The Exhibition

She was hit by a flood of happiness when her dad had said, “We’re going to the exhibition today!”. The remainder of the day, spent in wait for that evening, was all a blur. Lessons taught in school were heard but not understood. Food was eaten but not savored. The hot topic of the day was her exhibition plan and she told it to everyone who greeted her. Every time she told someone, her excitement seemed to grow, proportional to the number of people she had enticed.

 

“Samyuktha! Tell me what’s 4 squared two?” She blinked for a second, regaining her senses as she reeled back into reality. But it wasn’t long before she answered. She was a topper. “Concentrate” her ma’am said sternly and she sat down embarrassed. She wanted to listen, so she did. Five minutes pass, and Snap! She was dreaming again.

 

The vast expanse of the exhibition was vivid in her imagination. The entrance was modeled after the ‘Taj Mahal’, which symbolically tried to suggest, that the exhibition resonated with the grandeur of the monument. Petite shelters were lined up at the entrance and were glowing in pink. Kids surrounding the stands, outstretched their hands over the counter in want of feather like cotton candy. Crowded lanes were all tangled up giving, every passerby stuck in the maze, the impression that the place was way bigger than what it really was. The relentless cries of hawkers and the humorless banter of customers, kept the place lively and abuzz.

 

What little solitude was left in the place, was gobbled up by the squeals of excited passengers on amusement rides. This was the second best attraction at any exhibition, and it was only next to shopping.

 

She imagined herself on every one of the rides. In her fantasy, she had the guts to get on the roller coaster. She was tall enough to drive a bumper car. She had the time to admire the city lights from the vantage point when the giant wheel reached it’s zenith. She would’ve imagined a merry-go-round but the continuous spinning makes her nauseous.

 

Food savored at the exhibition was always the same. Typical. It was always Pav Bhaji, Chole Bhature and Cutlet Ragada. It never got better, but it never got boring either. What happened after that wasn’t quite clear. She didn’t imagine anything beyond the fun part, maybe because she didn’t want it to end. But it had to. Cause the time had come for her dream to come true.

 

She wanted to make sure that she’d do every single thing she had imagined. Like a mental checklist. She filled her head with expectations and her heart with excitement. She couldn’t contain the enthusiasm any longer. The school’s final bell rang. She didn’t have to.

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The man at the ‘Vantage Point’

From the vantage point,  everything was clear. The aerial view presented him with a different perspective, both visually and mentally. He was in a different world altogether, a world that’s characterized by unfulfilled desires and materialistic detachment. 

He looked down and saw his own house. He’d had innumerably pleasant moments there. But now all that was left was pain. He didn’t want that to be his last glance, so he closed his eyes and opened them again. It was the first day of college, he was so bright and young then. He was making new friends and was soaking in the attention. Just when he was reliving the excitement, slowly, the reel of his life started to speed up. Days and months flashed by. Faces that seemed warm and cordial transformed into evil and prejudice. They still had the same face, but they all looked different somehow. The warmth in the memory was gone. It brought chills to him and he closed his eyes yet again. 

And after opening them, he saw himself sitting in a church,  and was surrounded by people. The Community Church was a good place for a neighborhood reunion. In fact, it was the only time they greeted each other. They all had fake smiles and bare faced lies…..not even Satan in disguise would look more nice. Ironically, that is who they’d just prayed to get away from. His gut wrenched and he closed his eyes to open them to a new scene. 

He saw his 7 year old self playing in the mud. No one around to stop him. Nothing to worry about. No obligations, no liabilities. No proposals, no promises. The kid was lost in his own world, lost in pure innocence.

A wide smirk smears across his face. He finally looked up. He saw a golden vulture circling in backdrop of a snow white sky. It finishes it’s rounds and gently starts to descend towards him. It was time, and he was ready. He wouldn’t have to worry about anything anymore. And again, he closed his eyes, for one last time.