3: Ashruth, the clown
Chapter 2 can be read here--> Chapter 2
3: Ashruth, the clown
Chapter 2 can be read here--> Chapter 2
I wanted to go out of the room. I didn’t want to be jailed in there forever. I walked to the door and turned the knob. The knob made a click. I got scared that it would bring back Ashruth into the room, which was my entire world right now. I somehow felt uncomfortable even thinking about initiating any conversation with him again. I wanted to explore the house myself and try if something reminded me of my past. I looked through the keyhole to ensure that he wasn’t there. I could see a red telephone kept on a tea-poi and a part of a green couch. I couldn’t see anything beyond that. I pressed my ears tight on the door. I could listen to absolute silence. I slowly unlocked the door and peeped out nervously. The door gave way to a huge hall which looked very posh. It was better furnished than the room in which I had spent all my (new) life in, till then. I saw another room a few steps away. The door was kept slightly open. I tip–toed towards the room and peeped inside.
Ashruth was standing facing the wall opposite me. He had a towel around his neck and wore a pair of blue shorts underneath. I was reluctant to look into the room any further but was curious to know what he was doing. He opened his wardrobe and pulled out 3 sets of suits; Green; Blue and Red. He placed the suits one after the other over his chest, along with the hanger and looked into the mirror. He looked at his reflection in the mirror, dissatisfied. He was so plump that there was no distinctive gap between his chest and his belly. His neck was nowhere to be seen! He gave the clothes a wry and disappointing look as though they were the reason for an ugly mirror image.
He swung them back on his bed and moved back to the wardrobe. He emptied the contents of the wardrobe on his bed but was still unhappy with anything that he tried. . He shuffled and re-shuffled his ancient and ridiculous set of clothes.
After a few minutes of digging the heap that lay before him, he smiled at a shirt. He picked the shirt and held it over his chest. He looked down and said “Perfect”, his face glowing as though someone had switched him on. It was a shining, silky yellow shirt with silver buttons. The shirt had been embroidered with pink flowers all over it, which would have been beautiful in a Rangoli than a shirt. He also picked a pair of yellow pants that outshone the shirt. He put the clothes back into the wardrobe which already puked of clothes, making it difficult to latch. He somehow managed to compress the clothes and locked the wardrobe. He smiled at the dress he had selected for the evening again and said “Pakka” with a sigh of relief. He suddenly initiated a turn to my side. I hid myself instantly. I went back to my room and shut it as slowly as possible to avoid even the lowest decibel of noise it might make.
A few minutes passed. I again looked through the key hole and tip-toed to his room. The door of the room was still slightly open and I let myself peep in again. There was a waft of strong and nauseating perfume all over the air. Suddenly, Ashruth came into the scope of my sight. He wore the yellow pants out of which his hefty thighs bulged out. . The smile that widened, when he spotted the shiny shirt, did not fade even a wee bit. He slid his hands into the sleeves of the shirt. He locked the buttons at the edge of his sleeves and latched the other buttons into their respective holes one by one.
‘One, two, three, four....four...four....ffffff....ffff’ he tried to compress his tummy to lock the fourth button like he did with the wardrobe. He tried his best to hold his breath, pulling his tummy as deep inside as he could. He somehow managed to lock the fourth button but when he released his belly out, the button flew across the room. I couldn’t control my laughter. I swallowed the laughter and continued to enjoy the live comic strip. He bent down to look for the derailed button. He looked under the bed, under the dressing table and all over the floor. He tried to look for it under the cupboard but couldn’t look beneath the cupboards as his over- grown tummy did not let him bend further. He got up and frowned looking down at his belly and breathed out hard as though he had just run a hundred meter race. He set his tummy free to bulge as much as it could in mid-air. I couldn’t control my laughter any further. I ran to my room and locked myself in. I laughed and laughed till it hurt my stomach. ‘What a clown!’ I thought to myself. Since he was dressing up so well (well, I was being sarcastic), had dipped himself in perfume and smeared his face in fairness cream, I was pretty sure that he was about to leave the house. I wanted to wait till he was out of the house to explore it.
I sat sweating though the air conditioner was working fine. I was expecting him to enter the room anytime to inform me that he was going out. I glued my eyes to the door. Every second seemed to be longer than it actually was . The door knob turned and the door cracked open. Ashruth glided through the opening. He was wrapped in a red suit. I couldn’t control my laughter. I smiled at him getting reminded of the cartoon he had made himself of, earlier.
‘I guess you are very happy today.’ He said with a wide smile.
‘Yes.’ I continued to laugh.
‘We are going out today.’ He said.
‘Where?’ My smile dissolved from my face.
‘We are going out for lunch in a beautiful restaurant.’ He said blushing, trying to drill a hole in the floor with his toes.
‘Was he trying to dress up just to impress me?’ I thought to myself, I couldn’t laugh at the scene like I did a few seconds back.
‘How do I look Meera?’ he asked hoping that I would say ‘Very impressive.’
‘A clown.’ I said to myself. ‘You look okay.’ I said not to invite more problems by disappointing him.
‘I had picked your favourite dress only but it was not washed so I had to wear this. I will wear your favourite dress the next time we go out.’ He said as he adjusted his coat.
‘That yellow dress was my favourite?’ words slipped through my lips. I couldn’t digest my own past anymore. It all felt like a story to me. I regretted for uttering it.
‘How did you know that?’ he was shocked.
I couldn’t justify. ‘Maybe I remember something from the past now.’ I tried to escape.
‘Did you sneak out of this room?’ he asked.
‘How the hell did he find it out?’ I couldn’t stop cursing myself for talking about his ridiculous yellow shirt that took the humour from my life at the moment.
He came close to me and put his arms around . He walked me out of the room.
‘This is your house Meera. You can go anywhere you want INSIDE THE HOUSE.’ He stressed upon the last few words.
‘Don’t think I’m restricting you. Till you get alright I don’t want you to go alone and lose your way. Moreover you’ll imagine you have seen a few places before and strain yourself. Sometime you might cook up stories and assume that it’s your past life. So we need to be very careful till you gain trust in my words and your mental state become stable.’
I did not know how to respond. Maybe, he was right about that. Maybe I didn’t trust him because of my memory loss. Maybe I won’t trust anyone else too . I thought I should trust him from then and it was risky to do something that he doesn’t allow me to do. ‘Let me follow as he says. If the situation is too undesirable I always have the trump card of running away, forgetting my past forever.’ I convinced myself.
Before I could get out of the pool of thoughts, he was gone and the door was shut. I couldn’t wait to look around the house. I went into his room and looked around. Most of the items he owned weren’t bought but got as a compliment; with the medicines’ names printed on them. ‘Was he such a miserly person? Won’t he buy anything?’ I thought. I could just find more reasons to hate him and not even one to like him even remotely. He had a picture hung on his bedroom wall. It was him standing with the past me. I had looked prettier before. I focused on his part of the photo. Huge, useless pumpkin head, he was. I wanted to explore the house as much as I could before he came. I ran around. I tried my best to think if I had seen any of those things in my past. I was just left with the memory of ashes and fire all over my thoughts from my past. The knob clicked and I melted through the doors into my room without leaving a trace of me anywhere else. I was expecting him with some food; I was hungry. I went out of the room with a ‘who-broke-into-the-house’ look.
‘It’s me Meera. Don’t worry. No one else will come here.’ He said as he emptied the package he held on the dining table.
I settled in the dining table and was ready to eat. He served the food and we had a quiet meal. At least for me it felt like it was a quiet meal as I didn’t give a damn about anything he had told me. It was all about how I had loved him and I somehow couldn’t relate myself to it. To disturb the silence, his phone rang . He quickly washed his hands in the plate with half the food left over and rushed to his room with his phone jingling away merrily. He had a terrified look when he had seen who was calling. I couldn’t see the display of the mobile. I was curious. He shut the door behind him the moment he had walked inside the room. The ring continued till then.
‘Why did he want to talk in secrecy? Was it something I shouldn’t know? I surely should know it if I’m not supposed to.’ My curiosity aroused, I tip toed to the room and pressed my ears against the door. My hands were still unwashed. I could hear a few phrases from his conversation.
‘..No uncle. Give the phone to Santhosh…’ I heard this somewhere in between.
‘Was he talking to my dad?’ I wondered.
‘Listen carefully. She is fully not…..I will take care… Yes...Risky to do that but….’ I heard the bits.
‘What was risky?’ Every word cooked up stories within me.
‘Her mind is like a blank piece of paper. Whatever gets written first gets imprinted forever. Even if a movie impresses her, she might assume herself as a character in it. We should be extremely careful and watchful. So I will first make her stable enough to listen to her own past. First of all, she needs to believe that she is Meera. Give me a week’s time and I will bring her there myself. Now if I bring her, just because uncle and aunt are asking, she might strain herself. She will battle with her thoughts and try to find out if she had seen anyone or anything before. This might take go back to coma for ever.’ I had no idea why I heard that length of conversation without any disturbance.
Later I realized that he had not closed the door and my thrust on it with my ears had opened the door a little. I was scared to be caught overhearing his conversation but my curiosity ate up my fear.
‘You guys shouldn’t come here too. I want to give her a few more psychological treatments. Have you sent Clara?’ he asked.
‘Who is Clara? Sounds Christian! So she can’t be my relative. Is Clara my best friend from the past? Whoever it is I am getting a new companion other than this pumpkin-headed moron.’ I couldn’t resist my aversion towards him.
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