Updated: Aug 2, 2021
And then I woke up with a jerk, and found myself still on my bed. The dim red light of the night light was scattered on the wall with a dull haze, giving a scary look all around. Fear gripped me. Heart throbbing heavily, head was reeling, making me nauseous. I tried to steady myself on the deluxe bed. But when the water droplets dripped on my hand, I realised that I was sweating badly. The beeping of my phone drew my attention. I picked it up to check the time and if any messages came from my well wishers. It was 3 a.m. A couple of hours were left till daybreak. I felt exhausted, I didn't know why? Slowly, my finger pressed the message button.
Although my eyes felt drowsy, yet moved quickly over the messages. ‘You can do it, baby! Best of luck!’…‘Hi Smita! It’s the dream, you’ve always dreamt! Go ahead. You can snatch the trophy!’… ‘Hi honey! My baby doll, best of luck’…blah.. blah.’ A smile clicked on my lips, but I was tensed up, I had no crave to go for further message. So many thoughts seized my mind but the haunting face of Adya dispelled every thought into a corner and captured the forefront. ‘Oh, no! Not again..’ I murmured unconsciously. I don't know how long I sat there on my bed, like a statue!
I couldn't sleep any more. I switched on the light, strolled around the room, then stood before the life size mirror on the wall. I looked at my own reflection. My face slowly became unrecognisable to me. Lifeless eyes and grey hair looked back at me from the mirror and I sprang back. My thoughts and my fear ran wild while I saw the same cynical smiling face of Adya just behind me in the mirror. My eyes bolted out like two big golf ball, I screamed aloud and rushed to my bed, put my head under the pillow, yelled again, ‘Why ? Why Adya? Why are you not leaving my shadow? Go..go away..just leave me alone.’ There was no response! The silent room only echoed my own voice……………………………….
Fifteen minutes passed, I lifted my face from the pillow and I stretched myself on the bed, glared at the fast moving ceiling fan, putting questions to myself, ‘Why am I losing my self confidence? Is jealousy thy name is woman true?’ I shook my head with disagreement then went on pilling up my dreadful dream which I saw few hours before………………..
I was getting ready with the other participants for the live fashion show. That was the long awaited final day! All the inclusive members were on their toes to make the show exclusively entertaining. Too busy! Out of all the participants, Adya, the youngest diva and I were in the hot list. Both Adya and I were in the green room. We exchanged friendly look, which was nothing but pretending for sure. I knew, it was scornful look! She is only nineteen and I am three years elder to her. I knew it was a privilege for her. Then, again I pacified myself ‘I was last year winner, my position, demand everything is much higher than her. Why should I be afraid to a new comer? Definitely, I will surpass her!’ Yet, I know this show business, people are crazy after new butterflies. They always promote the young, youthful freshers. Next moment, I felt jealous of her figure, nevertheless I am beautiful and attractive. But yet, her thin slender physique, with silken dark black waist length hair, thwart upon her bony shoulder was a little threat, challenging my position. I think, she has the same feeling for me too. In a frequent time gap, she was smiling at me, adjusting her dark purple, heavily embroidered dress. The low cutting neck design, exposing much. She was twisting her body into various poses in front of the mirror. I was busy with another huge mirror, keeping myself at the best of my outfit. I preferred the dark chocolate colour to match my fair complexion. We were drastically waiting for the make up team. With a slightest knocking sound, both of us rushed to the door knob to open it. ‘Err..it is not locked..’ together we said, then laughed. The makeup team took every excuse being late and immediately started their work. But what I noticed, they were more interested with Adya rather than me, as if I am rebuffed like an old stuff! When the eye liner of the makeup man touched the hazel eyes of Adya, she looked more vibrant. I looked at the mirror. It was more friendly to watch her through the mirror rather than direct offensive look! I guessed. Before the final call, we both glanced at each other with a smiling face. I adored her beauty in my heart because she was dressed up with consummate elegance! She rushed towards me, hold my hand and softly said, ‘You are looking stunning, beautiful!!! Perhaps, you don't know how much I love you! I am an ardent fan of yours. Now, both of us are in the same platform. I am really nervous to compete with you. But if I fail, I will be in trouble! Her bewitching eyes welled up with tears. With a deep breath, she wished me good luck!’ She hugged me and swiftly kissed on my cheek.
I never expected this type of warm welcome from her. Few seconds, I was confused whether I had been pranked or she had a flair for languages! However, my instinct worked out at once and I gave her a warm hug, kissed her too. Appreciating her gracefulness, I let her go first to face the audience for the final show of fashion world. The clapping sound with the beacons of flash light shot, dazzled in my eyelids, numbed my eardrums. An unseen fear chilled my body!
Obviously, the sound and the flash light was targeted to the stunning beauty, Adya, a naive teenager. She walked elegantly, perfectly well on the red carpeted dais. Next turn was mine. I felt as if my blood were streaming out from my body, nerves were weaken to show the dignified pose. However, I entered into the dais. But instead of displaying my best performance, I did some mistake. The last words of Adya ‘If I fail…’ hit my mind again and again. My reflex action was blurred. I couldn't sense anything. Maybe, I was totally revoked at that very moment! For a second, I was deeply immersed in my imaginations…. the cocktail party after the fashion show… Adya was in the centre, shaking her hand with the eminent guests…the photographers gushed to focus their camera to her only, ignoring my presence as if they didn't know me. The whole experience left me with frayed nerves. A year before I had reached the pinnacle of my career, and now it seems as if I am at no man’s land…unrecognisable…rejected. I couldn't accomplish my best shot! I was totally lost!’ Suddenly, I realised that I was on the stage, I was supposed to give the most stylish posture but it was too late. With a heavy heart I came back to the green room. I was wondered at my own acts, my own foolishness! I questioned myself, ‘Did I do it deliberately to help Adya? Or she really deserves what she got?’
I cursed myself a thousand time but next moment consoled my mind, ‘Yes! This world is changing and so do we! The same people those who are running after Adya now, were glued with me once. They have become so casual, now behaving like strangers to me! Maybe, she will face the same situation like me in future! Anyways, knowingly or unknowingly, I passed the glory to the little angel. Let her be happy! Who knows what comes next?’ My thinking got a sudden break when Adya entered into the room and stared at me with total contempt, then quickly disappeared from my eye-sight.
She held me spellbound, simply just incredible! It became a nightmare for me! I screamed aloud, ‘No Adya, I am contented helping you to win the race, I never knew I am cheated! No…no.’ With my own screaming noise, I couldn't even hear the continuous buzzing sound of the door bell. I jerked forward and then I woke up.