“What a horrible day it’s going to be! Mom please don’t send me anywhere out , which includes school , tuition or to get anything. I beg you for the love of God mumma , for the love of God!” The words I yelled , being scared of stepping out of my safe zone , my bed , because I was well aware which day it was . It was July 13, 2012 , on a Friday ; Friday the 13th! For a 12 year old boy , who anyway loathes going to school , this day was a nightmare . I believed in the myth back then that Friday the 13th was a day with bad omen and bad luck . If I could show my parents what that day was going to put my way , they would also have stopped me from going out.

“Get up Abhi or you are bringing bad omen to yourself at your safe zone.” Fearing the short tempered woman’s beatings I had to get going . “Wow what an amazing start to the day. Morning 6:30 – get yelled at by mom. Check!” This was just the start or a teaser for the atrocities that were coming my way that day.

Finally I was ready for school and rushed to my front gate to get to my school bus . The worst thing that could happen to a 12 year old boy is seeing the school bus leave before your very own eyes. Having no other choice , I called my place from the intercom at the main gate to tell them that I’m coming home for I had missed the bus “ I’m coming home , I’m coming home, tell the world I’m coming home “ the lyrics I harmoniously sang in my mind while telling my mom I missed the bus . “No need Abhi . Stay there and papa will bring you 20 bucks . Go by auto . But go to school!” Crushed my happy mood for I couldn’t go back home and sleep. Now I had to go to school or I wouldn’t have seen the end of the day.

So there I was , at school with the first late remark of my life. The worst thing that could happen had already happened. But coming next was a direct hit to the heart , not only for me but the all other boys who came to class that day. The only reason we boys used to come to school on Fridays was for the post recess games period. We would finish our tiffins early so that when sir came to take us down , we were all ready. We had already decided the teams for handball and which team was to start the game. But little did we know , that our plans were going to get destroyed by the school counselor.

The recess was done . We had formed a line to go down so that no time gets wasted , but guess what! The school counsellor borrowed the games lecture for another ‘Dealing with stress’ lectures . She could have taken the boring math period , or the irksome geography period. She had to take the period that was the one hope of fun that dreadful day .” This is preposterous!” yelled the principal’s son who was our classmate and the other captain for handball with me. We were also the computer monitors. That means we were to stand with the computer , and look after it and also fix the problems with it. Raj , the principal’s son would rarely do it so I was the only one who worked. He and I had yet not given up on games “If we mess with the computer , we can still get 20 minutes of games .” As we plot an evil plan to reclaim our love , the games period, we decided we shall not leave a single stone unturned. As the counselor asked us to switch on the projector , Raj started showing his acting skills with the remote saying it’s not working and kept hitting it with his hand to try to get it to work , while at the backstage of this act , I switched the projector switch off and switched on the adjacent switch not knowing what it even did. “No issues.” She said as she was starting her tedious lecture . But she still needed the computer. Next in our plan was to disconnect the mouse when she gives us the pendrive and while doing that I shall also loosen the main plug that joined the monitor and the C.P.U. Our planning was a on a great level . But we did not know our competition. The counselor said, “ Since the computer is not working , I will just speak today and next week at this time I will show you the slides and explain them .” “Two consecutive weeks of no Game period. Oh God no!” Now we had no choice but to do away with our plan and let her conduct and end the lecture today itself. “Could this day get any worse!” I thought to myself while standing there with the computer going through her lecture , trying to survive. All I could do now was wait for the final bell that was the sweet release to go home.

At last , school was dealt with for the day . I couldn’t wait to get home as soon as I could to have lunch and take a bath .I used to eagerly wait, as my Nani would make my favourite egg roast with rice and daal. But turns out that very day , my house had run out of eggs . So yes! A bad day , late remark , no games period and no egg roast either. But the worst was yet to come. Now I had to survive a near death call.

I had my tuition at 2 , to which I used to ride my bicycle . As I was on the road , wondering what else was going to go wrong . By now I was in the wonderland of atrocities and was completely unaware of my surroundings. Being in this state of mind I took a turn in the middle of the road without looking out for any vehicles coming my way. If it weren’t for the horn of the speeding SUV , I would have been lying on the middle of the road for God knows how long. “I’m sorry , I’m sorry!” I mumbled as the driver yelled words at me.

Tuition. The one place I felt comfortable at . To pile up , ma’am took a surprise test. Survived through that too .

Ultimately came the real plot of the day , the one that made this day unforgettable for the rest of our lives. When the clock struck 5 , there was a knock on the door. My teacher opened the door and it was my riding buddy Aayush’s grand mother. She asked for me and then told me to go down stairs as his grandfather wanted to talk about something very important. She sounded serious so I went downstairs immediately. He asked me if Aayush had come riding with me. But he had not . He had been missing for a couple of hours now . And so I took my teacher’s permission to go home and help them find my friend . The situation was a lot bigger than I’d thought . Each and every member of our friends group was down trying to look for anything leading to him . His family along with half of his building looking at the security cameras and the terrace of every building. “The question going through everyone’s minds as they kept looking for him was, Where would an eleven year old boy go?” My friends and I alongside his grandfather , were standing at the gate wondering what to do next . “We should have a look at your new place . He keeps mentioning it , he must be there. “ I yelled out in the excitement that maybe I’d solved this case. But his grandfather said that he already looked there.

5 hours passed by. Half of the entire society was down by now searching for him everywhere they could think off. His father enquiring all the people he thought his son could be with. His grandfather trying to console his grandmother who was in the garden crying for the safety of her grandson , refusing to go upstairs. His mother worried sick at home looking after his younger brother , who was unaware of what was going on . Now this situation was not restricted to just our society. Our friends outside knew this too and were giving their inputs . As the clock struck 12 , his father asked everyone to go home and take rest and asked us , his friends to go and thanked us for we had been looking for six hours now . Even though we were home , we were restless , praying for his well being.

At 1 a.m we got a call . Aayush was finally found. He was sleeping at their new place when they found him . It turns out , he was forced to go to classes he did not want to , he was so adamant on not going that he took his grandmother’s keys to the place and was watching TV . He thought he would go home when it was his time to go home after the classes. But he fell asleep.

Beyond a shadow of doubt , the atrocious day was over. It was well past midnight.

– Abhishek Nair