Friday, 1 December 2017

I don't believe in God, Heaven or Hell but I believe in a lot more. I believe in love, kindness, compassion, friendship and hard work!  I believe in companionship! I believe in people and smiles and hugs to keep warm. I don't believe in changing myself or hiding my feelings for someone else's benefit. I believe that I need to be truthful to myself. In that I believe I should be responsible for my own happiness! I believe in patience but in that I can't be patient forever. I believe in mom and dad! They're the people who think about you first before themselves, selfless and they deserve everything you got to give them, in terms of love, hugs, kindness, patience and most of all your friendship! 

Saturday, 20 April 2013

The rainbow continues to be!

"Are you happy with everything that's happening or are you just going along with it because that's what everyone else wants?" asked Meera. She was waiting for his response and she knew she wasn't going to get any. She added, " So you're not going to say anything, as always?". To that she got a response from him that he didn't know what to say. She wondered out loud as to how difficult it was for someone to just say if they were happy or NOT happy? It was typical of Rahul. She had always known what she was getting into but down the road she did realize how difficult things have been for her. She had never felt this intense pain and yet an emptiness with it in her heart. She felt so alone and yet she wasn't. She now felt the hurt and pain which had stopped feeling in a long time. She just wanted to cry out loud but then there was no one to comfort her. She knew she was pretending to be strong when she wasn't. She was a coward now and wanted to run away from everything.

It was terrible to love someone and not know what that person is thinking or feeling. She thought she could handle it but as the days are nearing in, she felt that sudden pang of panic. What if this was how her life was going to be? What if life doesn't get anymore interesting? What if he loses interest in her? He hasn't always been the appreciative or admiring kind and that was something she knew about him years ago when they first met but these days how she longed for his nod of approval, only she knew.

It was Meera's second day of college and also her birthday. She was glued to her book since she had sat down in her seat and nothing could distract her from it. Except that she did get distracted that day, by her friend Ramya. Ramya couldn't contain her excitement as she looked out of the window and exclaimed, 'oh how cute is that guy?' to which Meera just nodded and glanced outside only to get a glimpse of his back. He had managed to get into their bus and Ramya was giggling all the way. Meera being Meera just ignored it all and got back to her book.

Lunch time, it was time for gossip and wandering about the canteen with her best friends. That particular day Meera hadn't got her lunch from home and she wasn't hungry. So she figured she'd just have a chocolate. She was about to take her first bite when she heard his voice, "Is that your lunch?" and she looked at him. Rahul went on to tell her that he'd noticed her that morning sitting in the bus too engrossed in her book. She just managed a laugh. Her friends were eyeing her from their table as she was walking towards them and noticed that Rahul too was about to join them. She didn't know what to say as she didn't even know his name yet but he saved her from that trouble and introduced himself to everyone at the table and to her too. Today thinking of their first meeting, Meera could still smile about it. What a charmer he was? Little did she know what she was getting into. And this was nearly ten years ago.

Today their parents were planning their wedding while he didn't have anything to say. He wasn't there to share her excitement or plan things with her like every other couple. Things were never normal when it came to them. She was in her balcony, gazing down at the park down the road. She could see people walking in to the park with prams, babies and their dogs. She could also see few old couples walking arm in arm, and few of them on their own, probably sitting there reminiscing their past, missing their better half. She wondered then, if she would end up growing old with Rahul, hand in hand, sitting in a park. She tried to picture it but then reality hit her hard. She couldn't picture it. She could see herself sitting there alone, all old and lonely. She didn't want to end up growing old and alone. She loved Rahul didn't she? She had him.  For today, that was the reality, she had him, he was hers, she told herself.

She thought maybe things will change. She decided to go for a walk. The weather was nice and she'd have loved it if Rahul was there too. She didn't mind being apart from him because it was only for a few months, it gave her some space, to think about things, and most of all, she wanted to get some paintings done. She was in awe of the the place and to this day she'd say this was the most beautiful place she'd ever been to. Yes, she was in France, for a break, She wanted to pursue some art before she started her Doctorate in the UK. She wanted to live life a little. She had had it all sorted except for the wedding part.

She missed him. She missed the old Rahul. He'd changed so much for her, for better. He wasn't the jealous one anymore, but she missed it in him now. All he spoke to her now was about work, and friends. He was excited about his career. He was happy for her too, that she was going places. The old Rahul would never have let her out of his sight. This was what she wanted, for him to be happy for her, let her go where she wanted, do what she wanted. She hadn't liked it when he used to be possessive about her but now, that was what she longed for. The two of them used to have fights if the other didn't say 'Love You' before they hung up on the phone, but not anymore. Rahul was always around, taking her places, getting things done for her, to such an extent that she never had the time for her friends. He didn't want to share her with anyone. That too was not the case anymore. She was the one who fought with him about it. She wanted him to back off. She wanted to spend time with her friends, go places herself, do things that she wanted to do without him hovering around her. One day, he gave her just that. He let her go, although after a fight. He saw very little of her after that day. He backed off. He gave her the space she wanted. He spoke to her when she called him, if she didn't call, he simply waited. He even tried his best to stop her when she told him she wanted to go to the UK to do her Masters, but let her do it as that was what she wanted. All Rahul had tried was to make her happy. He changed for her, because of her and now she wanted his old self back.

She knew what she had done but a little too late. She longed to go back to those days, the bittersweet ones! Meera and Rahul had become quite close friends, travelling in the same College bus, going to the movies with her friends, hanging out in her friend's place. She remembered the first time when she went out with him on his bike. That was probably after just the second week of their first meeting. There was no one to drop her back home after a Prize giving ceremony. Her parents were out of town and none of her friends were available to go with her and the only one who volunteered to do it was Rahul. He offered to pick her up after the ceremony. She felt nervous and awkward. She'd never been out with a guy on a bike other than Gautham, but then she'd known him for a long time and she'd been comfortable with him. Gautham had moved to Delhi for a few months for a training, so now her only option was Rahul. He was prompt to pick her up and she guided him to her house all the way. She was terrified of the traffic and ended up holding him. That was the beginning. After that, he was always around for her, as a friend but how they ended up going out as a couple was another story. Even today, she could think about it all and laugh. How naive they had been. If only she could go back in time, she would stop herself from changing him.

Meera then looked at the time on her watch and realised she'd been sitting on the park bench and gazing at nothingness for more than an hour. It was time to go home and she was pretty sure she'd have missed calls on her phone from her parents. They were very excited for her wedding, they probably had been planning it for a very long time. She didn't want to disappoint anyone or hurt anyone. She knew it was a big deal for everyone. Perhaps tomorrow she'd feel happy, it could be a brand new day just like how she hoped that Rahul wouldn't be as insensitive as he was now. She hoped he'd join in and be happy for them- together. Meera could never have prepared herself for whatever happened but then she was a strong one- the golden eyed rapunzel!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

The other side of the Rainbow!

It was a  bright and sunny June morning in Chennai and it took a great deal of effort for Gautam to get off his cozy bed. He begged and pleaded with his mom, he faked a tummy ache too, but could not escape the wrath of his mother or from going to school. He just couldn't get over his summer holiday mood. He had so much of fun that the very thought of going back to his dull boring school made him feel sick. He thought to himself what he should look forward to, just like any 11 year old boy and then it came to him that at least his friends would still be there with him, they would have their sports session at school and thus it could be a fun day after all. What he didn't think of, was that there were going to be a few new students as well, which meant the start of new friendships, new experiences and for some, love at first sight!

With no other choice, Gautam left for school with his dad driving him and his elder sister Arthi, in their car. His school wasn't too far from home, in KK Nagar, because he usually walks back home with his neighboring kids and his father dropped him at school only in the mornings just to avoid him being late for the school prayer. Today was just like any other day except that his father saw someone at the school gate and decided to get off the car. Mr. Kumar, Gautam's dad was a bank manager in a renowned bank in the area and knew a lot of people, which was to Gautam's disadvantage. Today, he was walking towards the gate towards another middle aged man and introduced himself to him. Then they started talking as though they were good friends. Well, it so happened that they knew each other. Mr. Kishore, and his family had recently moved to KK Nagar from T.Nagar and apparently he opened his new bank account at Mr. Kumar's bank branch and today he had come to leave his daughter at school. Gautam let the two adults talk as he crept in through the side gate and joined the prayer assembly which was unusually long.

Once settled in the class room, they were all introduced to the new students and classes went on as usual. Gautam  was just looking forward to the sports session when he would get to play Volleyball or cricket, with his friends but as luck would have it, it was in the very last hour that he got to see the play ground. He loved the smell of sand, the dirt, the dusty stench of the volleyball and everything about it. He had missed it. He served the last serve and the ball fell near a girl with really long hair plaited to perfection. Gautam, couldn't see her face, but tried shouting 'Hello, Excuse me..can you please pass the ball?' but to no avail. She wouldn't hear him. So he just walked up to her, angry and mad, and yelled 'Hey Rapunzel, can't you hear us shouting? Couldn't you just throw the ball to us?' and then he saw her face, lovely little face, golden brown eyes staring at him in bewilderment. She just mumbled a sorry and told him she was so glued to her story book that she never heard a sound. She told him 'I am sorry. I am new here and my name is Meera'. Gautam was too dumbstruck to say anything else and shook her hand back. She asked him what his name was and he just trotted back to his friends in a haste.

Never before had Gautam felt so shy, so speechless, that too in front of a girl and that was Gautam's and Meera's meet-cute, at least from his side. After that, he couldn't forget her face and that stunned expression that had come with it. He waited for his friends and they were bullying each other, as most friends do while walking home and there she was again, walking ahead of them. He did not bother to introduce himself or speak to her and she was too busy thinking to herself to be bothered to look back or see him and his friends walk behind her. It seemed to him to take ages to reach his house, only to see that she walked into the house  two doors away from his. All he could think was 'Oh..oh no no no...not so close' and walked into his house with a sour face.

The next morning was another thing. He was all set and ready, settled in the car, to go to school and his father was still waiting for someone. To his horror and embarrassment, there she was, the girl with the long hair and golden eyes, whose name he couldn't remember, walking with her father and before he knew it, she was sitting behind him in their car. His father made quick introductions and informed them all, that he would be dropping them both together at school everyday from now on and instructed Gautam that he was to walk Meera home every evening since she was new in the area and they were family friends now on. He was also told that she was in the same class as him but in a different section. Awkward was what it was for him but then Meera was no ordinary girl and she sensed it.

What he learned about Meera from their conversations both at school and walking back home came as no surprise to him. He knew she was studious, loved to read stories, believed in fairy tales, loved her dad like crazy, loved to draw and paint. It seemed strange that she didn't like to play with toys but preferred buying and reading books instead. She seemed talented. She showed off her shields and prizes she had won for her drawings and other quiz competitions which further embarrassed him since he probably had just one or two cups, that too in sports. That was how their friendship began. There was no awkwardness after those initial days and they grew up to be best friends. She even shifted to his same class. Gautam was never close to his sister because she was 7 years elder to him and she had her own circle of friends. So he had more time to play or spend with Meera.

Soon the two grew in to their teens. She had crushes on senior boys, fell in love with some one, had her heart broken and yet would always share it with Gautam. It was like he was her confidante. He never once thought twice about it. He had feelings for her but was always afraid that it would ruin their friendship. Although they lived two doors away, they spent hours talking to each other on the phone. Most importantly she helped him study and set his priorities straight.

10 years after that too, they were thick friends. It was time for Gautam to leave the house to pursue his Master's in Delhi just like his sister Arthi did years ago, while Meera wanted to study abroad either in Australia or London. They however managed to do their Under-graduation in the same state although in different Universities and spend time with each other. They had the most fun ever, and had seen each other through thick and thin. He was her pillar when she fought or had misunderstandings with her girl pals. He made her see sense and remembered that it used to be the other way round when their friendship had just blossomed. He made fun of her, picked on her and yet be there for her, while she always tried to set him up on dates with her friends, which almost always never worked. The subject of 'Love' never was discussed between them unless when, it had other people involved in it. She had, had her share of heart breaks and Gautam always managed to bring her out of that depression, at least until Rahul.

It was during her final year in Undergrad that she met Rahul and there was no looking back. One fight with Rahul and there would be 10 phone calls to Gautam. It was tough for Gautam to see her hurt. On one occasion when Gautam could no longer take it, he confessed that he had always loved her, he would take good care of her, she didn't deserve this and most importantly that he can't see her depressed like this. He argued and tried his best to make her see that Rahul was no good for her. But then, Meera had her own spirit, she loved challenges, she loved to earn things and believed that nothing comes without a price. According to her, if Rahul was jealous, it meant that he loved her too much and doesn't want to lose her, if he suspected her, it meant that he was insecure and if he hurt her, it was only because he loved her. To Gautam, it was nonsense; and that was their first major fight, a fight after which it was difficult to face eachother. They said harsh things that they never actually meant but that was it.

Gautam couldn't bear to stay in Chennai and look at her, and what stopped him before from leaving to Delhi did not stop him anymore. He knew that she would come back to him with a broken heart like before and he could be there for her then. Two years went by quick and there in his hands, was a bright red wedding invitation card. He had completed his Master's, already had a job offer at hand, and from his mother, came to know that Meera was returning from Australia after her Master's to get married to Rahul. That was the invitation he was holding in his hands. After he moved to Delhi, Meera stopped calling him after the initial apologetic calls, just so Rahul doesn't have to worry about losing her to Gautam and curb his jealousy. Gautam on the other hand, took it all as it came. He knew this day would come in their life, the day if Meera rejected his proposal, whenever that was, he was always prepared for it. Although it happened slightly different, he knew it was the end in a way, to their years of friendship. On a leaving note, he however made it clear to her that she could depend on him any time, any day, for any thing and that he would always be there for her....would wait for her. He didn't think she could understand how he felt then or would ever.

He had made sure he wasn't dragged by his family, to Meera's wedding, and today, 3 years after her wedding, he was in London, quite close to where he knew Meera lived. His mother kept him informed of Meera's whereabouts, her life with Rahul, misunderstandings with her parents, her divorce and even the baby. How he yearned to see her! It was his sister, who helped him find Meera. She had a few glimpses of Meera at her daughter's play school but did not bother to go forward and speak to her. She didn't want to make her uncomfortable but instead informed Gautam. She and her mother, had always known about Gautam's feelings for Meera, and their father did have a vague idea about it. It was his mother who kept him posted to-date about the happenings in Meera's life, perhaps because she still had some hopes for them.

There were many a times, when Gautam had almost dialed Meera's number and wanted to speak to her. In his mind, he had gone over and over as to what he'd say to her 'Hello, Meera, How are you? Really sorry about your divorce' or 'Hi Meera, Hope you are doing okay after the divorce', and it just didn't feel right to him to speak to her. He did not want to seem to rub it in her face. He did not want her to feel that he was pitying her or hurt her by even initiating the topic. He remembered those instances while in Delhi, after their big fight, he had typed so many messages to Meera but never actually sent them, for the fear that he'd end up ruining her relationship with Rahul. He only wanted her to be happy.

Today, he was in London, for a project, but he accepted it more so on the prospect of seeing Meera. He wanted to see her, know if she was doing alright, if she was managing alone with her child. He knew Anya was her adopted daughter but never thought twice about being a father to her if given a chance. If only! In pretext of helping his sister, he offered to pick up Preeti from her play school. His sister knew only too well not to object and smiled at him. She wished him luck.

He boarded the bus, sat next to the window, remembering that Meera hated sitting next to the window. He smiled to himself. He knew her routine by now, after following her or rather stalking her, for two days, he practically knew the door number to her flat. He had seen how happy she was, walking and playing with Anya.. He saw her glowing with happiness, although there was a tinge of sadness about her when she sat in the park bench, day dreaming or looking at happy couples. He didn't want to creep up on her or shock her and hence decided it was time for their meeting. He just wanted to know if she was ready yet, ready to let him be a part of her life or even as her old friend. He wasn't sure what he'd say to her if he met her. The bus came to a halt, and there she was, pretty as ever, getting into the same bus and just like their first meeting he wanted to run or disappear, but unfortunately all he could do was duck lower maintaining a low profile. He decided to get off one stop before her so he could be there at the play school before her and so he did.

He met his eagerly awaiting niece Preeti, who was full of energy and chatting away with her friend, Anya. He had seen Anya enough times now to know who she was. He couldn't contain his excitement. Anya could not stop talking as well and soon they made friends with each other. She couldn't stop talking about her mother and he loved it about her, for he knew how her mother was too. Anya turned around when she saw Meera and ran to her, and then they met. It was their first meeting in nearly 5 years and seemed as if nothing had changed and he didn't want to ruin the moment. They made small talk about Gautam, when Meera wondered if Preeti was his daughter. She seemed happy to know about his progress in life and was excited to know that Arthi and her family were in London too. He also hinted to her that he'd be in London for 6 months and that they should catch up. He didn't know what more to say, for she still had the same effect on him, rendering him speechless and stunned as ever. He managed to give an excuse of taking Preeti to a birthday party that evening, so they had to hurry back home but he promised Meera that he'd see her the next day.

He didn't know what Meera was thinking but he sure knew that he couldn't stop thinking of her and Anya, and before he knew it, it was the next day. He was sure of one thing, that he wouldn't want to hurt her in any way and make things awkward. He wasn't going to profess his love for her there or promise her the world. He was going to ask her one question, and the answer to that, would tell him what he wanted to know, if she was willing to share her sorrows or happiness with him, even as a friend, have him back in her life for better or for worse, for new beginnings or if she was ready at all. So here he was, early again, and felt nice talking to Anya, who was still bragging about her mom who is a doctor. He too was proud of his little golden eyed Rapunzel and knew how far she'd come in life on her own and he didn't want to destroy that pride in her. He was prepared for her answer, knowing only too well, what it would be.

 As soon as he saw her, he grabbed her hands and congratulated her, for completing her doctorate, what she always wanted to do. He told her he was proud of her and she was just silent. He didn't want to miss the moment and asked her,  " So, how is Rahul? Is he still jealous of me, eh? Did you tell him yet that you met me yesterday?". He knew it was selfish and rude of him to ask that but then he also knew that, that was the only way to know. He knew what was coming, because he knew her too well. He managed to hear her say,  "Yes, Rahul is fine and he's still the same and always will be. We better get going now then and I have a lot of work to get done. See you some other time Gautam. Convey my regards to Arthi and your parents too".

That said it all. He knew then,  that she wasn't ready, not even to have him as her friend. She was still broken and only time can heal her and he just didn't know how long it would take for that. And so, Gautam was ready as ever to wait for his little golden eyed Rapunzel to come back into his life, after all, there is nothing wrong in waiting, is there?

Thursday, 9 June 2011

A Broken Rainbow !!!!

"Its a new life", Meera said to herself perhaps for the hundredth time and looked up just in time to see the bus coming her way. She waved for the bus to stop, got in and paid for her ticket. She looked around, trying to find a comfortable spot since she'd always hated sitting right next to the window or next to the wall and in the instances when she'd had to do so she'd felt claustrophobic. Often, people have been glad to sit next to the window and have let her sit in the corner unlike Rahul. Today, she told herself she needs to change her ways and perhaps for the first time willingly sat next to the window. She settled down and looked outside. She liked what she saw. Spring.

She loved the colours of spring and immediately remembered her visits to the park with Rahul soon after they'd moved in together. The sweet scent of flowers, combined with lush green grass around them, their many happy pictures together, it all came back to her, the very things she tried to forget.

The bus halted at the next stop and jerked her back to reality. She looked at her watch and realised she still had an hour to pick Anya up from nursery. She looked out the window again and felt a tingle at the nook of her neck. She didn't like the feeling, the feeling of being watched. She turned around just in time to see a guy in the far back turn away from her. Even from the distance he looked a little familiar but decided not to give him much thought.

It’s been nearly two months since she moved to Surrey, London, with Anya, far from her memories and loved ones; and it was just more than a year after she decided on the adoption of Anya. From day one since she laid her eyes on Anya, she couldn't help but wonder how anyone could ever think of abandoning this beautiful baby, but also couldn't thank them enough for doing so. She knew she was smiling now, thinking of her little girl, her naughty wee devil. She couldn't imagine a life without Anya now, just like how once she couldn't imagine her life without Rahul.

Rahul, he was something. Just thinking of his name brought back memories she had been trying to run from. The many late nights she had cried herself to sleep, fear of his anger, his rudeness and sarcasm, everything came back to her. She didn't have many memories of him showering her with love and affection after they started their life together. It was true, their honeymoon period was over before they even began their life together. She'd often wished things could go back to when it all started, the good times before they started living together. Those were the times she still cherished.

Rahul was her best guy-friend who she loved very much. She had known what she was getting into and wished many times later that she needn't have been such a brave girl. "Meera, will you marry me?" he had asked on her birthday, the very first year after their friendship escalated to mutual love and she was happy as a clam when she simply said a "Yes!!!”.

"Excuse me dear, are you alright?" came the voice of the old lady seated next to her. She hadn't even realised that someone actually had occupied the seat next to hers, when she was so lost in her thoughts. Meera struggled to get her words out. She simply nodded a 'Yes' to the nice concerned lady, just realising she had tears tricking down her cheeks. She deftly wiped them off and looked at her watch. There was still time enough for her to get down at the next stop and walk around the park towards the nursery to pick up Anya. She thought that would give her enough time to calm down. She could already picture Anya waiting happily with her backpack and big pal who also happened to be the security guard. Yes, she was a very friendly charming little girl.

Meera got ready to get off the bus and thanked the nice lady for her concern. The nice lady replied, "He doesn't deserve you honey! You'll find someone better. You first end up meeting all the wrong ones so you'll know when you have met the right one!". Meera was astounded but she just smiled in answer and got down from the bus.

She was smiling to herself thinking about what the nice strange lady had told her. She had indeed met a few right ones, those who loved her dearly, showered her with all the affection and were ready to do anything for her. But, Meera, she wasn't interested in the ordinary. She knew she'd have had a comfortable life if she'd chosen any one of them, but there was just one problem, she was never in-love  with any of them. They were all her close friends and she couldn't think of any of them in any other way. She'd had a crush on Rahul since the first day she met him and she hadn't felt like that with any of the others who were crazy about her. There was Gautam, whom she knew since her teenage, her best friend since school. He was crazy and would always try to please her. He'd been her best friend since they were both 14 years old. They'd talk for hours, laugh and play and then, they grew up! She wondered whatever happened to him since she'd lost touch with him after her wedding with Rahul.

Then there was Sidharth, an old friend of hers from college, who she was close to until after she met Rahul. He expressed his feelings for her and she simply said no only because she couldn't think there was anything but a mere crush that he had on her. She'd told him it'll pass and that he'd find someone better than her. She was right. He was still a friend of hers, happily married and with children.

There was also another person she still remembered, Karthik. He even asked for her hand in marriage to her parents, because he was tired of waiting for her to lose interest on Rahul. Karthik knew Meera through a mutual friend and he liked what he saw in her. He was well off and settled in life and just waiting for the right girl to complete the vicious circle when he'd laid eyes on her. He had thought they were perfect for each other but she had other plans, plans to study, go abroad, experience life. He used to send her a text every morning, the first thing after he woke up just to let her know she was on his mind. He was a romantic but Meera initially wasn't and that was exactly why she fell for Rahul. Karthik moved on too after a while. He married the girl his parents chose for him and she assumed he was happy with her, well, she thought, who wouldn't be happy with him? Any girl would have been lucky to be with him.

There were a few more that came and left, but they had never mattered. Most of them moved on but she knew Gautam wouldn't because she knew very well that she was a part of his life and it was very hard for him to forget her. She'd been there for him and vice-versa, at every stage in each-other's lifves and everything was going perfect until she felt her crush on Rahul escalating to love. If only she hadn't hurt Gautam in the process, she would have felt a little better and tried to talk to him again. After the things she'd said to him, to hurt him, she never could imagine seeing him again.

Meera looked around her in the park. She saw couples sitting on the benches, some of them walking their dogs, few of them watching their children play. She told herself she'd bring Anya to the park on their way back home. She would have to just walk for two more minutes and she'd be at the school in plenty of time. She knew Anya would love to play on the swing and would want her to push her as high as possible. She could smell the grass and was very tempted to sit down but then she told herself she could sit and watch Anya play after she picked her up. So saying, she brought herself to walk round the corner towards the Nursery. It was mobbed with all the parents waiting for their kids. It was nearly time anyway and so she went towards the gate.

The security guard saw her and said "You are early today!". She simply smiled at him and said "Yes, I am early today". He smiled back at her and directed her to the building where Anya's nursery was. She'd only been to right outside her class only twice and its always been the security guard or Anya's older friends who took her to her class because Meera would have been running late for her classes. She was patiently waiting outside Anya's class when she saw few little heads popping out of the door, eager to get out and run to their waiting moms and dads and friends. She knew Anya would be one of the last few to leave her class. She knew her mommy was almost always late and she used that time to talk to her favourite teacher, Lady Beth. Every day after school, all Anya would talk about was her "Mommy, she drawed this picture for me and she gave everyone sweeties, I got one green one but wanted the red one ... and so on ".

Meera moved aside to let a little girl from Anya's class run towards her daddy or so she thought. "Meera? Is it really you?" came a voice from behind. She turned just in time to see the person whom she had dreamt she'd never face again. That little girl Melinda, from Anya's class was in his arms. That was an even bigger shock to her. "Aren't you going to say hello to us even?", said the voice. This time she knew there was no mistake. "Hi Gautam, How are you? It’s been a very long time" said Meera.

"Mommmmmmmmyyyyyy" came the squealing voice of Anya from behind her, hugging her Jeans and clinging on to her. Meera pulled Anya to the front, to face Gautam and her friend. "Is that your daughter? She's beautiful", said Gautam. Meera just managed to say a yes and introduced Anya to him and asked him if Melinda was his daughter. Gautam just laughed and told her "No, Of course not, I'm not married yet, this is Preethi also known as Melinda in School. She also happens to be Arthi's youngest daughter. You know Arthi, right? My sister?". How could Meera forget him or his sister or even her husband Mukund, how could she forget the times she spent in their house, playing as kids, growing up and his sister's wedding too. She could never forget any of it.

"Yes, Of course, I remember Arthi. Mom told me she had heard from your mother that Arthi had a son few years back and that's the last I'd heard about her. How are you? What a nice surprise to see you here! So we meet again far from where we were raised!" and as soon as she said that she wished she hadn't brought it up. It was awkward for the both of them. He gave Anya a chocolate and told Meera that it would be nice for them to visit Arthi and everyone sometime. He also told her that he was there in London for a project on behalf of his company and that he would be there for another 6 months or so. She was proud of him because he was also the Vice President of the company. She asked him to convey her regards to everyone at home. He said he would do that and added that he'd seen her earlier in the bus and he was travelling with her but he couldn't believe it was actually her.

That made sense. That feeling of being watched! She laughed really loud, uncontrollably. She told him then that she thought she was being followed and watched. They both laughed. Little Anya didn't understand what all the fuss was about but she liked to see her mommy laugh. She kept herself busy munching on the chocolate and thanked Gautam for it too. The four of them started walking away from the School towards the park and just then Gautam told her that he had to take Preeti home soon, since they had to go to a birthday party later. He told her he'll see her again tomorrow.

Meera had butterflies in her stomach. She had never been this happy in a long time. She had never laughed like this in years. She couldn't wait for tomorrow. She was happy walking Anya to the park. Anya being the little genius she was, noticed the sudden happiness in her mommy. She was happy too. She left Meera's hands and ran towards the slide. Meera looked around for a spot to sit down and settled herself and Anya's back-pack under a shady tree. She could see Anya so happy, fearless of the unknown, no worries in her mind. She was a good kid, never a problem, not even when it came to her food as long as she got them on time. She wasn't fussy at all. Only one thing had troubled her, the day Anya wanted to know about her daddy. Well, technically no one knew who her biological father was but Meera couldn't tell her that. So she had told her that her daddy was far far away where he can't come back from. Anya just accepted it and never again asked Meera for anything more. Meera had longed to tell her that if only things had gone well, Rahul could have been your daddy.

Like every couple, Rahul and Meera, were happy too in the beginning. They spent a lot of time together, talking, laughing, holding hands, roaming around. He helped her in every way he could. He was dedicated to her. He'd pick her from her classes and drop her home, talk for hours on the phone, chat online till late and what not. First it was just the jealousy. He couldn't take it that Gautam was her best friend. That had to stop. He wanted her to be happy only because of him not because of any other guy. Then it was about her ambition. She had dreams and he was between her and her dreams, but she somehow managed to go abroad and pursue her studies. Later it was all his lies and false promises, his lack of interest, his lack of trust in her, communication gap and the distance between them. So he came to live with her too. They got married right in the middle of all their misunderstandings, just to please both the families. Like many love marriages, their honey moon period was over just before they were married.

After their marriage, their fights focussed on one constant thing, his ego. He could never bring himself to apologise or make up to her after whenever he hurt her which was almost always intentional. He constantly made her feel small, picked on her for small things and lost respect for her. For Meera, it was additional responsibility. She had no social life. Whatever time she had left after her efforts to please him and soothe him, she used for her studies. She told herself that was the one thing that she needed to concentrate on. Once her exams are finished she'll have more time to spend with him. He'll understand. It never once occurred to her then that it wasn't her fault. She'd blamed herself for everything that went wrong. She always wondered if she'd done things the other way they wouldn't have fought. As days went by, she was getting more depressed every day. Many nights she'd cry and lie beside him. He'd not even hold her or bother to wipe her tears away. Then it slowly dawned on her what she was inflicting upon herself, plain guilt.

Meera suddenly remembered a phone conversation with her mother, when her mother realised her daughter wasn't happy. That was the last straw. Meera couldn't take it any longer. She poured her heart out to her mother and remembered what her mother told her that day, "You are a good girl and you have always been. You should understand that you are married now and you can't expect to be pampered and spoilt. This is reality. Your father has never done anything for me either. You should know to take care of yourself and your husband too. He must be tired and worried about something. It'll pass". That hurt Meera more than ever. Even her mom couldn't understand. She had absolutely no one to talk to in that strange place, thanks to Rahul. She was alienated from her friends circle and he always had his own friends whom he always hung out with. She was never invited out with him.

All the butterflies she had earlier in her stomach passed. It was clear to her now. She'd been hurt by one guy whom she truly loved and worshipped. In fact she knew she still loved him. She was weak. Every time he came back into her life she'd simply accepted him back and the cycle repeated itself. It took a great deal of her strength to leave him and start a new life. Her life was a mess and now it has just started to look better.

She told herself, the broken rainbow is beginning to mend. She was still healing from all her psychological wounds and yet she had hopes for a brighter tomorrow. She told herself she'd never let herself be treated like that by anyone else again. She had decided she'd never let any guy be a priority in her life, she knew very she'd never be able to commit to anyone else again. She'd never be able to trust another guy. She'd carved out her future in which she had place only for her daughter Anya. That was how it was going to be.

Meera looked up to see Anya still engrossed in her slide and wondered if she'd ever get tired of going up and sliding down at least fifty times. She was tired and now a bit confused. She looked up to the sky, "Why God, Why did I have to meet Gautam after all these years? Is it for him to mock me? I never wanted him to see me like this, a failure. He'd warned me about Rahul so many times but I never listened to him and he's now come to rub it in? To tell me "I told you so?", Why God?, I was doing just fine, or is this a sign for me to accept Gautam? A second chance?".

Meera looked at Anya and pictured Anya in Gautam's arms. She began to picture the two of them playing and having fun just like father and daughter. She knew Anya would be happy to have a father. Thoughts of whether Gautam will accept her and Anya ran across her mind. She immediately brushed the thought away. "How can I trust any guy to take care of my girl?" "No, I've been there, done that. Not again. Gautam doesn't deserve me. He surely deserves someone else. What if he already has someone? Stupid me, for thinking so far ahead." Yet, the very thought of meeting him again brought a smile to her face.

Anya was tired sooner than usual and ran to Meera. They walked to the bus terminus and got into the bus. All the while Meera's mind was occupied with the thoughts of meeting Gautam. She talked herself into hoping for nothing yet she felt herself happier than she'd ever been in years. "Mommy, you are smiling at who?" came Anya's sweet voice looking around for the reason for her mommy's smile. Meera just hugged her little girl and told her it was her who made her smile and she hoped against hope that it was that. They got back to their cute little cosy place what she called home. She gave Anya a quick shower, fed her, recited a bed time story and put her to sleep. She fell asleep too and slept peacefully in a long time and before she knew it, it was already a brand new day.

The day couldn't have gone any quicker for Meera because she was already walking towards the nursery to pick Anya up and today she was late just like other days. She was walking inside the gate when she spotted Anya warming up to Gautam. For a moment, she wished that what she saw was real, a moment that'd never end even after she separated them. Her heart ached for it. She suddenly wanted a father for Anya and her best friend back in her life but was it that simple? She knew that what she saw now and cherished was simply asking for too much. She couldn't go through with the whole relationship thing again and let alone Anya go through with it. She decided she'd had enough of men. She wasn't over Rahul yet and she never would be and to think of Gautam now wouldn't be fair to Gautam himself. She wouldn't do that to her best friend she told herself. She slowly walked towards them.

Gautam turned and looked at her admiringly. She blushed even though she knew she shouldn't have. She realised she'd even had her eye shadow on today, which she hadn't bothered with in years and wondered if she'd already made a fool of herself. Gautam suddenly shook her hands and congratulated her and she wondered why. Seeing the frown and confusion on her face he giggled and told her that Anya was bragging about her "Doctor Mommy" and "Teacher Mommy" and "Nice Mommy". He told her he was proud of her that she'd come so far in life. Meera didn't know what to say. " So, how is Rahul? Is he still jealous of me, eh? Did you tell him yet that you met me yesterday?". She didn't remember what hit her but all she could manage was "Yes, Rahul is fine and he's still the same and always will be. We better get going now then and I have a lot of work to get done. See you some other time Gautam. Convey my regards to Arthi and your parents too".

Meera and Anya said their farewells to Gautam and Preeti. She knew then that for atleast another six months she'll have to lie to her best friend or make some other arrangements to pick Anya up. She didn't want to give him any hopes nor did she want to know if there was anyone special in his life. She didn't want to know anything at all about him because she didn't like the way her heart fluttered around him. She didn't want to go through all of it again. Never! A broken rainbow takes a long time indeed to heal and sometimes never actually heals.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

The disconcerted mind in the teen and pre-teen days!

We have all been through this and some of us still go through this.....and by that I am talking about the point in life when we don't know what we ought to do, when we are confused and undecided...more like the life of a pre-teen!

When I was a twelve year old girl, I have had a few situations when I was neither treated as an adult or a child. Happens doesn't it. Today I know exactly how my niece Swadhy is feeling about growing up and being twelve years old. She's not yet a teenager but she's almost there. You're twelve years old, and suddenly people expect you to be mature, understand the situation, act appropriately but then they also treat you like you're just a kid, which you actually are. I think its a lot to expect from a pre-teen.

My pre-teen years, thanks to my little friends were wonderful. Looking back on those days, is a joy to this day. To remember correctly, I was in grade 7, in the best school ever, Shri.B.S.Mootha Girls Senior Sec School. That was the time when I actually was deciding the course of my life. There were tough decisions to make. Life was tough being in high school, making friends with new girls, being friends with your old friends as well, playing during the P.T. classes (Banu Mam was the teacher I guess!) although I had always hated it (you see I was never a sports person!!!), being creative (Oh Yes! How I loved the Drawing / Creative class, I think it was called the Work Experience classes if I remember correctly!), putting up with the Yoga, dance and music classes, and also simultaneously study!!! It was a year after they split Social Studies into History, Geography, Civics and Economics I guess. Couldn't one subject do? Why split it into four? The same happened to Science! Suddenly it all seemed so difficult. Science was supposed to be simple and fun, not this complicated. And then there was Mathematics....phew... I still remember Majisha helping me with it !!! All those classes and sessions were just like having so many different options in front of you. I thought, what if I don't do well in Maths, I can still become a doctor if I do well in Science or maybe I am good in arts and crafts, why not just concentrate on that and become an Artist. I go home, I see my Dad correcting all those IIT Physics answer papers and all of a sudden I am full of guilt. If I choose to become an Artist, I would disappoint my Dad or so I thought then.

And who was my best friend then??? That is one difficult question now. I was in good terms with almost everyone and yet very friendly with select few being Kiran Davey, Poornima B, Majisha IB, Usha Surana, B.Kavita, Aarthe, P Sandhya, Sangeetha Singh, C K Arthi. The rest of them were all my friends. At some point of time during my time in SBSM I have been close to different persons, for instance, I was close to K Mahalakshmi and SK Sangeetha during the 9th std if I remember, Aarthe during the 9th and 10th, R Purnema in the 8th, 9th and 10th and so on. All the girls were lovely and it was tough to pick just one best friend and so I was friends with them all :) I remember having small fights with those very close friends at some point of time but don't remember what it was about.

There were things I used to look forward to...going to the library every week and picking up my favourite books, most of them at the time being Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Famous Five , Sweet Valley Twins and Friends, Malory towers and so on!

What according to a 12 year old was the right thing to do? Was she old enough to read teenage books or was she still too young for it? Was she old enough to gossip or listen to her conversations between adults? Sometimes these adults they don't tell us that we shouldn't listen to it and then suddenly they catch us listening in on the conversation and shove us away also adding that we had no reason to have been there listening to it when we should have been playing with other kids. OK. We go and play and then suddenly we are too old to play with our neighbouring kids and must in fact be helping with household chores. I remember I learnt to perfect my tea making skills when I was 11 and 12, there was always too much of tea leaves in it or too much of sugar. And then back to school and we told each other what happened at home the previous evening and there the gossips began, the initial signs of stepping into the teen age!

I tried to think which year it was that Miss. Sai Sudha Rani joined our school to teach English. That was the time when I remember Usha, Poornima (Poori), Seema, Sapna and our tomboy S K Sangeeta being really crazy about her.

The sports days were actually fun when we had to go over to the S.S.Jain Boarding school for three days for practice and for the sports day itself. That was fun. Taking our lunch boxes, sharing our lunch and snacks. We were divided into various groups too around that time and I don't remember much details about that cos like I said earlier, I did it cos I had to :P.

We also had our assembly every day with every week allotted for a different class and when it came to our class, we had our news reading, proverbs section, jokes or tongue twisters. There was competition among everyone but a healthy one. Oh how can I forget...our annual class magazine. I remember our class being very united when it came to things like this...every single one of us used to try to contribute in every way we could.

I remember our radio shows too which were fun with skits, and other shows which was actually in our 9th grade apart from all the inter-class competitions during Jainotsav and the inter-school competitions as well. They were fun. Looking back I wonder how I pulled through it. That school was the one that truly made me who and what I am today. I am proud of being its product. That school was what gave me the confidence that the world is not so bad after all.

Today, life is much simpler yet complicated. Living in the UK, looking at my nieces growing up I am in awe, I wonder how she handles it all and yet I forget I was once there and had travelled the same road but a bit different. I remember trying to talk back to my mom, being rebellious, being angry for trivial things and I can't help but wonder how my mom let me be the way I was and yet not complain (although she did give me a piece of her mind which was often followed by a small consolation). My niece today acts very matured for her age because that is how life is here. She's grown up and she's not that little girl any more. She might be just 12 but the world is too competitive for her to stop pause play or be the little girl she is. She has to choose her specialisation subjects already, which I had to do only after my 10th grade.One click away and she gets to gather all the information needed for her projects or assignments. She was busy preparing for her 11+ entrance exams and made it well but I wonder how much she has missed being the fun little girl. There is no time to play any more. Its just the Nintendo Wii or the Ipod Touch. She a girl just like me, who loves to gossip, who is crazy about actor Surya, loves to watch movies and play with her cousins too but then there is hardly any time.... except during the holidays!!!!

Today I think that inspite of everything around me, being there in SBSM at that time, all those days and much after, was the most fun I ever had.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Lost Innocence- A piece of Maya!

It was the first week of July, one month since her school began and exactly five long days after her birthday. Maya was now nine years old and as beautiful and energetic as a nine year old can be. She finally woke up to the noises of all the traffic of Brindavan Street, one of the busiest roads of Chennai and it was hardly seven in the morning. Apart from the traffic, she could also hear a faint voice, of someone calling her name, "Maya, its getting late for school! Are you going to wake up now or shall I call your Dad?" and to that, Maya bolted out of the bed, not because she was afraid of her father, but because if she didn't wake up now, her father will come into the room, switch the fan off and tell her that she wasn't going to get her quota of the day (it was a deal between her father and her that everyday she wakes up early, she'd get a rupee to spend and sometimes even more) and of all the days, today, she didn't want to miss out on her extra savings. So she finally got out of her bed and happened to glance at the dress she had kept aside to wear to school today.

She was happy all of a sudden because it was the third friday of the month and it meant she can wear colour dress to the school, not just any dress but her birthday dress which she could not wear to school since it was on a Sunday that year. It was a pretty frilled pink frock and she loved it. She said to herself "Today, I'm going to look the best in my pretty dress and everyone will love the dress, so I better get ready soon." Her friends from School, Dimple and Rakesh always came home every morning to walk with her to School. Her Dad allowed her to go to School without adult company now not only because he trusted her, but also because the entire neighbourhood knew Maya and her two friends. He'd come to know if anything happened to any of them within minutes and moreover the school was just a 10 minute walk from their house.

After her excitement over the dress, she ran to the bathroom to brush her teeth. With her brush and paste in hand she was standing in her balcony and gazing at the teashop as she always does every morning. She saw the crowd there. Everyone ordering their teas, coffees, buns and wadas. She recognized most of the people there, some were her neighbours down the road and some were people who stayed accross the road. There was one boy who stayed in the opposite flat from her house who always used to look at her and laugh from his balcony, making her feel uneasy. She liked the boy but he made her feel uneasy, so she always remembered refusing to play with him or his brother. Now she was looking at the house and saw him there, almost ready to go to his school. She thought to herself "Someday when I grow up, I'm going to hit you if you even look at me, you arrogant mongrel, ufff" and with that note she rushed to have her bath. Ten long minutes and she was nearly ready to come out when she heard absolutely no noise, no traffic commotion. She came out and she looked out of the terrace, and she could see more unknown faces in the teashop. She looked at the boy in the opposite house, he was still there looking out just like her and she smiled. At least this, they had in common, maybe he's not bad after all. She's been living with her parents in this tiny one bedroom house for nearly two years now, and because of her childishness, innocence and frendliness, she'd made many friends in the nieghbourhood, she knew everyone in the grocery store, the bike shop below her house, the barber shop and even the teashop opposite her house. Everyone knew her and loved her and now, looking there to say hi to her older friends in the teashop like she usually does every morning, she began to worry because Anand anna seemed to be scared and sweating. She could see it on his face even from this distance. Then there were even more people gathering. Now her heart was beating faster but she didn't know why. She didn't like the silence. She glanced at her right and she saw people looking out from the neighbouring buildings and she was wondering what she was missing. She could see the traffic at a stand-still. So she ran to the neighbouring empty terrace which lets her have a closer look down the road where there was a vast rubbish disposal area. There were people gathering on both sides of the road and she could now hear her mom calling her name. She knew her father was busy listening to his morning news with his head phones on and that her mother was busy in the kitchen preparing breakfast for them and also packing their lunches. She was afraid now, afraid to ruin the silence, afraid to call her mom. All she knew was something bad was going to happen. Her palms began to sweat and get cold, but she didn't know why. Then she suddenly saw a big burly man in a dhoti, exposing his long striped underwear and burly knees, she looked to see his face and she knew him from all the posters they usually hung during festivals but she didn't know why he was important enough. She had never seen him in person and that too carrying a big Aruval (an extended sickle) which she had obviously seen in many of the tamil movies which usually was carried by the villains. She didn't like the feeling. Something in her asked to go inside the house and by now she knew that she should have known better not to stand there.

She looked at the boy opposite and he was showing signs asking her to go inside her house. He was 14 years old and maybe he knew better than her and that was why he was warning her to go away but she was nine years old and she thought to herself "who is he to ask me to go?". She hadn't even finished her thought when she saw the guy from the opposite little side lane running towards the garbage disposal area, to her right below from where she standing and she could hear the wail. She thought she was going deaf. She knew the guy who was running, she knew him well, he was her auto anna, Raja. He looked like he was running for his life and he was, with the poster guy right behind him. He was begging for his life but then it was just a swift moment and there was a lot of blood, lots of blood everywhere. She saw the Poster Guy taking the sickle off the neck of her auto anna and just another swift movement and another wail, she could see his leg flying.

She knew she was crying. She suddenly felt movement behind her, she felt herself being carried and taken inside the house, with a hand closing her mouth, a soft whisper asking her not to make any noise and and dropped on her mom who was trying to comfort her. She was in shock. She felt salty tears down her cheek. All she could mumble was "Raja Anna". She closed her eyes but she didn't know for how long she was like that in her mother's arms and her dad beside her. She could hear the police sirens and all the commotion now. She could hear the buses moving and people yelling, then the arrival of an ambulance. Even at her age she knew from watching all those tamil movies with her neighbours that Raja Anna was dead, he can't be alive with all that blood around him. Thinking of blood made her sick. She felt faint and now she could feel her mothers tears falling on her cheeks and also hear her accusing her father now for bringing them to live in that unsafe area. They did not belong in this neighbourhood. She had always known it and so did her mother that they were living there temporarily, till their housing was being built in Ashok Nagar. She didn't understand why her mother was making a big issue out of it now and then again the blood came back to her and she began to whimper. Her mother was silent now and hugging her, praying to all her favourite Gods, praying that her daughter would forget this day ever happened. Maya finally fell asleep. Her father carried her to the bed, her mother began undressing her, folding her clothes back and arranged it back on the shelf where her daughter had placed it the night before.

Maya stirred in her bed. Her mother came beside her and asked her softly if she wanted to eat anything, feeling her forehead. It was mildly hot which worried her mother. Maya could hear voices in the distance. Her mother let her sleep some more. When she finally woke it was after 2.00 p.m, which meant she did not get to go to School. She got out of her bed and walked to the kitchen to see her mother mixing her rice with ghee, and dhall and along with hot fried potato slices. She smiled at her mom. She felt her eyes burning and she remembered the tears, the sickle, all the blood and she ran to the smaller balcony to look out. She saw the tea shop, it was as normal as it could be at that time of the day. She saw Anand anna talking animatedly to his customers and felt relieved. Maybe it was all her imagination. Her mother saw the smile on Maya's face and told her that she was having fever and so her father did not want her to go to school today. Her mother told her she could wear the birthday dress the next third friday to School. She knew she should have been happy to hear that but she wasn't. She was feeling exhausted. She continued looking at all the shops and she observed there were no strange people now and everything seemed normal. She wasn't sure if she should ask her mother if anything happened in the morning but she did however ask if Dimple and Rakesh came home. She saw the hesitation on her mother's face but she told Maya that her father informed their parents that Maya was unwell and unable to walk to school. Maya believed her mother since there was no reason not to. She asked her mother if she could walk to the terrace and again her mother hesitated but agreed, warning her that she was not well and that she should rest.

So, Maya went to gaze from her terrace. There was no blood anywhere. People were walking around everywhere carrying on with their normal doings on a Friday, she could see a man laying on his cot outside the housing colony, having his afternoon nap. She could see those little kids playing on the side almost near the garbage disposal. She looked again, absolutely no blood. Maybe she told herself, it was the many Tamil Movies she had been watching recently. She walked back inside the house and her mother began feeding her. She switched on the television and there was Tom and Jerry and realised it was 3.00 pm already. She missed being at school, showing off her new dress to her best friends but then she said there'll be a next time. She told her mother not to encourage her to watch anymore violent movies because she thought she had a bad dream in the morning. Her mother told she would and gave her a knowing smile. She drank a glass of warm water after all the food and was tired and exhausted. She wanted to go back to sleep and so she did. She saw the man in the poster and the sickle and woke up crying. Her mother was lying next to her, comforting her that it was just a dream.

Maya was true to her name, an illusion. She was magic. She touched everyone's lives with her kindness and laughter. That was her secret to knowing everyone in the whole colony and the busiest street in Chennai. But that day something changed in her. She had never been afraid of anything until that day. She told herself it was all a dream but the nightmare just wouldn't go. That evening her father came back from work as usual, with few of her favourite story books and puzzle books. He asked her how she was feeling and she said she was better and asked him what happened in the morning? He told her that nothing happened except that she was sick and he didn't want to wake her up. She had her doubts but she believed him. She told herself that once she's better she'll walk to Raja anna's house and see for herself how he and his baby are doing. She said "Tomorrow, I'll be better and I'll walk around"

Saturday morning came, Maya woke up but she was not excited because it was a holiday. Her father worked half a day every Saturday, so she knew she'll be bored till he was back from work. She told herself she'll go out and play. She still had the memories from her nightmare. Her mother told her then that they were going to move out of the house pretty soon and she should start discarding things that she did not want to take to the new house. That was bad news because it meant leaving all the known faces, all her friends and pals, all the anna's and everyone else she knew. She did not know what to do. She asked her mother if she could go visit Raja anna's house. Her mother was angry at her for mentioning the name and asked her to be a good girl and stay at home and do some work. Maya was furious. She told herself she'll wait till her father was around and she'll have her way then.

Maya was in the balcony looking out to see her father walk up and she asked him if she could go and play? He said yes. Maya jumped and hugged him. She had missed him all day. Even though she thought it was all a bad dream, she just pictured what if it had happened to her father and hugged him even more tightly, not letting go. Her father understood her the most and the best. He hugged her back and called her "precious". She chose this moment to ask him if she could to Raja anna's house. Her father hesitated but just for a moment and told her that Raja anna wasn't at home since he left for Dubai yesterday morning. Maya couldn't believe it but atleast the thought if him being safe in Dubai made her feel better and she went back inside the house with her father. She was tired again. She did not anyways have the energy to play now. She watched the cartoons for sometime and told herself to get better.

A week later, after going to school for just the last two days, Maya was still having the same nightmares. Her father decided to take her to a Psychiatrist, but then, they were busy packing their things and trying to move to their new house. So her visit to the doctor was postponed. Maya was busy looking out of the balcony and saw the boy opposite and for the first time they both smiled at each other. She wondered why but felt that something had changed, he was not laughing at her anymore, simply smiling. It felt nice, but she went back inside. She continued to look outside through the grilled window from the living room and now saw the strangest thing ever, which she saw only in the movies, and sometimes old ladies like that who lost their husbands. She saw Raja Anna's wife, with her baby, trying to feed him rice, wearing a white saree, she saw even from this distance that she was not having any flowers on her hair and the plain forehead. She had seen enough movies to understand the significance of all that. She knew then that her nightmare wasn't a nightmare at all, it was reality.

She thought she was going crazy but she wasn't. All along she was right, everything came back to her. She saw the blood again. She saw everything in a flash and that was the loss of her innocence. She cried uncontrollably. Her father simply held her and whispered "I'm Sorry". She just replied "I don't want to be a Doctor Papa!"