“Akash, wait a minute…” shouted Suman, as she saw him opening his car door though the window.
Akash looked up and saw Suman with a befuddled look on her face.
“What happened, are you ok?”
She ran down to the car and held Akash in a tight embrace.
“Don’t go anywhere today, stay at home with me, please”, she pleaded.
“Don’t be silly, Suman, you know I have an important client meet today.”
“No, please don’t go… something’s not quite right.”
“Ok, calm down, if you have had a bad dream, then go back to sleep and give it a good ending, huh? Take care, bye”, he smiled.
“Akash, you don’t understand, it’s not a dream. All this…all this…, has happened before, exactly like this, This is exactly how you got up from the breakfast table and walked to your car, this is the very shirt you were wearing, and I called out to you exactly like I did now and you refused to listen to me and went to work….”, she said sobbing, “and then….", she closed her eyes,".......no, please don’t go. Just stay at home with me.”
“Suman, you know what this is, don’t you? Its called Déjà vu, you know it, right? It happens to me all the time. Like something has already happened before. Don’t worry my dear, if there’s a problem I’ll head straight home. Now send me off with a smile.”
No amount of arguing could convince Akash to skip his client meet and stay at home. When Akash left, in spite of her pleadings, she broke down, sobbing uncontrollably.
She knew what had happened next, last time. Akash had been in a series of mini accidents the entire day. First he had injured himself, slipping on the smooth office floor, then, burnt his hand accidentally on the photocopier, then; someone had spilled their hot tea on him. He had to come home for a change of clothes before he attended his client meet. He was late and as he hurried to his car, it had broken down and he had hailed a cab, desperate to be on time. The cab had hit a speeding truck and Akash was badly injured or was he dead? She didn’t quite remember.
She saw the time on her watch. It was almost half an hour since he had left, ‘he must have reached office by now’, she thought. She picked up her mobile and dialed his number.
“Hello, Akash, have you reached office?”
“Hey Suman, I reached, Actually….” There was a thud and the line at the other end went dead.
She tried calling him repeatedly but his phone was switched off. She was sure something untoward had happened and was hurriedly getting dressed to go to his office, when the phone rang. It was Akash.
“Suman, it’s me. I am calling from Sam’s mobile. I tripped on my open shoelaces while talking to you and my phone fell down and broke open. I guess I’ll have to get it repaired. If there’s anything urgent, you can call at my desk number, ok?”
She was more panic stricken than ever. He had injured himself! She sat brooding over it for what seemed like eternity.
It was happening exactly as it had, last time. Was there really a last time? Was it just déjà vu or was it a premonition?
Whatever it was, it didn’t feel good. She decided to get ready and go to Akash’s office. She would convince him to come home with her. She absent-mindedly opened her wardrobe and picked out her blue skirt and cream top. She almost screamed when she realized what she had picked.
She had picked the same dress when she had decided to go to Akash’s office that day!
She threw it away as if it were some sort of a bad omen and picked a pair of black trousers and light pink shirt instead. She came out and was locking the door when she heard a loud honk. She was shocked to see Akash in the drive way honking madly.
“Thank god you are home, Akash. I am happy you listened to me.”
“Shut up Suman! Look what that clumsy clown Gupta has done. He spilled his cup of hot tea on my shirt. Open the door, I have to change and run for the meeting now.”
She looked at him in disbelief, unable to digest what she had just heard. As he changed into a clean white shirt, she stood firmly between him and the mirror and held his hands.
“Akash…” she said
“Ahhh…let go, Suman, it hurts”, he screamed.
“What..?” she asked, taken aback.
“My hand, you idiot. Let go of my hand. Ouch…”
“What happened, Akash?”
“I burnt it accidentally at the photocopier.”
“Oh no….that can’t be true. Akash, you cannot go out anywhere. That thing you called ‘déjà vu’, in the morning…it’s all true. Everything has happened exactly as I saw it.”
“Will you just shut your mouth and let me go. I am already late”, he shouted and pushed her aside before he stormed out of the house. “
She ran after him, but he had already banged the door shut. She saw him reverse his car and speed away. She was so scared that she could cry. Suddenly it struck her.
Akash wasn’t wearing a white shirt when he changed, it was red. And he couldn’t take his car. His car had broken down and he had taken a cab.
Relieved, she sat down and laughed at herself. It was déjà vu, after all! She was glad it had ended. She thought of going out to the supermarket to buy few things, now that she was anyway dressed up. She locked the door and hailed a cab. They had just gone a few yards, when suddenly the cabbie hit the brakes.
She lay in a pool of blood on the road. Her cabbie had hit a speeding truck, and she was knocked out of the cab. In the distance, she saw Akash running towards her. He gathered her in his arms and was hailing another cab. She could faintly hear him screaming instructions at the cab driver. He was looking at her teary eyed, and saying something.
‘Thank god my car broke down. I was trying to get a cab when I saw the accident and then saw you fall out of the cab. Don’t worry you’ll be alright. ‘
Then she saw his shirt. Soaked in her blood. RED.