Chapter 6 [Smile]
Sometimes, it’s just you, leading the way for the others, holding out a lantern for all those who could be in your shoes.
General P. O. V.
Aditi tried to get up but her boughs weren’t in her favour. She lied on the bed like a comatose figure. Her room was filled with her sniffles and moans and the bedsheet was soaked in her tears. She heard the purr of her father’s car, indicating his departure. Seconds turned into minutes and minutes seemed to be turning into hours, when she was finally able to move her limbs and stand on her feet.
Siddarth watched him leave. He saw her trying to get up. He saw tears flooding her eyes. He heard her cries and sniffles which resonated outside her room too. He had an internal battle debating to go inside or not. But knowing her, he realized she wouldn’t want anyone to see her like this. Susceptible. Weak. Helpless and defenceless. So he went downstairs instead, giving her, her own time to heal partially. He had to be insensitive.
Aarti cried covering her face in the pillow. She clenched the bedsheets and bit the insides of her cheeks to lessen the pain which constricted her heart. But nothing helped her. How could anything lessen her pain when her only daughter was pushed into hell facing punishments which would never be justified?
She was a widow and her husband died during early years of their marriage. Theirs’ was a love marriage and it was her true love for her dead husband which never let her remarry. As fate would have it, she wasn’t blessed with a child in the course of her married life. She was alone and hopeless when Aditi’s family had shifted here five years ago.
She had instantly liked Aditi. The girl remained in seclusion and answered questions in monosyllables. Her smile, a billion dollar one, was rare and diminished. It was clear that she was broken, but her own mother seemed to be unconscious about her daughter’s state. The first time she heard cries and shrieks, she was baffled to find that the girl was a victim of child abuse. But what intrigued her more was the girl’s indifference towards herself. She wondered how long it was going on. When she confronted the little girl, her reply left her heart staggering a thousand times. The girl was hell bent on not losing this secret of hers to anyone else. Not even to her mother. Even after having numerous scars and cuts hurting her whole body, she didn’t hear a single word against the man who put her through all of it.
The little girl, as she appeared wasn’t little at all. She was a young beautiful lady who had the heart of a diamond mine silently bearing her own quarrying and the consequent loss of her own little precious diamonds to the ungrateful miners who left her alone with her wounds wide open after taking away all of her.
The little girl made Aarti promise her that her secret would be safe with Her. Aarti had reluctantly promised her back then due to the little girl’s persuasions and insistence. But now, her own promise was sucking life out of her.
Siddarth silently and slowly treaded towards Aarti’s room to tell her what he saw. When he entered her room, he saw her crying miserably clutching the bedsheets and her face was contorted in the pillow.
That wasn’t what he wanted to have a glimpse of. His aunt hadn’t even cried when uncle died. She had bottled up her emotions and acted strong. But today she was crying.
It was all due to that boozy bastard. He had been hurting Adi and consequently his aunt too.
He didn’t like it a bit.
He went inside and tried his best to console his aunt. Sensing his presence, Aarti lowered her cries to muffles but when he came and hugged her, her heart leapt and she broke into tears again.
“I peeped in through the window.” He told her truthfully not knowing what else to say.
Aarti cried more seeing that now there was someone else too who knew Aditi’s secret.
“I promised her I won’t tell anybody and this promise…”
“Is killing you now.” He concluded it for her.
“Will you help her? Will you protect her for me? Will you prevent her from going into abyss of blackness and emptiness? Tell me you will. Please Siddarth. Save my daughter.” Aarti asked going desperate.
Siddarth was worried seeing her restlessness which would soon turn into madness. He couldn’t let her become mentally depressed.
“Promise me Siddarth, that you will protect her no matter what.” She asked frantically getting anxious and traumatic all over.
Aarti wasn’t in her senses right now. She didn’t gather the significance of the words she said and the promises she asked for.
She didn’t need to ask for the promise. He was certainly going to protect and help her out. He wasn’t much bad of a person to stay mum seeing injustice leashed upon someone. And Aditi wasn’t someone. For some reason, she meant a lot to Piyush. And if Piyush was so protective of her, then there was nothing left to doubt about the preparation his brain was doing to fulfil his responsibility and prove his loyalty to their friendship.
There wasn’t any need of a promise. But seeing Aarti harrowing helplessly for Aditi, he gave in.
“I promise, Aunt.”
He didn’t even have a cue of what he just pushed himself into. Let alone being aware of the fact that promises are made to be broken. And the day, he wouldn’t comply with his words was getting ready to ricochet at him when he least expected.
“Promise me Siddarth, that you will keep your promise forever.” She asked again, her words several notches calm, proving the fact that she was dead serious.
A sudden constriction in his heart told him not to go for it. Not to promise something he wouldn’t be able to do. He wouldn’t be able to protect Aditi forever even if he wanted to.
But he being he, the greatest manipulator, manoeuvred his own heart in his favour, convincing himself that he would be true to his words, come what may.
“I promise, aunt.” He repeated his own words.
Somewhere in the other world, angels and elves laughed heartily at his foolishness. Apparently humans still continued with their habit of suppressing the voices of their very own hearts. But seemed like more recently, children & teenagers too had learnt shrewd manipulating skills. And he was no exception. The little elves set off, chuckling amongst themselves, preparing for the day, when he wouldn’t turn true to his words. The day, when his actions would betray his words.
And the angels were no less. They too joked about his little empty promises and his cluelessness about them. He hadn’t realized the intensity of the words his aunt said and to which he agreed to.
After getting some energy, Aditi went up on the terrace. Light breeze grazed her skin and rejuvenated a part of her while the other part subconsciously took her at one end of the terrace. She looked around and saw trees and shrubs shining under the moonlight.
She let tears flow and sat down leaning against the boundary wall. She pulled herself together and pushed her head into her knees sobbing all the time. She cried and cried until she seemed to be at a loss of tears.
After some time, the door of the terrace creaked and sound of footsteps fell into her ears.
Siddarth opened the door and stepped outside. He was going to search the terrace for her but her own voice gave her location. Her voice was weak and feeble. Her sniffles could be easily heard.
“Piss off, Raina.” She said without glancing at him. She knew that it was him without even looking at the door. Aarti aunty wouldn’t come upstairs as she knew that Aditi needed her own time and that too alone.
She wiped her tears hastily so that he couldn’t see them or she would the news of the weekend.
“Hello to you too, Miss.” he said, ignoring her crude comment.
Aditi groaned. Couldn’t he understand?
She didn’t reply, ’cause she didn’t feel the need to.
“Giving me the cold shoulder now?” he teased when she didn’t reply. He knew he was treading on a dangerous territory, but he had to do this. She needed someone and he would gladly offer his friendship.
She didn’t say a word. He thought of ways to get her talking. He had to get her angry so that she blurted out everything which was frustrating her.
“So you and Piyush. Huh?” be asked referring to the party.
She didn’t reply. He sighed and sat down near her. His action made her look at him. She snorted realizing he wouldn’t budge.
He debated whether or not to say what he was gonna say. He had to get on her nerves. Nothing else could get her talking.
He made her look at him. When she did, he went down, breaking internally seeing her so vulnerable. He wiped the tears flowing down her lashes. She kept staring at him. Like he was some foreign element. An alien.
Aditi couldn’t comprehend what was going on. A few minutes ago, she was being throttled to death by her own father and now here she was, on the terrace with him wiping her tears, looking at her with such an intensity that meant only one thing. He knew and he cared. But how? Did Aarti aunty..? But she had promised her and she wouldn’t break her promise.
She didn’t utter a single word. Instead she let those traitors do their work. Tears slid down her cheeks and he pulled her in for a hug, soothing her. Her heart clenched and her breathing laboured. Traitors.
He kept caressing her and she went on crying. It was the first time, she had a shoulder to lean on to. Someone to hold her when she broke down. Even though it was temporary, even if it was fake, she was getting the care and affection she craved for.
She had stopped crying. But he didn’t let her go. Instead he kept her close. To soothe her. To protect her. And to keep his promise.
Excuses. His heart sneered. The promise was just an excuse. The truth was, he didn’t want her away from him. There seemed to be something familiar about her. But he didn’t know what.
“Hey, I am here, with you.” he soothed as it seemed to be the only appropriate thing to do and say.
‘He doesn’t mean it.’ Her brain chided when she went limp over his words. ‘He is just trying to get you on the road and then, he is gonna push you towards the speeding truck.’
‘No, he won’t do such a thing.’ her heart defended him.
“Adi…” he trailed off unsure of what turmoil his words would cause her.
“Hmm.” she replied still trying to interpret the whole situation. As much as she liked this temporary affection, she didn’t want to be the talk of the town, or say, school.
“I saw him….” he stopped when her eyes snapped to his. There was so much in those eyes, that he could sit in front of her all day long trying to decipher her. He cringed. Lately, he had been having cheesy and sappy thoughts.
Her breathing quickened. She had realized that he knew about it but he was confessing it in front of her.
“No…” she retaliated.
“You gotta keep up for a few minutes.” He said concentrating on aiding her wounds.
It was too hard to bring her down and then to get her to agree over first aid. She was as stubborn as a mule.
He then turned her head around to have a better look at her neck. The blood had dried but the cuts were open.
That bastard. He was a witch. Long nails. Boozy. Mad.
“This is gonna sting.” He said turning her around once again.
“Hey.” She protested at his rough manhandling.
“Be still.” He ordered dabbing her wound with the antiseptic.
“Shithead.” He cursed when he saw that the cut was deeper than he thought.
“What?” She asked quizzically.
“Nothing.” He grunted disinterested and cleaned the other cuts.
Aditi kept still. Although the ‘septic stung, but it was nothing compared to what she felt when he lunged for her throat.
What hurt the most was the fact that he didn’t consider her his daughter. Was she too bad of a daughter? Was she too inauspicious as he had once accused?
She seemed to be lost in her world, so he shook her a little bringing her back to the present.
“It’s done. You should rest now.” He said.
“You too should.” She said.
He nodded and took her leave. Standing at the door, he said, “Take care, Aditi.”
Before lying on the bed, she made a mental list of the things she might need in the night.
She saw the water bottle lying on the bedside table.
It was there near the bottle. Check.
Something sweet to eat.
She went towards her kitchen and took a chocolate from the refrigerator. Coming into her room, she kept it on the table near the water bottle.
It must be somewhere. She thought. Yeah. It was in the front pocket of her jeans. Fumbling through her pocket, she found it and kept it under her pillow.
She then opened her closet to take out her nightclothes. Going into the washroom, she took a relaxing shower, being careful not to wet her wounds.
After changing into her nightclothes, she went inside her room.
Taking a quick look around to see if everything was alright, she closed the door and made her way towards her bed. Dad wasn’t here. So there was no need to bolt the door.
Sighing, she lied down on the bed. Closing her eyes, she tried not to think about the happenings of the day. She should be accustomed to it by now. She should be indifferent. Unaffected. Uncaring. Ignorant. Yet she was nothing but the opposite. She still couldn’t, for God’s sake, acknowledge the fact that her own father thrashed her.
The sudden creaking of the door made her sit upright. Then walked in the king himself through her door. “I was just checking on you.” He said.
“Okay.” She drawled unsure.
“Call aunt or me if you need something. I am in the room across yours.” He said scratching the back of his head.
“Okay” she said thinking about it.
Nodding, he turned around and closed the door without a second glance.
She lied down again. This time determined to fall asleep.
It was black and eerie all around. Darkness loomed over her trying to engulf her. There was nothing around. It seemed if it was blank everywhere. No noise. No sight. No smell. Nothing. She strained her ears and tried to open her eyes for it seemed to be the only way to not fall into the dark.
Laughter filled her ears. The sweet smell of roses and lilies flared her nostrils. Opening her eyes, she saw that she was in a garden. Roses and lilies danced happily around her seemingly unaware of the dark she would be engulfed into otherwise.
The sweet laughter rang into her ears again. She turned around searching for the source of such a melodic voice.
The answer she got for her query was the smiling faces of two boys and a girl, all of them, about four or five years of age. The boy with a blue shirt and black trousers suddenly hugged the girl. The other boy, who was wearing a black shirt along with blue jeans scowled and the little girl giggled in the arms of the boy. Seeing her, the other boy wiped his scowl and gave her a beautiful smile. Then, he too hugged the other two, all of them now laughing cutely.
She felt the corners of her lips turning into a smile.
Someone called the boy and he turned around into the other direction. She tried hearing his name, but to no avail.
But the boy heard his name being called and darted towards the sound.
Turning around she saw three ladies sitting under a tree, a short distance away from the kids. They were talking among themselves. And once in while they kept glancing at the kids.
Must be the mothers. She thought. But she couldn’t make out the faces of the ladies. And the kids. Seemed like she had seen them somewhere. But where?
The lady called the boy again.
She turned around to look at the boy standing a feet away from her. He suddenly started running towards the lady.
She gasped as realization struck her hard. She tried to catch him but her hands passed through his body. Nonsense. She shouted asking him to stop and the next moment he slipped and fell bruising his knees and elbows badly.
The ladies and the other boy and girl came running.
She stood transfixed cursing herself for being unable to catch the little boy.
The little boy and girl were both crying now.
“Why are you crying?” The boy asked the girl as his mother helped him stand.
“You are hurt.” The girl replied.
The boy wiped his tears with the sleeve of his shirt. “Brave kids don’t cry. They smile and help others. Mom told me. Right mom?” He asked his mother. The lady, whose face was still blurred, smiled through her tears and turning towards the little girl, she said, “Yes. And brave kids don’t lose hope.”
She gasped seeing the uncanny resemblance between her and the little girl. Was she the little girl?
The mother then hugged the boy and lifted him up in his arms. The little girl who had held the boy’s hand till now, felt his hand slipping through hers. The boy sensed it too, for he smiled sadly and said something.
The other boy hugged the girl as the mother son duo and another lady with a blurred face, hurried their way towards their car. Another lady came, and took the two kids with her.
She walked towards the lady wanting to apologise for not being able to save the boy in spite of being so close to him. She tapped the lady’s shoulder.
But the lady ignored her and pushed the kids into the back seat buckling them up. And then she herself went towards the front and started the car.
She knocked the car’s window. But the lady ignored her yet again and drove away.
She started running after the car. Stumbling after a few steps, she fell down and finally the sounds faded and darkness engulfed her.
She jolted upright from her sleep. Grabbing the bottle, she gulped down the water, trying to calm her nerves. Closing her eyes, she tried to tame her racing heart.
Keeping the bottle on the table, she picked the inhaler and placed its tip into her mouth. Pressing the small pressurised bottle, she stopped her breath. Then after a second or two, she inhaled through her mouth. Taking the inhaler out of her mouth, she breathed out. No help.
She tried again, this time pressing the bottle twice.
“Not more than two doses at a time.” The doctor had warned.
Right now, she didn’t care. Taking it out yet again, she breathed out more calmly now.
Repeating the whole process twice again, she continually told herself, “Just this once.”
It didn’t matter what the doc’ had said. She needed it. Those doses. She knew she was forbidden to take more than two at a time, but this time she had to take them. There was no other way out.
Closing the inhaler finally, she searched for her mobile under the pillow.
Switching it on, she checked the time. 4:37 a.m. She sighed realizing this dream would never leave her.
Dream? Or nightmare?
None of them. It was her past which haunted her during those nights she was pained.
She closed her eyes falling into a spell hearing his voice and seeing his beautiful face.
“I will be back. So, Smile through everything. I will be there with you always. Take care, princess.” He said smiling sadly before his eyes drooped and he fell unconscious.
She smiled bitterly thinking about the two boys. None of them were here. Both of them had made promises and yet none of them cared. The proof was her loneliness. The fact that she didn’t have a shoulder to lean onto during her worst times. The proof was her heart which raced rapidly at the thought of being alone with her own father and being unable to share it with anyone else. The proof was those mean stares of guys and girls at her school. The proof were the fresh tears streaming down her face.
“Why ain’t you here?” She yelled uncontrollably. Everything was a mess. Her life was an utter, untangle-able mess. An unsolvable problem. A misery. A pitiable excuse.
And she was tired. Frustrated. Broken. Alone. Hurt. Exasperated.
Aarti cried. Again. She was not well. Her daughter was not well. She was hurting. And she was unable to do anything.
Siddarth jerked up from his light sleep. Someone shouted.
“I hate you. Both of you.” Aditi yelled again. It pained not being able to confide. Not being able to have someone to share yourself with. It pained keeping it all with our own self.
Siddarth froze. Aditi. She was shouting. He got up quickly and ran towards her room. Standing at her door, he thought of knocking.
“Why did you not come back? None of you? Why?” Aditi sobbed.
All mannerism flew out of his head hearing her sobs. Pushing open her door, he walked in.
Sitting at the edge of the bed, she had her face buried into her knees while her sobs filled her room.
“f**k.” He cursed.
How r u?
I am back from the dead. Unfortunately.
Summer has come and passed
The innocent can never last.
Wake me up when September ends.
Like my father’s come to pass
Seven years has gone so fast.
Wake me up when September ends.
Here comes the rain again
Falling from the stars.
Drenched in my pain again
Becoming who we are.
As my memory rests
But forgets what I ask.
Wake me up when September ends.
Isn’t is beautiful?
Wake me up when September ends by Green Day?
Missed ya all.
Be brave. Kind. Caring. Loving. Understanding. Stand up for yourself and for the weak too.
Show them you care. Lend a hand. Pass a smile. Make a joke. Treat them. Give your all.
Hundreds out there, maybe more than that, are facing loneliness. Feeling lost. Empty.
Guide them. Be the one. Have a big heart.
Drag them out of darkness. Out of their hurtful world. Pull them outta their depression.
Smile. And make others smile too.
When times were tough and everything seemed to be a harder stuff.
You were the torch bearer, you were the one for me.
Here’s something from FOL
Sam was getting restless with each passing moment. She was going to get married in a day. Today was the prenuptial ritual. She was waiting for Arjun or Radhika to come.
A swarm of something undescribable passed through her body leaving her in a frenzy.
It shook her to the core and her heart went running up and down haphazardly.
She leaned on the window turning to nature for immediate rescue from the weird sensation electrifying her. Sighing heavily she closed her eyes inhaling a deep breath.
Next is friendship or love. Pakka wala promise.
But after September. Maybe mid October. Or during Dusshera holidays.
Have my exams starting tomorrow. Gotta study and score.
Shutting up now.
Until next time.
Love ya all. <3 <3 <3 <3 <3