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Just you, me and a secret (Book 1)

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Just You, Me and a Secret

Book 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ganga Bharani

http://gangabharani.com/

Author:

Ganga Bharani Vasudevan has two award winning short films to her credit. She has made several short films and stop motion animation based on social issues and disability. She has won several prizes and awards as a blogger. ‘Best Urban Chennai Blogger Award’ is one such precious feather on her cap.

She has published the following books:

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p<>{color:#000;}. ’Just you, me and a secret 1’ (Romantic Thriller- Kindle/Paperback)

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p<>{color:#000;}. ’Just you, me and a secret 2’ (Romantic Thriller- Kindle/Paperback)

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p<>{color:#000;}. ‘A Minute to Death’ (Crime Thriller – Kindle/Paperback)

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p<>{color:#000;}. A Sip Of Love and a Sip of Coffee (paperback)

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p<>{color:#000;}. ‘Relationship status: It’s complicated’ (Novella-Kindle)

Creative Writing Prompts and Plots Series:

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p<>{color:#000;}. Book 1:60 writing prompts and plots’ (Prompt book- Kindle)

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p<>{color:#000;}. Book 2: [+ Creative Writing- Plots’ +] (Plots book- Kindle)

Webpage: http://gangabharani.com/

Facebook: gangabharaniv

Twitter: @ganga_bharani

Blog: scribbledbygb.blogspot.com

Contact the author to book your free first plot coaching session at [email protected]. She coaches people to find a plot and twist it into a genre the writer wants. Example are shown in her book ’60 writing prompts and plots’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contents

1: Who am I? 4

2: My Hard-To-Believe Past 9

3: Ashruth, the clown 17

4: Meera meets Clara 23

5: My Story Begins 29

6: Deciding To Die 35

7: Meera gets Engaged 41

8: Old Diaries 46

9: The Suicide 51

[] 1: Who am I?

Pitch dark. Extreme silence. Time had ceased to exist. Felt like vacuum. A peculiar noise of beeping rang through the room. I could see nothing else but a blur of green floating at a distance, illuminated with dim light. The beep intensified and the image brightened. I gasped, feeling cold air brushing all over my skin. I swallowed. It felt great. I swallowed again. I didn’t know if I had even swallowed in ages. Again the same darkness spread all over but the beep became louder and came from somewhere very close. I breathed in a little more and swallowed again. My index finger moved very lightly without requiring my conscious effort.

The blurred sight flashed for a second in front of me. After a few flashes, the sight became clearly visible. A green curtain, at a distance, was swaying a little. I slowly looked up and a clock showed 11:55. It was too bright with tube lights making it almost impossible for me to figure out if it was five minutes to noon or midnight. I lowered my pupil and skimmed the green screen inch by inch. Green. Green. Green. I looked to my right. I looked to my left. Everything was just the same; green screen.

I tilted my head 90 degrees towards my right, lying in the same position in the bed. It was an ECG which was beeping. I swiftly brought my hands over my nose but wasn’t able to reach the skin of my nose. An oxygen mask was fixed over it. I pulled it down as I tried to get up from the bed. The sudden exposure to a different atmosphere made my respiratory system cough out to balance the change. The rectangular screen covered area around me cracked in one corner and someone hurried from nowhere.

‘Relax’ he made me lie on my back facing the ceiling; same position as before. He mounted back the oxygen mask over my nose. I was forced to stay put. I was too weak to rebel. He slid his hand into the pocket of his white coat. When his hand reappeared, it held a syringe with a yellow liquid filled to its half.

‘This should be a hospital’ I finally realized seeing the white coat and the syringe. ‘Why am I here? How long have I been here?’ Before I could think further he pricked me with the needle. He quickly disappeared into the crack in the screen, from where he had come into the “screened” area.

All green, again. The beeping sound started fading. The sight of the screen started blurring out. Light dimmed gradually. Pitch dark. Extreme silence. Felt like vacuum again.

I had no idea how many hours or days or even years had passed since my lapse into nothingness, again I could feel my index finger moving without my conscious effort. I heard some noise. Not the beep that I could recollect, so I expected the sight to be different too. I swallowed to ensure that I was still alive. I slowly opened my eyes. I did not see the same green, the only thing I remember. It seemed to be someone’s bedroom. I looked around to spot a clock or calendar. A digital clock made me worry less about it being day or night; it read 11:55 pm. ‘Am I stuck with 11:55 of some year? Year? What year am I in?’ I looked around.

The room was huge. The bed was huge too. The bedside table had a night lamp with something written over it. I rolled on the bed to have a closer look at it. It spelt something like a medicine I had heard long before. A pen stand that was crammed with pens also had a peculiar name printed on it; that was also a medicine’s name if I had to trust my faint memory. The word ‘Year’ echoed inside the walls of my skull, again. I looked on the other side and there were 3 wooden doors which were just cupboards. I felt helpless. I hesitantly looked at the night lamp again. I had no idea how I had missed out the digital clock that blinked in the pen stand. I plucked out all the pens from the stand in a jiffy and brought the clock close to my eye. The clock read ‘11:55pm, 30th April 2010’.

‘So I am in 2010. But what day is it? Am I in a dream? If yes, when will I wake up?’ I sat erect and stuck my cheeks to my palms. Suddenly a strong desire of touching my face occurred to me. I touched all around myself and felt like it was the first time in ages. ‘How old am I? Have I slept for years together?’ I tried to pull my hair to check its colour but my hair was cut too short to be seen by myself. I checked my hands. I twisted and turned my wrist. I stretched my leg and looked at my feet. I felt wrinkles neither on my hands and feet nor my face; it was smooth and soft. ‘I am young. I am still young. I..’ The word “I” disturbed me whenever I mouthed it. The trickiest and most painful question occurred to me. ‘Who am I?’

The dressing table with a big mirror dragged me to it with the desire to know who I was. I stood facing the mirror. The female who faced me stared into my eyes. I asked her the same question that bothered me ‘Who am I?’ She spoke along with me but I couldn’t hear her voice, I lifted my right hand and she did the same. I lifted my left hand, smiled, frowned, and opened my mouth, and she did everything, ditto, in sync with all that I did. ‘Me. This is me.’ I said it aloud as I was so excited to figure out what I looked like. I wasn’t able to recognize my own self. I wasn’t able to figure out why I was there and since when. I had no clue of who I was other than how my mirror image looked. I was thoroughly confused. I shut my eyes close enough that it hurt my eyeballs. I led my fingers into my hair and pulled it forcefully. I dropped myself down on the floor, onto my knees. I tried hard to think and dig out answers for my own questions from my brain. Silence prevailed except for the swish of the ceiling fan.

‘Who am I? Who am I? Who am I?’ my scream broke the silence, wherever it prevailed in the vicinity. I heard the door being unlocked, I felt insecure. I rushed back to the bed and lay on my back, I closed my eyes tight. The sound of footsteps came closer and closer. It stopped. I didn’t hear anything for the next few seconds. Suddenly someone kissed my forehead and said “I love you, Meera.”

‘So is my name Meera?’ I asked to myself. I had no courage to open my eyes.

‘I will always love you Meera. Open your eyes soon.’ Said the male voice. I trusted the voice and opened my eyes. I saw a guy standing close to the bed. He was short, dark and round, his belly bulging out of his shirt. Though I was not sure of my own age, I could bet that he was older to me. He wore a pink shirt that exactly mismatched the brown pant underneath. I realized only after examining him for a few seconds that he was the doctor who had pricked me to sleep for I-don’t-know-how-long. I gave him a frightened look.

He was standing next to me, near the bed. He bent down and brought his hand near my forehead. He was not surprised that I had opened my eyes and his face was emotionless, as though he knew I woke up long back and I was faking now. I drew my head away from his hand before it could land on my forehead. He brought himself closer. He sat on the bed as I drew myself farther away from him.

He came closer and closer; I moved farther and farther. The shade of the night lamp hit my head; I had reached the end of the bed. He still did not stop trying to reach me. He forcefully pulled me close and rubbed the back of my head where the lamp had hit.

‘Relax’ he said again.

‘Please no syringe. Please I don’t want darkness. I don’t want silence. Please.’ I begged trying to pull myself away.

He let me free and got up from the bed. He pulled an arm chair that was at the corner of the room nearer to the bed.

‘Listen to me.’ He demanded.

‘You are Meera. Meera Prabhu. You forgot the past, every bit of your past, in an accident.’ He started briefing. All I could remember as he spoke about the horrible accident was light, too much light; bright light; fire; heavy fire; again bright light; smoke; then darkness. I just saw darkness for some time.

When I opened my eyes again I saw myself lying in his arm; his face was so close to mine. He was asleep. I pulled myself away from him. My action woke him up.

‘Why are you sleeping here with me? Who the hell are you?’ I stuttered.

He pulled me towards him, back to the same position. I tried moving away till he said ‘You were in love with me. You would have died if I had not nodded to your proposal. You were crazy about me. I am Ashruth, your love. We would have got married by now if the accident hadn’t happened.’ He was about to kiss me when he ended his sentence.

‘So you are not my husband? We are not married yet?’ I rolled away from him and sat up.

. “You were crazy about me!” he crooned.

I could hardly believe this but I had no other option but to listen and trust his story.

‘Come here. Come close to me.’ He demanded.

I was not even sure of who I was. I could hardly believe that I had loved him in my past.

‘First tell me who I am.’ I could hardly think beyond that. He started telling me, my own story , the story I was dying to know. I sat with hope that this story would answer all my questions.

 

[] 2: My Hard-To-Believe Past

Ashruth went out of the room and was back in a jiffy with his laptop. He opened it and started telling me, my own story. I sat still, fixing my eyes on him, my ears diligently listening to every syllable he mouthed.

‘You are Meera Prabhu. Prabhu, your dad, is one of the few businessmen who taste success in whichever field they enter. Look, this is him.’ He showed me my dad in a group photo. My dad was in a grey safari suit, he had his French beard neatly trimmed. He looked too young to be my father or the father of any girl of my age for that matter.

‘He wanted to enter the healthcare sector for the first time and that is how I got to know him. He had planned to start a nursing home in this area in partnership with me. You were supposed to be heading the business. He wanted me to take care of his other businesses too, after our marriage.’ He said as I kept looking at the picture trying my best to recollect the past. But I could just remember bright light; fire here and there, whenever I tried recollecting things.

‘This is your mom, Nadhiya.’ He pointed to a beautiful woman, who also looked too young to be my mother. She wore a saree which was ethnic and had ashes and Kungumam on her forehead.

‘She is very religious. She wanted you to inherit the Tamil culture and tradition from her. She always told me that she was lucky to have me as her son-in-law.’ I just smiled. I thought that my family was crazily in love with this guy but I wasn’t sure if I had had any feelings for him. I found him too old for me. Maybe it was all by my dad and mom and since I would have loved them the most I would have agreed to the marriage. I was relieved that I could at least think of something convincing, that could connect my photo-past and my confused-present.

‘Who is this?’ I pointed out at a guy who was having his hands around me in the picture. ‘My brother?’

‘No. He is Santhosh, your aunt’s son. You once told me that he already had a girl friend. I am not sure of that part of your life much. All I know is he is your cousin and he already has a girl friend.’ Ashruth said in haste.

‘Why is he stressing upon the fact that he already has a girl friend? He doesn’t seem comfortable talking about Santhosh. Why?’ I was puzzled.

‘Were we close?’ I managed to question him.

‘Yes, we were. We were in love and were to get married and have kids.’ His smile widened and froze till I interrupted.

‘Not we! I mean “WE”, me and Santosh!” I interrupted before he could go on with the I-was-crazy-about-him story which was too much for me to digest.

His smile shrunk instantly. ‘Not much I guess. I’m not sure. You have never mentioned him much in our conversations earlier.’

‘Where are his parents?’ I paused. ’I mean, my aunt and uncle?’ I started relating myself to the story of my past. I was curious to know more about my family and also Ashruth’s reluctance to talk much about Santosh. ‘He lost his parents when he was five, very unlucky guy. Your dad and mom showed some mercy on him and brought him up. He should be very loyal to your family for all that you have done.’

He looked at me but I was still looking at Santhosh in the photograph. He was tall, fair complexioned and looked very adorable. Even in that confused state of mind I couldn’t resist admiring a guy like that. I could have forgotten the past but I still remained a girl made of flesh, bones, blood and hormones. Ashruth toggled the photo and diverted me before I could think any further about Santhosh.

‘Is she my sister?’ I tried to act smart and started guessing.

‘You have no siblings. You told me once that you were very happy being the only child of a wealthy man. You also said that you will ask your dad to give it all, to us and our kids.’ He stressed upon “wealthy”. I was taken aback.

‘But I will never let you do that. We don’t need their money. Do we?’ he continued before I could respond. He made it seem as if he were not a bit bothered about the money contradicting the stress he had previously laid upon the word “Wealthy”.

He kept looking at me expecting me to respond to whatever he had said. I didn’t know which would be a safe reaction. I pressed my lips tight; something between a smile and a frown. He was looking into my eyes. I wanted to cut off his eye contact. So I rolled my pupil to the extreme right, slowly, and looked at the photo from the corner of my eyes.

‘Who is she then?’ I asked.

‘Don’t you see that she resembles you at least a little?’ he asked me.

‘Yes.’ The girl in the picture looked more like me but she was a lot thinner. Her skin was glowing and she looked so beautiful that any girl would want to become a guy just to marry her.

‘That’s you, a few months back! Due to the accident and lack of any movement you have become a little plump.’ He pinched my cheeks. “Still my darling looks very beautiful.” He whined. I gently pulled myself away from him. He closed down the laptop.

‘Too much done for today. Now, sleep well. Good night.’ He got up from the bed with the laptop folded in his right hand.

‘I want to know more.’ I pleaded.

‘No way! It’s already too late. Go to sleep. Call me if you want something dear. You shouldn’t strain much. I will tell you the rest, tomorrow.’ He put his left hand behind my head and bent to me. He pressed his lips hard on my forehead. Again trying to establish eye contact, he looked into my eyes. I blinked several times more than I normally did to break his eye contact. He then wished me good night and walked towards the door to put off the lights. The next minute the door was shut. I did not move a bit till he went out. I saw all that happened in front of my eyes but my mind was struck with the group photo, my family which I didn’t remember living with.

The room was completely dark. I heard nothing. I sat hugging my legs resting my chin between my knees and started to think. I had a hundred questions already. I was brimming with questions as I brought back every word that he had mouthed and analysed it over and over again. A million more questions arose anew in my mind.

‘Why did he stress upon Santhosh already having a girl friend?’

‘Is there any possibility of a girl, like me, loving a guy like Ashruth?’

‘Why was the wealth of my dad a major point in my story? He could have very well told me about a lot of other things, but he didn’t. Why?’

‘Why did he say that I was crazy about him, once in every two minutes?’

‘He never said he loved me. It was always that I loved him. Why?’

Every question raised a question mark that shone in the dark room. The question-mark flew around my head and gripped my throat. My windpipe started clogging slowly. I was suffocated and choked while I tried to pull myself off the numerous questions that arose from nowhere. I opened my eyes and everything had vanished. It was 6am, 31st April, 2010. I had fallen asleep somehow, which I thought was impossible. I couldn’t sleep further, anyway. I wanted to explore the house but I was scared to go out. I was scared to do anything. I wanted to talk to people in that photo whom he called my family. I wanted to pull out my brain. I wanted to kill myself. I couldn’t do any of these and hence I wanted to at least pee.

I spent almost an hour on the toilet seat, still thinking about what could have happened in my past. After realizing that I was still inside the toilet, regaining my conscience, I reached my hand behind my head. I pulled the trigger of the flush. I took a quick glance of myself in the mirror. I wanted to familiarize my reflection at the least. I splashed water onto my face in the hope that it could make me feel better. I wiped my face and still found to be stuck with the same spinning puzzle of my past.

‘Why the hell did god wipe off my memory?’ I cried to my own reflection. I somehow felt more comfortable inside the small toilet than the huge room outside its door. The bed, the cupboards, the clock, the bed spread, the fan and everything else in the room made me feel that I was in a wrong place. I was scared to unlock the door. It seemed like I had seen only this room all through my life other than the green curtains of the hospital; I could hardly remember a world outside that room. Maybe that is one reason why I was scared to lock my world inside the room by entering it again. With all the courage I had, I twisted the knob and unlocked the toilet door.

Ashruth was there. I was shocked. I wanted to run back and lock myself inside the toilet for the rest of my life. I reluctantly smiled at him and started walking far away from where he was standing.

‘Here is your coffee, my love. You preferred coffee to tea. You were actually a coffee addict! A very good morning.’ He stuttered and widened the smile that was already fixed on his face right from the moment I became aware of his existence. I had no particular reason to have an aversion towards him but somehow I hated him.

‘You always said Love Morning instead of Good Morning.’ He said and walked towards me.

The more he spoke about the love I had had for him, the more the dislike for him grew in me. He was already at an arm’s-distance but did not cease to come closer and closer. I snatched the coffee mug from his hands to avoid him coming closer. He brought his face close to mine and headed to kiss me on my lips. I sipped the coffee to prevent the disaster from happening. His lips were dark. I doubted if he smoked. Between the sips I casually asked him a few questions to know more about him; just to find a reason which would have made me love him. Actually I just wanted to find a reason to hate him. I was scared to ask him how we had fallen in love as anyway I wasn’t going to believe whatever he said. I just wanted to listen to my story from the family he claims to be mine.

‘Do you smoke Ashruth?’

‘I used to, till you once kissed me and said you felt uncomfortable due to the smell of cigarettes.’ He blushed when he said that.

‘Have I kissed you before?’ I was shocked. Disgusted.

He blushed and nodded. His improper dental arrangement peeped out of his lips. He tried to look romantic when he did that but I found him unbearable.

“I should thank my memory loss”. I thought, grinning. I was determined not to make him talk about the two of us again.

‘Can I meet my mom and dad? Where do they live? Which city do I belong to?’ I asked him with curiosity brimming in my tone.

‘Coimbatore’ was all he could say.

‘Can I meet my mom and dad?’ I repeated.

‘They wanted us to spend some time with each other before you meet them.’ He said and got back my empty cup.

‘Where am I now? Aren’t they eager to meet me?’

‘You are now in Chennai. We will fly to Coimbatore soon. Your mom was scared that I would call off the wedding because of this unfortunate accident. I told her that your love for me was more than what she could possibly imagine. When she came to know about your memory loss she insisted that I spend more time with you as soon as you regain consciousness. She wanted me to show you your world and to remind you of the love you had for me before knowing about things beyond that.’ he said.

Every answer had more of “My” love for him than the answer itself. I wished I could go back to darkness again, since it seemed way better than this fool, who tried to forcefully inject more of love than the medicines. I was dying to go home, which I didn’t even remember living in. Every passing second with the pumpkin-face was a burden to me. I thought it was alright to run away forgetting my past for the rest of my life and start a new life.

‘Take rest for sometime while I prepare breakfast for us.’ He winked. I hated it! Maybe, he thought it was cute.

‘Where are your parents?’ I managed to ask something that couldn’t possibly involve ‘my’ love for him.

‘I lost my dad when I was five. Mom struggled to put me in a rich school, then in a medical college. Studying medicine is not a joke; it is the most expensive degree. Mom was a school teacher. She struggled to turn this useless chunk into a doctor.’ He had tears rolling down his cheeks. Still he managed to bring a forceful smile on his face, his tears shedding uncontrollably. I was shocked to discover a serious side to this pumpkin.

‘Where is she? Is she in here? Can I meet her now?’ I asked, wishing to include new faces into my new world. Something or anything other than him felt better to me. I was bored of the same room and the same pumpkin detailing about my long lost adoration for him.

‘No. She passed away a few months back.’ More tears flooded his eyes as he voiced it out.

‘Sorry for spoiling your mood right in the morning.’ He said and again brought a forceful smile in between those tear-flooded cheeks.

I started feeling a little sympathetic. Maybe he was not that bad as to be hated. Still I couldn’t imagine marrying him or falling in love with him, at least not as soon as this!

‘That’s okay. I’m sorry for you.’ I had nothing else to tell him.

 

He walked out of the room without a word. I thought I would be better off not asking questions related to him. I wanted to explore my past a little more. I had two options. Either I get to know my past and live with my past world; marry this pumpkin and cook the rest of my life with it. Or run away and create a new world for the new me. I was still not confident enough to consider the second option seriously. I struck-off the plan of running away from the house, temporarily. But the option still remained intact, deep down in my mind.

 

[] 3: Ashruth, the clown

I wanted to go out of the room. I didn’t want to be jailed in there forever. I walked to the door and turned the knob. The knob made a click. I got scared that it would bring back Ashruth into the room, which was my entire world right now. I somehow felt uncomfortable even thinking about initiating any conversation with him again. I wanted to explore the house myself and try if something reminded me of my past. I looked through the keyhole to ensure that he wasn’t there. I could see a red telephone kept on a tea-poi and a part of a green couch. I couldn’t see anything beyond that. I pressed my ears tight on the door. I could listen to absolute silence. I slowly unlocked the door and peeped out nervously. The door gave way to a huge hall which looked very posh. It was better furnished than the room in which I had spent all my (new) life in, till then. I saw another room a few steps away. The door was kept slightly open. I tip–toed towards the room and peeped inside.

Ashruth was standing facing the wall opposite me. He had a towel around his neck and wore a pair of blue shorts underneath. I was reluctant to look into the room any further but was curious to know what he was doing. He opened his wardrobe and pulled out 3 sets of suits; Green; Blue and Red. He placed the suits one after the other over his chest, along with the hanger and looked into the mirror. He looked at his reflection in the mirror, dissatisfied. He was so plump that there was no distinctive gap between his chest and his belly. His neck was nowhere to be seen! He gave the clothes a wry and disappointing look as though they were the reason for an ugly mirror image.

He swung them back on his bed and moved back to the wardrobe. He emptied the contents of the wardrobe on his bed but was still unhappy with anything that he tried. He shuffled and re-shuffled his ancient and ridiculous set of clothes.

After a few minutes of digging the heap that lay before him, he smiled at a shirt. He picked the shirt and held it over his chest. He looked down and said “Perfect”, his face glowing as though someone had switched him on. It was a shining, silky yellow shirt with silver buttons. The shirt had been embroidered with pink flowers all over it, which would have been beautiful in a Rangoli rather than a shirt. He also picked a pair of yellow pants that outshone the shirt. He put the clothes back into the wardrobe which already puked of clothes, making it difficult to latch. He somehow managed to compress the clothes and locked the wardrobe. He smiled at the dress he had selected for the evening again and said “Pakka” with a sigh of relief. He suddenly initiated a turn to my side. I hid myself instantly. I went back to my room and shut it as slowly as possible to avoid even the lowest decibel of noise it might make.

A few minutes passed. I again looked through the key hole and tip-toed to his room. The door of the room was still slightly open and I let myself peep in again. There was a waft of strong and nauseating perfume all over the air. Suddenly, Ashruth came into the scope of my sight. He wore the yellow pants out of which his hefty thighs bulged out. The smile that widened, when he spotted the shiny shirt, did not fade even a wee bit. He slid his hands into the sleeves of the shirt. He locked the buttons at the edge of his sleeves and latched the other buttons into their respective holes one by one.

‘ One, two, three, four....four...four....ffffff....ffff’ he tried to compress his tummy to lock the fourth button like he did with the wardrobe. He tried his best to hold his breath, pulling his tummy in as deep inside as he could. He somehow managed to lock the fourth button but when he released his belly out, the button flew across the room. I couldn’t control my laughter. I swallowed the laughter and continued to enjoy the live comic strip. He bent down to look for the derailed button. He looked under the bed, under the dressing table and all over the floor. He tried to look for it under the cupboard but couldn’t look beneath the cupboards as his over- grown tummy did not let him bend further. He got up and frowned looking down at his belly and breathed out hard as though he had just run a hundred meter race. He set his tummy free to bulge as much as it could in mid-air. I couldn’t control my laughter any further. I ran to my room and locked myself in. I laughed and laughed till it hurt my stomach. ‘What a clown!’ I thought to myself. Since he was dressing up so well (well, I was being sarcastic), had dipped himself in perfume and smeared his face in fairness cream, I was pretty sure that he was about to leave the house. I wanted to wait till he was out of the house to explore it.

I sat sweating though the air conditioner was working fine. I was expecting him to enter the room anytime to inform me that he was going out. I glued my eyes to the door. Every second seemed to be longer than it actually was. The door knob turned and the door cracked open. Ashruth glided through the opening. He was wrapped in a red suit. I couldn’t control my laughter. I smiled at him getting reminded of the cartoon he had made of himself earlier.

‘I guess you are very happy today.’ He said with a wide smile.

‘Yes.’ I continued to laugh.

‘We are going out today.’ He said.

‘Where?’ My smile dissolved from my face.

‘We are going out for lunch in a beautiful restaurant.’ He said blushing, trying to drill a hole in the floor with his toes.

‘Was he trying to dress up just to impress me?’ I thought to myself, I couldn’t laugh at the scene like I did a few seconds back.

‘How do I look Meera?’ he asked hoping that I would say ‘Very impressive.’

‘A clown.’ I said to myself. ‘You look okay.’ I said not to invite more problems by disappointing him.

‘I had picked your favourite dress only but it was not washed so I had to wear this. I will wear your favourite dress the next time we go out.’ He said as he adjusted his coat.

‘That yellow dress was my favourite?’ words slipped through my lips. I couldn’t digest my own past anymore. It all felt like a story to me. I regretted for uttering it.

‘How did you know that?’ he was shocked.

I couldn’t justify. ‘Maybe I remember something from the past now.’ I tried to escape.

‘Did you sneak out of this room?’ he asked.

‘How the hell did he find that out?’ I couldn’t stop cursing myself for talking about his ridiculous yellow shirt that took the humour from my life at the moment.

He came close to me and put his arms around. He walked me out of the room.

‘This is your house Meera. You can go anywhere you want INSIDE THE HOUSE.’ He stressed upon the last few words.

‘Don’t think I’m restricting you. Till you get alright I don’t want you to go alone and lose your way. Moreover you’ll imagine you have seen a few places before and strain yourself. Sometime you might cook up stories and assume that it’s your past life. So we need to be very careful till you gain trust in my words and your mental state becomes stable.’

I did not know how to respond. Maybe, he was right about that. Maybe I didn’t trust him because of my memory loss. Maybe I won’t trust anyone else either. I thought I should trust him from then and it was risky to do something that he doesn’t allow me to do. ‘Let me follow as he says. If the situation is too undesirable I always have the trump card of running away, forgetting my past forever.’ I convinced myself.

Before I could get out of the pool of thoughts, he was gone and the door was shut. I couldn’t wait to look around the house. I went into his room and looked around. Most of the items he owned weren’t bought but were received as a compliment; with the medicines’ names printed on them. ‘Was he such a miserly person? Won’t he buy anything?’ I thought. I could just find more reasons to hate him and not even one to like him even remotely. He had a picture hung on his bedroom wall. It was him standing with the past me. I had looked prettier before. I focused on his part of the photo. Huge, useless pumpkin head, he was. I wanted to explore the house as much as I could before he came. I ran around. I tried my best to think if I had seen any of those things in my past. I was just left with the memory of ashes and fire all over my thoughts from my past. The knob clicked and I melted through the doors into my room without leaving a trace of me anywhere else. I was expecting him with some food; I was hungry. I went out of the room with a ‘who-broke-into-the-house’ look.

‘It’s me Meera. Don’t worry. No one else will come here.’ He said as he emptied the package he held on the dining table.

I settled in the dining table and was ready to eat. He served the food and we had a quiet meal. At least for me it felt like it was a quiet meal as I didn’t give a damn about anything he had told me. It was all about how I had loved him and I somehow couldn’t relate myself to it. To disturb the silence, his phone rang. He quickly washed his hands in the plate with half the food left over and rushed to his room with his phone jingling away merrily. He had a terrified look when he had seen who was calling. I couldn’t see the display of the mobile. I was curious. He shut the door behind him the moment he had walked inside the room. The ring continued till then.

‘Why did he want to talk in secrecy? Was it something I shouldn’t know? I surely should know it if I’m not supposed to.’ My curiosity aroused, I tip toed to the room and pressed my ears against the door. My hands were still unwashed. I could hear a few phrases from his conversation.

‘..No uncle. Give the phone to Santhosh…’ I heard this somewhere in between.

‘Was he talking to my dad?’ I wondered.

‘Listen carefully. She is fully not…..I will take care… Yes…Risky to do that but….’ I heard the bits.

‘What was risky?’ Every word cooked up stories within me.

‘Her mind is like a blank piece of paper. Whatever gets written first gets imprinted forever. Even if a movie impresses her, she might assume herself as a character in it. We should be extremely careful and watchful. So I will first make her stable enough to listen to her own past. First of all, she needs to believe that she is Meera. Give me a week’s time and I will bring her there myself. Now if I bring her, just because uncle and aunt are asking, she might strain herself. She will battle with her thoughts and try to find out if she had seen anyone or anything before. This might make her go back into a coma forever.’ I had no idea why I heard that length of conversation without any disturbance.

Later I realized that he had not closed the door and my thrust on it with my ears had opened the door a little. I was scared to be caught overhearing his conversation but my curiosity ate up my fear.

‘You guys shouldn’t come here either. I want to give her a few more psychological treatments. Have you sent Clara?’ he asked.

‘Who is Clara? Sounds Christian! So she can’t be my relative. Is Clara my best friend from the past? Whoever it is I am getting a new companion other than this pumpkin-headed moron.’ I couldn’t resist my aversion towards him.

 

[] 4: Meera meets Clara

The curiosity driven day came to an end and I lay on my back dreaming about a future with a known past. I was eager to meet Clara and dig a little more into my past. I desperately wanted to catch up with some sleep so that the next dawn came closer. But anxiety danced between my eye lids, holding them far apart, preventing me from sleep. I counted numbers from 1 to too-bored-to-count-more. It went beyond a few hundred but I was still wide awake. I was disturbed by a part of my past that Ashruth had briefed me on. I was excited to know the part of my past that Clara would tell me. I was curious to know more about myself.

My life was like a jigsaw puzzle; I had to pick parts of my past from all over and arrange them in the right order to get a clear picture of who I am. Sorry, who I was! The Meera from my past felt like a complete stranger to me, she was someone who had escaped from my flesh and blood, someone who escaped out of me. She had done a clean job for me to trace the stains she had left behind. She had not left empty handed, she had robbed me of all my happiness and my life. All she could leave behind for me was this fellow. He could just tell me two things quite clearly. One, the way I loved him. Two, the way he was loved by me; only he could notice the difference between the two.

I opened my eyes but I still felt that my eyes were closed; it was so dark in the room. I blinked a few times and played with darkness. I quizzed myself if my eyes were open or closed. I blinked again. When I opened my eyes I could see streaks of sun’s rays peering through the blurred shades of the window covered with thick curtains. The clock read ‘6:00 A.M. 1st NOV. I unwrapped myself off the blanket and snail paced to the bathroom. I got fresh, brushed and went out of the room.

‘Good morning darling. Slept well?’ Ashruth asked with that irritating smile. He was arranging vessels on the dining table.

Without pausing for an answer, he asked another ‘Brushed?’ the smile was still wide on his face. I just nodded. ‘Coffee?’ he asked as he placed the milk vessel on the stove. I nodded again.

I sat on the couch. The TV blared with a host talking non-stop to a caller. A caller named Clara had called. I got reminded of Ashruth speaking about Clara the previous day over the phone. I couldn’t ask him when she was coming but I was dying to know. I could smell the arrival of someone with the way things were neatly piled up on the table and the way the house smelled of delicious food. I eagerly browsed through the rooms for a few more clues to figure out when Clara was coming.

He passed the coffee mug to me, kissed my forehead and as I pushed him away with hate brimming in me, he walked back to the kitchen. Relieved, I reached out to the window and opened it wide. For the first time I got to see the world outside the house, excluding the green area of curtain at the hospital. It was a busy street. Buildings around were too huge. As I peeped out, I could guess that I was positioned high somewhere in the 7th or 8th floor. I enjoyed the cold breeze that brushed gently upon my face and ruffled my hair. The clouds above were grey, all set to pour down merry showers onto the tarnished roads. I started enjoying the weather sipping my hot coffee and decided not to think anything further about my past. The coffee tasted heavenly. Maybe I was a coffee addict and that was one reason I might have fallen for this fellow. Maybe I was too lazy and was searching for a husband who was a good cook. But wasn’t I wealthy enough to hire a cook? I was! Why then? Why had I fallen for him? What had attracted me to this guy? How many ever times I decide not to think about my past, I couldn’t restrict myself from connecting things to it. I sipped air and realized the emptiness of the cup.

I dropped the cup on the table and spread out on the couch. As I glanced at the TV, the host was still there, talking to another caller.

‘Hi….’ the caller screamed in his telephone splashing all his excitement onto the viewers.

‘Hi. Who is this?’ said the dull host.

‘I am Shanthanu. I studied in Sri Lal Engineering College. I have lost contact with most of my college friends. I want to wish Anusha a happy birthday. Wherever she is, if she is watching this show, I want to convey to her that I still use the same number and I am in love with her.’ he said with a tone that indicated tears behind the telephone.

‘Sure Shanthanu. Wishes to Anusha, wherever she is from x music team. The next song is dedicated to her. Hope Anusha calls you soon. SONG!’ she said as a song was telecasted following it. A number was displayed in the screen for viewers to call the music channel.

‘I will go to the shop and be back in a minute. Take care dear.’ Ashruth said as he almost slid out of the door, locking it behind. An idea struck my mind. I picked the phone next to the couch and dialed the number. A peculiar voice asked me to wait in the queue. Two other callers poured out their dedication lists already but I was still waiting. I got annoyed and lost hope. I was about to hang up when someone said ‘Hi you will go live in a minute. Talk when you hear the beep.’

A minute lapsed.

‘BEEP’

‘Hi. Who is this?’ the host’s voice reached me before it could be telecasted on TV . ‘Please lower the TV volume and concentrate over the call’ she commanded.

I did not know where the remote was, I looked around to spot it. At last, I realized that I was sitting on top of it. I moved a little and the channel got changed. I quickly put it in mute and spoke to her.

‘Hi. I am Meera Prabhu. Dad, if you are watching this please come and take me with you. I am too scared. I don’t like Ashruth. Please take me away from here.’ the line got cut as I started crying.

I quickly changed the channel and raised the volume to know if my voice was heard. The host said ‘I think it was a kid who called us for fun. Next song is for the confused and lost kid left at a relative’s place. SONG!’ she said.

‘I am not a kid. Why will someone dedicate a song to a lost kid who cries? Crazy music channels! ‘ I cried to myself.

Ashruth came back with a cover in his hand. He looked terrified. He took it inside. I sat still. He came back and handed over a parcel to me.

‘Why did you do this to me Meera? Do you hate me so much?’ tears edged his eyes. I went blank. I didn’t know what had happened now.

‘Why did you call the TV channel and say you hate being here?’

‘Did my dad watch it?’ I was happy that my dad had watched it and might call me anytime or even better, take me with him.

‘No’

‘Did my mom watch it?’

‘No’

‘Santhosh watched it?’

‘No! No! NO!’ his voice shook with sorrow and anger when I uttered the word ‘Santosh’.

‘Did Clara watch it?’ I asked. She was my last hope. She must have anyway almost reached close enough to meet me.

‘Clara? How did you know the name?’ he asked, bewildered.

‘Skip that. Did Clara watch it? Is she coming?’ I insisted on knowing about her arrival. She was my only hope now to get relieved of this prison.

‘How did you know the name Clara?’ he asked with a smile.

I wanted to cover it up and I said ‘I remember a few names and things from my past.’

‘What?’ he started laughing hard.

‘What’s making you laugh now?’ I wasn’t able to tolerate him anymore.

‘You know who Clara is?’

‘My friend?’ I was doubtfully guessing.

He gestured a no.

‘My cousin?’

Again he gestured a big no.

‘Who the hell is she?’ my voice became more pronounced, anger gripping my throat.

‘Hold this. Here is your dear Clara.’ He handed over a parcel to me.

I was surprised. I impatiently tore the parcel and there she was ‘Clara’. It was a shining silver diary with the name ‘Clara’ printed on it in gold.

He laughed as much as he could. I was annoyed at this joker making me one.

‘Stop laughing.’ I yelled.

‘Okay. Okay!’ he couldn’t control his laughter. I stared at him and he bit his lips to control his laughter.

I flicked through the pages of the book and figured out that it was my personal diary.

‘This is your diary Meera. I wanted you to know who you are through your own words. That’s why I did not go beyond your name yesterday. I had asked uncle to send it across. Read it to know your true past, about the Meera who loved me. My Meera.’

I did not give a damn to even a word he had uttered. I stood up to leave the room and read my diary in solace. He snatched the diary from me. My full attention was on the shining diary when he started speaking.

‘Meera, listen to me carefully. This is your diary, your life. It doesn’t have anyone else’s influence but just your real past. No one can explain your past to you better than Clara. That’s why I got you this. You don’t have to trust my words or anyone else’s, trust your own words. Read it, trust it and imprint it in you. Read it slowly and live it page by page.

My entire concentration was on Clara. I tried to reach the diary when he handed it over to me himself. The moment I got hold of it, ran to the room and locked myself in to prevent him from delivering speeches again.

I lost myself in the thought that I was going to learn my past within a short span of time. I was going to give birth to the old Meera within me. I felt the labor pain of a mother delivering her child. I kissed the book and opened it slowly with extreme levels of excitement.

It was the diary of 2010. ‘This year’s diary?’ I immediately flicked through to know how much was written in it. It was April and the diary ended few pages before April started. ‘So I had not been asleep for long.’ Before any more doubts popped up I wanted to start reading it.

[] 5: My Story Begins

From the Diary:

I was all geared up to celebrate the New Year’s eve with him. I dressed myself in the best way I could and booked a table for the two of us in one of my favorite restaurants. I loved him crazy to an extent that no girl could ever love her guy. Though it had been almost a year now since our love story began, the excitement in me did not fade even a bit. I still felt the cyclone that collapses my respiratory system, the chemicals that bubble inside my tummy and the vacuum that pulls my throat skin in. I failed to wink in his presence just to avoid the few seconds that my eyes would miss admiring him. I still remember the way he had proposed his love to me.

Our first meeting was so interesting that it could be made into the best romantic film. A year ago, I was in a movie theater along with my friends. Every friend of mine had a boy friend except me. They sat with their boyfriends but I sat alone with a chair next to me left vacant. It was a corner seat which was pre booked by the time we booked our tickets. No one turned up until interval. Once we were back from interval I immersed myself in the movie as the rest of my company was too busy with stuff that I really can’t explain.

‘Alone?’ a voice whispered.

I turned and was shocked to see a guy next to me. ‘Was he here before too?’ I was surprised. He offered me popcorn which I refused to take.

‘Alone?’ he asked me again.

‘No I am with my friends.’ I snapped at him.

‘But I am not with any friends. I am here to grab a girlfriend.’

I was surprised. He was seated alone and a girl was nowhere to be seen around him. I ignored him and watched the movie with more seriousness than the director of the movie would have seen it himself.

‘I got a feeling that my girl would feel lonely at the movie today amidst her committed friends and hence I had to cancel all my appointments and book a seat next to her.’ He said that putting his arms around me forcefully.

It felt cute to me at the moment. I smiled but tried to hide it and get loose of his hold.

‘I am sorry honey for making you wait for so long, till the interval. I won’t leave you and go.’

‘Who the hell are you? Get off me.’ I shouted at him, disturbing my friends who were busy in their own ways.

‘Any problem?’ all of them asked in chorus.

‘Hi! Yes. She asked me to come for the movie so that she could introduce me to you all but I dropped in a little late. I had to join you guys for the movie in the interval. Sorry guys. I am her boyfriend.’ He said it so casually as though every bit of it was true. I took a minute, myself, to realize that it was a story he had cooked so well.

‘Take your hands off me.’ I insisted.

‘Sorry honey’. He took my hands and slid a ring into it and said ‘I love you.’

I had no clue if I was insane or if he was but I was sure that he sounded very impressive to me. I should have slapped him for all that, but I couldn’t.

‘What are you saying? Who the hell are you?’I stuttered.

~

Present:

‘Click.’ The door knob clicked and Ashruth came into the room with a sumptuous lunch but I wanted to read further without any interruption.

‘I don’t want anything. Please let me read it fully.’ I spoke at lightning speed.

‘Listen dear, the diary is all yours. I won’t rob it from you. Read it slowly. Don’t read it all at once, it might harm your mental state. Now, give the diary to me and eat this. He plucked the diary from my hand and planted the plate. He sat aside looking at me eat, leaving me no options but to obey. Once I was done with lunch, he went away with the plate and most importantly the diary.

‘Why can’t you leave the diary with me?’ I asked almost ready to pounce on him and snatch it.

He went out without a word but reappeared with tablets and a glass of water. I had to gulp down everything with the hope of getting my hands on the diary again.

‘Diary?’ I asked aggressively.

‘You will get it once you are up in the evening. Sleep now.’ He commanded me like I was a small kid crying for chocolates. He went away slamming the door behind.

‘Was he so romantic? Why was I crazily in love with him for a year? Did I like him just for the way he proposed to me? What’s so impressive in a stranger stalking me and sliding a ring forcefully? Questions drilled my mind making it too difficult for me to sleep. The tablets played their part and patted me to sleep soon.

The moment I was up I ran to him to get my diary back. I didn’t want to ask him a word about what I had read. The last thing I wanted was a delay in getting my diary back.

‘Here’s your coffee.’ he said, as though I had rushed to him for coffee.

I gulped it down as quickly as I could, so that he didn’t have to threaten me that he would give back Clara only if I drank it.

‘Diary.’ I restricted to a word or two when I spoke to him.

‘It’s lying there.’ He pointed towards the couch.

I wanted to ask him if he was reading it but didn’t want any more time to pass without unfolding the secret of how I felt when the lights were on in the theatre.

‘Did I really like the way this pumpkin looked back then? If that’s the case I would certainly appreciate the memory loss that has hit me.’ I had almost started speaking to my own self more than what I spoke out by then.

 

Past:

‘What nonsense is all this?’ I lost my cool. The movie had ended before I could end the chaos. Lights were on and there he was.

‘Hey when did you fall in love with Rohan?’ Sheela asked.

‘Rohan? Who?’ I was completely confused.

‘He is our senior at college and is a heartthrob of our college.’ She said as she shamelessly blushed at the stranger with her boyfriend right next to her.

I turned to the guy and was truly fallen for his looks. He was tall, fair complexioned and looked extremely smart.

‘I love you.’ He winked at me.

‘Me too.’ I said involuntarily.

There started the love story and we were head over heels in love with each other. The last year of my college came to an end and I was waiting to join dad in his business. But he had insisted that I take a break after studies and observe him at work. As the year came to an end, my love story ended too. Rohan had too many girl friends and he cheated on me a few times. I couldn’t digest the way he was, too flirty. I wanted to be the only girl of importance in his life but he faked parallel relationships with a few other girls simultaneously. He went to the extent of dating a few of them too which was quite annoying for me to hold back the feelings I had for him.

The New Year’s Eve has ended with my discovery of the dark face of Rohan. I hoped that I could begin a new life along with a new year. He is not that easy for me to forget. Everything, every place, every word remind his presence to me. I still love him truly, madly and deeply. I hope he would come back to me as my Rohan soon.

~

Present:

‘Rohan? So I was not in love with Ashruth? Then why the hell did he claim to be my boyfriend?’ As I read page by page the pile of questions I had grew into bigger heaps.

‘Meera.’ Ashruth called out banging the door that I had locked.

‘Yes. Wait.’ I hid the diary under the bed to prevent him from snatching it again. I really couldn’t take any more suspense or confusion from the absence of knowing my past. I wanted to be clear.

I checked and rechecked if I had hidden the diary in a safe place and out of his find. I slowly opened the door trying to look relaxed as though I had nothing to hide.

‘I banged the door just to give you these medicines.’ He gave me few tablets and a tonic. I pushed them down my throat.

He came close to kiss me. I pushed him back and gave him a look of disgust. I was not clear of who I was in love with. I wanted to trust my diary as it made me feel better that I had guessed right about Ashruth. He was a jerk who had lied to me about everything. I even doubted if the story he had told me about myself was reliable. But why should he lie to me and give me the diary himself? It tells that he was a liar in black and white. He could have coolly hid this from me.

‘Meera.’ That was after a few times I heard him call me to bring back my consciousness.

‘Sorry.’ I said in a confused tone.

He looked into the room giving me several Watts of shock. I was scared he would ask for the diary.

He smiled and said ‘Don’t worry. You can continue reading it till night. I love you.’

‘You love me?’ I couldn’t hold back the words.

‘Yes. I did and I do. You were also in love with me.’

‘Do you have any other name?’ I asked to clear the darkened cloud that had slid in from my projected past.

‘No. Why?’

‘Just asked.’ I didn’t want to tip him that I was reading about Rohan, in case he hadn’t known it already.

‘Is anything wrong Meera?’ he asked with a concerned tone.

‘Nothing.’ I kept looking at him and the bed alternatively.

‘Hmmm. Call me if you want something. Now you can continue reading your diary that’s hidden under the bed.’ He gave a clever smile.

‘How did you know that?’ I asked.

‘I know what my darling’s face looks like when she does something mischievous. Your constant looks at the bed made it pretty obvious.’

I smiled a bit sheepishly.

‘Carry on with your reading. Remember, it’s your story. Read it slow and trust it completely.’ He turned his back to me and walked away.

I slammed the door and ran to the bed. I sat down and lifted the mattress. The diary was there. I gasped and pulled it out. I couldn’t wait a second more to know who Rohan was.

I started reading it again.

[] 6: Deciding To Die

From the Diary:

The sun’s rays swept my room. The clock ticked 6. My mobile gave an alarming sound which was its routine at 6 a.m., every day. The clock ticked 9 and I was still in my room, awake and still. I did not move a bit. I was still stuck with the thought that Rohan had cheated on me. I couldn’t come out of the thought. I was waiting for Santhosh to come back from Mumbai. Santhosh-my best friend, cousin, guide, well wisher, everything rolled into one. Someone banged my door and I was very sure that it would be Santhosh.

The moment I saw him, I hugged him and huge drops of my intense tears wet his shirt. He caressed the back of my head and said ‘Relax Mee. Relax please.’ He got free of my hold by pushing me a little away from him. He wiped my cheeks which were mascara-strewn.

‘Relax my dear.’ He said as we both came into my room and shut the door behind.

He made me sit on the bed and brought a bottle.

‘First drink some water and relax.’ He brought tissues as I drank water. He then wiped my face with the tissue. He held the back of my head with his right hand and clogged my nostrils with the tissue he held in his left. He asked me to blow my nose and I did. He wiped it off and went into the bathroom to cleanse his hands.

He has always been like that. He taught me to walk. He taught me to talk. He has always been closer to me than my parents. I have not lived a single day without him in my life.

He has always been a great support to me but I have never done anything for him in return. He has never complained about me being this way. Even as a child, I had always made him cry snatching his toys claiming them to be mine. When we grew up, I always won all the games we played fooling him. Knowing well that I had cheated he never complained but accepted it happily to let me enjoy the joy of victory.

Lost in thoughts from my childhood, I was shaken back to the present by San. He tied my hair that was entangled into ugly, unkempt locks. . He dragged the bean bag and sat near me with his chin resting on his netted fingers.

‘Tell me now. What’s wrong with you? Why have you locked yourself in the room the whole of last night? Why didn’t you attend the party last night? Why didn’t you even attend our calls?’ he asked one after the other with enough pause between each for me to answer.

‘Tell me dear.’ He held my hands and lifted my face to make me look at him.

‘You were right.’ I said feebly, ashamed of myself. ‘Rohan cheated on me. I shouldn’t have fallen in love with him.’ I said as I pursed my lips in remorse.

“I knew it before. I tried to tell you several times but you failed to listen”. He said, with shock and panic rising in his voice. As he saw my face welling up in tears ‘Never mind. You learn from your mistakes. Don’t you? No one can cheat my Mee, when her San is here. Can they?’

I shook my head saying ‘No one can.’ I kept saying ‘No one can’ ‘No one can.’

‘Yes, no one can. I am always with you Mee. Don’t worry about that B****rd. Don’t waste your tears for that worthless moron. He has always been a cheater. I am sure you’ll find your true love soon, someone who loves you more than anything. Wait for the day and you’ll find your prince charming. Now please don’t cry. I can’t see my Mee crying.’ He mimicked my crying voice.

‘Shut up.’ I hit him with the pillow that was beside me. He picked another and we started running around and hitting each other with the pillows leaving the room untidy.

‘Get fresh and come down soon for lunch. I am too hungry.’ He said and left the room taking along the smile that I had faked just for my San to be happy. The room was again as vacant as my life. My love was gone. My life seemed meaningless now. The dreams of living a life with Rohan was thrashed to debris in a day. I couldn’t think about sharing my life, my room, my romance with anyone but Rohan. I had built a small world and had already started living with him, but he was gone. I wanted to try to talk to him one last time. I dialed his number continuously after the line being cut at the first ring by him. I cried aloud, as aloud as I could.

The beep of my phone interrupted my loud cry. It was a text from Rohan. I wiped my tears and looked at the name for a few seconds before I opened it. I prayed deeply and hoped for it to be a positive message from him. It was a message that could decide my life or death. I told myself “If it is negative I prepare to die.” ’ I opened the message and closed my eyes. I had experienced enough disappointment in the last few hours. I opened my eyes with the last leaf of hope clinging loosely to a weak branch of my life.

“Do not disturb. It’s over. You were lovely Meera, the best girlfriend so far. But I’m moving on for a better one. Move on.”

My wail intensified. The pain it instilled in me was more than I had ever experienced. I read it over and over again. It pained me more and more each time. The world seemed to break down right in front of my eyes, my world! I cried. I cried. I cried. I deleted the message and tried to pretend to myself that I hadn’t gotten such a message. But I couldn’t dissolve the pain in the river of imagination. My heartbeat raced and my lungs failed to intake any more oxygen. My throat clogged and my eyes drained. I hit my head so hard that it would break my skull. I pulled out a few strands of hair in agony. I couldn’t take it anymore. I decided to end it all. I sat on the dressing-table and opened the drawer. I shuffled everything inside and picked a pen knife from somewhere inside. I brought it close to the veins in my wrist. I threw the knife on the table and looked at my own self in the mirror. I cried a little more and re-decided to end it.

I picked the knife again and tried to cut open my throat. I went to an extent that the knife just touched the skin of my throat and I threw it again on the table. I pushed everything that was kept on the table on to the floor. Bottles of perfume broke hitting the floor and splashed their contents all around. The aroma filled the air. I was stuck up with choosing between a life I didn’t want to live and the death I didn’t want to die. Before I could decide on one clearly, someone banged on my door.

‘It’s me. Come soon.’ It was San.

I threw the knife into the draw and closed it swiftly. I set up the unbroken containers back on the table. The broken bottles were neatly pushed in beneath the bed without leaving any trace. Finally I looked around the room to ensure there was nothing that could bring up suspicion of what I was about to do. If San learns about my idea he wouldn’t allow me to relieve myself of the pain. A life without Rohan will be impossible for me, I realized.

I wiped my face so hard that it did not leave a trace of new tears. I glanced at myself in the mirror.

‘Mee. How long will it take for you to open the door? What are you doing?’ the banging frequency and intensity increased.

‘Breath-in. Breath-out.’ I relaxed myself and opened the door.

~

Present:

The door was banged. The more I read the more confused I was. The confusions and dilemmas in the present were adequate to force me to die, while the confusions from the past did its favors. I couldn’t differentiate what I had read from reality. I realized my cheeks being wet with tears. I had lived those pages as I read them. The diary faded out slowly and the image of Ashruth flashed in front of me. I quickly wiped the tears and had a glance at the mirror. I could relate to how Meera would have felt when Santhosh knocked the door. I opened the door with the impact of the scene from my diary still in me. I still couldn’t relate myself to the character Meera. I was reading it like reading a novel.

‘What do you want for dinner Meera?’ Ashruth asked with a smile, not knowing the terrifying scene I was reading. I couldn’t resist asking. ‘How do I know you? Did I really love you?’

‘Yes you did. I already told you Meera. I am the guy you loved and your parents wanted to get you married to.’ He casually said failing to understand the seriousness of my question.

‘Can you tell me the date we met?’ I wanted to directly turn on to that page and read a little from there.

‘January 2nd , 2010. The day it all began.’ He said with his eyes dreamy and supposedly romantic. .

‘Thanks.’ I slammed the door on his face.

‘What do you want for dinner?’ his voice crept through the closed door.

‘Anything.’ I shouted to be audible and avoid repeating and getting interrupted.

‘January 2nd? Isn’t it very close? How and why will I love someone, especially someone like this huge pumpkin, two days after I wanted to end my life? What’s the big change that he must have brought in my life for me to love him? I think this joker is bluffing and I had never loved him at all, never ever. I must have loved Santhosh. Somehow I liked Santhosh, without any reasons. This guy is giving me some kind of confusion-treatment. Pumpkin, nasty, huge, useless pumpkin.’ I hated him more than before for confusing me so much and pushing me to the edge of a nervous breakdown or burst my brain. I did not want to waste a minute before his next interruption.

I flicked through the pages and was shocked with the amount of content I was left with. Each day was described like a story for 3-4 pages. It seemed to me more like a suspense novel than a diary. Maybe I could still run away with this and make a living, selling it to publishers. I laughed at my own wit.

‘Should I directly read Jan 3?’ I had to make a crucial decision.

‘Let me continue. I might miss out something important.’ I decided about something, for the first time without any big confusion.

[] 7: Meera gets Engaged

Past:

‘Please don’t tell anything to mom or dad. Please San.’ I said as we descended down the stairs leading to the huge hall.

‘Sure. I won’t. You please forget it, yourself. For my sake Mee. Please.’

‘I will try.’ I said avoiding looking at him.

‘Mee, Uncle and Aunt are planning to surprise you with something. I am sure you are not in a mood to take the surprise. Please don’t show it out to them that you dislike it.’ San said with a concerned tone.

‘What’s it?’ I stopped mid-way to the dining hall.

‘Nothing. Please don’t show out your real emotion to them. We can convince them later dear.’ He said as he pulled me to walk along.

‘Tell me now San. What’s it?’ I was stubborn.

‘What more do I have to face? Isn’t enough done for the day?’ I cried inside. I dropped my head down, looking at something in the distance.

‘Your marriage.’

‘With?’ I said and thought ‘I should have cut open my throat. I missed a chance to escape all the pain I have to face now’

‘A doctor.’

My head was still tilted down and I was looking at, I didn’t know what, at a distance. Before I could speak a word my tears spoke.

‘Don’t worry Meera. I will talk to uncle and aunt and see to it that this doesn’t happen. You please don’t cry. Uncle will get really upset. You know his health condition. Don’t you?’ he raised an alarming question that hammered my head and increased the pain within me.

‘He has arranged my birthday party tomorrow especially to invite all our friends and announce your wedding. He has already started inviting guests, all our friends, family and his business circle. He is very excited that this will surprise you. He is proud that he has found the right match for you.’ He said without taking a breath.

‘Please… Please wait. Give me a break San. What are you saying?’ I wasn’t sure if I was dreaming or if I was already dead. Nothing seemed to be real.

‘Yes, Meera. He wants you to marry that guy whom he thinks is a gem of a person. The doctor also likes you very much, it seems. I don’t even know who the guy is, how he looks or even his name. But uncle is fond of him and wants to make the doctor your husband.’

‘How could he decide that without asking me?’ I couldn’t restrain the anger within my ribs anymore.

‘Who is he to decide?’ I yelled out in anger.

‘Please lower your tone. You know for yourself that uncle recently fought a heart attack. He has told everyone that his daughter will always agree to whatever he decides for her. He is immensely happy that he has chosen the best guy for you. Now, if you tell him that you don’t like this marriage and you had been in love with Rohan, who cheated on you, will he be able to take it all at once? Let’s make him understand that you need more time for your marriage, gradually. This is not the right time. Let things happen. Maybe the doctor is the best guy for you. Maybe that is the reason why destiny broke you and Rohan apart. Maybe you are destined to be with the doctor guy. Why don’t you wait and see if you like the doctor?’ he kept talking on and on and on just to convince me. He was very particular that I was convinced and also that his uncle, my father, was not let down under any circumstance.

When I was about to say something he said ‘I assure you that I will convince uncle to stop the marriage if you don’t like the guy. Ok?’

I nodded. I couldn’t think of anything else at the moment.

‘My darling will smile now.’ He pinched my cheeks and made me smile. I faked a smile among all oddities just for Santosh to be rest assured.

Dad was waiting for me at the dining table for lunch. He had never had his food without me. If I had to go out with friends for lunch, at times, he would wait till I was back and would eat only if he was sure that I was fed enough. Not just me, he treated San the same way. He loved the two of us more than himself.

While we were eating mom signaled dad about something. I knew she was asking him to talk about the marriage announcement. I felt like I was tied with thorn and thrown into a deep well of fire. The food, that I dumped into my mouth, to avoid the expectation of an answer, didn’t move a bit. I couldn’t swallow a bit of it; my throat was clogged with sorrow and fear, the fear of living.

Dad gestured her to start talking and they had a non-verbal, romantic fight of who should do the talking. I wanted to be like mom. I wanted us, me and Rohan to be as romantic as my parents. The way dad loved mom was nothing less than the way he loved me and San. If Rohan was like how I had imagined, we would have been like them, I’m sure.

Thoughts about Rohan circled all through me, through my veins, through my bones. I heard my heart beat whispering ‘Die, die, die..’ It thundered within me and rained through my eyes. I secretly wiped the tears that crawled through my cheeks.

Dad stood up from the chair with his plate still not emptied even a bit.

‘What happened Meera?’ he said as he marched towards me.

Before he could reach me San came to my rescue. ‘It is Spicy, too spicy!’ San faked a hick-up.

My mom rushed to pour me some water.

‘Is it too spicy, Meeru?’ she asked affectionately, forcing me to drink water.

Even water didn’t drip a little inside my throat. I struggled hard to gulp it down. Santhosh caressed my back and said ‘Please relax.’

My dad went back to his plate and sat down.

They were like that, too affectionate. I was the center of the house. I was the spotlight of their life. Dad, mom and San loved me immensely.

‘Meeru darling, we have got a surprise for you tomorrow.’ Dad said with a naughty smile as though he was hiding something that I earlier hadn’t known.

I did not react much but stared at him, mutely. San kicked my leg and I regained consciousness.

‘What’s it dad?’ the pain of bringing a happy tone when you are so miserable was quite dreadful.

‘We have found a guy for you. We will announce your wedding at San’s birthday party.’ He said as mom giggled.

I did not make any effort to raise my head.

‘She is feeling shy. I can already see the marriage shyness in her.’ My mom continued giggling.

Santhosh held my hand with a ‘I-am-there-for-you-always’ look.

‘Are you happy Mee?’ dad asked.

I couldn’t do anything more than nodding. Even that was a big deal for the moment.

‘One more big surprise lies waiting for you, about who the guy is. I am sure he will take care of you very well. I won’t let you know who it is till I announce it to others. I have had a bet with your mom that my daughter will trust me in every decision I take for her. Won’t you?’ he asked expecting a little more drama from me.

‘Yes dad. I trust you.’ I said feebly. I stood up and walked away from the table leaving them to think that I was shy to continue on the topic.

~

Present:

‘So, the doctor my dad wanted me to marry is Ashruth. But he says I loved him? Is there any chances for it or, is he taking an advantage of my memory loss? As he said, maybe I am a blank paper and he is trying to write in it first, the way he wants my life to be.

I am sure I wouldn’t have liked him even a wee bit. I would have nodded just for dad and before I could tell him I hated Ashruth, I must have lost my memory.’ I thought, clarity surfacing in my mind. I just had to read the diary further to ensure that I was right or not.

Anyway, I will have San to support me regardless of whatever I decide to do next. I felt close enough to call him San. I felt like I had lived with him the life I had read about in my diary.

‘I had liked him in the past and I really like him in the present too.’ I smiled to myself.

I continued reading.

[] 8: Old Diaries

Past:

The rest of the day I spent in finding a way out of this painful existence. I wanted to end it but when shall it happen was the question. If I die now, I am sure that it will put dad to shame. He will think that his decision of getting me married to the guy he had chosen has made me decide to kill myself. He will never excuse himself and consider himself a murderer all through his life; I know my dad well. Let me make him believe that I am happy with his decision by attending the party tomorrow with a wide smile put up on my face throughout. Once it gets over let me jump down from the terrace, fake it like an accident, and end my life. It will definitely look more like an accident than a suicide. Moreover, I don’t want to die on my San’s birthday. He has always been a great strength to me. He has sacrificed everything he could only for my happiness. If I die on his birthday, my death will throw him to guilt and endless sorrow all his life.

 

My dear Clara,

From the day I started writing diaries till now you have been with me through my ups and downs. But I will be burning you to ashes before I leave this world, just like I do at the end of every year. I don’t want anyone to know the secrets we have shared all through our lives.

 

Present:

‘Does that mean I would have burnt all the previous year’s diaries?’

I closed my eyes tight and tried thinking about that day. All I could remember was fire; fire all over.

‘How did I lose my memory?’ the most important question had been looked over by me so far. A sudden realization of how stupid I had been for not even thinking about this dawned upon me.

‘I must have jumped from the terrace, hit my head and lost my memory.’ I concluded convincingly.

A part of a storm, no idea where inside the ribs it had been hiding itself so far, escaped my nostrils. I felt lighter than before. The thirst in me to read further subsided a little. Knowing well what was going to happen, suspense having been unfolded, mystery known in prior, the diary did not seem so attractive to me now. Still there were two logical flaws with my conclusion. One, I must have burnt the diary before the flopped suicide attempt. Two, if I had lost my memory on the day after San’s birthday I should have stopped writing in the diary but the diary had its pages filled for the next several months after my supposed suicide. My curiosity was aroused again. Mr. Confusion grabbed my neck giving a nasty villain laugh. The cyclone that had escaped previously, rushed back into the inside of my ribs, almost making them fragile.

‘Is there no end to confusion in my life? The only solution to this problem would be to patiently read the diary without drawing any conclusions half way. If I were Ashruth, the doctor, I would have mercy killed myself.’ I worriedly picked the diary and forcefully turned the page from where I had left.

~

Past:

The day of disaster dawned. It was Santhosh’s birthday. He must have surely got disappointed for I had not wished him at midnight, like I did every other year. I hadn’t got him a gift this year but the only thing I had to do was to leave him forever by tomorrow. I quickly unzipped my laptop bag and pulled out the laptop. I googled and landed finally on a page that was engaged in taking orders to deliver gifts instantly around the area. I thought it best to gift San with something which will remind him of me forever. I picked a costly wallet and made a note to be attached to it wishing him a happy birthday.

I was still not satisfied with the gift I had chosen.’ This is the last time I am going to gift him so it must be very special, something that reminds him of me, always.’ I thought with tears in my eyes.

I glanced through the photos we had taken together all these years. An idea struck my mind. I ordered for a wall size collage of the photographs that we had taken together. I thought I will somehow sneak into his secret-room and hang it on his wall.

Santhosh had never allowed any of us to enter his room, even by accident. He kept his room locked up whenever he stepped out of it. He has never let even me inside his room for the past 3 years. He cleaned it himself, he dirtied it himself. We never hindered in his privacy nor did we question about it. Dad respected his privacy and also trusted whatever he did.

‘Today was the chance to know the big secret that’s hiding in his room as I will never have a chance later.’ I thought to myself.

Few hours passed. My gifts arrived. I ran to his room carrying them. It was half past noon but he was still inside his room.

‘Amma, Santhosh ayya was awake till 4 in the morning. His friends had come home to give him a big surprise and wish him today. That’s why he is still sleeping.’ An old maid who we considered a part of our family said.

‘For me, Santhosh is never busy or tired.’ I said with that pride of being close to San. San had never refused to attend my calls or meet me even if it was midnight.

I knocked the door and shouted ‘San, It’s pretty urgent. Need to talk .It’s Mee-emergency ’

He always called my childish cries to reach out to him at odd hours as Mee-emergency. I loved it. But tomorrow was going to be the real Mee-emergency.

The very next minute the door opened and San popped out of the room. He carefully locked the door behind him and slid the key inside his pocket. I tried hiding the big poster behind me but I couldn’t help growing taller to hide it above my head.

‘What’s it darling?’ he asked as he tried to snatch it from me.

I couldn’t win over his might. He got it from me and rolled it open onto the floor.

‘Wow..!.’ We said in unison. He was truly amazed and so was I.

‘You like it?’ I asked.

‘Very much my dear.’ He hugged me and kissed my forehead.

‘Then you don’t like this is it?’ I faked a frown, as I showed him the other gift .

He opened it in a jiffy and again said ‘Wow!’ and planted a huge kiss on my cheek.

I saw the smile that was lost the moment he saw tears in my eyes, appeared again.

‘Go get ready for the party dear. Happy birthday. Sorry I slept off last night.’ I said.

‘I was feeling bad to cut the cake without you, with the smile lost on your face. I couldn’t accept any gift from my friends wholeheartedly as I know my darling was sobbing in her room. I couldn’t avoid it either. I am sorry.’ He said.

He was always like that, just like my dad, I was his world. He undid my hair reminding me of Rohan. Rohan always fiddled with the hair that fell on my face, made it horrible and finally said ‘Sexy!’. I couldn’t forget anything that had happened between us. I had considered him my life and he was gone, so will my life be gone. I spent the afternoon thinking about different scenarios in which Rohan could come back. I even tried calling him, but he had blocked my number. I couldn’t take the sudden change in my life, though I was going to end it in a day. The dusk spread darkness in the city and also in my already darkened life. I had to wrap myself with glittering clothes. However grand my dress was the dullness and sorrow had cropped up in my face. I didn’t want anyone to have a clue about my sadness and accuse my father later. I had to paint off my sadness by the make-up I wore. I was all set to go down.

~

Present:

‘Meera, can you please open the door?’ Ashruth asked politely for the first time.

I couldn’t stop reading but I had to. It was like giving a kid a bowl full of ice cream and asking it not to eat it; most importantly forcing the kid to watch it melting rather than tasting it.

I snail paced to the door.

‘What’s it now?’ I asked.

‘Nothing. I just thought you’ll need coffee.’ He had a cup of coffee in his hands and a bowl full of smiles poured all over his face.

‘I don’t need anything. Can you please let me read it fully without any disturbance? I really want to read it fully today before I sleep. Please don’t disturb me this often.’ I said in a tone a little lesser than my usual agitated yell.

‘Ok. Sorry.’ He said and backed off.

I couldn’t pity him. I couldn’t even waste my time to analyze if I had hurt him or whether it was not courteous if I didn’t say sorry. I already had enough things to worry about. I was going to kill myself in the past. I was going to forget my past without letting my dad know about my dislike for marrying this pumpkin. I had to continue reading.

I had more pages written with the pen of my assumptions into the diary than the ink of reality. ‘I should have died’ I thought to myself and continued reading with the hope of the clock ticking a few hours before the door would open again.

[] 9: The Suicide

From the Diary:

The party was arranged in our lawn and the entire area was soaked in party mood. There were bright and colourful decorations wherever I turned and the place was in magnificent bliss. There were decorative lamps, glittering dresses, expensive decorations, aroma, heat from the buffet tables and smiles all around. I saw San surrounded by his friends and laughter. Random friends came to me and made a formal conversation. I couldn’t get Rohan out of my mind. I couldn’t take the failure or disappointment. I had been cheated on and was hated by Rohan, my Rohan; the Rohan I had and still loved so much.

‘Hi Meer.’ A stranger came up to me. I just gave him a quick glance and turned my face down.

‘Don’t call me Meer.’ I said with an expression of disgust. Rohan called me Meer all the time.

‘Meer, my personal brand of Beer. I don’t have to drink it to go high, a look will suffice.’ Rohan always said in the most romantic way possible.

I still remember it, word by word. Everything lingered inside me. I heard nothing else for the next few seconds from the world outside the prison of my heart. Forlorn memories of his voice, his kiss, his hug swirled around me. Tears rolled down my cheeks and my parched throat gave a jerk.

I suddenly realized that I was amidst a big crowd with a mood to party. I had to hide the emotions bustling in my face. I consoled myself as it was the last day of pain, the last day of tears, my last day on earth.

I could hear the stranger still talking. I hadn’t given him a damn since I heard the word Meer entered my ears.

‘…You look very beautiful.’ He had a strong regional accent flavoring his English.

‘Excuse me. What?’ I was irritated.

‘You look sexy too.’

‘Enough.’ I shouted with an expression that could make the person who even stood far away to figure out that I was angry. San looked at me. He had to swing through the crowd to reach me but this guy did not stop.

‘I like you very much.’ he concluded.

‘Shut up.’ I cried, my anger getting the better of me.

‘I am…’ he was interrupted by San.

‘Any problem Mee?’ rushed in Santhosh.

‘Nothing. This bloody chunk of useless waste likes me, it seems.’ I felt inferior. I already felt terrible that Rohan chose another girl and called her better. Now, this short, dark and stout, not-so-likable, old man saying he liked me kindled my inferiority complex to a new high. It was to an extent that I could die just hearing those words than trying pills tomorrow. This guy was completely dressed in a clownish way with his red coat-suit, brown formal shoes for the party.

‘Have you seen yourself in a mirror? You are such mirror cracking material and you like my Mee? Who invited you for the party? Go away from here.’ San said, his tone rude.

Tears edged the stranger’s eyes. He was embarrassed to an extent of weeping hard. He couldn’t show his shame- strewn face to us anymore and so he walked away.

I had failed to realize that even ugly looking people had a heart. They also got offended when they were called ugly. I couldn’t think anything beyond my problems then.

‘What happened Mee?’ San asked noticing my tears.

‘Rohan called his new girl better than me by looks. I couldn’t take it. Am I not beautiful? On top of it this ugly looking idiot comes to me saying he likes me with his irritating blush. I feel broken.’ I opened up to him.

‘What’s ugly to us now, is beautiful to someone else or to us some other time. What’s beautiful to us now, is ugly to someone else or to us some other time. You found him ugly but he might look handsome to a girl who’ll fall for him later. In the same way, Rohan couldn’t see your beauty but someone else will surely find you beautiful, very soon. Why someone else, even I find you extremely beautiful.’ He tried to convince me.

‘No San. You don’t get the point. You always say something to convince me. Through your eyes I will look beautiful as you are so affectionate. But… I don’t think you are getting the point.’

‘I get it Mee. Listen, you look extremely beautiful and sexy with whichever pair of eyes I see you through. You don’t believe me right?’ he looked around with quick and sharp turns at each degree.

He picked the rose from the vase on the table next to us and went on his knees and said ‘I will die to marry an angel like you any day.’

‘Shut up.’ It brought a smile on my face as I knew he was kidding me.

‘Die San, die now. Mee doesn’t want to marry you.’ He punched his heart playfully.

‘Shut up San.’

My dad called us from a distance and we had to wind up the drama right there.

We were all ready to cut the cake when he started to gather the party around closer.

‘First of all, my hearty thanks for your graceful presence this evening. Happy birthday to my dearest Santh…’ dad held his chest and fell down. It was all so sudden that we took few seconds to realize what had happened. Mom broke down in tears and laid him on her lap. San fanned dad and I removed his shoes. The stranger whom we insulted a while back came close to me and sat by my side. I was so broken and taken aback that I wanted to shoot him down.

‘Heartless moron.’ I shouted at him, pushing him aside. He was taking advantage of the situation.

He brought his hands to my dad’s head which went close to my body. I slapped him almost immediately.

He pushed me and said politely ‘Give way for some fresh air. Please move aside.’

He asked my mother to move aside, making dad’s head lie on the ground.

San couldn’t resist anymore. He grabbed the guy painfully and asked ‘Who the hell are you?’

‘I am a doctor. Please cooperate.’ He said as he started giving dad some first aid.

After a few minutes of pressing hard upon my dad’s chest and blowing into his mouth, dad was back to normal.

I couldn’t react fast enough to anything that was happening. I was so struck by shock and panic.

The crowd went back to partying after dad had announced that he was fine. They dispersed for dinner. The cake was still untouched by San as he was in no mood to cut it and celebrate. He was consoling me and my mom while we were still shocked with the situation that we were in, a few minutes back.

‘Meet Ashruth, Meera. He is a doctor. I wanted to announce today about your wedding with him.’ Dad said as he patted Ashruth.

San excused himself and walked away. He was feeling embarrassed after seeing the act of the good-natured Ashruth. I was slapped with shame and embarrassment. I excused myself and walked to a lonely corner table and sat there immersed in shame.

Ashruth did not come to me fighting or with the motive of taking revenge. He was still with dad talking with a smile that had irritated me previously. I felt bad for the way in which I had treated him before. I felt that he was gentle and genuine and I wanted to apologize to him.

I walked around the garden, through the eating crowd, ruffling and shuffling them, to reach him. He was busy with the people who were thanking him, appreciating him and enquiring about dad’s health.

Finally, he was there close to me but I did not know what to utter. I just looked at him trying to mouth ‘Sorry.’

‘It’s okay Meera. I can understand. I won’t call you Meer ever again.’ He said still with a smile, this time I liked it better.

‘I’m sorry.’ Finally I apologized.

‘And thanks for saving my dad.’ I felt courteous after a long time. I felt like I had removed the robe of insensitivity and had thrown it away. I brought back my cool.

‘It’s my duty. I am a doctor. I just wanted to know if you are fine with marrying me Meera. I don’t want you to accept it for your dad or anyone else and regret later. Do you really like me? If not, I will talk to uncle before he announces and stop it. I really like you Meera. I will look after you like a queen. Your dad said you like me too, is that true?’ He said sounding more concerned and genuine.

The ugly face looked smart to me all of a sudden. San’s words echoed within the walls of my ears- ‘What’s ugly to us now, is beautiful to someone else or to us some other time.’

I said ‘True’ in response to the lingering question.

‘Thank you so much Meera.’ He jumped in joy. ‘We should celebrate this moment. I will bring some juice and let us gulp it down together.’

He ran to the juice table and handed two glasses.

I did not react or respond to anything. I left it to time. I was anyway going to end all this tomorrow. I didn’t want to spoil the moment for him or for my dad who was already sick.

We drank the orange juice which tasted horrible. I had to smile at him occasionally whenever our eyes met. He did not have this problem as he did not shrink the smile that was plastered across his face, from the moment I said the improperly synchronized ‘TRUE’.

I had to bid a good bye to him and catch up with a few friends for formality’s sake.

~

Present:

‘This guy was genuine and gentle. I just can’t believe that he was so gentle in letting me choose the way I wanted to take. I thought he was forcing me to marry him. Anyway, I had said a wrongly synched ‘True’ and nothing more. Maybe I might have decided to marry him and make dad happy instead of dying. A big confusion ended but why on earth should I lose my memory? I confused myself just like I had been doing all through my life, the new life from the moment I regained consciousness.

I felt a lot better now. When I had woken up from the bed that day, regaining consciousness, it was terrible. I was completely stripped off my memory. It felt exactly like standing nude on a busy road where everyone else was fully dressed up. I felt embarrassed and extremely lonely. Now, things were a lot better as the words from my diary dressed up the nudity of my memory a little.

I was too tired of reading. I was too tired of the emotional swings that I had gone through while reading it. Hunger pinched the walls of my stomach and thirst scratched the chambers of my throat. I badly wanted to eat. I had to go out and ask for food.

I would have felt great discomfort in doing so a few pages back but now I was on the right page, I had to trust Ashruth a little. At least he was not a liar. He did not slap me back when I had slapped him, instead helped my dad come back to life. He had offered me a chance to escape the horror of marrying him. It did not sound that horrible now. Still a little bit of dislike refused to leave me the way a bit of oil refuses to leave oil-stained dishes even after being washed. I went out and stood at the entrance of my room. I felt at home for the first time. It had become my room from god-knows-when in my unstable, man-made memory.

Ashruth asked without even waiting for me to take a breath ‘Are you hungry?’

I just nodded and he went to the dining at lightning speed and turned a plate upright.

‘Come Meera. Have dinner.’ He pleasingly called me and served the food affectionately.

I ate in silence though he kept talking on and on about the way I loved him. It was not irritating anymore, so I chose to ignore it.

‘I have a gift for you Meer.’ He said placing a gift wrapped, medium sized, rectangular box on the table.

‘Don’t call me Meer.’ I picked from my diary.

‘Good. You have mentioned even that in your diary?’ he was surprised.

‘You have not read it?’ I asked, still a little doubtful.

‘Not a word Meera. I just checked if the treatment is working on you. It is. It is, indeed, working very well. Read. Read.’ He smiled happily for the first time although it seemed fake to me.

I washed my hands and came back to the table. Holding the box, I initiated a conversation for the first time.

‘What’s this?’

‘Open and you’ll know for yourself.’ He said lowering himself on the sofa, pressing the remote to switch on the television.

I unwrapped it.

‘Wow’ it was a beautiful miniature statue. It had a woman who was sculpted from her waist to head and the lower half still remained as a mere unshaped stone. She was bending to her right, with the sculpting stones in her hand. She was sculpting herself.

‘This is you, Meera. You are sculpting yourself.’ He said looking at me from the sofa.

‘Thank you. It’s so meaningful and beautiful.’ I said ‘Good night’ and went into my room to continue my business.

~

10: The practical joke

Past:

I had no idea what had happened and why I saw darkness, only darkness, for a few minutes. Even the movement of my eye lids to give back the brightness that was lost, seemed like lifting a huge weight. I heard mom weeping and dad hushing. Someone rubbed my feet which turned them hot and rough.

I was lying on my bed, turned to my right. My left cheek was getting wet but I could not feel myself crying. I opened my eyes micro-inch by micro-inch. Sight of things around slowly reached my brain. It took me a few seconds to realize what was going on around me. I was lying on my mom’s lap. She was crying so heavily that her tears had rained on my cheeks. My dad was holding my right hand, sitting right in front of me, with those pairs of fluffy eyes still full of tears. San was at my feet, rubbing it, washing it with tears. I did not understand what had happened. The moment dad saw my eyes open he started crying more and talking with great difficulty.

 

‘Why did you make this decision Meera? Do you hate us so much? What made you take such a decision?’ he cried.

‘Did you not even think of your dad? Do you think he will be very happy seeing you like this? Do you think I will live a minute later after you die?” my mom said with a tone that was harsher than when she was teary-eyed.

‘I asked you not to take any hasty decisions, right? I said I will talk to uncle. Did you not even trust your San to the least extent?’ San walked to my side and sat next to me.

‘See how uncle and aunt are crying. Open your eyes and see. Why Meera?’ he broke down and said with a trembling voice.

‘What…What has… happened to.. Me? What…Wha..What did I do?’ I managed to bring the words from the depth of my tummy. ‘You tried to..’ my mother stopped in mid-sentence and started weeping in sorrow..

‘You attempted a suicide in spite of me telling you so much!’ San said angrily.

‘What?’ I was confused. ‘No. No. No.’ I shouted to reassure to my own self that I had not tried to die, not today.

‘Who told you that I had attempted a suicide?’ I was angry that my plan of relieving myself of the pain tomorrow had been revealed.

‘We were all having dinner and suddenly Santhosh spotted you lying on the ground, unconscious. He brought you to the bed room without distracting any of the guests’ attention from the party. He then called dad and told us about what had happened. We rushed here and called Ashruth. He then examined you and told us…’ mom couldn’t talk more, she broke into tears.

‘He told you what?’ I was still pinned with confusion.

‘He told us that you had taken sleeping pills to….’ Dad couldn’t even say that in words. I could understand how hard it would have been for him to go through all that if it had happened, let alone uttering it.

‘Don’t you like being with this dad?’ dad cried kneeling down and placing his palm on my cheek.

‘No dad. I really love you and mom. I did not try anything. Yes, I had planned to end my pain tomorrow but I promise, I didn’t try anything now.’ I spoke out.

‘What are you saying Meera?’ the confusion drifted from the inside of my skull to dad’s.

I saw Ashruth smiling at me from one corner of the room and I couldn’t control my anger.

‘Why the hell did you lie to my parents? Why had I fainted? I remember talking to you last and drinking the juice you had offered. Tell me the truth. Look at my parents. Can you see what state of mind they are in? Why did you lie that I had taken pills?’ I asked pulling his shirt collar.

‘Wait.’ He pushed me a little away and adjusted his shirt. He still had the smile, wide, on his face.

‘You really had pills.’ He said.

‘How do you know that? You may be a doctor but I am sure I didn’t take any.’ I shouted.

‘I am not saying it as a doctor. I saw you having the sleeping pills. I was the one who added it in the orange juice.’ He was still smiling.

‘I slapped you, we insulted you but isn’t this a bigger revenge? You could have slapped me back? I even apologized. Didn’t I? Why did you do this?’ I was taken aback.

‘A practical joke.’ He laughed this time.

~

 

Meera had decided to end her life but she was sure she did not take any kind of pills. Is Ashruth telling her the truth about watching her take the pills? If so why isn’t she able to recollect? Or is Ashruth lying to her? If so, why is he confusing her and her parents?

 

Read Part 2 to know more. Hope you liked the story.


Just you, me and a secret (Book 1)

“Who the hell do I reflect in the mirror? Where am I? First of all, who am I?” Meera wakes up after a terrible accident with no memory to herself. She sees a stranger in the mirror and seems to be living with another stranger, Ashruth. Before she gets used to responding when she is addressed ‘Meera’, Ashruth dumps her with a story that he says is her past. He claims that they were so much in love with each other and that they were engaged. Armed with what seems to be her personal diary, Meera tries to grasp her identity and her reality. But no matter how hard she tries, she just seems to be unable to connect. Will Meera ever regain her memory? Will she fall in love with him the same way? Or, wait, is he lying to her? What makes her fall in love with Santhosh, her cousin? Will she choose to stay and battle this through or will she run away to start a life afresh?

  • Author: Ganga Bharani Vasudevan
  • Published: 2016-10-09 09:50:13
  • Words: 18689
Just you, me and a secret (Book 1) Just you, me and a secret (Book 1)