Cold night…A birthday wish
It was a cold night. I hit the sack after gulping a couple of Scotch and waved goodbye to a bunch of friends who barged into the apartment. I turned off the light. It was my birthday. I finally ushered into the dreaded 30s this winter.
I was shivering to death. I wrapped the blanket to cover my body and didn’t realize when sleep took me in its midst. The loud ringtone woke me up and felt suddenly pushed by an invisible force out of the bed. My hands trembled as I picked the phone.
A gentle feminine and sensual voice sang, ‘”Happy birthday to you…Happy birthday to you…Happy birthday to you…” I was drowsy and couldn’t make out the voice singing happy birthday. There was a mystery in the voice. I asked, “Hello! Who is that?”
She kept singing melodiously, “You will recognize me soon…Happy birthday to you…Happy birthday to you…Ignore me at your own peril” I dismissed it as a prank of my crazy friends. I was groggy and plodded my steps back to the bed. I almost sleepwalked.
I felt a terrible headache and the shivering sensation of someone hitting me with a hammer on my head. I wondered that I must have left the window wide open on hearing the mad rush of vehicles screeching, honking and moving at breakneck speed.
There were some feeble voices murmuring something behind my ears and it was the same voice but this time in shrilled tone singing, ‘Happy birthday to you’ not once or twice but intermittently. Am I still dreaming? I ask myself. Lightning flashed on my face. I slowly open my eyes and was horrified to see myself sleeping in the middle of the road. It took me a while to recollect myself. I was on the highway and saw a huge truck speeding in my direction, within an inch to hit me.
A potent force dragged me away and saved me in time. I was shaken. My hands were trembling. My heart was beating fast. I shivered with fear. I didn’t have the nerve to look around when a shadow tapped me on my shoulder, singing, ‘Happy birthday to you.’ I jumped in fear to see a girl waving goodbye to me and disappeared.
My legs suddenly became numb and weak. A vehicle dashed past me like violent wind storming in a direction when I saw a palm seeped in blood on its front mirror as blood oozed. It was written in blood, ‘Happy birthday to you.’ The shadow appeared in full. I was reeling under shock and lost my voice for few minutes. It was her!
My mind wandered back to the office days when I first came to Mumbai and met this mesmerizingly beautiful girl in the lift. She has just joined our team. It was my birthday and she told some friends that she wants to be the first one to wish me, Happy birthday. She never did. The next morning, I came to office and was told that she jumped from the top tower and killed herself after storming out of the HR Manager cubicle.