Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Time Machine

Preface: I have long considered my journal a window to which I can glimpse a world that has already passed. Five years ago, I wrote the following journal entry at the age of 16, which takes place in Hilo, Hawaii. So, glimpse this!

After a crazy day, Kisore and I snuggle into our sleeping bags in the guest house, murmuring our thoughts on the Bhagavad-Gita. We're just about to drift off when -

"Giriraj! Oh, Giriraj! Where are you?" Gopa calls out for her seven-year-old nephew, far away.

Kisore says, "Well, at least it's Krishna's name,"

The blood slows in our veins and our muscles relax... I smile contentedly, like I've done the entire day.

"GIRIRAJ, WHERE ARE YOU?" Gopa cries again.

Kisore shoots up from bed. "I'm getting worried. What happened? I'm going down there,"

Just then, Govinda and Radhika huff up the stairs. "Have you seen Giriraj?"

"No, what happened?"

"We were upstairs at Jagadhatri's talking when we saw Giriraj slip out the door. We thought he was just going downstairs. Then we realized how quiet it was. We went down to check on him, but nobody was home."

"But what about Gaurangi, his mother?"

"She had left ten minutes earlier. And it was so quiet."

"Oh my god, is there anything we can do to help?" Kisore gasps.

"I-I guess. We have to look for him again... we already searched the neighborhood and my mom checked downtown," Govinda says. Her hands twist the edge of her shawl.

"You can't get a hold of Gaurangi?" I ask, concerned but still a little skeptical.

"No, she's not home yet. No cell phone," Govinda replies.

So I stumble out the door in half-on tennis shoes, pajamas, and a chaddar, incredulous and sighing. What could I possibly do? But it would be unspeakably rude to roll my eyes and just go back to bed.

At Jagadhatri's, the air is filled with stifled panic. Shikandi, Giriraj's grandmother, shrieks to "call 911!" as she gets in the car with Gopa to search the neighborhood. That scream shoots adrenaline to my toes and fingertips.

Soon, the cops arrive... and more cops arrive. Neighbor by neighbor, three blocks switch on their lights, asking what he looks like, learning to pronounce his name, some even grabbing flashlights to join in on the search as two ambulances arrive and even a firetruck. Why on earth we would need a firetruck for a missing child baffles me and awes me at the same time.

It's been an hour... two hours... the rescue team still can't get hold of Giriraj's parents. The cops head out to their house, which is over an hour away.

Around 11:30pm, I'm downstairs at the house where it all started, where the little boy had disappeared, and I feel scared and helpless, alone and in my pajamas. Forty policemen are combing the area for the fifth time, the entire neighborhood calling out "Giriraj! Giriraj!" and I hear that they're going to send for a helicopter to search the river if nothing happens soon.

And then, from upstairs: "Sridham?" I sit up, tense. Sridham is Giriraj's father. "What? Giriraj is with you? Okay..."

I jump with a whoop and this huge sensation of relief.

"WE FOUND HIM!!" Gopa cries out from above me on the porch as I dash to the street. Giriraj is safe!! I'm bent on finding Kisore and dragging her gleefully back to the guest house to just go to bed!

As I reach the street, I stop dead, a horrific, horrific sense of embarrassment flooding me.

Oh. My. God. The entire neighborhood.

"The entire neighborhood!" I exclaim, making my way up to Kisore. I grab her arm and pull her up the street - she calls out, "Sorry! Sorry! Goodnight!!" I want to strangle her! Now we REALLY sound like two hare-brained flops of teenagers.

But I laugh the whole way, "I'm not related, I'm not related..."

The stars twinkle bright as we collapse onto our bed, hot and awake. How crazy! We stay up a bit more, discussing the insanity of it all.

And I laugh, like I have all day.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I wasn't there, but your words make it so real. My mom was one of the funniest people I have ever met. Gaurangi never told me this story. I wonder why ;-)

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