It was late in the night, the hostel was quiet except for a strange hum that sounded like collective chanting. To an outsider it must have sounded like some nocturnal ritual taking place in some evolved being's room. A quiet walk down the corridors with not a soul in sight, said that this hum came from all the rooms. Suddenly in the middle of the rhythmic vibrations, a screech interrupted the peace. There was silence. The screech turned to a howl petering out towards the end. It sounded like a man being strangulated to death.The sounds of chairs pushed back, of running feet and doors yanked open crowded the night. Except the door of number 107.
They opened the door to Room 107 which was not latched thankfully. All rushed in to do their bit of saving the agonised soul. And there on the bed next to the window was a Final year guy, with earphones plugged to his ears realising his dreams of a singer with his sandpaper-rubbing-on-wood voice. All the 'Saviours' teetered to a halt with jaws dropped and eyes staring in disbelief.
The other roomies turned around from their books slowly pulling out their earplugs giving a resigned look at the 'saviours'. The singer in the room continued his screeching and squaking blissfully unaware of the changed scenario as he concentrated on Himesh's "tera tera tera suroor..." with closed eyes that bordered on ecstasy. "What!" the Final year college wrestler cum new-found singer bellowed, when he was shaken out of his trance.
Seeing so many people in his room he said with a straight face," I am destressing myself from all this cramming. Any problems?"
Shaking their heads the 'saviours' went out and Room 107 returned to their earphones. The night turned into a nightmare but there was little anyone could do. The nightmare recurred for three nights till a midget in Room 204 jumped into the fray. He consulted his roomies and came up with a prank. Every body's future was at stake with exams round the corner.
The next day, the midget entered Room 107 with some bottle of reddish liquid. He addressed the resident Himesh, "Sir, My sister is a singer herself. The first day you sang, I was stunned beyond words! How gifted you are! I stayed awake through the nights transfixed by your scale! Sir I remembered what my grandmother gave my sister then, to improve her voice. I hope you will take this medicine half an hour before your practice everyday."
The Himesh beamed and felt woolly with all that adulation,"Oh! How thoughtful of you! But what does it have?"
"Sir, my grandmother mixed cardamom seeds, ginger leaves..."
"Leaves? I thought roots were useful!"
"No sir, that is one of the secrets. Apart from other stuff it is ginger leaves!" the midget winked adjusting his specs.
"Oh! I must warn you. You may feel a wee bit sleepy but that is the sure sign that it is has started working."
From that night on, nobody used the earplugs again. The Himesh rested his voice and himself every evening after a dose of the cardamom seeds, ginger leaves laced cough syrup waiting for it to work miracles. Peace returned and so did the humming and the droning of collective chants in the corridors of the hostel.