Series

I would start off by saying; this isn’t like any usual story you’re ever going to hear. Everything from this story may seem to be a figment of my imagination. Honestly, it was a figment of my imagination, completely unreal. Yet everything that happened was real.

I may seem to be a raving lunatic with an uncanny ability to remember my dreams even after I wake up. But I assure you, I have been declared sane by three psychologists, who don’t know this story and who measure sanity on different terms. I doubt they would term me sane after they hear my story. The human brain is a uniquely complex object, the works of which can never be known.

It all began one night. The time was twenty minutes past ten. I was trying to log into my inbox to check out if I had anything new waiting for me. I did the usual, opened up Chrome and typed in Gmail. Then I typed in my email address and my usual password and hit enter. Instantly, a message popped up right below the box in red that my password was incorrect. Puzzled, I typed in once again, this time much slower and more cautiously. Seconds later, the same message popped up. I looked up and around, closed my eyes and pinched the bridge of my nose and making my way up to massage my forehead. It had been a long day that day and I was extremely tired. I tried one last time, punching the keys even slower than before; making sure each and every alphabet of my password was in the right place.

Hesitantly, I hit the enter key.

This time, it took longer than I expected. I stared at the slowly rotating icon at the edge of the tab on Chrome as the webpage loaded.

*****

I woke up, feeling the warm sun kiss my skin. I rubbed my eyes and sat up on my bed, stretching to let loose all the indolence within me. Once moderately refreshed, I stood up and looked around. There was something different about my room. My collection of shoes lay neatly in one corner, looking fresh, unlike the usual dismal dilapidated look it always gave me in the mornings. My room too in fact, felt a lot cleaner, tidier than usual.

Soon, I recollected what had happened last night, though I remembered nothing of what happened after that. I drew a complete blank. What happened after I typed in the password for the third time? I thought to myself. Soon after, I pushed the thought into the back of my mind, focusing on what lay ahead of me. I had to go to office on time else the balance on which my life was hanging would tip off, leaving me penniless. I literally had no savings. All my income practically went into expenditures.

The ride was simple enough, and even as I pen down my memories, I can clearly picture how clear the roads were. No traffic whatsoever. There were some cars that passed by, the atmosphere completely calm, serene. Too serene to be real in fact.

Little did I know that it wasn’t real.

I reached office barely on time. I had a presentation coupled with a board meeting, both of which ended on a good note, much to my surprise. You might think I expected little from my life. Maybe that’s because, I had little in my life. And that gave me an advantage. I was happy for the little things that happened ever so often rather than big ambitious ones, which almost never happened.

Getting back to my story, I returned to my desk after the day’s hectic schedule. Suddenly my phone vibrated in my pocket. I pulled it out, rather irritated. It was a message from the stupid advertisers who sent out bulk messages to everyone they could. This was in fact, as I like to term it, corporate spamming. Shaking my head, yet inquisitive, I opened up the message box and touched the latest entry.

 

Call on 6101521031 to change your destiny.

 

I knit my brows and looked up from the screen of my phone. It seemed very different from the usual corporate spamming, I thought, musing to myself. I was free for the time being, my work for the day was over. I thought it over and resolved my decision. It isn’t going to hurt, if I did call. Chances of winning a lottery may be 30 million to one, changing your destiny calling up a random number was probably like 30 billion to one.

Thinking with my left brain, the number didn’t look anything like a number you’d normally see. But again, anything was possible these days. I touched on the number for a while and copied it to the clipboard. I then pasted it on the dial pad and touched the call button. It rang for a few times and it was finally picked up.

I reluctantly said, ‘Hello?’

‘If you have dialled this number purposefully, I see bright light in your future.’

‘Oh yeah? Tell me more.’

And suddenly, my vision started to darken. I looked about, trying to grab onto something to keep my balance. I tried to scream but all that left my throat was a bare whisper of horror and terror.

*****

I suddenly found myself, sitting in front of a little jigsaw puzzle. It was completely scrambled and messed up. I looked at the cover on the left side and saw the full picture that would form once assembled. I couldn’t quite make out what just happened.

Something struck me and I looked down. I found my ten year old self; wearing in a t-shirt my mother had gifted me. I remembered it particularly since it had a picture on the front featuring Iron Man. Not particularly a very good one, but my favourite at that time nonetheless.

But what struck me as the most peculiar thing is, how the hell did I get myself here? I remembered the phone call and then suddenly, I’m in my past, my childhood.

Then the question hit home.

Was I dreaming? If so, the realization of that very fact should snap me back into consciousness, yet I’m still in this dream. Was this an example of the particularly elusive term known as lucid dreaming?

I got back to solving the pieces of the puzzle, the unanswered questions still lingering in my mind. Several minutes later, I placed the final piece of the puzzle triumphantly, completing the picture.

Suddenly, the surface of the puzzle dissolved away and I fell into a void. I couldn’t see my own two hands in the pitch blackness. This was surely a dream. Otherwise, what else could explain these inexplicable phenomena that were happening with me?

Was it trying to tell me something, to convey some kind of message? Or was I really like Alice in some otherworldly Wonderland?

Suddenly, the blackness around me vanished and I found myself on a sofa that I couldn’t really remember. Maybe this was a part of my subconscious and my conscious rational mind couldn’t quite recollect it. I had a book in my hands, some kind of encyclopaedia. Out of all the things that were colourfully displayed everywhere my eyes were drawn to one particular article which said the only language in the world which started on the right side of a page and ended on the left was Urdu.

What did this all mean? I knit my eyebrows, rubbed the bridge of my nose. I couldn’t figure out head or tail of this entire episode. By now, I was sure I was dreaming, beyond any question. But what was causing me to stay in it? I made a mental note to check this out with a psychologist once I’m back.

Suddenly, I felt something burning my skin, right above the cheek beside the eyes. It was little at first, then it began to grow and in the end began unbearable. I could barely keep my eyes open – there was something really bright over my eyes. I raised my hands reached out into the air to push whatever it was that was causing it.

 

A loud crash resonated, followed by an impact of my face falling hitting the cold marble of the floor. I fearfully opened my eyes and found myself sprawled on the ground, my laptop a few feet away from me, still with the Google Mail page open and the incorrect password message right at the centre. I sat up, rubbing my paining cheek and looked around. Everything in my house was back in its usual shabbiness that I was so well acquainted with.

I was back from my dream, and the bedside lamp that lay a few feet away from me in another direction explained the burn on my cheek. I had fallen asleep, as a result of which face had fallen on the lamp which caused the burning sensation and thus helped my snap back into reality. I looked at the watch. It was exactly ten thirty – meaning all this had happened in my mind within ten minutes of slumber.

And suddenly, everything made perfect sense. This was my brain’s way of telling me my password. The number, the puzzle and the trivia about Urdu, everything suddenly made complete sense. I quickly sat up, snatched a piece of paper and pencil and scribbled down the number. Surprisingly, I remembered the exact way the number had been.

6101521031. Okay so, this was the number. Then the puzzle, which meant I had to unscramble the numbers. And almost like magic, the numbers placed themselves into the right ordered places in my mind. 0,1,3,6,10,15,21 – The famous Triangular Sequence. And the last bit of the whole episode, which meant that I had to start the sequence from the opposite side of the chain. So my password was finally down to, 1251016310.

I pulled my laptop close, typed in the number and hit enter. Seconds later, my inbox opened up in front of me and I smiled.

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