Hi guys!!! How are you all? Missed me?
Well I did? So now I’ve a new chapter of the story for you all.
ADHOORE HUM ADHOORE TUM
Chapter-14 (The Panic Attack)
Sanchi and Kabir went to their respective rooms to get ready for the puja. Sanchi sat on her bed feeling undecided and breathing in short burst and starts. Her mother, Anjali had insisted that she wear the dark green silk saree with red border for the puja. She had worn her blouse and her skirt. But when it came to wearing the saree, she found that she just could not wrap that bit of garment over herself. Incoherent voices and images started dancing around her head. She shut her ears tightly and put on her night gown over her blouse and skirt and lay down on her bed trying to drown all those horrible memories in sleep. But they continued to pursue her with the vice-like grip of a Piranha until her whole head started aching as though it would break into pieces.
It was years since she had worn a saree. There was a time in her life when she loved wearing a saree and would wear nothing else. She was six years at that time. It was the fancy dress competition at school. She was doing the role of a south Indian bride. Her mother, Anjali was dressing her up in a saree just like this one. After she had completed, she gave a long stare to see how she had done her job when tears started filling her eyes. Then she continued dressing her up with all the accessories and jewels which a bride wears on her special day.
Sanchi asked, “Ma, why are you crying?” Anjali said, “I was just imagining how you would look on your marriage day. You’re looking like an angel now itself. Nobody would be able take eyes off you on that day if you are dressed like this.” Sanchi remarked, “Is it necessary to marry to dress like this? And what’s marriage? Is it some kind of game you play?” Anjali blushed as she did not know how to reply to this question of her daughter and said, “Yes, it’s a special game you play with a special friend of yours throughout your life. You will leave us and go then to live with this friend. He will take care of you and you will take care of him. It will be good fun!”
She began sweating profusely. She shut her ears and lay down on her bed. She was twenty two years old at that time. Hers was an arranged marriage. They all knew Nikhil’s family very well. So when this proposal of marriage came from their family, all of them were elated. They did not stop to enquire about how Nikhil was as a person. They all assumed that since his family was good, he would also be good!
Sanchi was dressed in all her bridal finery, full of dreams and aspirations, waiting for her husband in her bridal chamber on her first night. While she was carrying the glass of milk along with her, her friends gave her a mischievous and knowing wink telling her that she was not supposed to drink the whole glass of milk but was to share it with her husband, and that both of them were to share the same glass, just as they would be sharing the same bed, and the same life together.
The seconds and minutes started ticking away. She started getting apprehensive. She looked all around the room which was decorated with flowers and fruits that had been placed in a small fruit basket. The glass of milk she had brought with her lay on the table near her bed. She wanted to ask somebody why Nikhil had not come but was too ashamed to thinking that people would classify her as a desperate girl who was not willing to wait for her husband even for some time. Minutes turned into hours and the milk she brought with her curdled up unfit for anyone’s consumption. Their first night had elapsed and still there was no sign of Nikhil.
Sanchi took the ritual head bath and got ready to do her first Satyanarayan Puja and prasad in Nikhil house to seek the blessing of the almighty for her married life. All their close friends and relatives had been invited for it. Her family was also coming for it. Her mother-in-law, Gayatri asked her hesitantly, “Did Nikhil come yesterday night, Sanchi?” She sadly shook her head.
Her mother-in-law placed a consoling hand on her shoulder and said, “Let this puja get over! I’ll speak to him after that. He has to learn to be more responsible after marriage. Please don’t reveal all this to your family. It will not look nice if you discuss such issues with them.” Sanchi didn’t know why she was supposed to hide such an important thing from her parents if she had to be considered a good daughter-in-law. All these twenty-two years, she had shared her closest secrets with her parents. But after marriage, she could not even share even such a big thing with them openly. Is that what marriage does to you?
However there was no need for her to tell anything because Nikhil did not come for the Puja too. The auspicious time had passed. All the guests and relatives left speaking in a hundred different ways about this. Only her family was still waiting for Nikhil. He staggered in heavily drunk. Dr. Reddy was so shocked, he looked questioningly at her and then sought an explanation from her father-in-law and mother-in-law if her son had not come back the whole of yesterday night to which they rudely shut him up telling, “She’s our daughter-in-law now! You’ve no right to question anything either about our son or her after you have given her in Kanya Daan to us. Yes! Nikhil went to a party along with his friends. They forced him to drink. So he did not come back. But you should not judge anything based one night. So if you please leave us alone, we’d like to take care of our son.”
Sanchi was boiling with impotent rage. Her father was insulted and her whole family was literally shown the door and yet she was powerless to do anything because she was not their daughter anymore but the daughter-in-law of the Kumar family. Her father had just asked a valid question. Why was he being treated like this or why did she have to go through all this? She decided that she would personally speak to Nikhil about all this even if her mother-in-law did not.
That evening, after Nikhil had sobered up, he apologized to her and also called up her father and asked forgiveness from him. He also spoke on behalf of his parents who had been pretty rude to them. He assured her parents that it would not be repeated in future. Everything seemed to be going well after that. Nikhil had to re-join for his job in one week’s time. Sanchi waved goodbye to her parents, her brother and in-laws and left for Chennai along with Nikhil. Little did she imagine what horrendous days were awaiting her! Nikhil had been somewhat subdued as long as he was staying with his parents but as soon as they shifted to Chennai, he began showing his true colours.
When the proposal came for Sanchi, her parents spoke to her prospective in-laws that she wanted to continue her studies after her marriage and do a suitable job after that. They had agreed at that time to this. But when Sanchi showed Nikhil the application form for her postgraduate diploma in media studies, he burnt it down before her own eyes.
Sanchi tried running away once or twice but he tracked her back before she would board a bus or train to her parent’s place. He used to keep her under lock and key always and disconnect the landline number. She could speak even with her own family only in Nikhil’s menacing presence. There were times when she was almost forced to steal money out of Nikhil’s pocket for her basic necessities.
Both of them did not have a physical relationship of any sort because Nikhil happened to be impotent. This marriage was to show to the rest of the world that he was man enough’. But at the same time, he was terribly insecure that his beautiful wife would leave him and go, or have an affair with somebody else. She was literally sick of Nikhil’s deranged thinking and maniacal behaviour.
When Sanchi tried to protest for anything, he would squeeze her hand and smother her with the end of her saree. One day during one of his fits of madness and megalomania, he tried to unclothe her saree and force himself on her. That was the day she had decided that enough was enough and walked out of her marriage filing a case of domestic abuse against Nikhil. Whenever she began thinking about those days, she almost used to feel as if she was being kissed by a Dementor and her whole soul was being sucked out. She could feel the dizzy sensation, the feeling of breathlessness, the morbid rage and utter helplessness of those days even now whenever she saw a saree.
Just when she was in this state, Kabir entered her room wearing a cream coloured silk kurta and catching a half worn silk dhoti in his hand. He said, “Hey, Sanchi. Can you help me out? Dr. Reddy has strictly ordered that I have to wear this dhoti for the puja. I don’t know how to make head or tail out of this piece of cloth. And you know how important it is for me to remain in his good books. I’ve to convince him for our marriage you know!” She weakly got up from her bed and started making pleats with one end of the dhoti and gave it to him telling, “Now insert it here…No not like that…”
Sanchi looked irritated at his incompetence and began doing it herself when she noticed that he was not doing it properly. He began jumping when she was trying to insert it saying, “Sanchi, you’re tickling me…” when she said, “You’re not doing it properly yourself, and you’re not allowing me to do either. Stand still!” This time she had completed making him wear the dhoti. She gave him a safety pin and asked him to wear it to keep the dhoti in place. He looked at her like a sweet little child asking her to insert even that pin herself. She gave him an exasperated look and fixed even the pin to his dhoti before saying, “You’re impossible Kabir! Can’t you do even that little thing by yourself?” He said, “You know one thing, I actually know how to wear a dhoti. But how would I get to spend all this time with you if I did it by myself?”
She took the pillow beside her and started hitting Kabir in mock anger while he continued to defend himself from her sweet blows. After some time he decided that enough was enough and caught hold of her hand tightly. This action of Kabir triggered back the panic attack Sanchi was having. She quickly pushed him back and shut the door on his face while he was not even able to guess what was happening. She had been fine one minute and the next minute she was acting as though he was her worst enemy and his touch was utterly repulsive to her. It was then that Sunny informed him that his Big Sis was perhaps having a panic attack and something which he said or did must have triggered it. Kabir felt very sorry that he had unknowingly become the cause for her pain.