POULOMI’S WORST NIGHTMARE

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Poulomi was becoming irritated with every passing minute. Even after ringing the bell six times, nobody answered the door. She impatiently sifted through her handbag for the house keys. After an arduous game of hide-and-seek, she finally found them and unlocked the main door.

As she stepped in, she found Sujoy sitting on the sofa furiously tapping on his smartphone. “Why didn’t you open the door?”, demanded an enervated Poulomi. “I’m in the middle of an important game, ma. And, anyway, you always carry the house keys. Why bother with the doorbell?”, retorted Sujoy, hardly acknowledging his mother’s presence like any typical 15-year-old teenage boy would.

With neither the energy nor the patience to continue the banter, Poulomi headed toward her room to freshen up. She lay down on the bed in the hope of calming herself down after the banter; however, her mind went down the rabbit hole of countless other such incidents that were becoming more and more frequent ever since her son had turned 14 and it only worsened her mood.

While still reeling from her trip down memory lane, Poulomi got up and decided to confront Sujoy. But when she re-entered the drawing-room, he wasn’t there anymore. Without wasting another moment, she headed straight toward his bedroom and to her surprise, found it empty. She then checked the other rooms one by one, becoming increasingly unsettled with every room.

By the end of 10 long minutes, she had searched the entire house. Unable to locate her son, Poulomi headed back toward her bedroom to call him. As she was crossing Sujoy’s room, her eyes fell on a glistening object lying at the foot of the door leading to the balcony. On close inspection, the object turned out to be a spoon.

As she bent over it to pick it up, her eyes fell on the syringe and the torn packet of white powder that was lying nearby. She picked everything up in one hand and was about to get up when she realized that the door to the balcony had been open all the while.

Poulomi carefully climbed over the sill of the sliding door—so as to not trip—out on the balcony and looked around. To her horror, she found Sujoy lying unconscious with his head covered in blood. She started screaming his name, all the while trying to wake him up. She shouted for help but her desperate cries received nothing but silence. She kept shaking Sujoy to wake him up but in vain. She darted toward her bedroom to get her phone to call an ambulance. She got hold of her phone and tried dialing 108 but her phone malfunctioned, adding to her misery. Leaving her phone behind, she ran back to Sujoy’s room to call from his phone.

Her hands were trembling and her heart throbbing all the while as she struggled to tap three digits on the screen. With great difficulty, she almost managed to succeed when suddenly, she heard a loud knock. Distracted only for a moment by it, she set back to the task at hand. She held the phone to her ear, eyes scrunched, hoping to get through.

Unaware all this while, when the second knock happened, Poulomi jerked her eyes open and found herself lying in her bed. On the door was Sujoy, looking at her, annoyance visible on his face. Before she had the time to make sense of what had just happened, Sujoy snapped at her, “For god’s sake I’ve been calling you and knocking for SO LONG! Debanjani aunty is at the door for you.”

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