Narrating to you readers all the events of a day when everything went wrong, and took a complete toll on my feelings:
19th December, 2013.
1. The wall clock struck midnight. It was my father’s sixtieth birthday. It had to be a special day of course! My elder sister and her husband had both come over to surprise dad, and they planned to stay overnight. After the customary cake-cutting ritual, the chorus singing of “Happy birthday to you”, and having uploaded the mouth-watering cake’s picture on a social networking website, I set the alarm for the morning and retired to bed.
2. I woke up with a start. It was my mother’s wake up call. The alarm had failed to arouse me from my deep, heavy slumber as usual. When I glanced at the time in my cell phone, I was horrified. It showed 6, where as I had been hoping to start my day as early as 4.30 in the morning. No, I wasn’t getting late for my college lectures. To be more precise, there weren’t any lectures. The college’s festive season was on, and it was traditional day today. Plus I was volunteering for the marketing mela which was coinciding with it. I had to get ready. Super fast.
3. If you are girl, in the real sense of the word, you ought to begin your preparations for some special occasion at least a week beforehand. But oh, there also exists a girl like me. I hadn’t thought of what I was going to wear, I had even had the audacity of skipping a trip to the beauty salon the day before! I had untrimmed eyebrows, frizzy, unwashed hair, and shortage of time! I bathed quickly and washed my dirty tresses. I stepped out of the bathroom at around 6.35 a.m.
4. I decided to wear a royal blue anarkali dress, because it suited me pretty well. I applied some makeup mousse on my face, coloured my lips, hung a heavy pair of earrings from my earlobes and stuck a tiny bindi on my small forehead. All seemed quite okay. Almost all my grooming was done, except for my hair. Those locks were still damp. I was going to waste a lot of time drying them on a chilly winter morning. I considered it wise to finish off my breakfast first and work on those hair later. Perfectly wise.
5. Breakfast was over by 7.15 a.m. I should have practically reached college by this time. But I couldn’t step out with those locks still dripping wet. I cursed myself for not knowing how to use the blow-drier. I had no other option but towel-drying and patience. After a quarter of an hour, I brushed the now-somewhat-dry hair and swept them to one side. My parents complimented me on how I looked. I felt a sense of partial satisfaction. Nevertheless, I was now raring to go. It was 7.40 a.m. now.
6. Forgetful, idiotic me. As I stepped downstairs, and sat onto the backseat of my car, I realised that I had forgotten to wear my dupatta. The thought of having to go upstairs again vexed me to a great extent. I called up mom in advance to be ready with the thing near the elevator. As soon as the elevator landed on the seventh floor, mom handed over the dupatta to me. During the downward journey, I hastily arranged it around my neck. Boy, I had wasted a good five minutes in this episode.
7. I reached college by 7.50 a.m. It’s my good fortune that I do not stay faraway from my college. I was kind of shocked initially, since I couldn’t see many students roaming around the premises. Obviously, who apart from volunteers was expected to come this early? The few people that I spotted were hanging around in casuals. A feeling of awkwardness crept over me. Was it really traditional day today? Or was I mistaken? Those silly thoughts were whisked away by the sight of some saree-clad girls. Phew, I hadn’t been mistaken after all. I was now waiting for my friend to appear at the entrance gate, so that we could both go inside together.
8. I was extremely tired of waiting for her. She was so fashionably late! I bombarded her with dozens of chat messages asking her where she was. It seemed years before she finally made her ‘gracious presence’ felt at 8.15 a.m. Sick!
9. We both went inside together. Preparations were on in full zest for the marketing mela. Participants were putting up their stalls, and the event coordinators, i.e., our seniors, were busy with the decorations. I handed over an old, spare black and orange dupatta (belonging to my mother) to one of the coordinators, since they had requested all of the volunteers to get one. I realised that I had been the only loyal person to their word. But it didn’t matter much. I asked them if we could lend a helping hand. My lazy friend made a weird face when I asked them for work. But to her luck, they weren’t having much work for us.
10. We roamed around having a look at each of the ten stalls, and chatted with some of our classmates who were participating. Then bored without any activity to be done, we climbed upstairs to our department floor for signing the attendance register, and entered the incoming time. This rule sucked, because it made it a compulsion for introvertish people like me to remain present during college festivals. We then ran upstairs the opposite building to the common room, escaping the eyes of the coordinators.
11. We whiled away our time indulging in photo sessions. Two ugly photos of mine were enough to drive me away from the camera lens. My hair had now dried completely and had got frizzier than ever! What a nightmare on such a day! I brushed my hair vigorously in an attempt to tame them. But to no avail. They just wouldn’t listen to my pleadings. I absolutely regretted not having gone to the parlour the day before. A professional blow-dry would have done me too good. But it was going to be no use crying over spilt milk now.
12. By 9.30 a.m., we realised that we had wasted enough time doing nothing, and it was now time for us to check on the event proceedings. Music was playing loudly in the background. It gave rise to exuberance in the atmosphere. But nothing much had taken place as yet. Hence, since my friend said that she was hungry, we went to the canteen.
13. We sat down on a canteen bench, and I asked her what she would like to eat. At that very moment, she made an about-turn, saying it was still too early to eat anything. So why had we come here in the first place? We continued sitting there, engaged in our respective cell phones. My friend complained that we shouldn’t have come to college so early. In a way, she was correct. We weren’t doing any volunteering work, just wasting our time doing nothing. My hair had become disastrous, and my makeup was turning greasy, all thanks to my oily skin. Other classmates hadn’t even showed up on the scene yet. “Must be getting ready at leisure”, I thought out of envy.
14. We went back to the quadrangle. All of our professors had come by now. Everything was almost ready by 10 a.m. One by one, several of our classmates started appearing. My, the girls were looking really hot! Most of them were in sarees. Everyone was in their best form, myself being an exception. No one even looked at me or complimented me. I felt damn shy.
15. The mela was inaugurated, and our professors, the principal and the chief guest were giving lengthy, uncomprehending speeches. After all that was over, I greeted other classmates, complimented them on their appearances, getting no compliments in return. Plenty of photo sessions occurred, much to my disgust. The photos only made me more aware of how horrible I was looking on such an important day.
16. We had nothing to do. No contributory work was demanded of us. We were hungry, so I, my friend, and another friend made our way to a food stall outside the college premises. I helped myself to a butter cheese toast sandwich and a fizzy cold drink. It didn’t satisfy me much, but I presumed that it would help me keep going through the day.
17. Hours flew by. Boredom took the better of us. My friend was even more bored. Her face wore a very depressing expression. In spite of everything, I tried cracking silly jokes now and then to keep our moods uplifted. But it was of no use. Nobody ever laughs at my jokes. Because I do not have a very great sense of humour. My friend didn’t seem least interested in me. She was in fact looking for the other friend, who had apparently disappeared into thin air. This made me jealous and I started feeling low.
18. This friend of mine is perhaps the most unenthusiastic person I have ever met on earth. She is scared to attempt anything new and always tries to run away from everything. It was now 1.30 p.m. She declared that she was tired of waiting and had had enough. I too was bored, but problem was that we couldn’t leave before doing the outgoing signature in the attendance register. We could leave officially only after the event got over at 4. So we waited. My friend was desperately making calls to the other friend for her whereabouts. I felt really sad about the fact that the friend I considered close didn’t quite enjoy my company so much. I tried to divert those upsetting thoughts by playing with my cell phone. But alas! The phone gave a low battery signal, and it could die any moment. Things couldn’t have got worse. But they did. Later.
19. At 2 o’clock, my friend ultimately gave up and said that she was leaving without doing the outgoing signature. I didn’t sense the urge to convince her to stop, because as it is she wasn’t enjoying my company. If she had been, she would have waited. I nodded at her decision, and told her that I wouldn’t leave without signing. Even if that meant waiting until late evening. She left haughtily and I dryly said good bye to her.
20. Now, I was all alone. I had no one for company. The introvert that I am, I do not have many friends. But I am totally faithful to the few that I have, and help them in every possible way. And I have never received the slightest appreciation in the times that I have helped them. As if it was a job that I was paid to get done. At that moment, I felt that I was probably born with some negative aura, to be so languishing when it comes to having friends. True friends. I wandered uselessly here and there, tried to strike a conversation with some classmates that I would spot, only to feel more unwanted.
21. Tired, I went upstairs to our department floor, and sat down in one classroom. I was thoroughly upset. Having nothing to do, all sorts of negative thoughts crept into my mind. The other girls were looking so gorgeous, they were receiving so many red roses from members of the opposite sex. Forget red roses, I wasn’t even given a yellow one. I felt ugly, boring, unwanted and useless. My head was aching. I had become restless. I couldn’t spot my other friends either.
22. I was about to quit and leave just like my friend when it was around 2.45, but those other friends came just then. So I didn’t go. These people were enjoying at a nearby park all this while. My mood depressed further, since they hadn’t bothered to ask me if I could join them there. Just then, the coordinators began ragging us. They called us downstairs, scowled at us for our disappearance, and began teaching us our responsibilities as volunteers. It was a foot in the mouth situation. We were told to guard the entrance to the mela, disallowing anyone inside before they purchased an entry coupon.
23. My feet hurt extremely because of the heels. It was indeed difficult to keep standing for so long. I kept removing them at times, but that didn’t help much. I was doing a good job as a watch guard. I stood that way for almost an hour and a half till the event was wrapped up by 4 p.m. My back was almost broken. I asked the coordinators to return my mom’s dupatta which they had hung as a bunting. After lots of ‘yes’es and ‘no’s, I was told that it would be returned to me the next day. Shit. That meant coming here again the next day to bore myself. All others had been planning to give the event a miss the next day. But nevertheless, I okayed it. I went upstairs to sign off my outgoing time. The counter was closed. The peons told us all that we could all leave, there was no need to sign. My heart sank completely as I heard this. My friend’s luck was indeed shining today. She escaped without jeopardizing herself. Worst. Things had definitely gone from bad to worse to worst.
24. I now wanted to reach home in a jiffy. My feet hurt so much that I couldn’t walk to the bus stop. I hired a cab instead and rushed home. When I got back home, I found out that all our relatives had gathered to celebrate dad’s birthday! It should have been a joyous moment, but the events of the day hindered my happiness. I just dashed into my bedroom without greeting the relatives, which I know isn’t a very polite way. I changed into my regular clothes, removed all traces of makeup, freshened up and then went outside. I got all the more upset since I was expecting some breathing space on the home front, and I didn’t get it since the place was now crowded with relatives. It wasn’t their mistake at all, I should have been mingling in their midst, joining in the celebrations. But I was mentally and physically disturbed, hence couldn’t. Mom was obviously unappreciative of such behaviour on my part, but she didn’t know anything.
25. I went off to sleep, but all the thoughts weren’t granting me any mental rest. I also got a message from a classmate that the dupatta which I had lent was given to some other classmate (by the seniors in my absence), who wouldn’t be coming to college the next day. This made me go completely mad. I couldn’t take it any longer. I woke up, entered the kitchen, vented out my frustration, told mom all about the happenings of the day. She tried comforting me, but overwhelmed by emotions, I broke down. I wept like a baby. Mom explained my condition to the relatives, and even they began consoling me. But I continued weeping. It made me feel better. Soon I came back to my senses. A day that was meant to be so special had got ruined. I should have revelled in my father’s happiness on his birthday, but I had sulked. But as time passed, things normalised again. I realised that I was not lonely anymore. I was laughing with them as I usually did.
As I conclude, I would sincerely like to thank God for my family, for the unconditional love and support that it offers me. Never take your folks for granted, because blood will always be thicker than water.As far as this day was concerned, such days must be a part and parcel of every person’s life, so I shouldn’t worry myself about it. Brain-drain occurs at times. But you do recover from it. You continue doing the things that you love, and start regaining your happiness. See, am I not already authoring such long writeups?