THE ADVENTURE THROUGH GALAXIES By Reet Agrawal

I start my day with my usual routine eating precisely 317 pieces of cereals in 563 millilitres of milk. I give Jupiter his 438 chunks of pedigree and check my time table. I have to wear red today. I part my hair to the left side as it is supposed to be on Tuesdays I look into the mirror and sigh at my preposterous self. I fully blame this condition of mine on my superstitious parents.

They were not always like this. They didn’t force me to practice these abnormalities six years ago. On 17th of July 2009 when Nakshatraa’s report came from the oncologist, that’s when they decided to put trust in these extreme practices. They are fixed on the opinion that these superstitious practices will fix the fault in our stars. When my sister got cancer, my parents got superstitious and it’s been going on since.

I walk down to the bus stop in exactly 798 steps. I am thankful to reach school because that’s the only place I can be normal. But the day passes in a blur and before I know it I am back in my suffocating ‘home’. I get home change into new red clothes and dispose the dirty ones in the third laundry bag. Then I go to the dining room for lunch and see Daadi crying. It is a horrible thing to think but I am used to it now. I sit down on the fifth chair from right and take a deep breath and then in a robotic voice I ask her, “What’s wrong?” I’ve said this so many times. As always my Daadi takes some time to catch her breath and replies in a raspy voice, “They’ve taken Nakshatraa to the hospital and they think she has relapsed. How much more will the 12 year old girl have to suffer?”

I don’t respond or react in any way. I am not even shocked. I get up and go to my room. I’m not hungry anymore. I lie down on my bed. No one has any idea how tired I am of all this.

I close my eyes.

Have you heard the twinkling of the stars?

That sound your mother got you acquainted with at 6?

Twinkle twinkle little star,

I really do wonder where you are.

Do you still live in the rhymes?

Or the melodies playing on cassette player my dad brought for me.

Are you hiding behind the million poets?

Waiting for another turn to unravel your enigmatic core?

Twinkle twinkle little star.

I enter a trance. My thoughts swirl around my head as if stuck in a typhoon. I cannot make head or tail of what is going on outside or inside me. Why does my sister have cancer? I don’t know. Why is my world upside down? Why is it that the world is dancing on to its own tune and we are stuck trying to fix the fault in our stars?

Something’s wrong.

My bed.

My bed is not soft anymore.

Wait, what?

I open my eyes. And this. Is not. Earth.

What the heck?

There are white and hard rocks under me and the sky over me brilliantly lit with stars. I see the blue planet in front of me, half illuminated by the sun behind me.

I’m confused. I am unable to figure out what is wrong with my surroundings when suddenly I see something very luminous shooting right above me. I don’t know what calls me to it, but with no apparent reason, I urge myself to get up and run at it. It’s like my destiny calls me towards it.

I take a run towards it and jump higher than I ever thought I could. I don’t jump; I fly towards the shooting star. I grab onto the meteor and it takes me along with it. It is very hot and heats my limbs. It takes me to another planet. I’m pretty sure it’s not earth. When I see the rings around it, I know its Saturn.

I let go of the meteor and land ON Saturn. I try to walk, but I’m unable to. I don’t walk, I fly. This feels wrong. I desperately grasp at the asteroids in the belts around Saturn. I put them in my pockets. I keep filling my pockets with tiny rocks till I am weighed down by them. Slowly, slowly, I reach the surface again.

I stop. And I think. What am I doing? What is the point of my impulsive actions? There is a purpose to me being here. Now I need to know what it is. What is it?

I have a feeling that I’m here to fix what’s wrong in my life. I don’t usually have premonitions, but this one I trust.

What is wrong in my life?

I’m lazy. I refuse to get things done. I’m called out in school because of the different behaviour that my family forces me to practice.

And I have a genuinely sick sister and a ‘sick’ family.

And according to this family, all our problems are ultimately because of the fault in our stars.

That’s it. I’m here to fix the fault.

Where are my stars? According to our priest our stars lie on the north of the Earth’s sky. So naturally I go on to grab a shooting star that heads to the north of the earth’s sky. It does not take long for me to find that shooting star. Once again I grab on and head to another destination. The long years plotting stars with my family has helped me in my way till now.

As the star goes over the red planet it enters its thin atmosphere and the friction burns it to bits. I let go off its surface to save myself.

I fall on a pile of red sand. I realise that this planet is the reason I have to wear bright red to school. Curse you, mars.

I remember that I’ve wandered out of my path. I look at the sky to locate the North Star.

I have a revelation that I am not utilising all the powers I’ve been given. I empty my pocket of the rocks and raise my arms and jump to the sky. I enter the vast world of outer space once again.

I realise that I don’t need shooting stars. I have capability to reach there on my own. I move through empty space as if navigating water and set my eyes to the North Star, bright as always. In what seems like ages I reach so close to the North Star that my skin starts burning. But I resist the temptation to move away and strengthen myself to endure it.

I look around myself to see hundreds of stars gathered around me. But they are not placed randomly at all. I can clearly make out all of the constellations I’ve been forced to study all these years. I immediately set out to find our family’s constellation, the Orion. I come as close to it as possible. I ignore the burning on my skin. To my surprise I find three dying stars exactly at the position our priest told they were at. I pull them off and replace them with three of the brightest stars I’ve ever seen. My palms are burnt but I know I’ve succeeded. I have never believed in all these things. But today I have made them come true. If all the things I have been told my entire life are true, I fixed the faults and now our problems are gone. And I believe that they are.

I close my eyes.

Have you heard the twinkling of the stars?

That sound your mother got you acquainted with at 6?

Twinkle twinkle little star,

I really do wonder where you are.

Do you still live in the rhymes?

Or the melodies playing on cassette player my dad brought for me.

Are you hiding behind the million poets?

Waiting for another turn to unravel your enigmatic core?

Twinkle twinkle little star.

I am back in my room. And I get up and run out. I find my family on the table eating dinner. I stand there not saying a word.

My dad looks up at me. They are all smiling.

There was no relapse.” They say.

I smile at myself.

Author’s Details

Name – Reet Agrawal.

Class – 9th

School – SANDIPANI, Hazaripahad, Nagpur.

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One Response

  1. Surabhi Agrawal June 13, 2017

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