The hostel was immersed in dark apart from the porch light at the hostel entrance near the reception. It was 3 am by the clock. I felt thirsty and woke up to refill my water bottle. It was a pleasant April night and Bangalore has always been known for it's lovely weather. We were through with our 2nd semester exams two weeks ago and all of us were relaxed, looking forward to some newness and fun. We had been 'promoted' as 'seniors' and officially possessed the licence of ragging freshers! Alright, lets not call it ragging, because it was banned in college. We called it "Interaction with juniors".
I dragged myself to the refrigerator with eyes half open, only to realize that Smita, my room mate was missing from the room. I rubbed my eyes to get a better view of her bed.
"Shit!" my heart skipped a beat. "Where the hell had she vanished at this odd hour? Ghosts wont do that. Did the bed swallow her?" I murmured to myself and almost panicked while switching on the light of the room. The hostel management had allotted my room to Smita after the 2nd semester exams and till that day I didn't know the reason for the shuffling. Perhaps, that night I knew the reason. Before I could wake up the hostel warden or bang the doors of the adjacent rooms, I spotted her in the porch. She was couched on a chair with her head bent.
I assumed she was sleepwalking. I went downstairs to wake her up and fetch her back to the room. However, my assumption which I had made a minute back, crash landed right on my head, when I found her reading a book instead of sleeping. With her head bent and crouched back, she was deep engrossed in reading something.
"Holy shit! Is she reading some adult book?"
No body reads an adult book like that! I walked towards her to see what was she reading at the odd hour of the night when everybody was sound asleep. She sat motionless, with all her concentration towards the book. I saw her lips moving.
Another assumption came crashing down like Mig plane. "Is she performing planchette or calling some spirits from the book?" I froze. I could not move. I was scared to death at the thought of sharing my room with an exorcist or perhaps a killer! Her unkempt and carelessly open hair were all over her shoulders and face.
I wanted to scream but my throat choked. I wanted to run away from the sight, but I felt my feet glued to the ground. My heart beat accelerated, cold sweat rolled down my forehead and my palms turned ice cold.
Suddenly Smita looked up from the book and turned her head towards me.
"Shilpi? Hi. Why are you here?" Smita asked me, looking straight into my eyes. I was speechless. In my head I asked her "Why shouldn't I be here? Did I disturb you during your evil rituals?" but I spoke nothing. My mouth felt dry and tongue felt paralyzed.
"Oh my God, she has been doing all those nasty things on me! She has my spirits under her control and I will be her servant for her whole life!" A shudder passed through my body as these thoughts struck my empty mind.
The world had come to a standstill at that moment. I almost fainted when Smita got up from the chair and shut the thick book.
"Organic Chemistry volume-2?" I looked at the book and managed to speak.
Smita lowered her eyes feeling embarrassed and forced a smile on her face.
"Well, I am preparing for the next sem exams. I did not want to disturb your sleep, so I came here to study. The porch is the only place which has the lights switched on the whole night you see," Smita said innocently.
My body started returning to normal and I gathered all courage to speak at last. "Damn! I panicked when I didn't see you in the room. I thought you sleepwalk! By the way, goddamn which exams are you preparing for? Semester exams are 6 months away and we just appeared for one 2 weeks ago!" I demanded.
"I am quite concerned about my grades Shilpi. I want to top the class. Moreover I am used to studying till late night, so I thought why not utilize the time by studying," a clumsy Smita said, with the book wrapped in her arms, as if I was going to snatch away that prized possession from her. I noticed her uncut nails and un-waxed arms. Studies kept her so busy that she became shabby and dirty. Rather she kept herself busy with studies. Her condition was seriously serious.
"God! Your condition is serious! Here I had so many thoughts in my mind and you...are...so...huh!!"
"Why serious and what thoughts?" she asked instantly.
"I thought..you..were kidnapped or something," I controlled my emotions and wiped the sweat from my forehead. I did not want to get into an argument with a half crazy girl who happened to be my room mate lest my nightmares should turn into reality! I did not want to tell her how serious was her condition, because I wanted to sleep peacefully.
#conditionserioushai became the tag word for Smita thereafter. She is still known as the crazy bookworm of our college. I seriously wish that a dose of Cadbury Five Star was prescribed to her that time!
This is an entry for Indiblogger #conditionserious hai blog contest. https://www.facebook.com/cadbury5star