Senses Series Short Stories

The Seventh Heaven

Sia? Still asleep? Wake up, sweetheart!

What is wrong with this lady? Why doesn’t she let me sleep? Why doesn’t she leave me alone? Sia thought in her sleep.

It was only 7 in the morning. Her mother was wide-awake and among all other morning rituals, waking up Sia while cooking food for her was one of them. Sia hated this ritual. In fact, she hated her mom.

And why wouldn’t she? It was because of her, Sia never got to meet her father. It was because of her, Sia lost her father. And she was not willing to forgive her mother for this. Never. It was time for her school.

Sia woke up; she had to reach school on time. She liked teaching there. It was her father’s school, and it was meant exclusively for village kids or the ones who couldn’t afford fees. But those kids! Gosh! They were brats. She was not very much into liking them. But she never skipped one. Because that’s the only way she could tell her father, how much she loved him and missed him. And after her teaching, she rushed to her college. She was taking an architectural course.

Sia would seldom eat meals cooked by her mom. It was one of the many ways to insinuate her hatred towards her. But Mrs Tandon would make all kinds of dishes for her daughter every morning without fail. Sia would leave empty stomach from her home, would stop midway to gorge on street side food and then hit to school. After her classes, where she taught geometry, she would head off to her college. College was fun, being an extrovert and a blabbermouth; people found her entertaining and liked to hang out with her.

One fine Saturday morning, as usual after carrying out her daily chores she was riding back to her home. She had put on her favourite lipstick and blue lenses and was admiring herself in the rearview mirror when the truck, which seemed to lose its balance, hit her sideways. All she remembered was a crowd gathering around her, and she was soaked in a pool of blood.

“Where am I?” Sia saw herself in a strange place. The floor was not visible from naked eyes, the clouds had gathered around for a meeting, it seemed. The random pillars adorned the area, which was a marvellous display of architecture. Sia walked towards them and her eyes and hands started studying the pattern weaved on the pillar.

Hello, Sia! You’re in heaven”.

Sia turned around. There was a man draped in the best of accessories, a crown over his head, gold jewellery too heavy, and a halo over his head.

Yeah! Right. And you must be God.

As a matter of fact, yes. I am God.

Yeah! And I am Deepika Padukone. Now stop bothering me! And send me some handsome guy to dream about.

Let’s break your bubble, Sia. You’re dead. See? God pointed out to the hospital where Sia finds her body lying, with her mom crying over it. And her friends gathered around her body.

Okay? Wait a minute? Are you replaying the Christmas Carol drama to teach me a lesson or something? I am clearly not interested.

These teenagers are difficult even after they depart their bodies, God realized. He understood the pain of all mothers and relatives of these teenagers and decided to go easy on them the next time they prayed.

You’re dead, Miss Sia Tandon. The sooner you realize the better it for both of us.

You know my best friend Avi used to say the same thing every time I did something mischievous. Ah! I miss her. And let’s assume I’m in heaven.

Are you serious? You and your place here seem like exactly like they would show on a daily Indian soap. Couldn’t you rent a better place?

That’s the thing, Sia, you imagined your God and His place exactly like this and so this is your imagination. I am nothing but the perception of people who die. Humans have created a different and innovative version of me. Their level of imagination amazes me. Last time, there was a man to whom I looked like a cow. Ahh! Things I do for humans, but they’re still whining and complaining and never happy with me.

Only if knew I would have imagined Heaven as a seven-star hotel.

And what about atheists? They don’t imagine you.

God chuckled. Well! All the lives they imagine nothing, but before their death or while on their deathbed, they somehow seek me, and my blessings or pray for me. So, you see I always have the last laugh.

You’re arrogant.

I am nothing but your perception. You see the way you can and want to see.

I still don’t believe any of these things. This place looks like a low budget theatre and you some actor dressed up in this attire about to perform your role. But anyway, I don’t want to argue. I am tired.

It takes a while for reality to dawn upon people here.

You know, that’s bitter. I am only 19. And you called me up here. I had so many things to do. I am still a virgin, for God sake! And I wanted to be an architect. This is just not fair, God.

I’m sorry but that’s not under my control.

Lol! And I thought you were God.

Listen I am not your 2 am friend, here to chitchat with you. Tomorrow you have to travel to a new world. It’s kind of the same world but with certain conditions.

Wow! You mean rebirth is a thing? I always thought it was some bullshit man!

Now just read this. This is a rulebook for your new world. You will be in a world where one of your five senses “turns off” on each day. Mondays, you are blind. On Tuesdays, deaf. Wednesday, you might as well eat chillies. Thursdays, you can’t smell. Fridays, there is no feeling. Saturdays are the only time they all work properly. Sundays all shut off once

What? Is this the script of your new movie? Are we humans’ part of your game show? Jallikattu but with humans instead? Is this what it is?

Sia felt sick. There was no respite even after death. And you call this heaven! I am worried about people who commit suicide thinking life on earth is tough! They have a surprise waiting here. Heaven ain’t easy man!

And she went into a slumber, her train of thoughts slowly getting derailed.

Sia wakes up to the morning familiar voice of her mother. She knows it is Monday. And wouldn’t be able to see anything

Sia! Sweetheart! Wake up! Breakfast is ready.

She listened to her mother’s voice intently to gauge the time. And it was then she realized that her mother had such a sweet loving voice, with so much warmth wrapped around it. How her mother stressed the word sweetheart! She lied there, her eyes welled up with tears. Why couldn’t she notice this when on Earth, in her world, when alive?

She decided to take a day off and spend Monday in her house. And not once she was bored. Her mother’s stories kept her busy throughout the day. She regretted not being an audience to her mom’s stories and vice versa.

Tuesday, she woke up late. It was way past 7. And her mother had left. She checked her phone and the alarm clock.

Oh! Crap, it’s a deaf day! Not bad. At least she could see everyone. She freshened up, and for the first time decided to taste her mom’s dish. They were toothsome! And yet another bag full of regrets! God was doing this on purpose. Couldn’t she just die without regrets? But God had to have his share of fun!

It was peaceful for her that day. She could stay with those brats all day long. And they wouldn’t piss her off. She entered into the class; saw those smiling, carefree faces. She had never enjoyed teaching so much. She looked around, not one thing in that room was fake and fabricated. That friendship, those smile, the sparkling eyes, the laughter which she couldn’t hear, but was well acquainted with its sound. Everything there was so genuine and pure. She was overwhelmed. How badly she is going to miss them!

That night, lying on the bed, all she thought was, about those kids. They were antidepressants. And finally, she could see why her father had set up this school! And why her mother made her teach there every day.

Wednesday, she woke up with her alarm. Wednesday meant her taste buds took a day off. She was happy! She could savour her mother’s dish, without fearing its taste. She went inside the kitchen, saw her mother working, cooking, and drying her hair all at the same time. And a gush of guilt came knocking on the walls of her heart. Yet again! She wanted to hug her mom, but she couldn’t. The rulebook didn’t allow her to do so.

Thursdays she couldn’t smell. She decided to empty the bottle of perfume gifted by her mother on herself. (All these while she didn’t because she hated its fragrance and also her mom). Today her school had no lingering smell of slum and poverty. It was soothing and just like a normal school.

Friday, she didn’t feel a pinch of emotion. Wow! Old, heartless, careless Sia was back. Today she could meet her ex and give that bastard a piece of her mind; she smirked at her evil plan. The incessant horn from the car behind her in traffic didn’t bother her at all. She was afraid that she would upset many faces. To her surprise, nobody showed any signs of exclamation, or perturbation because of her indifference. Was it because she had always been like this all her life? Or was it because their emotional switch was OFF as well. Crap! She couldn’t know. She couldn’t finish the rulebook. And she cursed herself.

Saturdays. She was back with all her senses and now she found herself much aware, much wiser and much receptive. That night, she cried to her sleep. The whole week, she was made to see things with different spectacles. Only if she noticed all of these when she was alive. She could have made the world around her a better place. She could have made differences in all the lives she ever interacted with. She wanted to go back. And she wanted to mend her ways. She wished to be alive.

Ironically, she was more alive after she was dead.

Sunday. She didn’t even know where did that day sneaked out from her week. Ah! She could never get hold of Sundays. Not when she was alive. Not when she is dead.

She woke up to the voice of God. Why do you do this? Do you do it to everyone? She inquired.

Yes, to everyone, before I part with his or her soul. This is a kind of soul-refreshing that is done to all humans. Earlier only a few souls required this exercise, and only one refresh button was enough to wipe off their soul clean. But in the 21st century, every one of the mortals down there needs it, and more than once. Humans have stopped ‘being human’ when they’re alive. So, I make them human after they’re dead. With all their senses working together, they’ve stopped using each sense to the fullest.

And so this one-week training you souls have to undergo, to actually be eligible for my place. Get some sleep. You have other courses lined up for you tomorrow.

Are you serious? More tasks? What is this a Roadies show?

You got to be a creative man!

God, I am God. Call me God. This isn’t your world. This is my Seventh Heaven.

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