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  • Writer's pictureKrish Chandnani

Into The Maze

He had never felt this helpless. He couldn’t even bat his eyelids, let alone getting out of the situation on his own. Sleep paralysis can be terrifying; the entire thought of lying down in one position, being completely aware of his surroundings, however, not being able to do anything sends shivers down his spine. He had often experienced panic attacks, triggered by the slightest emotional trauma, but this; this was something new. He didn’t know what to do. During such panic situations, his knees would turn to jelly, but he couldn’t even feel his knees anymore.

He practically gave up the thought of him having the strength to fight his way out and just assumed a scenario of him being stuck there forever, drowning in his own tears that had now started trickling down his left cheek and were moving towards his chin.

Generally, people break out of sleep paralysis within a few minutes, but that’s because they try and, anyone who’d known him would agree that his self-confidence needed a boost.

The agony and frustration which had been growing inside of him for the last seven minutes- for a split second, just for a split second made him try and push out of this paralysis and, that split second was all he needed to redefine himself.

All his overthinking as a young teenager had made him a creative and imaginative person and, this was a new realm of imagination he had just entered into - one which would help him find himself.

White cloudy fog surrounded him, it was dark and gloomy as black snow fell from the heavens above making the air ever more misty, ahead he was a maze, a maze made out of thorny hedges, bushes, creepers and well, of course - all his fears. It wouldn’t take a genius to figure out that all he needed to do was to enter the maze and walk towards the finish point and, so in his tall boots, he entered the swampy maze, cursing his fate all the while.

With great effort and a flame in his hand, he forced himself ahead until he was greeted by his first obstacle. There were two paths ahead of him, one paved and garnished with roses, almost like a garden and, the other which put the swamp to shame, it was filled with prickly thorns and muddy water that came up to his knee level. Well, he had never been too good at making decisions however, this one seemed pretty simple to him as he set foot on the path flustered with petals. In a stereotypical situation, he would have met a dead end and would probably have given up by now, however ahead of him, he saw an opening that leads out of the maze. Well, this isn’t a fairy tale either and, he eventually realised that he’d circled and reached the starting point. This was where he learnt his first lesson, which is that no matter how well you follow the easier path, already made by others, eventually, everyone has to unleash their inner leader and pave the way ahead for themselves. That is what being independent and not relying on anyone is all about.

This first lesson, boosted him up as he moved ahead, paving the path and letting the thorns pierce through his boots making his legs bleed, but he knew he had no other way to gain control of himself, thus, stopping was never an option. Soon after, he came across another hurdle, one which made him choose between limping on a silent path made out, of course, copper metal or parading on a path made of royal gold. Except, the gold pathway had everyone he knew standing, staring and criticising him. By this point, he realised that the only way to come out of the maze was to do the opposite of what he would’ve generally done. So, he decided to walk on the path full of criticism. He thought he would make a quick run for it and it would all be over. However, little did he know that this path would end only once he got immune to the chaotic yelling around him and eventually, he was successful in it, the cries around him faded as white noise and he didn’t seem to bother about anyone else’s opinion as long as he felt he was doing the right thing.

Greatly encouraged by his success so far, he saw wings sprouting on either side of his backbone. So, influenced by his invincibility so far they began flapping as hard as possible until he reached too high in the sky. After which his wings disappeared into the cold air, giving the most frantic cry he fell to the ground and so he came across his next lesson; quite the phrase that “one should always be grounded” and he experienced it quite literally.

Sore from his fall, he limped his way ahead, giving tiny cries every few steps until he came across what seemed to him as a dead end.

He was puzzled.

He felt betrayed.

He had taken all the right paths and had overcome so many challenges. Did this mean he would never be able to gain control over himself? He let out a scream of agony and stomped the ground. But wait for a second, yes, he felt something shatter under his foot and, he realised that in life not everything is served on a platter and many a time we need to create opportunities. Thus, with his bare hands, he started digging only to discover a mirror.

He looked straight into it and questioned if the mirror was unhinged, for he saw someone he had never seen earlier. All the fog around him started to disappear; the black snow changed to sparkling sunshine and, the swamp subdued to reveal an elegantly polished surface. He saw a new version of himself, one that was dying to be awoken for ages. He finally came across a confident, independent self who didn’t care too much about what the world had to judge and say.

He emerged victorious, the hedges faded away and, he broke out of his paralysis never to experience it again, sweat all over him, but at least he felt more in control than he had ever been, he had literally discovered himself.

Well, that morning while getting dressed for school, he looked at himself in the mirror, winked and said -

“You’re the only one who’s always going to be there for me and, that’s all I need…”

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