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Safiya turned off her mobile. It was a rule in the meditation class to switch off the cell phones, failing which the person would be suspended for a month. A month without the piano music that played in the living room as twenty people sat cross-legged, closed their eyes, and took deep breaths in an attempt to fill their minds with positivity.
Safiya placed her mobile in her trouser pocket and started meditation. It had been a tiring week. The coffee machine at work had stopped working since Monday. She woke on Tuesday and found a rat had cut through the bedroom curtain. On Wednesday the Finance Minister had suggested imposing a new tax on the working class.
After ten minutes the piano music dwindled and was replaced by the recorded sounds of a flowing river interspersed with bird tweets. Safiya raised her shoulders as freshness cracked through her weary face and spread down her arms and legs as if reversing the aging process of her body. She rubbed her palms to generate some heat, then pressed them gently on her face.
She did this twice before opening her eyes and returning to the world. The background sounds quietened and came to a stop. She glanced at the clock. It was six in the evening. Her friends were all around her. But as the teacher had instructed, they didn’t waste the sudden surge of energy by talking with each other or checking their mobiles. Just an exchange of smiles that was equivalent to a goodbye, following which they left for their homes.
The teacher had suggested doing productive work after meditation. On other days Safiya did a brisk walk in the park. Today she had some office work to do. She completed it in half hour after which she cooked dinner.
Her college mark sheets decorated the walls of her home. They were a constant source of inspiration. She opened the app on her mobile that she used to restrict her internet usage. It had been a week since she had logged into social media. She allowed herself five minutes of guilty pleasure but it bored her. Her friends were active online but she didn’t have any interest to initiate a conversation with any of them. There wasn’t much to talk about.
She typed “life goes on quotes” in the internet search bar and read through the results. It hit her that our time in this world is limited, so she entertained the thought of making peace with Paloma with whom she had fought last week. It seemed so silly now. An argument over loud TV volume from Paloma’s house had turned friendly neighbors into snobs who wouldn’t look at each other.