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  • Writer's pictureVrinda Singh Chauhan

Dead mimics the alive

"It almost scared me to death". Most common statement we encounter in our day to day life. Fear is a crippling feeling and arises when the mind senses something which doesn't exist at all. When we start weaving the loose threads of past and future, we reach the paralyzed stated of mind, up-rooting the living present.

We come across several fables, local stories and blind faiths, where science too succumbs to this crippling state of mind. This is an episode of a student's life, which haunts her till date whenever "washing" is articulated. She just hates washing clothes and makes sure that there are no detergents, washing bars or washing-machines present near her.

What happened which drove her crazy to such an extent that she is so reluctant to washing.We can't really address it as wash-o-phobea, so I leave it on the readers to decide.

It was a hot sunny afternoon, globules of sweat on her forehead, Rosy looks dull and tired, on the way back to her hostel. Toddling slowly, rolling her dupatta on her fingers, she was thinking about her long to-do list of the day. The day at college wasn't that pleasing while the exams are also nearing, she murmured to herself on the hostel entrance staircase.

She loitered around the reception to check for the helper, Rosy didn't wish to sweep the room today. "I want some-one to help me clean my room, I don't really feel like doing it, I am tired", she clamored. But it was a hot afternoon and all she could hear in return was the reverberations of her own broken statement. "Seems like everyone is out for lunch and I am not really hungry", she babbled. So, she started traversing the reception, slowly reaching her room. "Where are the keys?", she exclaimed, shoving her hand into the bag, carefully dropping the bag from her right shoulder and securing the left shoulder strap. Rosy carried a black colored bag-pack to college, securing all the useful books and notebooks in it. She was way different than the usual girls, so cosmetics and combs were out of her domain. The very first section of her bag had all sorts of pencils, pens and sticky notes. While second one was overloaded with dozens of heavy books.

"Damn! I am so careless to throw away the key in this messy bag", she took over the bag from her left shoulder now and finally dropped it on the floor. "Oh! God, if I don't find it now, I will have to break the lock. I am already running short of time", she frowned. Lot of work has been piling up on her, she was tensed that she got to submit two assignments by the next morning, besides preparing for the upcoming exams. Her hands and brain were in a distressed search of that key, when Leena, her classmate patted on her shoulder. Rosy shouted in an acute terror, "Whose that??". Leena comforted her saying, "It's me, Leena. What scared you Rosy?". Rosy took a deep breath and narrated the episode of her key search. After an intense search she found the key and Leena bade her a good bye.

Rosy with great contentment opened the lock with a creak sound. Grabbed the bottle on the left corner of the table and snuggled in her bed. "What a sigh! Why it has been turning worse every hour", she questioned to herself.

Pondering the answer to this very question, she passed out with the bottle in her hand, her left leg hanging down the bed and her hair ravishingly long covering nearly half of the bed. The stress and anxiety dragged her into a deep slumber and it was late evening. "Knock, knock, knock ! three strikes on the door and Rosy woke up freaked out. "Yes, Whose that? I am coming", she uttered with a soar throat. She jumped out of the bed and un-latched the door bolt. A fat attendant with a black specs was peeping out of her big geeky glasses balancing it on her lower nose. "You missed out your attendance, it's already 8:00 pm, please mark your attendance else you will be counted as the defaulter of the day", she said angrily. "Shit! it's 8:00 pm, I didn't realize it, I had so much to do", Rosy sounded agitated. She scratched her head, trying to tie her long hair, leveling her butts. Rosy wore her sleepers and made haste to the reception of the hostel. No sooner, she reached there, she grabbed the pen and signed in front of her name.

"I have to wash the clothes, it's been a week I haven't washed any clothes and I will have to repeat the same dirty clothes next week too if I don't do it today", she conversed to herself again. In the same monologue, she planned the remaining night. She decided to skip the dinner that day and opened up her assignments and workbooks. She started at 9:00 pm and continued restlessly till 1:30 am. "Phew! the assignments are over and I am done with the revision of the first 4 chapters of the digital communication", she whispered. "What am I left with now ?", she said with a pause. "No, my clothes and the laundry and it's 2:14 am now", she sounded tensed.

Finally Rosy decided to do the laundry. She collected all the clothes in a bucket, secured the detergent and the washing brush in the same bucket. She walked out the room, kept the bucket on the floor and locked the room. It's now 2:30 am. The washroom was some 3 meters far from her hostel room. She sneaked in the washroom and started with the laundry.

She also decided to take a shower once she was done with the laundry. It's 3:00 am, the corridors are vacant and the ambience around is in dead silence. It happened for the first time that Rosy was up that late at night. She vacated the washroom and slowly walking the aisle with the bucket in her left hand, she turned her head to watch around. It was an awkward moment for her as she wasn't used to such coldness in the hostel. The corridor she used to stay in had 15 rooms in a row and most of the times, the tinkling voices of the girls could be heard echoing in the corridors.

Rosy at the moment was in a bizarre state of mind and she didn't believe in any supernaturals. So, she kept her bucket on the floor and took the key out of her payjama pocket. Her room was the first in the corridor so she could easily see the other 15 rooms in the row. While inserting the key in the lock, Rosy felt as if some-one is standing at the door of the last room of the corridor. She shuffled her focus from the lock to the door of the 15th Room. Quite surprised, she didn't see anyone in the corridor couple of seconds back. Rosy comforted herself saying, she might not have noticed her before.

But, something was pestering her as the girl she could now watch at the 15th room too had a bucket of clothes. Though the vision wasn't that clear, but yes anyone could make that out, it was some-one who did laundry too. This induced a jittery thought. Rosy was alone in the washroom, then where did she come from. The other girl at the 15th room of the isle, was also wearing a white payjama and pink T-shirt, while she had the same long moist hair as Rosy, leveling her butt. Rosy knew almost all the girls in the corridor. She turned frantic when she realized that she was the only girl with such long hair in the hostel. Rosy was now scared, because the the other girl was doing exactly the same action as Rosy did. Just to check if Rosy was hallucinating, she turned her head right, raising a waving head. The girl at the aisle coordinated with Rosy and turned right with a waving hand too. Rosy touched the bucket and the other girl at the extreme end too was touching the bucket at the same time.

Rosy was now confident that whosoever is there at the last room is not human. Just to be double-sure, Rosy now started walking towards the 15th room. And as anticipated, the other figure started advancing towards her.

Rosy was terrified and she screamed aloud watching her advancing towards her. With that scream, Rosy fainted out and fell on the floor.

At around 6:00 am, Rosy woke up in her bed, surrounded by large assembly of girls. The topic of discussion in air was, "How did she fall"? The warden entered the room and asked everyone to vacate the room. She took a chair and placed it right in front of Rosy's bed. The warden enquired Rosy, "What had happened last night? How did you faint?"

Rosy took a deep breath and explained the whole episode to the warden. The warden heard her patiently and then said with an iota of smile, "Dear Rosy, the 15th room of our corridor is locked since years. We didn't allot that room to any girl in last three years. How's that possible that you found a girl un-locking that room?". The warden left the room saying "you must be tired, So have some more rest, till you feel better".

Rosy knew that it wasn't her imagination, it was something of preposterous form.

After that incident, whenever Rosy do her laundry she sees a girl standing in cheval glass.

the girl appears to be very much like her and acts as her mirror image.

Today, Rosy lives in a rehabilitation centre. She is scared of water, washing clothes, detergents or anything which reminds her of her of that mural speculum.

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