The Whole World and Then Some More

3

The clock struck 8 AM, and Aastha’s phone started to buzz. The same alarm tone that she had been listening to and dreading for about a month now.  But as much as she dreaded it, she knew she had things to do –  things that would take her a small step closer to her dreams. For no matter how much she dreaded the screeching sound of her alarm in the morning, if there was one thing that kept Aastha going, it was her ambition – her unshakeable spirit to achieve everything she set her mind to. But this story isn’t about her dreams; this one’s about the place that made everything seem possible. Thinking about what she could have for breakfast today, knowing fully well that she’d stick to her usual cup of piping hot coffee with an omelette and toasted bread, she got on with her day.

By 8:30 AM sharp, she was on her table with her laptop open in front of her, pouring her sweat and blood into those three reports she had to send every day as a part of her internship. Post that, she was found logging into class, where she’d listen to the professors, answer to the best of her abilities and put forth questions that jolted the curious child inside her awake. By the time she was done with her classes, it was already time for her to have lunch with her mother and her little brother, while they talked about anything from international news to what colour she should dye her hair next. Come evening, she would attend meetings for the club she had joined; and later, she would unwind by strumming soft tunes on her guitar as she sang along and reflected on her day. Her night included spending time with her family over dinner, laughing at every lame joke her father cracked, and making a few of those jokes herself. Late at night, she would lose herself to music and catch up with her friends.

To anyone looking from the outside, every day of her life would seem exactly the same. But it was her most favourite place – her room – that knew it was anything but. Her room, in the last two years, had seen her grow more than anyone else. Be it Aastha the student, the sister, the intern, the daughter or the friend, that room had witnessed it all. It was her room where she could strive and thrive in her good times and the bad. She could build the world she so desperately desired for herself. Her room would never complain about her being messy, or try to govern her life. It was her refuge, her safe space. To anybody else, it might seem like yet another set of four walls; but to Aastha, it was her whole world and then some more.

Aastha Bhardwaj
(Batch 2023)