The view of the window from that night is printed in my memory…
This incident goes back to December 18, 2003 at 03:15. The picture above shows the windows of my room (my parents place in Mumbai.)
My bed is about 3 meters away from the window. I left windows open at night but there was a window grill that kept us safe (or so we thought.) I’m a light sleeper, and wake up even if a needle drops! That night, some strange sounds ruffled my sleep. There are many sounds at night and I dismissed this disturbance too. But my eyes opened for a split second, and I glanced at the window.
The sight gave me the shock of my life.
The metal grill on the window had disappeared! The window looked like a big hole in the wall.
[Now let me explain. The windows are fitted with metal grills that have 3 screws fastened into the wooden frame on two holding sides. It is easy to unscrew them, remove the grill and enter the house. I've done this myself once when I forgot the keys. And now someone had done just that!]
So, I heard some noises, woke up in the middle of the night, saw my window opened and found a stranger next to my bed. What the heck was going on?
The intruder peered over my mosquito curtain (मच्छरदाणी) to see if I was awake. I froze. I shut my eyes so hard that they almost came out from the other side of my head. Have you heard the phrase “..was so scared, could hear his heart beat” or “…was so shocked that he couldn’t speak”? Ha! I experienced it! The intruder then scanned my desk, but found only thick volumes of Coulson & Richardson’s Chemical Engineering, which were probably the most expensive items in our house, but he didn’t know. He then went to the bedroom, where mom was asleep, via living room. I heard a familiar noise of the cupboard being opened.
After I told my heart to stop pounding and stop getting scared over an intruder, I started thinking (still lying in bed.) I had seen a wooden stick lying around and I got up and grabbed it. Probably useless since I couldn’t physically challenge that guy who was armed with god knows what. …He peered over the mosquito curtain to see if I was awake. I froze. I shut my eyes so hard that they almost came out from the other side of my hea…I went to the living room and opened the door of our apartment. It’s noiseless, and I can be quiet as a cat. I rang the neighbors’ doorbell. The lady (काकू) yelled from inside – “Who the hell is at the door at this hour?” (अीतक्या रात्री-अपरात्री कोण अालंय?) If I spoke, the thief would hear. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t get help. So I said, “its Priyank.”
thudd… thump… I heard noises from the bedroom, the thief probably heard me. Now I knew he would emerge from my parent’s bedroom, enter the living room, go to my room and escape from the window. Armed with a stick, I came back into the living room too. I saw him. Something mysterious got over me then. I screamed and hit him. With a force I never experienced ever, I hit his forearm.
The stick broke into two, the thief let out a frightening painful cry, but still somehow escaped, empty handed.
By now, mom woke up, the neighbors arrived, and then the usual stuff…
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Last night I casually glanced at the window and this whole incident flashed in front of my eyes. Pretty interesting, huh!
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