Today was Holi. A festival of colors. I myself was very excited about it. Had a full day of fun activities planned. Who would have known that in the midst of all the excitement I would have to succumb to fear, turmoil and panic.
As per the plan I went to my University to celebrate Holi. Whole day we celebrated. After finishing I, along with my friends, went to the Invisible Cafe (Invisible being its name not its characteristics) to have lunch. I had brought spare clothes with me in my bag. After having lunch I told my friends that I will shortly be back and went to the university to change.
I reached to the university and went to the bathroom on its far-western corner. I got inside and locked the door. It was dark. There was little bit of daylight coming through the one and only window, which was way to small. There was also a non-transparent glass on the upper shelf of the door through which little light was passing.
There I changed my clothes and packed my bag. Then I carried my bag and was ready to go home. I had plans for the evening and was looking forward for it.
I unlocked the door and pulled. But to my amazement it didn’t open. Now that was strange. I looked at the lock. It turns out: there were locks. And I had unlocked the one that I hadn’t locked. That was the normal kind of door locks that are used in Nepal. The one that I had locked was a sophisticated key-lock with the key entrance on the front and a lock system on the back.
I turned the lock but it wasn’t unlocking. I thought a certain kind of technique might be required to unlock it. So I pushed the lock up and turned: ‘click’ it unlocked. I pulled the door but it would still not open.
Then I stopped. I thought of giving the lock another look but this time with a flash. By using flash I could see that somehow the lock hadn’t completely unlocked and was still blocking its passage. I needed something slim yet hard like a ruler to push it upwards. But I had no such thing with me. I searched for such a tool inside the bathroom. There was nothing.
I turned off the flash and thought of giving a call to someone. But today was Holi and none of my friends were carrying their phones with them. Ahh..but then I remembered that my friend Asim had. I typed him name in my phone-book. Turns out I don’t have his number. Uff…..
A sudden fear rushed into my heart.
I became so angry on myself and the situation I was in. With all my energy I tried to push the door. And when I failed I tried pulling the door. But nothing was working. And that tired me down.
I felt so helpless and alone. Until now I was busy in figuring a way out but when my body grew tired my mind became active. With every passing minute my situation got more and more intimidating. First, I experienced difficulty in breathing. It was like there was no oxygen for me to breathe. Then I felt as if the walls are closing in around me. Was I claustrophobic? Because those were the first signs of claustrophobia.
My heartbeat increased dramatically. I could fell my heart pounding inside my chest. I was on the verge of a panic attack when I saw a ray of hope coming through the non-transparent glass that was on the upper shelf of the door. Yes. That glass was my way out. But I had no prior experience in breaking glasses. I had only seen it in movies. But then again I was so desperate to get out.
So I stood on the left side of the door, curled my right hand into a fist and was about to hit the glass when I stopped. Stopped to think. I asked to myself, ‘am I really going to do this? I don’t even know if I can do this or not’. But I had to try. So without giving it a second thought I hit it with my best shot. And ‘CLANG’, my fist smashed the glass and a part of it fell on the floor. Blood started to drip from my hand but I didn’t feel any pain what I did feel was relieved.
Now I could breathe in the fresh air again. But I was still not out. The job was only half done. I had only broken a part of the glass and I still had to take the rest of the glass out. I was doing so when Kul dai came. He saw my state and I explained him my situation. He was partly shocked. I was partly shocked. Never knew I had such power. Then he brought a butcher’s knife and told me to use it exactly how I wanted to use the ruler, if I had one. And in no time I was actually out and free.
After coming out I glanced back at the broken glass and somehow felt so powerful. But what was I to do with my new found power, I do not know. What I do know is that we, humans, are capable of doing the unthinkable in order to survive and be free. Just like me.