It was 4 AM. It was still pitch dark outside. It had rained the previous day, The clouds had not ceased roaring. But, there was no lightning. There were no stars; there was no sign of the moon either. Perhaps, they were hiding behind the dark clouds. She sat by the side of the window of her room. The wind was cold. And as the coldness crept into the room, so came along a few drops of rain too. Or were those drops from those deep seated long lashed eyes of hers? Her lips were tight and her skin was pale. She blew out the mist on the window pane and a small smile came on her lips. It was something she did, when she had nothing much to do. But then, she had not been doing much for a long time. She then looked at the raging sky as if nothing threatened her anymore. Even the darkness was no more intimidating as it was, when she was small and when she had to keep the lights on to sleep. She cupped her hands on her study table and rested her chin on it. The dark brown hue of her eyes that once brimmed with verve, now was listless. There were no tears. Yet, there was no happiness. She just felt nothing. And, there was no longing for anything. No more.
As she glanced inside her room, her flashy wardrobe caught her attention. It had been unattended for a long time. It still had those photo clippings, a lot of cards and ribbons of various occasions stuck on them. And then suddenly, the wind gushed. The wardrobe opened slightly with a creaking sound. She got up. She looked inside. Dresses were neatly stacked. Her suits were hung on hangers just the way, they come from dry clean. And then, there was her dressing table next to the wardrobe. It always had the typical ‘girl’s best companion’ look. The mirror studded with radium on its corners, stared back at her in silence. The cosmetic box was still there on the dressing table, at the same place, half opened, with the kajal, lip gloss, mascara and some earrings, all scattered in a clumsy fashion. And then the small peg table she used, for sitting in front of the mirror brought back some fond memories of getting dressed each day for college. Her eyes further scoured around as the shoe cabinet that housed more than ten pairs of exquisite looking footwear that she often purchased from the various parts of the country she had traveled, caught her eye. Her father had served in the Army and so she had a collection of all kinds of apparels from almost every corner of the country and she looked at them fondly.
As she turned around and took a deep breath, there still was some of her regular ‘Gucci’ perfume wafting in the air inside the closed room. Her favorite one! And it seemed to arouse the olfactory senses in her, which had been dormant for a while. But, what overwhelmed her with ineffable emotions, was that family portrait that hung on the wall. It was her most treasured possession of all. This possession reminded her of how secure she felt in the bear hug of her elder brother, how soothing she felt when her mother kissed her forehead, how calm and confident she felt when her father gave her his shoulder to lean on whenever she needed it.
And then, there were other albums stacked in the drawers of her dressing table that contained dainty flashbacks of her nomadic childhood, vibrant college days and the exciting part time job she had been pursuing. She was a part time teacher who chose to impart free education in slums. And, she had taken up the job purely out of choice. As those memories came flooding back, a bout of nausea swept over her. And then, the reality jolted her out of the trance that came on her each time, she sat at her study table. The stark reality that things will never change for her, the grim reality that nothing can undo what happened in her life six years back and the forbidding certainty that there is no power in the world that could redo the sequence of events that were destined to happen in her life of 22 years, hit her like a thunderbolt. The naked truth that unmasked itself on 11th July 2006…..that one dreaded moment that changed the course of many lives……the dark fact of history that life would never be the same for many…..
(to be continued…..)