I stare at the figure on the floor for one long, aching moment.
Those hands that I knew so well. The familiar contour of the unmoving shape of youth. The face that I loved beyond anything - the face that was empty now, what with those unseeing eyes that betrayed that they no more held the power of life.
I'm dead. My lifeless body that lay beside said so.
But...wait! Am I dead? How am I still seeing and thinking and most importantly, 'feeling', if I was dead?
I look down instinctively; I see no arms, no feet, no body - hold on, am I floating? Standing? Flying? I don't know.
I don't know what I am - but what could I be ? No body, no breath, no beat from my heart... I wish I could scream, but I find no voice...
A flickering thought crosses my mind and I am stunned - am I? Can't be. Or could it be? It makes sense, actually. It could be true. Am I what they call a..well, a soul? So, was that true, what all the books and stories and folklore and scriptures proclaimed? Wow. A Soul. A freaking, living, Self-realizing Soul. That's cool.
A Soul. Waiting for, er.. the Judgement? Logically, yes. That meant that I will be meeting God in a while. God. Wow. Shouldn't I be praying? I have no hands to fold, no head to bow, no eyes to close; still I'll give it a try, attempt a Prayer...
I slip into Silence, so deep and vast; I can feel it wrapping around me, like velvet, like a warm glow, like a gentle breeze. I give in to the singular feel of Comfort that it brought in. In that moment, slurred by the swirling Silence I see God reaching out to me.
"Come back", God whispers. "We're One." The Emphasis leads me to a Realization so compelling... I can now feel Change coursing through me; Time stands frozen...I prepare myself for the Ultimate Harmony. The Climax!!! I am getting closer to it than ever before...
Wham! A gush of memories rush from within me.
Faces, voices, places, songs and even smells; Vibrant, Green, Blue and Yellow, violent, harsh and overpowering. So plain, so full of joy, pain, triumph and struggle...so real. Piercingly so full of LIFE.
The reeling stops as I realize that I have made my choice. I look up at God. That half-sad, half-bemused Smile on those Divine lips remind me that I've seen it before. That heartbreakingly beautiful Smile. As I revel, savouring it in, God speaks again."Remember, I offered; You withdrew." Smile. "We'll meet again". Another smile. And even as I lose myself in it, I feel those lips on me.
And everything dissolves into a quick mist...
"...so much to do, tables to be laid out and flowers to be collected from Panjali; I guess they'll be here in some two hours from now. Should ask Ramani to get some buttermilk and some Pakkoda. Oh my God! you are getting engaged today and how can you still sleep like that? Wake up! Its not going to be the way you've had it here...Life's going to take a new turn from now on and you better start acting like a responsible girl...its going to be a different story from now on..."
Amma went on yapping, rousing me from my deep sleep.
And I wake up, half smiling, musing at her words. Of course, a different story; a very different one, not worth giving up on. I'd judged well, after all.