When Mohammed Rafi’s voice came from the old rusty radio in an unusually bright convivial
evening and went like, ‘Chaudhin ka chand ho, ya aaftaab ho.....’ my grandpa couldn’t stop
himself from humming along ‘......jo bhi ho tum khuda ki kasam, lajawab ho’ while looking at
my grandma, how he claimed her bewitching eyes have trapped him for eternity and grandma smiled in her old yet angelic voice and teased him that he is the captive who can’t even get freed even though some ransoms had been paid after kidnapping her heart in a summer morning and then they both burst into laughers on beds of dahlias. I bottled that day’s memory with a tint of lavender and cluster of purple dahlias clutched into my heart. I can clearly remember the glimpses of the ocean that I caught in my grandpa’s eyes that only reflects the portrait of one and only person and there’s no single fathometer in this world can measure the depths of it and I guess that’s what unfathomable defines for.
That day we all went for family picnic and whole family was super excited for that outing. All
siblings were dancing in the bus when the pop songs blasted from the music box and suddenly the elders joined us to do some hilarious moves and we all laughed like there’s no tomorrow. When we finally reached the destination, everyone forced dadu(grandpa) to tell us their love story and I still remember how dadi(grandma) blushed when the narration started. Dad was grinning from ear to ear and then added some filler incidents into it. Neha aunty, her husband and my mom were cooking but also contributed to some of the past instances into dadu’s story. All those memories are coming back to me like the waves are crashing on to the shore on a full
7.05 am, 4th Jan
Morning had started when a coral red sober sun finally showed up in the pale blue sky and for some times the entire sky was dozed off into oxblood oblivion that the land has reflected the same color as if someone has outspreaded the blood all over the floor. I woke up to the mobile alarm and got notified about poor weather and dust levels. Then suddenly high pitch sound rang in my ear and I ran to the living room where my dadi was watching the news on the TV. She started crying while indicating towards TV screen which was showing emergency alert.
News flashed: some people have become violent and showing some strange behaviors like
attacking other people.
9 am, same day
The news was saying, it began at a metro station of Delhi and suddenly spread across the city and now it’s showing up in almost every state in the country. The traffics have been bad and people are going crazy over there. You can hear car horns, screaming of people across the road. We all are worried cause dadu went for his morning walk but hasn’t returned yet. Mom and dad are calling police but no one is picking their phones.
10 am, same day
Now some strange footages have been circulating through whatsapp, some people are killing others by bitting them with their fangs. The camera has captured some violent scenes where people have been sucking blood from others. Government has declared the whole country on emergency alert. People are running across the road while some are chasing others to bite. Then we could hear hiss, tap and scatter across the building, people are running and screaming.
10;30 am, same day
We all were scared but dad said he wants to go out and check once. So me and my father went to the door while holding axe and knife in our hands. Dad opened the door slowly with minimal metal sound but first there was nothing. So we went further towards the steps and what we saw there was beyond our imagination, dead bodies along every step, piles of bodies laying over one another and some people, they were definitely not humans or at least not anymore were drinking blood and throwing bodies around the hallway. We ran towards our apartment and closed the door immediately.
10:50 am, same day
There was a tap on our door and then its frequency increased, big bangs and scratches on the door and suddenly all gone and few minutes later dadu’s voice came through the hinges and gaps. We all were looking at each other’s faces; no one had any idea what to do at that time. Then dad mustered his courage and went to the door where we placed all the furniture for the safe keeping. Once he opened the door dadu was there looking fine as he always look like and then he opened his eyes and it was pitch black and the next second my dad’s cold body fell on to the ground lifelessly. It took my trembling body the support of the wall and my mother’s hand to process the sinister thing that happened to my dear father in front of my very eyes. Teeth flashing...hands grabbing...skin tearing...and the oozing of blood and the thud. I couldn’t blink, I couldn’t comprehend, the eyes, the black abyss of the eye which shone bright like a deep well but lacked any depth. Dadu’s bloody heinous face was all left hovering over my dad’s corpse. Mom, me and dadi stood there astound gasping without uttering a single word but I acted first, hands trembling, gasping for air, my mind went into an overdrive and I guess this is what people call a survivor’s instincts; To kill or be killed. I had no time to cry out loud or ask for help and I knew then I had to do something otherwise we’ll be slaughtered or worse, be like them. But I couldn’t strike his heart with my trembling hands as a stood there with the axe clutched into my hand tightly cause his eyes, his smile, his life flashed before me as it averted his face from the corpse of my father to look at me and I could see glimpses of my dearest dadu in him. But he was no fool and neither my dadu cause he hit me, he hit me hard in my chest and I could hear my bone cracking when I slammed into the nearest window. The glass window shattered into hundreds of pieces with many pieces piercing into my skin. I was bleeding and my whole body was shaking but the adrenaline rush kept me on my toes. It attacked me again and again while I was trying my best to stab him at his chest but I wasn’t able to do that properly because of my wounds and the pain. At last when I was at his mercy and his fang was about to pierce into my skin, a bullet had pierced into its head. My dadi was standing there holding a gun in her hand aiming towards the creature to save me and to save dadu from himself. I caught the same glimpses of the ocean in my dadi’s eyes that only reflects the portrait of one and only
person but there was no fear only love and pain in it. Then she looked directly to the creature’s eyes to search humanity in it but there was nothing but hunger that we could see. All I could see through the dripping blood over my eyes was my dadi’s lips move as in saying I love you and heard the firing of the bullet over the pounding of my own heart in my ears; my eyes followed the movement of the bullet to the creatures heart to finally look at my dadu’s bloodshot eyes where for a moment his eye changed it’s color with longing, pain and joy before being shut down forever.