Kriti was lying on her back, on her bed staring aimlessly with an open textbook kept flat on her stomach. She looked at the off-white ceiling which was covered with irregularities. She was wondering why everything around her was rough. Even her study desk which was once smooth was covered with scars and marks of tea cups left too long. Also, she couldn’t miss the clutter on her desk which ranged from pencils to her cell phone to a dried up orange peel. She looked at her clock which was making the only noise in the room, looking at the time she realized she had been staring at the ceiling for more than two hours. She sat up on her bed with a start, realizing that she had to learn a chapter for tomorrow’s test. Tossing aside the text book, she stood up, grabbed her cell phone and walked out of her room. The living room was empty so Kriti noticed that her parents hadnt returned from work yet. She was happy, now she had more time to herself. She took her hoodie and the house keys and stepped out of her apartment, locking the door. She wasn’t surprised to see her nosy neighbor standing right in the middle of the corridor, for she was always waiting to ask anyone who passed through the corridor whether they were well and where they were going. Today, however she looked subdued, and in her hand was a large suitcase. Kriti pretended like she didn’t notice and gave her a tiny smile and then hurried to take the stairs. Three floors and six flights of stairs below, she finally reached the lobby of her building. It was deserted as usual so she went out through the glass doors and felt the roughness of the tiles below as she felt the clean fresh air. Finally, she thought, atleast the air’s clear enough to breathe without choking. And then she coughed.