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Original illustration by Ananya Bathla

Jottings of a rather ‘keen’ Observer


Edited by Kavya Mittal


          10:07 am. It’s a sunny Monday morning. It has been three weeks of waking up this early on a Monday. My owner hasn’t woken up yet. I think she keeps forgetting that I take longer to wake up.


          The alarm goes off for the 4th time. This time it’s turned off. No snooze. 


          She wakes up, coming directly for me, waking me up. But I am tired. And hungry. I want to throw a tantrum. My owner walks off, almost as if she saw it coming. It usually irritates her, but today she seems rather weary. When she comes back to check if I’ve finally woken up, she is already a few minutes late for her class. Her brown eyes — the ones that reflect a sunset of their own — are distracted. Could it be the strange texts that kept her up all night? Or was there trouble in paradise?


          I had my doubts because it could have been the lack of sleep. An hour into her class and she hasn’t looked at her phone. It has vibrated 33 times, and I am sure because my mathematical abilities are impressive. I continue to watch her. On other days, she switches between sitting on her desk and sitting on the floor. Today, she hasn’t moved from her desk. I catch her staring into me, but her mind wanders.


          It reminds me of the time when her brown eyes — the ones that remind me of nature after rain — had become so dark, almost black, and so lavishly heartbroken. It hurt and hurt and hurt for days. But I saw her turn it into exquisite poems. Pages and pages and pages of unsolicited grief. And her eyes — as rich as chocolate— blossomed again.


          11:44 am.  A part of her daily routine is to go check on her mother every hour. She spends 15-20 minutes outside her room. I know because I study her screen time activities. She probably chats with her mother, sometimes gossiping about the house-help’s tardiness. She returns to her desk with a smile, gets comfortable on her chair, and then moves to sit on the floor. I will never understand her. But today, the class ended 6 minutes ago and my owner still hasn’t moved from her desk. Now I am curious. Why isn’t she going to talk to her mother? Should I violate my ethical promises and look through her messages? There are a lot of things I can do but I don’t. I don’t have to be the prying eyes when she’s already got her brother doing that job. I should wait, I should be patient.


          6:06 pm. Being patient sucks. I’ve been watching her sleep for 6 hours and 6 minutes.  At 11:59 am, she got up from her desk, jumped onto the bed, stuffed her face into the pillow, and hasn’t moved since. Her phone stopped vibrating after 112 times. Messages are yet to be read. Her steady breathing keeps me from worrying.


          6:19 pm. Another class. Another hour and half of silent thunderstorms.


         I see her. She’s staring at herself in my reflection of her. Her eyes are searching. Searching every little detail for answers.  Answers to what, one might wonder. But I know. How wouldn’t I know? I wake up with her, I fall asleep with her. She looks into me for hours. 


          I’d like to believe it’s a problem with this generation. If I could talk, I’d tell her she is beautiful. Her smile brightens up darkest days. Her warmth shies away the cold of winter. She hides her struggles behind her make-up because strength is her middle name. With everything falling apart, she is chaos, yet she is a secure pillar for herself. Her eyes stop time. Patience is her companion. She is simple, yet complicated. She doesn’t come with a manual.


          Her heart, as beautiful as her, is untameable. It runs free in the summer breeze. An adventurous, free soul. She has a heart, she has a name. She is a woman. If I could talk, I’d tell her she doesn’t have to worry.


          11:11 pm. A firm believer. She puts on Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Her nth time. She laughs sometimes, the smile remains throughout. She falls asleep as the second episode comes to an end.


          11:49 am. Next day. It’s a rainy Tuesday morning. She wakes up before the alarm rings. She comes to wake me up. I am fully charged, and I won’t throw a tantrum. She forgets I am slow. 


          Impatient, late for her class, she bangs my keyboard.


          Oh no, she is herself again.

I have the big sad, bro. Queer. Majoring in Psychology, minoring in Creative Writing.
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