I got up the next morning and pondered over my dream. What was wrong with me? I was seeing signs everywhere.
I proceeded to get ready for work. I was a reporter with a local news channel and the most important thing in my profession is being in the right place at the right time. Everything else was secondary.
When I had decided to be a journalist, I had dreamed of being the messenger of truth. I had seen myself covering news which would impact the whole country, even the world maybe.
I wasn’t even remotely close to doing that. My current job involved interviewing residents who were pissed off with the amenities in their area. But I had been sure, I’d get there eventually. Although now, I wasn’t sure that’s where I wanted to be.
I passed a couple of schools, some parks and some toy stores on my way to office.. Strange, how I had never paid any attention to them earlier. Its not a sign, I reminded myself.
I kept checking my phone every now and then. Every little sound made me reach out for my phone. Why hadn’t Pia called? Why hadn’t mum called? I contemplated calling home but I didn’t want to make my absence felt.
I pushed my office door open and sighed.. It was back to the grind for me.
While walking to my desk, my editor called me, “Khushi.. I have a new assignment for you.. Come to my office in five..”
I didn’t even hear what he said.. Pia was sitting at my desk!
I walked slowly to my desk, so sure that she was a figment of my imagination. She was scribbling something in her notebook.
I maintained my distance, lest she disappeared. Pia finally realised someone was looking at her and looked up. She smiled at me, as though it was perfectly normal for her to be sitting in my office.
“What are you doing here?” My voice sounded sharper than I had intended it to be. But I wasn’t in the mood to entertain discussions with shadows.
Pia’s face fell and she ran a nervous hand across her nose.
“Aren’t you happy to see me?”
Shadow or real, I was happy to see her. I poked her tentatively to see whether she was real. I pulled my hand back as though it had been burnt. She was real.
Concern filled my head.
“Why are you here Pia? How did you get here!”
“I got her here Khushi.. ” I turned around to face my dad.
Pia was laughing at my shock. A little smile crept on my face as I realized what was going on. My dad had got Pia down here as bait! He must have known, I just needed a little incentive to push myself over the fence.
I was glad he came.
“Khushi.. I’ve been waiting for ten minutes!” My editor came by my desk, red with impatience. He saw my family and his frown deepened, “What is this? A family reunion?”
I looked at the broken pieces of my family and nodded, “Yeah.. It is..”
“Lets go Khushi.. I don’t have whole day..” He walked a little ahead and then stopped when he realised I wasn't following him.
"Are you coming? or not?"
Suddenly, my career didn’t seem so important, my life in the city didn’t seem important. The only thing that mattered most right now was the little girl who had slipped her hand into mine.
Everything was clear to me now. What I had to do. I gathered Pia into my arms and turned to my editor.
“You know what.. I’m sorry, but I have to go now.. I quit!” With that I walked out leaving a very stunned staff behind. I didn’t care too much. I wasn’t irreplaceable there. There were tens of people who would take up my job in a jiffy.
But I was irreplaceable in Pia’s life.