Chapter 1: Click here to read
2: My past retold
Ashruth went out of the room and was back in a jiffy with his laptop. He opened it and started telling me, my own story. I sat still, fixing my eyes on him, my ears diligently listening to every syllable he mouthed.
‘You are Meera Prabhu. Prabhu, your dad, is one of the few businessmen who taste success in whichever field they enter. Look, this is him.’ He showed me my dad in a group photo. My dad was in a grey safari suit, he had his French beard neatly trimmed. He looked too young to be my father or the father of any girl of my age for that matter.
‘He wanted to enter the healthcare sector for the first time and that is how I got to know him. He has planned to start a nursing home in this area in partnership with me. You were supposed to be heading the business. He wanted me to take care of his other businesses too, after our marriage.’ He said as I kept looking at the picture trying my best to recollect the past. But I could just remember bright light; fire here and there, whenever I tried recollecting things.
‘This is your mom, Nadhiya.’ He pointed to a beautiful woman, who also looked too young to be my mother. She wore a saree which was ethnic and had ashes and Kungumam on her forehead.
‘She is very religious. She wanted you to inherit the Tamil culture and tradition from her. She always told me that she was lucky to have me as her son-in-law.’ I just smiled. I thought that my family was crazily in love with this guy but I wasn’t sure if I had had any feelings for him. I found him too old for me. Maybe it was all by my dad and mom and since I would have loved them the most I would have agreed for the marriage. I was relieved that I could at least think of something convincing, that could connect my photo-past and my confused-present.
‘Who is this?’ I pointed out at a guy who was having his hands around me in the picture. ‘My brother?’
‘No. He is Santhosh, your aunt’s son. You once told me that he already had a girl friend. I am not sure of that part of your life much. All I know is he is your cousin and he already has a girl friend.’ Ashruth said in haste.
‘Why is he stressing upon the fact that he already has a girl friend? He doesn’t seem comfortable talking about Santhosh. Why?’ I was puzzled.
‘Were we close?’ I managed to question him.
‘Yes, we were. We were in love and were to get married and have kids.’ His smile widened and froze till I interrupted.
‘Not we! I mean “WE”, me and Santosh!” I interrupted before he could go on with the I-was-crazy-about-him story which was too much for me to digest.
His smile shrunk instantly. ‘Not much I guess. I’m not sure. You have never mentioned him much in our conversations earlier.’
‘Where are his parents?’ I paused. ’I mean, my aunt and uncle?’ I started relating myself to the story of my past. I was curious to know more about my family and Also Ashruth’s reluctance to talk much about Santosh. ‘He lost his parents when he was five, very unlucky guy. Your dad and mom showed some mercy on him and brought him up. He should be very loyal to your family for all that you have done.’
He looked at me but I was still looking at Santhosh in the photograph. He was tall, fair complexioned and looked very adorable. Even in that confused state of mind I couldn’t resist admiring a guy like that. I could have forgotten the past but I still remained a girl made of flesh, bones, blood and hormones. Ashruth toggled the photo and diverted me before I could think any further about Santhosh.
‘Is she my sister?’ I tried to act smart and started guessing.
‘You have no siblings. You told me once that you were very happy being the only child of a wealthy man. You also said that you will ask your dad to give it all, to us and our kids.’ He stressed upon “wealthy”. I was taken aback.
‘But I will never let you do that. We don’t need their money. Do we?’ he continued before I could respond. He made it seem as if he were not a bit bothered about the money contradicting the stress he had previously laid upon the word “Wealthy”.
He kept looking at me expecting me to respond to whatever he had said. I didn’t know which would be a safe reaction. I pressed my lips tight; something between a smile and a frown. He was looking into my eyes. I wanted to cut off his eye contact. So I rolled my pupil to the extreme right, slowly, and looked at the photo from the corner of my eyes.
‘Who is she then?’ I asked.
‘Don’t you see that she resembles you at least a little?’ he asked me.
‘That’s you, a few months back! Due to the accident and lack of any movement you have become a little plump.’ He pinched my cheeks. “Still my darling looks very beautiful.” He whined. I gently pulled myself away from him. He closed down the laptop..
‘Too much done for today. Now, sleep well. Good night.’ He got up from the bed with the laptop folded in his right hand.
‘I want to know more.’ I pleaded.
‘No way! It’s already too late. Go to sleep. Call me if you want something dear. You shouldn’t strain much. I will tell you the rest, tomorrow.’ He put his left hand behind my head and bent to me. He pressed his lips hard on my forehead. Again trying to establish eye contact, he looked into my eyes. I blinked several times than I normally did to break his eye contact. He then wished me good night and walked towards the door to put off the lights. The next minute the door was shut. I did not move a bit till he went out. I saw all that happened in front of my eyes but my mind was struck with the group photo, my family which I didn’t remember living with.
The room was completely dark. I heard nothing. I sat hugging my legs resting my chin between my knees and started to think. I had hundred questions already. I was brimming with questions as I brought back every word that he had mouthed and analysed it over and over again. A million more questions arose anew in my mind.
‘Why did he stress upon Santhosh already having a girl friend?’
‘Is there any possibility of a girl, like me, loving a guy like Ashruth?’
‘Why was the wealth of my dad a major point in my story? He could have very well told me about a lot of other things, but he didn’t. Why?’
‘Why did he say that I was crazy about him, once in every two minutes?’
‘He never said he loved me. It was always that I loved him. Why?’
Every question raised a question mark that shone in the dark room. The question-mark flew around my head and gripped my throat. My windpipe started slowly clogging. I was suffocated and choked while I tried to pull myself off the numerous questions that arose from nowhere. I opened my eyes and everything had vanished. It was 6am, 31st October, 2010. I had fallen asleep somehow, which I thought was impossible. I couldn’t sleep further, anyway. I wanted to explore the house but I was scared to go out. I was scared to do anything. I wanted to talk to people in that photo whom he called my family. I wanted to pull out my brain. I wanted to kill myself. I couldn’t do any of these and hence I wanted to at least pee.
I spent almost an hour on the toilet seat, still thinking about what could have happened in my past. After realizing that I was still inside the toilet, regaining my conscience, I reached my hand behind my head. I pulled the trigger of the flush. I took a quick glance of myself in the mirror. I wanted to familiarize my reflection at the least. I splashed water onto my face in the hope that it could make me feel better. I wiped my face and still found to be stuck with the same spinning puzzle of my past.
‘Why the hell did god wipe off my memory?’ I cried to my own reflection. I somehow felt more comfortable inside the small toilet than the huge room outside its door. The bed, the cupboards, the clock, the bed spread, the fan and everything else in the room made me feel that I was in a wrong place. I was scared to unlock the door. It seemed like I had seen only this room all through my life other than the green curtains of the hospital; I could hardly remember a world outside that room. Maybe that is one reason why I was scared to lock my world inside the room by entering it again. With all the courage I had, I twisted the knob and unlocked the toilet door.
Ashruth was there. I was shocked. I wanted to run back and lock myself inside the toilet for the rest of my life. I reluctantly smiled at him and started walking far away from where he was standing.
‘Here is your coffee, my love. You preferred coffee to tea. You were actually a coffee addict! A very good morning.’ He stuttered and widened the smile that was already fixed on his face right from the moment I became aware of his existence. I had no particular reason to have an aversion towards him but somehow I hated him.
‘You always said Love Morning instead of Good Morning.’ He said and walked towards me.
The more he spoke about the love I had had for him, the more the dislike for him grew in me. He was already at an arm-distance but did not cease to come closer and closer. I snatched the coffee mug from his hands to avoid him coming closer. He brought his face close to mine and headed to kiss me on my lips. I sipped the coffee to prevent the disaster from happening. His lips were dark. I doubted if he smoked. Between the sips I casually asked him a few questions to know more about him; just to find a reason which would have made me love him. Actually I just wanted to find a reason to hate him. I was scared to ask him how we had fallen in love as anyway I wasn’t going to believe whatever he said. I just wanted to listen to my story from the family he claims to be mine.
‘Do you smoke Ashruth?’
‘I used to, till you once kissed me and said you felt uncomfortable due to the smell of cigarettes.’ He blushed when he said that.
‘Have I kissed you before?’ I was shocked. Disgusted.
He blushed and nodded. His improper dental arrangement peeped out of his lips. He tried to look romantic when he did that but I found him unbearable.
“I should thank my memory loss”. I thought, grinning. I was determined not to make him talk about the two of us again.
‘Can I meet my mom and dad? Where do they live? Which city do I belong to?’ I asked him with curiosity brimming in my tone.
‘Coimbatore’ was all he could say.
‘Can I meet my mom and dad?’ I repeated.
‘They wanted us to spend some time with each other before you meet them.’ He said and got back my empty cup.
‘Where am I now? Aren’t they eager to meet me?’
‘You are now in Chennai. We will fly to Coimbatore soon. Your mom was scared that I would call off the wedding because of this unfortunate accident. I told her that your love for me was more than what she could possibly imagine. When she came to know about your memory loss she insisted that I spend more time with you as soon as you regain consciousness. She wanted me to show you your world and to remind you of the love you had for me before knowing about things beyond that.’ he said.
Every answer had more of “My” love for him than the answer itself. I wished I could go back to darkness again, since it seemed way better than this fool, who tried to forcefully inject more of love than the medicines. I was dying to go home, which I didn’t even remember living in. Every passing second with the pumpkin-faced was a burden to me. I thought it was alright to run away forgetting my past for the rest of my life and start a new life.
‘Take rest for sometime while I prepare breakfast for us.’ He winked. I hated it! Maybe, he thought it was cute.
‘Where are your parents?’ I managed to ask something that couldn’t possibly involve ‘my’ love for him.
‘I had lost my dad when I was five. Mom struggled to put me in a rich school, then in a medical college. Studying medicine is not an easy joke; it is the most expensive degree. Mom was a school teacher. She struggled to turn this useless chunk into a doctor.’ He had tears rolling down his cheeks. Still he managed to bring a forceful smile on his face, his tears shedding uncontrollably. I was shocked to discover a serious side for this pumpkin.
‘Where is she? Is she in here? Can I meet her now?’ I asked, wishing to include new faces into my new world. Something or anything other than him felt better to me. I was bored of the same room and the same pumpkin detailing about my long lost adoration for him.
‘No. She passed away a few months back.’ More tears flooded his eyes as he voiced it out.
‘Sorry for spoiling your mood right in the morning.’ He said and again brought a forceful smile in between those tear -flooded cheeks.
I started feeling a little sympathetic. Maybe he was not that bad to be hated. Still I couldn’t imagine marrying him or falling in love with him, at least not as soon as this! .
‘That’s okay. I’m sorry for you.’ I had nothing else to tell him.
He walked out of the room without a word. I thought I would be better without asking questions related to him. I wanted to explore my past a little more. I had two options. Either I get to know my past and live with my past world; marry this pumpkin and cook the rest of my life with it. Or run away and create a new world for the new me. I was still not confident enough to consider the second option seriously. I struck-off the plan of running away from the house, temporarily. But the option still remained intact, deep down in my mind.
Chapter 3: Click to read