The rusty lock on the door “404” has not been opened for five years. Those freckled hands with burnt marks never returned with the key. The windowpane wears the dust like a mourning dress. Sometimes the branches of the ashoka tree pat on the glass window in a windy afternoon…a few creases in the mourning dress. The curtains that once used to take pride in their richly coloured texture are half burnt and have long been waiting for that soft touch that used to push them aside every morning. The white walls that once used to be adorned with quotes, posters, and photographs have lost their grace over time and have turned ash gray. The shelves once crammed with all kinds of books and journals are now empty and desolate. The cupboards that used to be full of clothes and were tired of hearing “I have nothing to wear” are waiting for those words to be said again; the voice of those three girls that once lived here.
It was not always like this. The girls who lived here made me feel alive. Three strangers from different cities were destined to be roommates in the room 404: Akriti, the chaotic mess; Reshma, the risk taker; and Shazaan, the quiet but observant one. I saw those becoming best friends from just roommates who could have given anything for the sake of their friendship. I felt their pain when they lost and their joy when they won. I listened to their endless stories and gossips. I also saw them crying silently at nights when this world went too harsh on them. But I never saw them giving up…until one day.
It was Reshma’s birthday. Akriti and Shazaan had planned a surprise for her. While she was away, they beautifully decorated the room. Akriti called Reshma as it was already half-past 11pm and she had not yet returned. She picked up the phone and said she’ll be there in a minute. So they lit up the candles and placed the cake beside the curtains. A few moments later Akriti got a call from Reshma’s number. An unfamiliar voice told them that Reshma has met with an accident. The accident had occurred near the turn just before the hostel. A drunk truck driver hit her car and did not stop to help her. Akriti and Shazaan took her to the hospital but she was severely injured and had lost lot of blood. Alals! Reshma did not survive. She lost her life on the day she was born nineteen years ago. Akriti blamed herself for Reshma’s death and still does as she thinks if she hadn’t called her she might not have met with that fatal accident. On that day Reshma gave up on her life, Akriti gave up on herself and Shazaan lost both of her friends.
Meanwhile, the curtains had caught fire from the candles on the cake. I burned that day with their friendship. The books, photos, smiles, laughter, friendship… nothing remains.
Read Wrong Number – A story of wrong numbers which can change or destroy lives. Are you ready for yours?