“Ma, I am tired with Kajal. Its been 8 months since that incident yet she is absolutely not ready to come off her depression. It seems she is devoid of any life, she is sitting beside me but stares blankly at the wall, cooks food but doesn’t eat. Even if she eats its absolutely minimal. She doesnt utter a word. We went for long drive last weekend, thought it might give her relief. I consulted the best psychiatrist here but she is not ready to visit. All my efforts are in vain. What shall i do? ” Ashok shouted over the call with his mother.
“okay! So next weekend we shall be at your place. Let’s see if that cures her.” Saying this Ashok hung up.
Ashok and Kajal have been marrid for 15 years and are blessed with a girl, Mahek,all of 7 years. He runs a business in Mumbai while his parents stay in Pune. Kajal was a lively girl, full of enthusiasm. She was national champion in Badminton, but time has killed that bubbly girl within her.
“Tomorrow, we’ll visit Ma,pack a few things. I’ll be leaving you and Mahek with them for a few days. Kajal,” taking her hands in his he continued,” its been months we have spoken, I miss my chirpy, bubbly Kajal. I want her back.” Ashok left, kissig her forehead.
His words pricked her like a sudden splash of chilled water, she felt choked; it seemed she was drowning in the chilled Pacific waters, he heart gasped for breath. Soon her lips tasted those salty drops which brought her back to reality.
” Bhaiya and Bhabi are here. Dont call.” an excited Annu remarked. Annu is Ashok’s younger sister who is currently at her mother’s place owing to her delivery. Annu always envied Kajal because of the formers beauty and athletic stature.
In the evening the whole family chatted over tea. Young Mahek sat beside her mother.
“Kajal,” spoke her mother in law, “its quite difficult to forget such an instance but it was not your fault. None of us blames you; yet you have isolated yourself from us. You were such a lively girl and now look at yourself, you have completely changed.”
With amazed eyes Kajal gazed at each one of them, but uttered nothing and left with silent steps. Mahek looked at her father, her glance spoke a thousand words. The young mind felt disturbed but could not understand the cause of her irritation.
Oneday when kajal was oiling Mahek’s blonde hair, the later spoke, “Mumma, Bua is very bad, i dont like her.”
Her words not only sounded harsh to Kajal but she was quite concerned at her child’s such opinion. With wrinkled forhead Kajal enquired,” Why Betu? You must not speak bad about her. She is like your second mommy.”
“Ma, yesterday I eavesdropped Bua’s room, she was talking to Dadi about you. They were saying you are mad, they named you as crazy and were also discussing about some asylum or home…” suddenly she paused, then continued.”Ma, you will leave me and go?”
Embracing her daughter tightly she whispered,”Mommy will always be with her princess.”
The days passed with kajal’s unchanged behaviour.”Kajal, I have fixed an appointment with a psychiatrist here in Pune, tomorrow. She is a busy lady and after few recommendations she is ready to meet you. Tomorrow sharp at 11.” Informed Ashok.
Unfortunately that night Annu slipped into labor. The otherwise silent Kajal turned to be the most caring and agile one. She was the one who called the ambulance and even contacted Annu’s doctor.
“It’s a girl. Congratulations.” the doctor wished them.
The next few days turned to be the most busiest ones for the family with many pujas, celebrations.
Such a puja was organised at the nearest mandir. Annu and her in laws along with her parents were already there.
“Bhaiya, baby has awakened. kajal bhabi called just now. Can you drive home and bring all of them here?” requested Annu.
Little Mahek was playing on the courtyard, “Mahek, where is mummy?” asked Ashok.
“She went for a bath.” Mahek replied engrossed in her game.
“Kajal, how long? They are waiting. Puja is about to begin.” Ashok confirmed loudly.
Ashok was flipping through the newspaper when….
The sudden wails from the next room perturbed him. He rushed there and saw her lying on the bed. She looked pretty as a red rose in that red jumpsuit. He went near….
“I have to hurry. Hurry, hurry Kajal, she is in danger!” kajal murmered to herself.
She rushed down the stairs, but as Kajal entered the room she could only see those tiny feet fluttering and the wails gradually subdued. She saw the back of that demon.
“No, for God’s sake. Leave her” she screamed loudly and ran in rescue of the little baby;fred the girl from the clutches of her husband, Ashok.
By this time Annu and her parents had come to the house as it was getting late for the puja to start. Bewildered, they stood with wide eyes. Breaking the monotony of silence kajal broke down.
“Anu, your brother’s a killer. He killed my daughter. I hate myself that I loved a Misogynst.” her weeps were enough to agitate Mahek as she came running in and hugged her mother.
“I can never forget that night. My premature baby girl was lying in the incubator when you three(pointing to her husband and in laws) suffocated her to death. She was choking and I stood there as a coward in disbelief. You along with the hospital staff conspired of her death but i knew. You dislike Mahek, i know; but the monster in you all, i witnessed on that unfortunate night. I failed to rescue that innocent soul but i will not let Annu suffer like me.” she cried inconsolably.Annu hurried towards kajal and hugged her, teary eyed.
The timid mother now transformed into a bold, courageous mother.
We appreciate you rating the story out of 10 along with your comment in the comments.
The above story is an entry into the writing event(Feb. 02nd – 20th) hosted by ArtoonsInn: #PullTheRug #UniK-3
Event rules and guidelines: https://artoonsinn.com/pull-the-rug-unik-3-writing-event/
Check out Sonali’s space here: https://artoonsinn.com/author/sonali-bhattacharya/
Photo by Aditya Romansa