A ‘Number’ To Remember

A ‘Number’ To Remember

An IT engineer by profession, Riya was always surrounded by numbers and codes. A loner by choice she was mostly cocooned in her small world. Her parents had expired when she was 7 and she was raised by her maternal grandmother, who told her of how she was born on the 21st via an emergency operation as opposed to her due date of the 1st and how her parents had expired in a train crash which had 21 coaches. Co-incidently her grandmother also expired on the 21st when Riya was only 21 years old. All these uncanny events made her develop an aversion or rather revulsion to the number 21. She avoided any projects, meetings, or occasion which would fall on the 21st.

She was a fine engineer, who rose quickly in her profession and achieved a lot of success at a young age. She was alloted a company accomodation in one of the upscale localities of Mumbai. To her dismay, her flat was the only one on the 21st floor. She never mentioned her apprehensions to anyone in fear of being labeled paranoid.

Everyday in the lift when she pressed the 21st floor, the lift would never stop at the 21st and she would ultimately have to take the stairs. Riya grew paranoid and started sweating profusely. She dreaded going home for the fear of being in the lift. Soon this occurrence started taking a toll on her mental health and her work started to suffer. Her manager suggested her a therapist.

On the therapist’s couch she spoke about the trauma of the number 21 in her life and how growing up she started constructing it as an evil force. She started to associate the number with negativity and bad luck. Her therapist after many sessions, coaxed her out of her shell and finally figured out her problem. 

Since an early age and later on in life she never could write the numbers 21 together and developed a habit of changing them in her mind as per her mood and surrounding. Whenever she tried pressing 21 on the lift, her mind blanked and instead she pressed an absolutely different number, which never led her to her floor. The therapist worked on making her understand that some things aren’t in our control and we should simply accept it as GOD’s wish. 

After nearly four months of therapy, Riya was much better and finally had made her peace with the number 21. The number 21 in the lift now guided her to the right floor. She also started filling her social calendar and meeting new people even on the 21st and started living her life to the fullest. She met her now husband Ritesh on the 21st and had their first born also on the 21st. Life, which had taken away her source of happiness on the 21st seemed to compensate her for her grievances and was filling her life with love and happiness 21 times over.


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One thought on “A ‘Number’ To Remember

  1. Different take on prompt 21. Used it as date, number and apprehension too.
    Started with negativity, the story very well ended with positive approach and depicted 21 as happening number.

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