One night I couldn’t sleep and it was 5 o’ clock in the morning. I had done my regular holiday routine. Had dinner, watched television with family, caught up with friends, watched a movie, read a book and off to dreamland but sleep never came neither did dreams. I was restless. Tossed and turned. Did a few calculations for nothing in particular and thought a lot about what to do next.
I was in the middle of contemplating a movie which I could shoot and edit myself when I heard my parents’ room door open and shut with a bang. Someone was in a rush otherwise who would let the door bang so loudly so early in the morning. Should I be worried? I thought to myself and before I could answer that question. Bang! Bang! Gunshots??!! The first of my life, of my real life. On screen they sound so different, so harmless, but this was something else. So close. So loud. So frightening. Who could have fired a gun in my house? Then I realized, my parents’ room door hadn’t opened from the inside but someone had gone in leaving the door to bang shut with two bangs ten seconds later. Could it be? I let that thought die as I had to act fast. I locked the door, turned off the lights, curled into a ball and hid in the cupboard. I was shivering unable to comprehend what just happened. What could have possibly gone wrong? We had no enemies. Didn’t owe money to anyone. Weren’t in any political hassle. We were good people. Then why? Who was in my house? Who possibly… I didn’t want to admit this but it was possible. Someone had shot my parents and I was hiding in the cupboard. It was all so wrong. There was too much anger, fear and hurt for a small cupboard. I had to do something. How could I hide when someone had shot my parents in their sleep. Couldn’t sit there like a frightened cat. I got out. Climbed the bed rest and opened the ventilator. I always thought that the person who designed my room was really stupid to put the ventilator so close to the ground but today I thanked him. I climbed up and jumped out to the garden and lay flat on the ground.
As I lay there I scanned the perimeter and saw a strange car parked in front of the gate and a familiar silhouette waiting inside. Who was that? No time to think, had to act. But what next? Do I wake up the neighbors or call the cops? At 5 a.m. Indian cops?? No time to joke, I told myself. Had to do it myself plus I wanted to kill whoever was responsible for robbing me off my parents. What were the killers still doing inside? Whatever it is that they were upto I was not going to let them go free. I slithered towards the car like a snake and peeped from the back window.
I wanted to kill goodness when I saw what I saw or rather who I saw in that car. Our old servant Shyam sitting there probably drunk cause the car reeked of alcohol. I couldn’t believe a person who worked for us for 35 years. Someone who helped raise my father, my brother and me sat there waiting for my parents’ killer. Why did he bring this upon us? Was it because he had to be thrown out for stealing for his cheap drinks. He stayed in our house. Ate our food. Watched television with us and then stole from our pockets ‘cause he needed more alcohol and now he had my parents killed. I was boiling with rage and in that rage I picked up a small rock, opened the back door and Shyam turned around. He didn’t get time to react as I hit him with the rock with all my might, with all my fury, with all my hatred and with all my sadness for my loss. I hit him countless number of times and screamed my lungs out as I did so. People started coming out of their houses. Shyam lay like a stone as I was pulled out of the car by some neighbor. I felt nauseous but I was uncontrollable. I tried with all my strength to free myself and hit Shyam one last time. “There’s someone in the house with a gun. Someone shot Ma and Pa.”, I screamed. “Someone shot Ma and Pa! Ma and Pa!” my scream got muffled in the chaos. I was passing out, exhausted, shocked. I had probably killed someone. “Someone shot…Ma…..Pa… shot...” were my last words before I lost consciousness.
I woke up in my bed, alarmed I rushed to my mom n dad’s room. No one was there. I ran towards the dining room with my heart in my throat and tears in my eyes. I reached there to find my grandparents and parents sitting there and merrily enjoying their breakfast. “You’re up early! Did you sleep early?” exclaimed my mother. Well I passed out in reality for the first time that day. So much for romance on a sleepless night.