Woken by the shrillness of my alarm clock, at 4 in the morning (yeah, I don’t use my mobile phone for it) for no reason, I struggled through the layers of bed sheets I had managed to ravel myself in, to shut the clock up.
I cursed myself for not unwinding it after fiddling with it the night before.
Completely deserted by sleep, I decided to quit my bed, and for once, gain some head start over other in the daily rigors of life. I felt a thrill within. ‘This is gonna be a model day of my life. The perfect day…that had eluded me for 22 years.’
I smiled as I pictured the perplexed expression of one of my over-zealous colleagues when he finds me on my desk before him. (It is an office rumor that this colleague of mine reaches even before the watchman, and hence, has been given an access to office’s spare keys)
By the time I got over my self-congratulatory mood, it was still 15 minutes after 4.
‘Office starts at 8. Even if I leave at 7:15…by 7:45 I would be switching on my system, a good 15 minutes early.’
I chuckled at the taunts I intended to greet my lazy not so punctual colleagues with.
‘Today was my day.’ The anticipation you experience just before you are about to get back at someone (in this case it was everyone!), is one of the most beautiful feelings ever.
With 3 hours in my kitty, I wondered what to do.
I switched on my computer and logged on to Facebook. Hmm…no updates, no friend requests and no new quizzes. Not that I was realistically expecting something, my previous log-off having occurred just 4 hours ago.
I googled for ‘things to do if you wake up 4 in the morning.’ Not much of a help. Now I entered ‘things to do if you wake up 4 in the morning when you are alone in the house.’ Still no help!!! Seriously, Google is so over-rated.
I switched off my PC and hunted around for things to keep me occupied. I still had 2 and a half hour.
My paunch. I was developing a paunch of late, people said. But due to paucity of time, I couldn’t do much to quell it, I said. Now was the time. I changed into my tracks and headed to the park.
First rays of the sun had hit earth. Birds were up, chirping incessantly. Some people were out too. They were walking, jogging, exercising, doing yoga or simply chatting up.
Surprising, I thought. Isn’t 5 am an unearthly hour any more? I marveled at the human resilience.
I found some space and started my ‘work-out’. 15 minutes later, or maybe 30 or even 45 minutes later, I realized I had left my phone at home…and had no idea of time. It is not everyday that I am up so early, so the sun and the shadows weren’t much help either.
I asked an elderly gentleman and realized to my shock that I had already been out for an hour. Still light-years away from a 6-pack, I cut short my exercise and rushed home.
10 minutes to 6, I switched on the water motor and decided to treat myself to some tea while the water tank fills-up.
No milk. ‘No worries, there is plenty of time.’ I anyways had to make a trip to the market to purchase blades for a much needed shave.
Twenty minutes later I was back home. While heating up some water for my shave, the gas run-out. Damn! I was supposed to call up the gas agency a day before but couldn’t, as I had no time. Its not everyday one gets up at 4 in the morning!
Deprived of tea, and therefore mildly irritated, I set a reminder on my phone for new gas and proceeded to my shave.
There is nothing like a good shave to set your mood right. Besides the obvious scratchiness, there is a tinge of cleanliness about you. You feel fresh and homely…and desirable...and I cut myself!
On the right cheek trying to design some fancy side-burns. I saw drops of my precious blood falling on the washbasin.
Quick, my aftershave…oops, I dropped it and the bottle broke.
Half-way through my shave, I couldn’t back out now. Little as I care about fashion, carrying off a semi-clean shaven and a semi-stubble look was beyond my prowess! I washed my cut, cleaned it with Savlon and finished my shave. A nervous glance at the watch, and it was 6:40.
Situation under control.
I cleaned up the mess, turned off the motor, took a shower and by 7, I just had to dress-up and have breakfast with 15 minutes left for the 7:15 deadline I had set myself. Not bad.
I picked up the newspaper that had just arrived and peeked through the pages until I stumbled upon a Salman Khan interview. An interview of my favorite star was too hard to miss and I resolutely extended my deadline to 7:20.
‘Wanted- Dead and Alive’, a Prabhudeva directed action flick, starring Salman Khan was all set to hit the theaters the next day. ‘Have to book tickets today itself. Can’t take chances,’ and I set another reminder on my phone.
With promos of Salman’s other forthcoming films, ‘Main Aurr Mrs Khanna’ and ‘London Dreams’ looking promising, ‘the original macho man was set to end his wretched run at the box-office and answer his detractors with aplomb.’…yippee!
7:20! And I was hungry, courtesy my morning work-out. I reassessed the situation, decided that even if I leave by 7:30, I can still make it by 7:50. Worse come worse, I would have to jump a few red-lights, and anyways, there are hardly any cops in the morning.
I reached for a packet of corn-flakes, poured milk in the bowl for heating and just as I was about to set the time on the microwave, the power went off.
Now unfortunately, I can’t stand cold milk.
With my breakfast plans going awry, and having exhausted my vocabulary of abuses on the government, I stride off to the parking at 7:35. Hopes of surprising my over-zealous colleague had all but evaporated by then. Reaching office by 8, still no mean achievement, was all I aspired.
I switch on my car’s engine…nothing happened. I tried again…again nothing happened.
To my horror I realized that the car’s battery had been exhausted. Tired after day’s activities, I had absent-mindedly forgotten to turn off the headlights, the previous day.
I was literally in tears. Without my car, there was no way I was reaching my office (some 20 kms from my home) by 8. My sole objective then was to reach office within the half an hour grace time extended to us by our benevolent HOD, ie by 8:30.
Auto rickshaws in Delhi are a peculiar thing. When you are in your vehicle, their will be hordes of them blocking your path, springing out from here and there, as if the government has anointed them as the official speed-breakers. But when you are looking for an auto, you simply won’t find one!
Not before 5 minutes to 8, I got an auto. Finally!
But little did I know that the worse was yet to come! We got embroiled in traffic jam caused by numerous buses of a school just out-side my colony.
8:20 as we wriggled out of the jam, my mind was blank. So much so for the perfect day, all I desired was that I somehow reach office today. A couple of traffic jams and 40 minutes later, this wish was granted.
Tail between my legs, I trudged in at 9 o clock. None of my colleagues seemed shocked, much to my dismay.
‘Wassup!’ that over-zealous colleague greeted me. Never before has a ‘Wassup’ pricked me more than it did then.
I sat down….still waiting for the perfect day.