Author : Sailekshmy N.G.
Company : Macrosoft India
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
It was an evening. Her exams had approached. She was trying to figure out what was written in the textbooks. She was not so bright. In fact she was a below average student. Her teachers and family looked down upon her. She was beginning to lose faith in herself. ‘But not this time’ she thought. ‘It’s time for me to prove myself.’ She had known that something has changed in her. She felt a new sense of confidence growing in her.
The roof terrace of her one bedroom flat was her favorite place. It gave her a sense of calmness in her mind. Whenever she was sad or depressed she will come here. She would talk to those beautiful trees and the trees would console her in the language of winds. She would feel as if she is lying on the nature’s lap and nature is singing her a lullaby. Today was one of her depressing days but still she wanted to go there because she wanted to share her sense of determination.
It was getting dark. ‘Light will be there for an hour or so’ she thought ‘I’ll go home after sometime.’ For the next half an hour she was immersed completely in organic chemistry. Methanol, ethanol, propane, butane and what not? But this time around, all these names didn’t sound strange to her at all. Finally, everything was starting to make sense. Everything was coming into place.
Suddenly, she heard a loud noise. She knew that was from her home. She started running down the stairs. When she reached home, she was shocked. There were vessels all over the house and her mother was holding bottles in her hand, waiting to put it in the ground. Her mother was not in the best of her behavior for the past one month or so. She is a psychiatric patient, a schizophrenic to be specific. But she is a working woman and her medical condition was controlled by a series of drugs. But for the past one month, things went out of control. She was doing a lot of weird things like dancing (though she was not very good at it). She would listen to loud music in the middle of the night. All this and many more made her daughter feel even more stressed out and tired. Amidst all these mess, Avantika was still feeling confident that everything will be just fine in the end. She had a feeling of relief, until today.
“What the hell are you doing mom” asked Avantika.
“Can’t you see? I am throwing the vessels all over the place” replied her mom.
“Mom, just stop it. Give me some peace of mind!!”
“What’s wrong dear? Isn’t it just fun to throw the vessels around..Just like that” she threw away the bottles she was holding.
“Mom!!” shouted Avantika. She rushed towards her mom and started grabbing her hands.
“How dare you stop your Mom? Annu, let me go.”
“There are people living next door. I have had enough of embarrassments in my life. I don’t want anything more. I am not going to let you go mom.”
“Annu,for the last time, I am telling you..let me go.”
“No, I will not “.
“You scoundrel, good for nothing dirty bitch. How dare you stop me like that?” Her mom was shaking with anger. With a lot of strength she pushed Annu away. Annu fell down and hit her head on the table. She began to bleed.
Her mom went inside the kitchen for a moment and with a hammer in her hand she started running towards Annu shouting and screaming bad words. Annu was pretty scared but she somehow managed to get up and started running outside. But it was too late. Her mom caught hold of her and raised her hand holding the hammer above her head and just as she was about to hit the first blow on Annu’s head , people from the neighborhood came and stopped her mom. They called a doctor here and the doctor gave her an injection that made her unconscious. He also treated Annu’s wounded forehead. After everyone had left, Annu started looking for her mom’s phone. It was in the bedroom, next to where her mother was lying. She anxiously took the phone and in quiet a hurry started dialing a number. “The number you are trying to reach is currently switched off.Please call again later” the phone said.
In less than an hour, her father was here. Obviously he had panicked. The neighbors have already informed him about the chaos.
“What happened?” he asked.
“Can’t you see?” she gestured all around the room.
“Are you ok?” he asked.
“Can’t you see?” she gestured her forehead.
“Why can’t you just gather words and explain to me properly, what in the bloody hell has happened?” he asked.
“Well, mom became schizophrenic and began throwing things around. When I came to stop her she pushed me away and my forehead was injured. Then, when she was about to kill me with a hammer, the neighbors pushed her away and a doctor came and made her unconscious. Is that clear enough dad?” she said quiet loudly.
“Arrogance, ego. You realize something? You are the reason why your mum is a psychopath now. Your arrogance and your improper behavior can make anyone a psychopath.” He said.
“Watch your mouth dad. You are the only one responsible for mom’s condition now. Had you ever stopped yelling at mom for at least a day, none of these would have happened”.
“Shut your bloody mouth young lady. I am yelling at her because I am her husband. I am yelling at her because of your mother’s improper behavior even if she is in her right senses. Now, get lost, and don’t come anywhere near me.”
She ran towards the rooftop. She dialed the number again from her mother’s phone. Again it was switched off. She cried and cried until the mother nature sang her lullaby again.
She was sitting at the verandah of the hospital. The atmosphere over there was quiet unusual. ‘All hospitals are unusual’ she thought. But she knew this wasn’t an ordinary hospital. There were weird people surrounding her making weird and strange sounds. Some were whispering things to themselves. Some were crying out aloud. Some were laughing out loud. ‘Just forget everything and try to focus’ she thought. ‘Methanol,ethanol,propane,butane.. Oh God’ she thought. Nothing made any sense to her. ‘Everything made perfect sense until yesterday’ she thought. She took the phone and dialed the number again. It was switched off. ‘Why?’ she thought. ‘Why?’
She couldn’t study the whole day. She was wandering throughout the hospital premises thinking about what might have made these people crazy. She was quiet sure that they were not born crazy. ‘The human mind won’t get screwed up so easily’ she thought. Failures can be one reason. Loneliness can be that one big reason for messing up the brain. ‘Loss of loved ones, loss of money..’ she began to think of all possible reasons that can make people crazy. ‘So what could have happened to my mother?’ she thought. Her mum was not that social even when she was normal. She was not pretty used to normal things that people do. She loves to be alone. She didn’t want responsibilities in her life. Byproduct of love is responsibility. So, she chose not to love anyone, so she would be free of responsibilities. Also, she has gone through a lot in her childhood. She had a lot of sleepless nights. The more you lose sleep, the greater is the chance that your brain gets crumbled. ‘I am also not getting much of a sleep..and I am a child ‘she thought. ‘So, does that mean..’? she stopped herself. ‘Ah come on! Don’t be stupid’ she said to herself. All these thoughts made her feel pretty tired and she badly wanted to go to bed. ‘But before that..just one more time’ she thought. She picked up her phone and dialed the number again. It was switched off. ‘Never mind’ she thought. ‘People are born alone and die alone’.
She woke up after hearing her mother’s scream. It was 12:30 in the midnight. Her mother was getting beaten up by her father. ‘God, what now?’ she thought.
“What are you doing?” she asked her father.
“Your mother is not sleeping. She was given a whole load of diazepam and still she is not even trying to sleep.” He said.
“But why are you beating her up?” she asked.
“Thinking she might get to sleep out of fear. Because, if she doesn’t sleep at least now , we can spend our whole lives in this miserable place.” He said
“Oh dad that’s the worst excuse I have ever heard”.
“Nurse, come and get this man away. He is killing me.” Her mother shouted.
I called for a nurse. The nurse came and tried to give her an injection.
“That man over there, he is crazy. Not me. Give this to him.” Said her mother.
She pulled the nurse away and began running towards the ward gate. The gate was already closed. She hanged on to the gate and started screaming like the craziest person in the whole world. “Help! These people are trying to kill me! Help”. Three male attendees and one female nurse got hold of her and grabbed her into the room. The nurse at last gave the injection and within 10 minutes her mother fell asleep.
“Nurse!” called Annu. “If possible can you give me some kind of a medicine that will put me to sleep until all of this is over?”
“Calm down”. The nurse said. “Everything is fine now. Go to sleep.”
‘Fine?’ she thought. ‘ I don’t think ‘fine’ would be an apt word to describe this situation I guess’.
She somehow managed to get some sleep that night.
She woke up pretty tired next day. She took the phone to check the time. It was 9.00 am. Also, there was one unread message in the inbox. “Call me when you are free”. It was him. A sense of relief was suddenly flowing through her.
She went outside the ward to call him and made sure that her dad was not watching her. She dialed the number again. This time his phone rang. He picked up the call.
“Hello?” he said.
Annu felt so relieved and happy. But she wanted to be mad at him for not being with her yesterday.
“What do you want?” she asked.
“Look, I am so sorry. I lost my phone. It took me a day to get another phone” he said.
“I don’t want to hear anything. Do you have any idea what I have been through?” she said.
“Yes. My mother was there yesterday when it happened” he said.
“So you knew and you didn’t bother to call?”
“I really wanted to. But I wasn’t sure what sort of a situation you are in to. I thought it will be safe for you if I had waited till morning”
“You have also learnt to make excuses. You also have other priorities in your life.”
“I swear to God this is not an excuse. And you really know you and my mom are the only priorities in my life”
“You are lying”
“You most definitely know that I am not”
“I am hanging up”
“Yes please. I was about to ask you to hang up and come out of the hospital.”
“Come on out will you?”
She rushed down the stairs and went outside the hospital. There he was. And suddenly Annu was in another world.
“Hey ,are you alright?” he asked.
“Never better” she said sarcastically.
“Come on. It’s 10’o clock in the morning and you still haven’t brushed your teeth. This is certainly not what I have taught you Annu.”
“Hey mister, do you have any idea what the hell happened yesterday night? I barely closed my eyes.”
“Guess what? Talk to me. Not like this though. Go and get ready. We will go out. We will have your favorite double cheese pizza.”
“Wow bhaiyya, really? But you will be late for office right?” she said.
“That’s ok. I took a day off. Thought of making it up with you. “
“Wow, that’s awesome. Wait! Let me get ready.”
“Take your time dear”.
She was excited. She rushed through the stairs, her legs filled with a lot of energy. Her whole body was filled with a lot of energy. She wore his favorite jean and a white Kurti. It was her favorite too. She went inside his car along with him and they drove away.
She was having her first slice of the double cheese pizza.
“Did anyone at the hospital see you coming with me?” he asked.
“Who cares? After all what is wrong in going with my brother?” she said.
“You, me and my mum knows that you are my foster sister. But for outsiders we are just neighbors”.
“Come on bhaiyya. Why are you spoiling this moment?”
“See, I don’t have any problem. It’s your parents that I am worried about. We both know really well that your parents are not going to take it in the correct sense”.
“Change the topic !”
“Ok madam” he laughed “Tell me what happened yesterday night”.
She told every bit of what happened yesterday night.
“Why ? Why? Why always me?” she continued. “I am not having very high expectations. I just wanted to lead a normal life, just like the others. I want a little bit of happiness. Is that too much to ask for?”
“So you mean to say that I am not enough to make you happy” he said.
“No bhaiyya. I didn’t mean that. You have changed my life like anything. You have given me everything that anyone could ask for. I can’t even imagine what I could’ve become if I haven’t met you. You are my everything.”
“If that is true then you should really stop saying stupid things. Whatever happens, just remember that I am there with you. I would never let you down and I will never let you go. Understand?”
She simply shook her head.
“So. How is your studies going on?” he asked.
“Well, bad. I don’t think I can recover from this anymore.” She said.
“What did I just say?” he asked.
“Stop saying stupid things.”
“Then why don’t you stop? Look here. You can do much more than what you think you are capable of. Do you understand? Stop beating yourself up. I know you have it in you. Just be strong and have faith in yourself. You will be successful in no time.” He said.
She knew those words were all that she wanted to hear.
They reached the hospital. He went along with her till the hospital gate.
“Go inside. I will give you a call later. And..study well” he gave her a pat in her head and began to leave.
As he began to leave, she started feeling so numb and lifeless. She couldn’t move. She knew she didn’t want to go into that miserable place after having such a wonderful time.
“Bhaiyya..” she called.
When he turned back all he could see was Annu running into him and hugging him tightly. He couldn’t help but hug her back.
“I am scared bhaiyya. I don’t want to go there. I want to come with you bhaiyya. Please take me with you.” She started crying so badly.
“Annu, Come on!…… What are you doing. It’s okay. Everything is going to be alright. Don’t be scared. I am just a call away. If there is anything wrong just give me a call I will just fly my way back here. I promise. Now, be a good girl. Don’t cry.” He had to work really hard to hold his tears back.
She stood back and wiped her tears away.
“I don’t want to see the face of a crying little girl. Now show me your beautiful smile.” He said.
She started smiling. And slowly the smile turned to laughter.
“Now that’s my beautiful girl.” He pulled her cheeks.
He waved goodbye to her, started his car and drove away.
She went back inside the hospital. Suddenly, the hospital and the weird people didn’t make her weird at all. ‘They are not weird’ she thought. ‘They are just in their own world. Like me.’
She was sitting in the veranda of the hospital studying organic chemistry. Surroundings were not bothering her at all now. His words of encouragement were constantly ringing in her ears. She knew she was revived. He helped her revive. ‘Methane ethane propane butane..’ Everything makes sense to her now. She knew everything eventually has fallen into place. She picked up the phone and dialed the number again. It was not switched off anymore.