Chapter – 10
Sanskar did not plan to reveal his love for Swara until she completed her exams. It was the last day of the exam, Sanskar bunked his college. He lied to Adarsh that his dad had called him for a new venture.
Sanskar and Swara were seated in a restaurant. Sanskar made up his mind to talk about his love for her. But the only thing that kept running in his mind was, whether Adarsh would accept it, or would he get furious on him for loving his sister. Before all this, Swara should accept his love, Sanskar thought. Swara felt something unusual in her mood today. Her mind and heart were excited as if something great was about to happen.
“My exams are over. I have a month to prepare for my admissions. Probably by June first week, I would have joined IIAD”, Swara shrugged her shoulders.
Sanskar did not feel comfortable to talk to her about his love, though both of them, by then knew that they were in Love.
Swara was not sure why Sanskar, being a guy was having hesitation. She was still waiting for him to speak up first, in fear of being rejected. She felt his care for her, his sincere efforts to bring her dream come true and his support during various times. But were those out of love or out of normal courtesy?, she was not sure. She wanted it to be love, but was very much afraid at the same time to open herself up.
Swara and Sanskar had a short chat after which they left the restaurant.
Swara started preparing for her admissions in IIAD. Her dad accepted her view and did not pester her to apply for engineering. Sanskar made sure Swara prepared well. He gave his best support. One evening, as Sanskar happily returned home, he saw his home in complete silence. He sensed something was wrong.
“We pampered him so much. Did we expect anything in return or at least for us? We had been asking him to score good marks, just for his future. Just look at the rank he had secured”, Sanskar heard his father’s voice, breaking the silence. Lakshh sat on the sofa, as though he was waiting for the topic to end.
Sanskar signaled him “What?”
Lakshh pointed to an envelope on the table that had come from University, requesting for attending the counselling for engineering. Sanskar could see the rank that was written in block letters.
7417- Sanskar got a closer look now. Within few seconds, he burst into laughter. Lakshh signaled him to lower his voice.
“Wow. You are trailing by 250 ranks, when compared to mine. Super da. You are great.”, Sanskar whispered, as he chuckled under his breathe.
“Idiot. Don’t laugh. And yes, that is why dad is furious. He checked with few of friends. Looks like for such Rank, I will get into your college only. Dad is sure not to get a seat through payment. He wants me to do my engineering in merit. That’s why, he is scolding Me.” he signaled towards the kitchen from where his dad’s voice was coming from.
Exactly after one month, Swara got her admissions in IIAD and Lakshh joined his brother’s college as his family expected. Sanskar’s dad was much disappointed, yet he advised Sanskar to take care of him. Suresh’s fury was now at its peak as he noticed Sanskar visiting Adarsh’s house more frequently than ever. He was not able to stand it. He made up his mind to teach him a lesson. It was only then he came to know about Lakshh joining the college.
Sanskar and Swara were not able to stand the fact that they would be separated for the next two years.
Sanskar thought it was now or never. He made up his mind to talk to her. His mind raced to focus on his love. He completely forgot about Adarsh.
Swara had been expecting that Sanskar would speak up first all this time. She felt today was the right time. She bought a beautiful greeting card, wrote her love for Sanskar on it and kept it safe in her bag.
Sanskar knew that Swara’s parents would accompany her to Airport. He decided to meet her at a coffee shop nearby.
Both of them sat in Long silence. Sanskar was the one to break it.
“You would be away for the next two years. We would not be able to meet”, he began to talk.
“Hmmm” Swara nodded.
“You have given me so many special moments in my life so far. It is just because of you my life has got new colors and meaning. “ he paused for a long time. “I… “ he dragged.
Swara thought he would tell it now.
“I.. I really thank you for coming into my life. “
So all the pause and drag were just for a Thank you, Swara thought. She was disappointed.
“I….”, Sanskar stammered again.
He will tell it this time, Swara thought.
“I am going to miss you so much, Swara. “, Sanskar’s tone saddened.
“Those big round eyes, the expression they show, your beautiful face, above all the way I feel when I am with you; that unique special feeling. I would definitely miss that Swara”, Sanskar continued.
Swara was excited; she could sense where the conversation was going.
“Swara”, Sanskar called, waiting for her to look at him. She was now looking at his face.
“Swara..”he called, looking into her eyes directly. They poured enormous love. He could feel it.
“Swara, I… “he again dragged. Swara was still looking at him, her gaze fixed on his face.
“Swara, I love you”, Sanskar, at last told, mustering all his strength.
She was still looking at him. She just smiled. Her happiness knew no bound.
“Swara”, Sanskar called.
“Yes”, she replied.
“Guess I told you something”
Swara did not answer; she just took out the greeting card and letter which she had written for him.
Sanskar’s happiest moments were just few centimeters away. He felt on cloud nine as he read the love proposal Swara had written for her.
“The day I met you, my life changed. The way you make me feel is hard to explain. You make me smile in a special kind of way. You make me fall deeper in love with you every day.
You are that one person in my life who gave me a million feelings, a thousand thought and a hundred memories.
All I wanted was to find that person in my life who can stay with me, no matter how hard it is. You are one such person.
I fell in love with you, the way you fall asleep; slowly and then all at once.
I love you Sanskar.”
He closed the greeting card, placed it on the table and held Swara’s hands for the first time. Swara felt Sanskar’s fingers were cold. He slowly caressed her fingers. She slowly slipped her fingers in between Sanskar’s fingers.
“I love you”, both of them told in unison. They laughed together. It was a beautiful day.
Few hours later, that day, She boarded the flight to New Delhi. With a heavy heart Sanskar returned home. Adarsh sensed the changes in Sanskar for the past few months. He suspected that it could involve Swara. Yet, Adarsh decided to stay quiet and calm until he got a clear picture.
Chapter – 11
“All the best Son. My prayers for your bright future”, Sanskar’s mom blessed Lakshh as he was about to leave for his first day at college. Sanskar and Lakshh travelled by car. Sanskar introduced Lakshh to almost all of his classmates. Their college life was smooth and fine.
Swara and Sanskar had been in constant touch through phone calls, romantic emails and sms. Swara was able to get closer to a girl named Anita who was from Mumbai.
It was after a month, Sanskar missed Swara badly enough to lie to his best friend and visit her.
“Hey Adarsh, I am visiting my Cousin Uttara da. I am going to Udaipur. I have asked Lakshh to take the college bus today. Please take care of him”, Sanskar lied. His Cousin was also put up in Delhi. He used the same to get permission from his dad for the sudden visit to Delhi. He could not lie to his father as he took care of ticket bookings.
“Hey, remember, you need attendance man”, Adarsh warned.
“Dude that is why I am leaving on a Friday afternoon, so that I can be there for next two days.”
“Who will take care of Lakshh then? Why are you not taking him with you?”
“Come on da. He has just joined. He cannot afford to take leave. Hence I am the one leaving. Hey , now , listen. Take care of Lakshh. Show him the stop where to get down. I am leaving. Bye.”, Sanskar hurried. Adarsh was a bit puzzled.
It was around 3.30 PM Sanskar reached New Delhi Airport. Swara was waiting for him. He came running to her and hugged her.
“How are you Sweetheart?”, he inquired.
“I am ok. How can I do well without you? “, Swara replied.
They had planned to go for a restaurant. Sanskar planned for a night stay in his Cousin’s house so that his parents had no doubt. He thought of spending the weekend with Swara, in the day time.
It was almost 4.30 PM when they reached a restaurant. They ordered for some chat items to snack on.
“Missing you badly, baby”, Swara almost grabbed Sanskar by his Arms and rested her head on his shoulders.
“Me too”, he patted her cheeks gently. “It’s going to get over soon. We will be reunited again”, Sanskar spoke to cheer Swara up.
As he was about to bite a piece of Samosa, his mobile rang. He hesitated who was it disturbing his solace. It was from his college. He was wondering what it could be.
“Hello”, he answered.
“Yes, My Brother. First Year CSE.”
“What?”, Sanskar froze. His face turned pale. His lips dried.
“No. I cannot believe this.” Sanskar was in tears.
Swara was confused and terrified.
The call got disconnected. Sanskar was shattered. He stood there like a dilapidated building.
Swara shook him. “Sanskar, what was it. Why are you like this? “
Sanskar tried to gather his words.
“Lakshh met with an accident while going home. He fell from the bus while it was moving hit the floor and he died on spot”, Sanskar’s voice broke. He could complete the sentence. He could not imagine his life without his brother. It was his fault. What would he and his family do without him. His body started trembling. Swara was in tears too. She knew how much Sanskar loved Lakshh. She was as consoling as she could be. She went with Sanskar till Airport.
He left for Chennai in the next available flight.
As Sanskar landed, his hometown, Chennai, looked horrible than ever. For a moment the honks of the vehicles irritated him. How would have Lakshh felt when he went down? He was not sure.
By the time he reached home, most of the formalities in G.H had been completed. Adarsh and his family were there. Sanskar’s mom came running to him; she was not able to withstand the loss of her son. She desperately looked at her son, wanting a word.
He stood there silent as if he wanted his mom to read his response from his lips, before even they escaped his throat.
Adarsh’s parents were of a great support. Sanskar took a corner to sit, rested his head on the wall and looked at the ceiling, despondent and silent. The house had seen Lakshh as a new born infant. Being the second son, his Mom did not go to her native for maternity. The wall, furniture, curtains, everything reminded Lakshh in one way or the other.
Sanskar looked at his dad. His eyes showed only angst.
Adarsh walked to Sanskar. He stretched his arms as if he bore his arms only to succor the distressed Sanskar.
“What happened da?”, Sanskar cleared his dried throat, so that the words fell out.
“He got up to get down. The bus was still in motion. He tripped. He fell on the road from moving bus”, Adarsh almost broke into tears. Sanskar interpreted his tears were out of grief. But he had tears out of guilt.
Swara kept calling Adarsh and Sanskar to bolster them up. The rituals happened one by one.
Couple of weeks passed by.
The most young and vibrant Sanskar had turned into the most dejected one. He never spoke to anyone; except Adarsh. Suresh’s mom was of a great source of strength to Sanskar’s family.
Sanskar’s family was besieged with phone calls , expressing grief and condolences.
Sanskar’s dad filed a case against the college demanding full explanation on his son’s demise.
They closed the case as an accident due to careless attitude of a youth, trying to hop out the bus while in motion, as their reputation was at stake. Sanskar’s father could not take further actions, as it involved his elder son’s education.
Swara was in constant touch with Sanskar, consoling him, encouraging him and supporting him, in spite of his dormant behavior. Their relationship was not the same after Lakshh’s demise. She flew from Delhi to meet Sanskar twice. Sanskar just sat beside her, fixing his gaze to a random object and spoke only for a Hi and a Bye.
If Sanskar had a valid reason to succumb to his situation, Adarsh’s behavior bothered Swara more. She could feel that Adarsh was like never before. She concluded that something in Lakshh’s death had caused Adarsh to be so.
She patiently waited for everything to return to normal.
Chapter – 12
Days rolled by. Swara was in the verge of completing her final year. She had been to Chennai before her exams. She intended to meet Sanskar.
They were seated in a restaurant. Sanskar, missing his brother was evident from his eyes, which were droopy and the skin beneath which had predominant dark circle. Of course the loss was irreversible, Swara thought.
“How are you”, Sanskar spoke.
Probably in the last one and a half years, this was the first time Sanskar had initiated the conversation.
“I am doing well, Sanskar”, she responded. She felt too odd to hear her own reply, because it was formal than ever.
There was a pause.
“Sanskar, I love you”, she started again.
“Love you, too”, he managed to smile.
“Sanskar, I can understand and feel what you have been going through. You are remembering Lakshh in every single breathe. Had he been beside, would he be happy to see you this way?”
“What are you trying to say?”, Sanskar looked up for the first time in the past fifteen minutes.
“I am not telling. I am requesting. A humble request.” She paused. Sanskar did not interrupt. “Please move on, Sanskar. At some point in life, when know nowhere to go, the best thing is to go with the flow, just accepting things coming our way. We might not find the meaning at that point of time, but later every piece will fall in place. But for all this to happen, we have to move on. ”, Swara continued.
“Move on, where? “
“In life, Sanskar. Move on in your studies. Move on in life. You have placed so many decisions in pending. Revisit them. Become stronger. Nature loved Lakshh so much. That is why it took him back so soon. He is with us. Around us, loving us, guarding us”, Swara hastened her talk.
“But not living with us”, Sanskar banged the table.
“Sanskar, I am not sure how to…”, Swara was interrupted by Sanskar.
“I can understand. You want me to move on and marry you. It is high time your life needs an answer, right? You have decided that you have waited for long. Listen Swara, my brother meant everything to me. I don’t want anything in life now. I cannot show you the same love, I have been showing before. If you are tired of my dejected behavior, you are free to move on. YOU MOVE ON. That sounds better. Go marry a guy who can Love you alone. Marry a guy of your choice. Now just leave me”, Sanskar shouted.
Swara fought back her tears. Her deep brown eyes were wet. She looked into Sanskar’s eyes directly. He turned away. Nothing was going right, she thought. His words poked her hard. She left the restaurant. She turned back to look at him as she opened the door. He did not bother to look at her. Tears rolled down her cheeks.
She reached home with reddened eyes. His words lingered in her mind. She could not take it. She covered her face and cried, until she slept.
Sanskar could not sleep either. He re-read all the texts and consoling words Swara had been sending him all the while. He felt he had been too harsh on her. His eyes were moist. He realized that he was hasty enough to chide her mercilessly. She was not wrong at all, he realized later. He decided to meet her and apologize for his folly.
Swara was not sure when she fell asleep. She was woken up by the bright sun shine. She was not sure what time in the morning it was. She hurried to search for her mobile. She remembered not taking it out when she reached home. She searched in her bag. It was 15 minutes past 9. There were two texts. Both were from Sanskar
“I am sorry”, read the first text.
“Shall we meet today, please” read the second.
She did not reply. Her nostrils flared. She decided not to reply.
After a few seconds, she typed “Where?” and sent the text.
She convinced herself that it was her last text to Sanskar that day. Also she made up her mind not to meet him.
Few hours later, she was busy searching for him. They decided to meet in the beach.
Swara‘s love for Sanskar was strong enough to break all her resolutions. It was him and the love for him, which was of the highest priority for her. Everything else did not matter; even herself and her so called strong resolutions.
“I am sorry”, Sanskar spoke as he sat beside her.
Swara did not answer.
“I said, I am sorry” , Sanskar repeated.
“For what?”, she kept her voice low.
“For everything, especially, being harsh on you”, he grabbed her hand.
“I was not hurt because you were harsh. You could have beaten me to death or buried me alive. You did worse. You asked me to leave you. You asked me to marry someone else. You are in agony, I know. But from where did you get the guts to speak that way”, Swara spoke in a single breathe.
Sanskar was silent. His grip on her hands reflected his moods. She could sense his genuine love.
Swara continued to speak. “I know Sanskar. Love is not just about sharing happy moments together. It is also about how we brace each other at time of melancholy. Love is all about staying together, fighting the odds together, maneuvering the obstacles together and of course living our love life together.
Sanskar continued to remain silent. He slowly caressed her fingers.
Without turning his head, he asked, “For all that you have been to me, at the time of distress, I wish I should do something for you. What do you want my love?”
“Find a job”
“But you have not completed your course”
“Idiot, find a job for you. Be it in your father’s firm or at a place of your choice, make sure you find it. The loss, your parents suffering is irremediable. Stand up. You have to make it up. Make them see Lakshh through your eyes. Make them come out of it. Try to keep yourself busy and vibrant. Unfurl the same to them.”
The affirmation her big eyes gave him were mammoth. He decided to change his mind that day.
“Where shall we go for dinner?”, inquired Sanskar.
“Wait, I guess you said sorry in the beginning. But , I have not forgiven you yet.”, Swara replied, her voice and face grim.
Swara’s discordant behavior confused Sanskar.
“So, what is the punishment?”, he asked.
“You have to marry Me. “, Swara smiled and started digging the sand.
Sanskar smiled. It was the sweetest punishment, he thought. He never knew, that he would penalize his lovable Swara, post wedding.
Chapter – 13
Few months passed by. It was one year since Lakshh met his quietus.
Sanskar found a job in a reputed firm. Swara was now busy doing her certification. Adarsh , Suresh had found a job too.
It was a casual Sunday evening. Swara had come home for weekend. Swara invited Sanskar for dinner. Swara, Sanskar and Adarsh met in terrace after the dinner.
“Anna”, Swara called Adarsh.
“Don’t address Sanskar that way. You will feel for it”, Adarsh replied sarcastically.
“I am calling you, stupid”, Swara hit Adarsh in his arm.
If it had been the same old notorious Adarsh, he would hit her hard back. But now he was different. He was still not out of the whammy, Lakshh’s demise had put on him.
“Tell me”, he cleared his throat.
“Adarsh, will you get your sister married to me? We both…”, as Sanskar spoke, Adarsh gestured Sanskar to stop.
“You both are in love since you met on our college tournament.”, finished Adarsh.
“You knew it?”, Swara’s jaw dropped.
“I am your brother. I know what is happening with my sister.”, Adarsh smiled.
“So, when are we going to announce it formally? Decide on it fast guys. We have loads of things to do.”, Adarsh continued.
It was Sanskar’s turn to drop his jaw.
“Are you ok with it?”, exclaimed Sanskar.
“I am fulfilling it, not just because it was my sweet sister’s wish. It is my best friend’s wish. “, Adarsh looked at Sanskar. Sanskar hugged him.
Adarsh rested his head on Sanskar’s shoulders. His eyes were moist. “What would I tell him when he comes to know about it?”, Adarsh spoke in his mind. It was terrifying. He thought he shall hide it forever. Guilt overtook him.
Couple of months later, both the families agreed on their children’s wish. Sanskar was a completely transformed person now. The Vibrant Sanskar was back, Swara’s adorable Sanskar too. Sanskar called Swara.
“Hello”, Swara smiled as she attended his call.
“My love heaven is just a day away. By this time, tomorrow, you would be my wife. It’s just you who can bring so much happiness and beauty to my life”, Sanskar started.
“Enough , my dearest, have something in store after the wedding too.”
“You will not run out of Love and I will not run out of words, describing your love for me.”
“Oh my god. Hey listen, don’t make me blush.”
“Missing those cheeks and the blush”, Sanskar sighed.
“Hey Sweets, listen, I am starting from home to wedding hall. See you in the evening. We would have been paired for the family ritual then”, Swara smiled as she cut the call.
As the families reached the wedding hall, the rituals began. Reception was about to commence in an hour. Swara got ready beautifully in her zardosi saree. Sanskar was already waiting on the dais. He smiled at Swara as she climbed up. She stood near him. Swara was short by a foot in height. She raised her head looked at Sanskar, and then lowered it, trying to obviate the demure woman in her.
The reception ceremony ended on a happy note. Sanskar and Swara had dinner together. Sanskar had invited Suresh to stay overnight. Bharath had joined them too. Sanskar swiftly took two steps at a time and tried reaching the terrace. Swara signaled him “Where are you going?”.
“Bachelor’s party. Guys are up.”, Sanskar pointed his fingers to terrace.” Adarsh told he will join later as he had some work”, he continued.
“Are you going to drink?”, Swara’s face shrunk.
“No, never. Just sponsoring the party. I will while my time away with lays Chips and Pepsi”, Sanskar smiled.
Swara smiled back. Sanskar took a few steps. He suddenly stopped. He was not sure what stopped him. He slowly turned towards Swara. She was still standing for him, smiling. Sanskar flashed his broad smile. They never knew it was going to be the last time Sanskar would smile at her.
Bharath and Suresh were ready with drinks. They started drinking slowly. As the bottles were emptied, Bharath started losing his mind. Suresh was better compared to Bharath. Sanskar was worried about Bharath’s state. If his parents knew that Sanskar’s friends had been boozing, they would be furious.
Sanskar shook Bharath.
“Tell me ,da”, Bharath spoke to Suresh. Suresh turned his face hard in Sanskar’s direction. “He called you”, Suresh shouted.
It was getting into Sanskar’s nerves. “Guys, don’t shout. Do you hear me?”, anger marred his brows.
“Sshhhhh”, Bharath signaled to Suresh.
“Guys, listen. Please, please, do not tell mom or dad about this party. I arranged it exclusively for you guys.”, Sanskar’s hastened speech startled Suresh.
“No we won’t spill a bean. We are good at keeping secrets.”, Suresh assured.
“Yes”, Bharath spoke as he gulped his last ounce of beer.
“Especially me. You can check with Suresh. It has been one year. I am still keeping the secret about your brother’s murder. I have never told anyone about who pushed your brother off the running bus”, Bharath blurted out. Sanskar looked at him in dismay. Suresh was shocked.
Sanskar’s fury knew no bound. He started splashing cold water on Bharath’s face to stop him from getting into hangover. The series of cold water splashes, made Bharath regain his conscience.
“What the hell did you tell now?”, Sanskar demanded.
“I am sorry”, Bharath apologized.
“Is it true?”, Sanskar’s voice raised.
Bharath hung his head. “You idiot”, Suresh raised his voice before Bharath could tell it. “This drunken dog is trying to spoil your wedding. You better do not hear it”, Suresh objected. Sanskar’s face turned red. He demanded Suresh to tell him. Suresh was forced to play back the original incident.
“I was also travelling in the same bus. Adarsh forced your brother to dance in the moving bus. I stopped him. But he pushed me away. Your brother refused to dance. The bus driver kept warning Adarsh that he would complain. Adarsh did not care. As Lakshh kept denying Adarsh’s words, Adarsh got furious and he walked to your brother. Adarsh pushed him forcing him to dance. Your brother lost balance, as the bus was moving. He fell down and the rest is….”, Suresh dragged. Sanskar’s eyes were moist. Now everything fell in place for him; Adarsh’s sudden increase in concern, his constant saddened mood since Lakshh’s demise, his immediate approval for Sanskar’s love. Everything was just because he had killed my brother, Sanskar thought. His rage was at its peak. As he rose to go down, Adarsh came up to join them for the party.
He was shocked to see Sanskar’s face. He was panting heavily. Adarsh sensed something was wrong.
“Sanskar”, Adarsh called slowly.
“You monster; you killed my brother”, Sanskar shouted.
Adarsh saw Suresh and Bharath. He could guess it should have been Suresh, who had revealed to Sanskar about this.
“I was wrong. I am sorry. I am ready to take any punishment from you. But please don’t punish my sister for this”, Adarsh begged.
“Sorry? A single word would suffice, right? It was a meagre loss. You don’t even have to tell a sorry”, Sanskar sarcastic voice hardened as he gritted his teeth.
“Please don’t stop the wedding. I cannot answer my parents. Please don’t let my sister know about this.” Adarsh pleaded.
“Don’t worry. Stopping the wedding would involve my parents too. I do not want to give them any other major blow in their life. We have had enough. This wedding will happen. Your sister will pay for your folly.”, Sanskar spat the words . “I was not concerned about my brother. Probably I took his demise lightly. Hence I did not show interest in investigating further. If though I had, I would have identified what had happened to him, much earlier. I am going to marry and punish myself for my silliness.”, Sanskar continued as he descended the stairs.
It was only Swara who had been smiling all through her wedding. Through her corner of her eyes, she did not miss to notice Sanskar. He was just staring at the consecrated fire that was burning for the wedding ritual. Though he stared at the bright fire, he visualized his life darkening.
Chapter – 14
Sanskar was still staring at the curtains as he narrated his horrifying past. Manik sat on the couch with his hand on his head.
“As I promised, I have narra…”, as Sanskar spoke, Manik interuppted.
“You have made the worst decision. You have been punishing the wrong person.”, Manik uttered.
“I know. I have been chastising Swara for Adarsh’s insanity. But my personal life is at stake too.”, scoffed Sanskar.
“Even if you had punished Adarsh, you would still be wrong. It was not at all Adarsh’s folly the other day.” , Manik expressed in dismay.
“What?”, Sanskar turned towards Manik.
“Just a sec”, Manik excused himself, as he searched for something in his bag. He took out a chip. It looked like a memory card. He inserted the same in his mobile. He played a video.
“So, the prince is alone in the bus today. Where is your escort? Your brother will learn some good lessons today.”, Suresh scorned at Lakshh.
“Hey dude. We might get into trouble.”, Bharath pulled him back.
“His dear brother needs a lesson. He cannot ditch me just because he got new friends.”, Suresh gritted his teeth.
“Hey, Adarsh is coming.”, signalled Bharath.”Let him come.”, Suresh turned towards Lakshh again. Adarsh took his seat beside Lakshh.
“Hey, bro.” he patted him on his shoulders.
“They are ragging me” , Lakshh complained helplessly to Adarsh.
“Hey, That is your brother’s bestie, Suresh, he wont harm you.”, Adarsh assured.
“Bestie?, yeah really”, Suresh rose from his seat. He walked towards Lakshh “Come on. Entertain us with a pole dance. Come on”, demanded Suresh.
Bus had started to move now. Sanskar could sense it because the video was shaky.
“No, he won’t”, Adarsh stopped Suresh. Suresh was furious.
“Mind your own business.” , Suresh snubbed Adarsh.
“Get, up. Dance”, exhorted Suresh. Lakshh obeyed timidly.
Adarsh too rose from his seat, blocking Suresh’s way towards Lakshh. Sanskar now could hear the Bus driver’s voice, asking the students to sit, though Sanskar could not see him in the video.
There was a sudden screeching of the wheels, Adarsh who was standing in front of Lakshh, confronting Suresh lost his balance. He fell on Lakshh. Lakshh, who was now almost near the bus entrance, tripped and descended rapidly backwards through the bus steps. As the situation panicked, Sanskar could sense that the phone in which the video was being recorded was dropped. “Hey guys”, Sanskar could hear Manik’s voice for the first time.
“Anna, stop the bus”, he could still hear Manik’s voice. Now Sanskar could hear a lot of voices. He was able to make it out that Lakshh had fallen and the crowd gathered around him.
Manik stopped the video. “I was the memeber of anti-ragging committee. I thought it all started in a normal note, I kept recording just to make sure Suresh’s behaviour was escalated to management.
I safeguarded this memory card with me, just to hand it over to college management. But they closed the case as an accident. I was not able to handle it. Every time I saw the video in my phone, I kept thinking about the poor guy who was ragged. When I saw you in college, after the incident, I tried to tell you the truth. But I was not sure if it would bring back all the remorseful memories for you. I was not sure why, but whenever I tried to discard this, my instincts asked me not to. Now I have things falling in place. I had been keeping it safe just to ensure your love life is restored and your wife is saved.”
Sanskar was agape in incredulity. His body trembled. Swara, the one who showed him just love, unconditional love, had been suffering due to his prejudice. His mind raced. Where was Adarsh now? He did not even bother to think about him. His mind stopped there.
“But..”, he spoke for the first time in the past twenty minutes. Manik was startled by Sanskar’s voice.
“Why did not Adarsh protest when Suresh blamed him during the pre-wedding party?”, asked Sanskar.
“Suresh was astute enough to make Adarsh believe that he was the one who pushed Lakshh. It was where Suresh had been a conniving man. That was how Suresh deceived Adarsh.” Manik almost lost his temper.
“That was how he had deceived me too.”, Sanskar’s eyes were moist. He never knew why tears rolled down. Was it for Lakshh or Swara or Adarsh or for himself, he was not sure.
Swara, what has happened to her?, Sanskar collapsed on the chair.
“Manik, how are you going to treat Swara? Split personality disorder is something that I have just read in fiction novels and have watched it in movies.”, Sanskar spoke helplessly.
“Well, I can explain. As you might be aware, Split personality disorder, is a mental illness, in which a person transforms into the other. The other person is called alter. There might be several reasons for the birth of the alter. The most common reason is the mental pressure. Failure to integrate various aspects of identity, memory and consciousness in a single multidimensional self, causes the birth of the alter. Ragini should be one such form of Swara. They always named themselves in rhyming. Swara, Ragini, hope it makes sense. “ , Manik tried to simplify the medical terms for Sanskar.
Sanskar still threw a skeptical look. Sanskar narrated Manik about the incidents that happened; the official paper incident, jewelry mortgage and of course the confusion with Kamini Aunt’s house.
“But how did you quickly conclude it was Split personality disorder?”, asked Sanskar.
“I saw a woman talking to my mom. She was strange. She did not appear normal, mentally. But when I saw the same woman again in your house, with the most innocent eyes, It rang a bell in my mind. I knew both were same, but still with few differences in body language, expressions. I thought it should be DID.”, Manik justified his quick diagnosis.
“Do not worry. You have had too much for today. Just relax. Please bring Swara to my clinic tomorrow. We shall talk”, assured Manik. As they were speaking, Swara who was now awake slowly opened the door and approached Sanskar. Sanskar looked at her confused and terrified. “Swara does not know anything about Ragini. That is the worst part. Swara is totally unaware that there is an alter within her. So keep yourself calm”, Manik spoke to Sanskar under his breathe.
“Sanskar, what happened to me? Why my left hand wrist is tied with this cloth? And may I know who is this”, she asked pointing to Manik.
“I am Manik; Your neighbor. A doctor too. You fainted due to head ache and hurt your wrist. I have just treated you with an antiseptic injection and head ache tablets. There is nothing to worry. Your husband and I have become good pals.”, spoke Manik, as he smiled at her.
She smiled back, weakly. “Why don’t you both visit my clinic tomorrow? “, invited Manik.
“Sure”, Swara replied as he saw Sanskar. Manik took a leave. Sanskar locked the house. It was almost late in the evening, when Swara felt her stomach was growling. She was tired. She sat on the couch.
Sanskar was not sure whether to talk to her or not. Where would he begin? Could he muster his strength to tell her that he had been wrong all this while? Would he tell her about the strange mental trauma she is been affected by? He was not sure. He toasted few slices of bread for him and Swara. He made sure she ate. She dozed off in the couch. He sat beside her, staring at the dark walls, listening to the chirping of the night birds and insects.
Chapter – 15
Manik’s clinic looked and smelled fresh. It was pristine. He had painted his clinic with mild and soothing colours. Swara was just looking around casually, while Sanskar was biting his nails in anxiety.
Manik came out, a session with one of his patient was over.
“Welcome, Mr and Mrs. Sanskar”, smiled Manik.
Both of them smiled back. Swara’s deep brown eyes, her long lashes and perfectly curved eye brow were impeccable against her fair skin. Her eyes expressed so many emotions.
“Manik”, Sanskar called. Sanskar’s voice startled Manik. Had he been looking at Swara for a long time? He wondered.
“Come in”, Manik ushered them inside. As they walked in, Manik requested Swara to take up the patient’s chair.
“I thought we were invited on a friendly note. Are we here for any treatment”, asked Swara.
Manik smiled. “No no, It is of course a friendly invite. This is all just to make your husband more convivial.” smiled Manik. “Only if I could talk to you, I will be able to find why your husband is always grim. You have to help Me.”, Manik continued.
“If it is for Sanskar, then I will do anything, doctor.” , Swara words came out in a jiffy.
“You can call me Manik”, he smiled.
“Sure, Manik”, Swara assured as she took her seat.
Manik pushed back the seat. “Make yourself comfortable and relax”, told Manik. Swara sat there and closed her eyes. The serene environment induced an unknown feeling into her.
“Just relax Swara. It is calm and peaceful here. You are completely relaxing. After this your eyelids may feel heavy. But I will help you with it. Just relax”, Manik tried to hypnotize Swara.
There was complete silence. Swara did not move. But her eyeballs did. It was a rapid movement of her eyeballs. Then it slowly stopped.
Manik signalled Sanskar that she was getting into her sub conscious state.
“Swara”, Manik called slowly.
“Sanskar? Sanskar? Are you calling me? Are you looking out for me? I will do anything for you Sanskar. But just say I love you. Just say I love you Sanskar”, Swara started crying. Her voice broke. Sanskar woke up from his chair in panic. Manik asked him to sit.
He noted something on a paper.
“Swara. I am Manik. Your doctor.”, Manik spoke soft yet strong.
Her facial expressions calmed down. Manik could sense it.
“Swara, just now you have been crying, asking your Husband Sanskar to tell you, that he loves you.
So he does not tell that often?”
“Since our wedding he had never been telling it or showing it” , Swara answered , still her eyes closed.
“You know why?”, asked Manik.
“No Manik, I am not aware. That is the one, which stresses me a lot. It is very difficult being punished without knowing what the folly was.”, Tears rolled down her cheeks.
Sanskar’s eyes were moist too.
“You had any clue why does he not love you?”
“Manik, he still loves me. His love for me is immortal. Just that he is not expressing now.” Manik smiled to himself. He noted something.
“Ok, Sorry Swara. You have any clue why he stopped expressing?”
“No Manik. That is what is killing me inside. There should be something in me which he found after wedding. Hence he stopped expressing. I am really not aware what in me made him hate me or at least made him express his hatred. This mere thought gives me a lot of pressure inside my head.”
Swara held her head. Her eyes were still closed.
“Ok Swara, what happens then?”
“It gives me immense sorrow. I start thinking about the happy moments we shared, like my marriage album or any lovely conversation we had.”
“And then, and then I again start thinking what went wrong. My head starts aching.”
“What do you do?”
“I really don’t know. I repeatedly think that it was just because of me; Sanskar had stopped expressing his love. “
“I don’t know. I would be helpless. I did not have any one to help me. Everyone around me just accused me. They asked me to work on my short coming and conquer my Husband’s love back. I, myself did not what my folly was. How could I correct it, when I do not know what was wrong in the first place? I would be helpless.”, Swara starting weeping. Tears started running down.
“I don’t know. I really don’t know.”, Swara continued to cry helplessly. She closed her face with her hands and continued to cry. Sanskar tried to get up, as if he urged himself to console Swara.
Manik signalled him to stay calm and sit on his chair.
After few minutes, Swara slowly took her hands off her face. She dried her tears with her hands. Sanskar and Manik witnessed her facial expressions change. She opened her eyes and looked directly into Manik. Sanskar froze. He could not believe his own eyes. Swara’s eyes showed a new tint of glitter. With the same facial features, just with the complete transformation of her expressions, she looked like a new person.
“And then , what Doctor? What do you really want to know?, she demanded. The innocent and timid talk was now gone. She showed a lot of attitude and behaved with an air of ego around.
“Swara”, Manik called slowly.
“Stop it Doctor. That stupid lame dog, Swara is lying down, succumbing herself to all your spell.”, Swara pointed to the empty chair.” I am Ragini. The beautiful, modern, bold and of course that lovable woman my Sanskar wants.” , replied Swara. Her alter, Ragini had taken over now.
Sanskar was shocked. He tried to swallow. He suffered a lump in his throat. He could not believe his own eyes.
“So you are Ragini?”, asked Manik.
“Yes”, she replied as she slowly pulled a strand of her hair and started curling it with her left hand fingers.
She mumbled a hindi song.
Her body language was completely transformed. Sanskar was witnessing how his innocent Swara had now transformed into a bold woman.
“You like hindi songs?”, inquired Manik.
“Yes, Of course. That is because I was born in Delhi”
“Oh I see. Ragini, can you elaborate on that?” , asked Manik. He was now slowly trying to bring out Ragini fully.
“It was in New Delhi. Six months back”, smiled Ragini.
“Can you please tell me how did it happen?”
“My love Sanskar, took that lame dog with him and went to visit his sister, Uttara.”, Ragini explained as if Swara was a different person. “Sanskar’s parents and Swara’s parents had come too. It was a fine evening; Sanskar’s sister started the talk. She kept forcing Swara to tell what was wrong between them. She kept asking repeatedly. This insane woman did not have anything to answer. She started crying helplessly. She cried until she was tired. The parents accused her for crying. They stopped the conversation, assuming it was useless to proceed. Swara did not reveal about Sanskar’s disinterest in her. She kept quiet and took all the blame. That night she wept horribly. She felt she had nowhere to go. She decided to kill herself. That imbecile woman did not even know how to kill herself. She slowly slipped into the washroom, filled the bath tub with water and tried to dunk her head. She suffered for breathing. She gasped for air. She struggled for a moment between life and death. It was when I was born. Something in this Swara made him hate her. I thought I should be an all-new woman. I decided to mould myself into a form, which would be loved by Sanskar completely compared to much he hates Swara. If Sanskar’s entire liking took a form, it should be me, I thought. That is how I started working on myself and that is how I am till now”, Ragini took a long pause following her prolonged talk.
Manik started noting so many things.
“Do you like Swara?”
“I hate her. Listen doctor; do not talk about that female to me. She is now standing as a hurdle in between me and Sanskar. I hate her. I want to kill her.” shouted Ragini. She pointed to a marble flower vase. “I would smash it on her head and kill her”, Ragini was shouting on top of her lungs. She was panting heavily. She was out of control. Manik sensed the situation was going obstreperous.
“Swara, Swara”, he shook her. There was no response.
“Swara”, Manik shook her hard.
Swara’s facial expressions changed again. She was slowly transformed into her own self. She fell back on the chair. Manik injected something on her hand. He signalled Sanskar to get up and come out.
Sanskar was terrified. Manik could sense it from his face.
“Sanskar, from this initial session, all that I could make out was, Swara was subjected to depression of not knowing what in her made you hate her so much. The depression has resulted in birth of Ragini, Swara’s alter. In order to eradicate the alter completely from Swara, you have to make Swara believe that the reason for the outcome of Alter does not exist and will not re-appear in future. Ragini could be completely removed from Swara’s imagination only if the need of Ragini does not exist in Swara’s real life. When the reason for the Alter’s appearance does not exist, eventually the Alter will leave.”
“In any DID treatment, the toughest part is to identify what caused the birth of alter. In our case, we have achieved the breakthrough right in the first session. It is now completely in your hands. The reason behind Ragini’s birth was…”, as Manik spoke, Sanskar started to speak.
“The reason behind Ragini’s birth was, Swara imagined that she is the reason behind my hatred towards her. “
“Exactly”, Manik acknowledged.
“Now it is your turn to eradicate the need of Ragini, which will happen only if Swara gets the confidence in her conscience that you will love Swara , with her own self, with her own pros and cons. Ragini’s need inside Swara’s mind and body will vanish only if you strongly convey to Swara that there could be no one else whom you will love.”, advised Manik.
“Manik, will my Swara be cured? Will I get my Swara back?”, asked Sanskar.
“Well, that is in your hands.” , replied Manik. Manik could sense the change in Sanskar. There was an urge in Sanskar to cure Swara. There was an urge in Sanskar to apologize to Swara. Above all, there was an urge in Sanskar to love his Swara all over again. It is a good sign, Manik thought.
“Sanskar, but it is not over. We have just known who Ragini is. There are still so many questions to be answered. Please bring her tomorrow too. We will have a session again.” , Manik reminded Sanskar.
“You are blessed”, Manik said, as he scrolled through his notes.
“In her sub conscious state, according to her, no other man exists, other than her Sanskar. What a pure and deep love!”, exclaimed Manik.
Sanskar hung his head. He had not been worth of it until now. I will love my Swara , not just the way I loved her before, even more than that. I will cure my Swara. I will love her like no one has ever loved anyone else before, Sanskar thought.
Manik sensed some movements in Swara. He slowly walked towards her. She slowly opened her eyes. She was tired. Sanskar followed Manik.
“Sanskar!”, she called out.
Sanskar helped her to get off her chair. He held her arm tight and helped her walk. Swara looked at Sanskar for a moment. Swara’s eyes, in spite of undergoing all those, conveyed so much grace and love. Her closeness reminded him of their first meet. This was how he helped her out of the park after hitting her. “Is this event signalling him some goodness that he is going to start his love all over again?” thought Sanskar.
Manik waved them a good bye as he saw them getting into their car. Being a psychiatrist, he almost dealt with most concealed parts of patients ‘personal life. But he was clear that he should not relate to them more than what he actually should. Manik thought that the same could not be applied to Swara. There was something in her eyes.
Credit to: Suhasini K