Monday, June 06, 2011

Spring cleaning

(Image from

   Good things must often begin with the not-so-good. Spring cleaning wasn't the best way to begin the season of light and warmth and colour, but the old must be done away with, to make place for the new, mustn't it? She sat amidst a mountain of mess, pulling out things and memories from her closet.
    And, then, like a ruthless Tsunami, memories gushed forth. Unabashed. Unrepentant. An old photo-frame here, a worn out sweater there. Some mugs tossed in there casually, the new abode of some spiders. Then she saw it. That relic of her kaleidoscopic past. Its impact searing her retina. It was just a small black diary. She could feel her heart thud like a drum and that faint feeling of sinking begin to gnaw away.     
   Some dried petals fell out, as she held aloft the diary, and put an end to the debate of whether she should open it or not. The now bare stem of that long-lost symbol of love guided her to that day of January, 1996. She smiled, as she read the opening words of a heartbroken teenager. "Dear Diary, I want to kill myself, and him..."     
   "...I really mean it. This bottle of rat poison that I've smuggled into my purse is going to do the trick. A few drops into our coffee tomorrow, and I will end this misery! What does he mean we are just not on the same wavelength anymore? Didn't feel like that when we made love in his pad last week! It's that bitch, playing games. Ha! How would he know I've just ran my car over her? Aren't accidents common in this part of town? *Giggle*."
    She looked up from the diary and laughed out loud at the memory. She had been quite the firebrand in those days. Fortunately, only the Bitch's leg was broken in that accident. And the rat poison had never happened. Good sense had prevailed. 'It should have...' she thought. Two fat tear drops blotted some words on the page, and she started shedding silent tears. Aravind was a beautiful dream that had ended too young.
    She flipped over a couple of pages. November 96. "Dear Diary, Just back from Aravind's wedding. It was grand. He looked cute. I actually smiled at his wife. I loved his expression, when I went on stage to meet them. For all he's done to me, I actually wish him well. Couldn't stay there very long. It hurt. Him too? Wonder... They're relocating to NZ. He's always loved that place. We'd planned a holiday there. Sighhhh.. I miss him bad. Feeling bleary, baby. Think it's this rum. Glass number 4. Ha! I'm happy.... " :-/
    There stuck a picture of a dashing 28-year-old Aravind, his pretty, wide-smiling bride, Mischa, and her, still the awkward teenager, edging towards womanhood. She ran her fingers over the picture, especially over Aravind's face, and smiled. Then she remembered what cancer had done to his handsome countenance, and tears streamed down her face again.
    It was 14 years since she last saw him on that bed. She saw him until she could bear to see no more. The mess of saline lines hanging over him, his skeletal body -  a sad reminder of his muscular frame. She'd walked away sobbing, vowing never to be back. She had slept that night, crying. Numb with  pain. Unable to feel anything else. When she woke up the next morning, she really couldn't feel a thing. She was unable to move, unable to feel her legs. It took months for the fact to sink in that she was paralyzed, and could walk no more. Aravind had died sometime in those dreadful months too. She never found the strength to verify the news. It wasn't his death that had crushed her; it was the death of the idea of her first love that she had grieved - soul and body. 
   Years of visits to specialists had only offered one diagnosis: her paralysis was psychosomatic. Nothing was physically wrong with her. Physiotherapists, psychiatrists, and even faith healers had tried to convince her she could walk. But she wouldn't. She couldn't. She wondered which part of her didn't want to.
   Her husband, Dev, had been kind. Beyond kind. He was a physiotherapist, and they'd met during one of her first frantic visits to the hospitals. She hadn't got used to this cumbersome wheelchair then. She hadn't gotten used to her legs (or her mind) not obeying her then. She hadn't gotten used to the past tense that Aravind had become then. She was hysterical, when she first met Dev. Somehow, his understanding presence had broken her down. She howled in pain, or the lack of it in her legs, letting loose all the anguish that her tender 20-year-old heart had held.
   Dev had held her then, as he held her now. Forever loving, forever patient. He was patiently stirring the soup in the kitchen now, even as she messed about with the skeletons in her closet. She smiled fondly at the gentle noises of the wooden ladle. Ever so consistent. It had taken years of Dev's mature love for her to start forgetting Aravind, and now she had stupidly done this. She shut the diary and wheeled her chair to the window of their fifth floor apartment, which overlooked the river. She closed her eyes, and flung the diary out, feeling the weight of her past let go of her shoulders, her head, her heart. It was high time Aravind made place for Dev...
   She sat back, and took a deep breath. She felt light. Her heart felt joy. Her stomach felt fluttery... Fluttery? Wait-a-minute! Was it? Could it be? Yes it was! It was her and Dev's child's seal of approval. It was their baby's first kick! She held her stomach, and began to weep loudly. Dev rushed in from the kitchen, and stood at the door of their study.
  "Babe, are you alright?" he asked.
  She looked up, and smiled a smile of ecstasy. Rising unselfconsciously, she ran up to him, and holding him like she would never let go, said, "Never better."  

(Co-authored with Nikhil Deshmukh  @red_devill22)


Asma said...

Lovely. I'm gonna dig into the other stories now.:)

Sashank said...

"Dear Diary, I want to kill myself, and him..." this is how I write my journal too. :)

Loved the sense of pathos in the story. Would have loved it even more if the story had a sad ending.

Vijay Bharadwaj said...

Loved the way it unfolded. I kinda like happy endings, left a smile on my face in the end.

Even though i do enjoy reading your stories here, i like them even more when i see them actually being weaved out on twitter. That feeling of wondering what the other person is going to say next and when every tweet gives the story a new twist - amazing! :) #StalkerAlert

Shweta said...

Such a beautiful message you gave here dear...just loved it!

Uday Mane said...

I wish I had a diary I had a diary I could throw out. This co-author thing is really working out well. The story telling is superb. I say keep this twitter story weaving thing more secretive, lest everybody starts following. :) Loved it.

Bhnaupratap said...


It gave me goose bumps all over....

Parmesh Rudra Joshi said...

The story spoke.

Anonymous said...


After the climax of that royal dream of yours, this is most refreshing.

Hope lives.


Anonymous said...

Amazing it is and so is the message.
I love your posts because they leave a strong message after :)

The Wandering Minstrel said...

its beautiful how this story mirrors life and comes full circle.
PS: Thought it would save you some looking if I just told you I am scrollsnink.

Sunkissed said...

I loved this. Could relate to it on one level, the diary. I like how you ended it, on a note of hope, that life must go on and it does. Beautiful read.