This was like the final blow. I sat down and before I could realize there were tears rolling down my cheeks. Suddenly I forgot that I was getting late for my work and that I am sitting on the staircase of my building, oblivious of the people of four flats that were looking at me. When I came back to my senses I felt touch of a hand on my shoulder. An elderly lady was standing next to me smiling. She asked me to stand up and took me inside one of the four flats on that floor. She told me that usually at this time she sits on the bench near main gate and daily sees me running for my work. She offered me tea while she asked her maid her to fix the strap of my bag, as it was broken. I was hesitating in taking that cup of tea as it seemed to be made for someone else. She told me that it’s made of her son but he won’t be able to drink it, as being secretary of building, he is supervising lift service. I drank tea in hurry so that I don’t get more late for work, which I already was. The maid also came smiling and gave me my bag. The lady told me that she understands how hard it is to live on own without family and that I can drop by anytime I wish, to have small conversation. I was so touched by their gesture.

I still had 6 more floors to cover. As I went down I could smell the dal, just like it smelled when my mom made it. Someone was putting tadka in dal just the way my mom did. I suddenly realize how much full of life, the building was. The sound of chanting fell into my ears. The same is being played in my home by my mom every morning. Suddenly the building started feeling like my home. The tears of frustration that filled my eyes short while ago were now replaced with the tears of feeling overwhelmed. Two more floors down n I saw a little girl practicing classical dance. The sound of her ghunghroo along with the taal of table had filled up the whole floor. When she saw me she gave me an unusual smile, as if she was telling me “see at this tender age I know what i love, what do you love?” My steps were becoming lighter. I could no longer feel the breathlessness or tiredness because of going down the stairs. I no longer felt bitter or annoyed. I was at second floor and a beautiful golden retriever pounced on me. He managed to run out of one door with his man running behind him. He thought I was scared but in no time I and the beautiful canine were showing affection for each other. I no longer worried if I would get late for work. I no longer cared that half my salary would be deducted, I just played with the beautiful beast and finally I felt pain on my face. That’s when I realized that after a very very long time I am smiling. I walked down to first floor there were no flats on this floor as this was the back side of the shops that were on ground floor and first floor of building.

Suddenly the lifelessness of that floor made me realize, “this is what I have made my life, lifeless”. There are so many floors of life yet I have decided and chosen first floor full of darkness and loneliness. I reached ground floor and I saw light again. I saw an elderly woman sitting on a bench near main gate. The bench that I had never noticed before. The bench from where the lady, who offered me tea, sees me run, for work every day. As I reached that bench for no reason I stood still. The lady sitting raised her head to see me. She was an old lady. She was holding her mobile in her hand trying to do something. When she saw me, she asked me to help her. She said that her daughter has sent her images of her grand-daughter but she doesn’t know how to use mobile to see photos. And she was too excited to wait till her husband or son helps her in seeing the photos. I helped her and taught her to use the application to see the photos. She started showing me the photos, kept on telling me stories of her grand-daughter one after another. I no longer was getting late for my job. While she was still showing me photos her phone rang and it was her daughter calling. She could not hold her excitement of seeing the photos she had sent and she mentioned me as "a girl who helped her in seeing those photos".I suddenly was part of her happiness. I slowly moved away as she was on call, talking to her daughter. I also had to make a few calls, to take day off work and to compensate for all the lost moments with my loved ones.

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