I could tell there was excitement in the air. I heard my mum mumble something that definitely didn’t sound anything like the word food.
My dad was busy calling my grandmom, who by the way, stays on the third floor of our apartment.
And of course, Jacqueline. Little Miss J. was besides herself with joy. She kept running from the main door-jumped across the sofa and darted back and forth to my room.
Repeating the process, till she stepped on my dad’s feet.
I wake-up. Wonder what happened. Go back to sleep.
Finally, the family comes to my room.
The ever-enthusiastic grandmother, who BTW has a newspaper cutting of a small contribution of mine, that I had written a few thousand years ago.
Co-incidentally I had written to the same paper I’m working with. ‘My ambition’, was what the article spoke about. Apparently I wanted to become a ”fighter pilot”.
My dad keeps repeating this extremely stupid joke every time someone reminds him about that particular ambition of mine.
“Fighter, you already are. Just not a pilot.” All this because we keep arguing.
Sigh. On a totally un-related note I also wanted to become an FBI agent.
Anyway. Getting back to the point.
They wake me up. It’s like those intervention scenes on How I Met Your Mother. Except it wasn’t.
They were excited to see my first article in print.
Yes, the one on boy boobs.
These non-journalist-types. I shrug and roll-my-eyes.
What’s the big deal. I ask them to kindly relax.
It’s so uncool to jump about like little kids high on sugar.
My mum asks me to shut up. She buys an extra paper, to take it to school, to show-off before her colleagues.
I’ve always stood by it, mothers are the best.
I act like it’s no big deal. So once, the excitement has died down (hardly) and mum has left to work, I sneak the paper into my room and read the article, a hundred times over.
While they teach you a lot of things at grad school, what they don’t tell or rather what they can’t, is the joy, the ecstatic feeling and pride that envelopes you, when you see a story with your byline. A feeling I would soon realise, would remain with me even after writing for over a year, and seeing a million bylines come and go.
Even if it is for a story on boy boobs.
Especially, if it’s a story on boy boobs.
Anyway, I realise I have to face work. And as much as I wanted to live in that particular moment. My duty towards changing people’s fate was calling me.
Surprisingly, I find an auto rickshaw where the auto guy doesn’t argue. He accepts to travel for the correct amount, he also patiently listened to my warning before I got into the auto.
Ah! Perfect morning. I almost decide to message Distant Boy and tell him about the byline.
Then I remember, Distant boy was not too excited about the newspaper I worked for.
Not willing to take a chance I push that thought for later.
Work was pretty much the same.
Fates re-written. I was raring to go.
It was almost as if the day passed within a blink.
Mum calls me. Routine-food-menu check. She then proceeds to tell me about how she got into a fight with a guy on the road.
My mum, the saint that she is, has one answer to anything a man does wrong. Irrespective of the severity of the deed.
He should be made to stand in public, stripped and shot.
Anyway, for once even the tab-meeting seemed bearable.
I was visibly excited. I guess my boss sensed it, (and even though it wouldn’t be my best story for months to come) he said, I should treasure the moment.
To realise, that a story I worked on; with my byline would reach a few thousand homes, places I didn’t even know before, faces I’ve never seen before, was a feeling beyond words.
I rush home. After a thousand calls from friends. A few from aunts, cousins and one from my own brother, who asks me to send him a PDF of the article so that he can show it to his friends (I’m beyond shocked. How can i send an article about boy boobs to his friends in the US? But my dad sends it anyway).
I decide it is time to text Distant Boy about the byline.
I just can’t seem to control myself.
Distant Boy replies with a cute message. Or maybe I’m imagining it.
We chat for a while. Before he lets me know, casually, very-as-a-matter-of-fact, that he will be coming to the city for a shoot and maybe we should meet you know, for coffee. (Distant Boy and I are from the same city. How we met is a story saved for another day).
I try to act cool about it. But I’m thrilled to bits.
I just can’t get myself to sleep.
So as I lay staring at the glow-in-the-dark-stars on the roof of my bedroom, way past midnight, taking in the silence of my home.
It slowly sinks-in.
This is probably one of the best days in a really long time.
And I wasn’t going to sleep it away.
But I did.
Only after swearing I wouldn’t.