It was getting late for work and the dark clouds began rumbling. I took the shorter, less-frequented route to my destination. It started drizzling as I turned on the music in the car. Just then, a track I'd forgotten about fell on my ears and I let out a sigh of nostalgia. 'Tu hai asman mein, teri yeh zameen hai,' a love song from the movie 'Jhankar Beats' that we often used to hum in school.
I smiled in the rear view mirror when it struck me that here I was driving an expensive car, wearing oodles of makeup along with the tension of reaching my workplace. Gosh! I felt all grown up!
By now the rain was lashing hard on the windscreen. The wiper swept it away. Shameless, it kept coming back. I ended up taking a wrong turn and reached a forgotten road. The car, with its own paranormal will, parked itself outside a big red and white gate. For a while, I forgot I was due someplace else.
"Do you have an appointment, madam?" the watchman wanted to know. He seemed to have lost his sight with age or was it the rain? He didn't recognise me anymore.
"No, I'm an old student," I said politely turning my gaze to the school.
Inside, little girls in crisp white shirts and navy blue tunics walked down the corridors in a straight line. Right then the lunch bell rang and the girls squealed and ran in every direction like a group of ants had been stepped upon. One naughty group escaped from the corridor and ran towards the green patch.
There, I saw someone familiar. She wore red shoes that were not part of the school uniform. Her dress was slightly torn towards the hem but she didn't seem to mind. Her hair, which was supposed to be tied up, fell all over her face as she hopped into a puddle of muddy water. She was singing some crazy song and jumping, not quite bothered about her white socks that were now brown anyway. Her mother would have thrown a fit by the time she reached home but what's new in that? Suddenly, a hand reached her left ear and twisted it making her yelp in pain. It was time to face the principal.
The little girl looked at me before going inside and winked. With a lump in the throat, I smiled back for I realised she was me!