Author Aariya Talcherkar, a student of B.A. Creative Industries Management at the School of Popular Arts presents her text Final Call.
Raina was stressed. Stressed would be an understatement. Probably a phrase pulled from the diaries of ye olde writers, elaborately put, would be more fitting. She would write the final exam for her degree tomorrow, which upon her passing, would most likely make her a B.A. graduate in Law. Of course, in the grand scheme of things, she still had a long time to go, with many more exams to write and a whole other set of necessary stages she would have to pass, but this was still a great stride toward her ultimate goal of becoming a practicing lawyer. So yes, she was incredibly stressed. She’d studied everything over and over, never one to pass up an opportunity at success, but she could never be too sure it was enough.
It made sense. She was a thorough girl, one would say. If one imagined a fitted sheet spread out, Raina would iron out every corner until there was not a single crease left in the fabric, no matter how long it took – even though a fitted sheet is impossible to truly iron out. So, she had pored over every page of every book, dog-eared pages ran amok and papers upon papers upon papers had piled themselves in the corner of her room. She could never read too much, especially with law. There was always more to law. But here the paradox of law comes in once again: the theory is endless but never truly binding. At the end of the day, whatever cases she would have to solve in her exam would be up to her own usage of the theory that would apply to them. Of course, there was technically a right way to do them, but what nobody told most students, is that professors of law also left a lot of things up to personal bias when grading. It was an unfortunate truth of the system, which was rather impossible to solve. This didn’t bode well with Raina’s careful side.
One would imagine that since she was so careful, her living space would reflect that too.
Well, in the span of a couple of months, her room had gone from something that could have been found in an architectural digest magazine, to something that even a stereotypical teenaged boy would turn his nose up at. Clutter consumed every square centimetre of space. Clothes, mostly originally an immaculate white, but now heavy with ramen soup stains and takeaway pizza flecks, spilled out of the drawers. Papers were crumpled and lay randomly on everything from the bed to the floor to even the curtains. At least 10 boxes of takeaway food lay behind the door, a feeble attempt she had made to ‘hide’ the mess. Pens that had ran out of ink were strewn across her bed and she had decided to not even bother moving them, in order to motivate herself to keep studying.
It seemed that Raina’s tunnel vision had caused her to completely forget that she was, well, a human being.
Currently, she was living like a pig.
Perhaps even that was too generous a description.
She decided right then, to drop everything and get in the shower. God knows she needed one. Raina had a tendency to forget to eat and drink completely, in times of stress. Thankfully, this time she had just forgotten to shower for a few days, instead of dehydrating herself and eventually passing out like the times before.
Raina made her way to the bathroom, navigating the floor full of trash by doing a little hop, skip and jump. She undressed and stepped into the shower after she’d run it. She knew that first drop of water would feel divine after the messy past few days she’d had.
But as soon as Raina stepped under the showerhead, she felt the cold, insidious hands of intense panic grip her. Her heartbeat raced and her eyes stayed wide open, as she tried to catch her breath before the feeling of losing control could take over her body.
She looked up in vain.
Still refusing to blink and clutching at her chest, Raina remembered her usual solution: straight lines. Walking in straight lines always helped her. The symmetry of her feet each taking one parallel step in the same direction helped her focus on what she could control: her body. Everything else may have been out of her hands, but this wasn’t.
She paced the tiny shower cabin in perfect, short straight lines, taking the same number of steps with her left foot as she did with her right – micro-steps, rather, but at least they were keeping her moving. Back and forth and back and forth again.
Slowly but surely, she felt her breathing slow down.
Raina leaned against the wet wall, water still dripping from her as the shower ran, and sank to the floor, closing her eyes, head facing the ceiling.
Author: Aariya Talcherkar a student of B.A. Creative Industries Management at the School of Popular Arts.