A wave of utter despair washed all over her as she stood over the sink fighting back intense nausea. ” I can’t go through this test. This is too demeaning. Even if I get the papers like this, what I will become will be unacceptable to Bhabho and myself. But without the papers, I have failed in keeping the promise I made to Ma Papa, to return Bhabho’s happiness. What’s the use of my life now? That’s the one hope I had lived with, that I’d be able to finally make her love me. And now, even that hope is lost. I’ll fail this test which is my fourth and last test. He will abandon me and take away all rights from me. I am neither here, nor there. There is only darkness, deep darkness here on.”
In that moment of despair, a dense depression took hold of Kanak. Whichever way she turned, she saw darkness. She opened the tap to try to wash her face but the water didn’t help. Just then something shiny at the edge of the wash basin counter caught her eye. Absent-mindedly she picked it up and winced in pain. It was a double edged razor blade. He still used such an old-fashioned method of shaving, she thought with some irritation. A few droplets of crimson appeared where the blade had slashed her skin. Suddenly the devil spreading it dark cloak around her gave her a sinister idea.
“What’s taking her so long!” He thought keeping his book aside. “Must be killing time to avoid me. Such childish behavior! No matter what happens, if she fails, I’ll harden all my feelings and give her up. I can’t sway from my word, my dharm. But at least I need to get her out of there for now!” He sighed lightly and got down from the bed.
” Kanak!! What are you doing in there. Come out! Don’t be ridiculous.” He admonished. When he got no response he knocked at the door. “Enough Kanak! It doesn’t take that long to get ready for bed. Come out, I want to talk to you. Don’t be childish.”
Silence. Now his heart started to beat faster. Restless creature that she was, he couldn’t believe that she hadn’t given him a cheeky reply as yet. ” Is she crying?” He felt a painful tightening in his chest. He tried to slide the door but it wouldn’t budge. “Kanak! Open the door right NOW, or the consequences will not be good.” he thundered ,but all he got as response was more silence.
An unknown sense of dread crept up his spine. A cold shudder ran through his body. Feeling desperate, he jerked the door a few times and the latch inside gave way. He slid the door open with one forceful swing.
“What is wrong with you Kanak! Can’t you hear…”
The scene in front of him petrified him to his spot. She lay there on the floor leaning slightly against the bathtub. Her eyes were closed, her body limp, and her hands hung lifelessly by her sides. A thin stream of scarlet blood formed a string from the center of her left wrist to the floor right next to it. A shiny double edged blade lay right next to her left hand.
As if shaken out of his stupor, Uma came out of his trance. ” Kanak!” He shouted as he rushed to her side. “What have you done? Wake up. Kanak!!” He cried again in utter despair as his entire forehead became beaded with cold sweat. He got up swiftly and ran back to the room and frantically opened his cupboard. Grabbing the first piece of clothing he could find, he savagely tore out a strip from the thin dhoti. Then he rushed back to the bathroom and kneeled down beside her on wobbly knees. He was certain that his heart was drumming somewhere in his throat rather than in his chest. Then what the hell was that painful throbbing in his chest. And why did he see blinding white flashes in front of his eyes? “I am in shock” he realized, involuntarily diagnosing his own condition. ” Get a grip over yourself Uma. Or you will lose her forever.” He thought.
“Yeah so? You were going to set her free anyway if she failed your tests. What’s the big deal?” A ruthless part of him argued.
“Not like this! NOT LIKE THIS!!” His previous self thundered back making his mocking self disappear.
With shivering hands, he tied the strip of clothing tightly around her slashed wrist. Once he was sure he had secured her injury, he picked up her limp form and carried her back to the room where he gently lay her down on her side of the bed. Next, he quickly checked her pulse, placed a finger below her nostrils to check the force and speed of her breathing. Giving her one last look of sheer agony he got resolutely and walked towards the door out of the room. Closing it gently behind him, walking swiftly through the almost dark corridors and down the staircase, he rushed towards his dispensary to fetch the medicines he was contemplating.
“You broke her finally. You are so strong and mighty. Bravo!” said a voice in his head mocking him cruelly.
Walking resolutely, Uma ignored it as he ignored the stinging in his eyes and the leaden heaviness in his chest.
The slow pace of the show leaves me wanting more. So this is to settle down my brain. Hope it will appeal to a few others like me. Thanks for reading 🙂