Me Time: a short story by Shreya Balaji

15 June 2021 — Written by Shreya Balaji

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I’m late… again. I could swear I increased the alarm’s volume last night, and I think I even changed the tone to a more irritating one. But looks like I need a yell and a pillow attack from my brother to wake me up! “Get up! You’re going to be late again!!

I sprint across my room, and into the bathroom to get ready. I am downstairs in less than 20 minutes, almost surprising myself, considering how slow I can be when in a hurry. I see that dad hasn’t prepared anything to eat yet, though it was his turn today. So, I scan the kitchen for anything I can quickly grab, and call my ‘breakfast’. My eyes land on a few granola bars lying on the countertop and I sweep them all into my bag and head towards the door. Just when i’m about to exit, i turn to say bye to my mom, who would usually be watching a show on ‘learning the art of yoga’.

But, I see my brother instead, casually watching T.V and painting his nails. This seems odd. “Aran, don’t you have work?” I yell over the T.V blaring in the background. He is usually the early bird, never late for work, even though he’s the co-founder of his art school. He just looks up and smiles at me, with what I think looks like pity in his eyes.

Just then, my mom enters the sitting room, and replies sleepily “Isn’t the lockdown starting from today? I heard all offices were to grant a 5 day leave for their employees too” I sigh, realising that my sweet, cute, kind, and VERY generous brother had pranked me. (I’m being sarcastic, by the way, if you couldn’t tell already) whereas I wanted to sleep till noon. It all came flooding back!

I didn’t increase the volume of the alarm, I switched it off. I dramatically throw my bag to the side, crack my knuckles, and take off towards my brother. He swiftly jumps up from the sofa and speeds out of the front door.

After literally chasing my brother around the front yard and giving him a hard knock on the head, we returned after a good 10 minutes, looking like we got drenched in the rain or something, except, it wasn’t rain, it was sweat and dirt. We have no choice but to take a bath, AGAIN.. Though i’m not sure if my brother really had one in the morning anyway. I go upstairs, straight to my room, feeling annoyed and tired at the same time.

I took a long bath this time, relaxing and unwinding from all the stress I had due to work. Now I have 5 days ahead of me! This is probably very rare, we don’t really get holidays like these often. And I don’t know what to do.

I had always been immersed in work, there was always so much to do, and I never really spent time with myself. Whenever I had free time, I would sleep. Now, as I think of what I want to do for the next couple of days, my mind goes blank.

I guess what they say is true - “Never get so busy making a living, that you forget to make a life

And funny enough, I have this quote stuck on my pinboard. I look at it every day, yet haven’t processed it or really thought about it until now. Right when I’m in the shower. What a mood.

I start singing random words that come to my mind, while simultaneously trying to wash off the shampoo in my hair. By the time I’m done, I have an idea for a song in my head. As I step out of my bathroom to dry myself, I start to get excited. I realised how long it had been since I did anything related to music - which once used to be my greatest passion.

I glance at the far end of my room, and there beneath a truckload of useless things lies my keyboard. This used to be my most priceless possession but here it is, dusty and old, and I am not even sure if it works.

I finish getting dressed, and sit down in front of the keyboard. I turn it on, and luckily it works!

I feel nervous for some reason. Maybe because it’s been a long time. I start playing whatever comes to my mind. In the midst of all the beautiful chaos, I know just what to do during my break.


Shreya Balaji is an IGCSE learner at Beyond 8. While she is not in class, this sensitive learner enjoys pursuing her passions in writing poetry, singing, songwriting and playing the ukulele. Shreya hopes to pursue music in the future.

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