This post is written for the Indifiction
Workshop. The plot
on which the story is based is by Leo
You can read the complete post here
Don’t we love the enchanting fairy
tales of Rapunzel and Cinderella those we all have grown up listening to from
our parents? It wouldn’t be too far-fetched to say that at times we have even
fantasized being the Princess in distress; eventually saved by the handsome
prince to live happily ever after. The prompt inferences drawn by all from such
stories often are of hope and romance. But we tend to forget the part where a
girl confined in a tower faces the agony of isolation for years. If I were to
turn back time five years, I would be transported in to a cramped up dungeon
for the mentally insane; not so much of a fairy tale I know!
With dad passing away while I was
still an infant; mother and I had seen some awfully difficult times. Money they
say isn’t as important as love is. Well I wouldn’t be too sure about that for
mother and I had lots of love for each other. Why wouldn’t it be as it was just
the two of us? But love was not enough not in our case at least. Sickness and
depression overshadowed the rapport. She fell ill; went from bad to worse and
one fine day she died. The thread that bound me to this world was ruptured at
that very moment. She was gone and I was all alone; it was a sickening feeling.
Perhaps that was an escape for her but my existence was quashed beyond repair;
atleast that’s what it seemed like during those days. Depression,
hallucinations and more followed as I went down the path which now I shiver to
even think let alone speak about.
It was a harrowing time not only for
me but my maternal uncle too who took upon his shoulders my responsibility. He
strangely never gave up on me and after about a year in the asylum I began
responding to medicines and treatments. Finally after two years in there I
recovered completely. But my uncle didn’t stop there; he just wouldn’t for his
duties would be incomplete without me settling down with a nice guy. But who
would marry a girl who had spent years in the mental hospital? Nevertheless he
went ahead and found a suitable groom for me ofcourse he kept this chapter of
my life hidden inspite of my constant requests of full disclosure! But that
apart I did cross the threshold of marriage; it seemed knotty then but not
anymore. It is as believable as the sun or the stars in the sky! Today I am not
only Sandhya but Sandhya Deepak Singh and life has never been better!
It has been almost two years that
Deepak and I have been married. As clichéd as it may sound but he is the best
thing to have ever happened to me! He is the quintessential tall, dark and
handsome man that girls fall head over heels in love with. But there is much
more to Deepak than just his looks; his intelligence; his passion for work and
the zeal to change things for the better. And when he smiles; with those
dimples and honest eyes the time just stops! Infact if there is hope in this
world; than Deepak sure is hope in flesh and blood. He believes in changing
lives just as he changed mine!
They say life is not a bed of roses;
agreed. But then if that is true so is the fact that after a road strew with
thorns comes the turn which is laden with dews of hope and fragrance of love.
Ok so now I sound like a poet! Well I
guess that’s what love does to you! Way to go Sandhya!
But it’s indeed true; never would I
have imagined my life changing so substantially. I was once like a wild stream
destroying anything that came in my path while now I feel the peace and calm of
a serene river. Sometimes I wonder if this is the reward for having has a
roller coaster ride; a horrible one at that; up until I met Deepak.
I miss mother so much every day. How
I wish she would have seen how happy I am today; how very happy her Sandhya is!
But alas she passed away with concern and fear of my future. If only she had
known that the impending future she was so anxious about would actually usher
in the bliss that was missing from my life and her too! Yes, mother today I
have the life that you passed away praying for every day.
“Memsahab, seems like Saheb would be
late tonight. Should I serve dinner?”
“No Nitai, I shall eat once your
Saheb is back. You don’t need to wait up”
Nitai is my Man-Friday around the
house. He does all the chores while I have all the time in my life to do my
hearts bidding. It wasn’t easy growing up when food, clothes or even medicines
had to be measured however we had no choice. Uncle was always there but mother
and I didn’t want to burden him with more responsibilities than he already had.
Yes, it was a horrible chapter one that I would very much like to forget. I
wish there was some magical potion that would totally wipe away those
nightmarish recollections. They are still so vivid and terrifying that I still
wake up gasping for breath at nights!
It’s already two at night. This
campaigning has been keeping Deepak out for so long!
Everything in my life seems so
peaceful now that I fear something terrible would follow suit soon. I have
never been used to so much comfort and happiness. I love where I have come to
today but I also know that I haven’t been completely honest with Deepak. The
fear of rejection is too big but it is a mountain that I need to climb. I
need to tell him everything that he as my husband ought to know. Every time I
go up to him to speak about those dark two years of my life I feel tongue tied
by anxiety and apprehension. I know the more I delay the more difficult it
would be but I have grown so accustomed to him and this life, that I don’t want
anything to jeopardize it. Perhaps this anniversary would be the right time to
come clean with him; I mean he wouldn’t get mad at me on such a special day;
would he? Atleast I hope not!
I have been on the road forever it
seems. This impending election is taking a toll not only on my health but on my
life too. Sometimes its days before I get to see Sandhya; I leave so early in
the morning and by the time I am back I am too exhausted to even spend some
quality time with her! But it is important I know. Not many get the chance to
do something important for the society and only if I win this election I would
get the means to actually do something worthwhile! And moreover I have an
entire lifetime to spend with Sandhya, I am sure she would understand!
“Sir, our next stop is the Mental
Asylum that you can see in the distant”
Well let’s see how I can help these
people. I have so many plans; let’s see how they pan out!
“Hello Deepak. I am Dr. Shetty, the
Chief Medical Resident here. It’s nice to see a young man like you taking
interest in the affairs of the country!”
“If we don’t than who will Sir”
“By the way how is Sandhya? She was
my patient here. I am happy to know that she is doing well. When patients like
her lead a normal life we feel that our job is really done!”
“Sandhya? Sir I think you are
mistaken my wife was never here.”
“Sandhya Deskmuk right? Yes she was
I don’t believe this! It’s not
possible Sandhya never told me about this. It cannot be her. I am sure it was
some other Sandhya!
“Dr. Shetty I think you have mistaken
me for someone else. Yes, my wife’s name is Sandhya but she wasn’t in an
“Umm No Mr. Deepak I am sure it is
her. I had even met her uncle after she was married to you. But she was here
long time back and we are happy she is over that.”
“Hmmm… I should leave now. Do call me
in case you need any help for this
Sandhya and I, ours was an arranged
marriage but it wouldn’t be wrong to say that I had developed a soft corner for
her from the very moment I had set eyes on her. There was a distinctive
simplicity in her appearance. So unpretentious yet so much meaning in her eyes.
I know she had a difficult childhood; it wasn’t stress-free for her perhaps
that’s what reflected in her eyes too. With her long curly hair and petite
figure she oozed a childlike charm that I was attracted to.
When we met for the first time she
never asked me about my past. It was a welcome change indeed, for girls I had
met formerly were too involved in the past. I wanted a present with my life
partner. Instead of regressing to what was history I wanted to commit my
present to my better half. I saw that in Sandhya; she was what I had been
But why am I feeling so bad at not
having known this part of Sandhya’s past?
I remember the time when I had fallen
ill after campaigning in the slums. I was diagnosed with Malaria and admitted
to the hospital. Sandhya stayed up each night and took care of me. She didn’t
have to for the best doctors in town were on duty but she didn’t flinch even
for a moment. How can I question such a woman!
Also it’s not right as she never
questioned me about what went on in my life before she stepped in so I
shouldn’t judge her for not sharing some information with me. The rules don’t
change just because she is a woman or she is a wife. No, I don’t care if she
was in an asylum. All I know is I love her. I might not be that expressive but
she is the most beautiful thing to have ever happened to me. She gave me the
elixir of life; her unconditional love. I am sure she will tell me everything
when she is ready. Till then all I need to know is that she is my Sandhya!
Well tomorrow is the big day and I
will surprise him with a small get together with all his friends from college.
These days he is so busy that he hardly gets time to relax. I have seen him
happy and jovial every time he is with his friends. So what better way to
celebrate tomorrow than being in their company? Ofcourse after that I also need
to tell him about my past in the mental asylum. The secret is getting heavier
by the minute!
“Here’s the grocery list. Get it and
come back in time. Saheb will have dinner early tonight ok”
“Ok Madam. Saheb wanted his old
clothes to be packed separately. Shall I do that and then go?”
“No you go I will take care of that”
Well let’s get started Sandhya!
I always wondered why he keeps his
clothes in the guest room. Well we don’t really have many visitors so I guess
he decided to utilize the space and exclusively give me the cupboard in our
bedroom! Now let’s see where his old clothes are! Well my dearest politician
sure has a lot of clothes for a man who hardly wears anything apart from kurta
pajama these days!
What’s that? Looks like an old
envelope but what is inside it?
Photographs! Wow..Deepak was so thin
during college and look at him now with a paunch and all!
Ohh these must be his friends!
Here’s a photograph of him dancing! I
didn’t know he danced! Interesting!
I don’t have any photographs of my
growing up years. If truth be told I am glad I don’t for there is no way I
would want to remember that time. Except mom, I really have nothing to show off
for that period of my life and now that she is no more all I have is zilch.
Wait a minute! Who is she? Who is
Deepak with in this photograph and in such a pose!
It’s going to be two years that we
are together and Deepak has never for once held my hand in front of anyone. But
here in this picture he seems so happy with her. Wonder who she was? The way he
is holding her, the way he is looking in to her eyes I don’t think we ever had
that. I know I never cared about his past because I wanted to forget mine and
never have to discuss it but why do I feel betrayed?
Everyone has a past, I do too but
ofcourse it’s an ugly past. He doesn’t have to tell me who she was, why should
he anyways? But shouldn’t he? I feel so confused!
I need some water. I need some
air! I can’t breathe!
I know for a fact that I am his
present then why this discomfort? But then again why does he look happier with
her more than he is with me? Why does my heart feel bitter at seeing this
picture? We have had our moments, not similar, but equally beautiful then why
does my heart feel this pain from within?
This is not good Sandhya, remember
Deepak loves you! He really does!
Yes, I can’t let this get to me. I
can’t slip back into the vicious cycle of depression all over again. I can’t be
livid, I simply can’t!
Breathe Sandhya! Exhale, Inhale! Just
He has given me a steady life so far,
a place to call my own. He has loved me in the best way anyone ever has. I
can’t be mad at him, so what he loved or fancied someone in the past. The fact
is that was the PAST! All that should matter to me now is that he is with me.
We are together and we have a beautiful life going on. I can’t throw it all
away for a picture from his past! No I can’t be so naïve! And if I know Deepak
right, which I am sure I do, he is not the man to dwell in the past. He is a
man of today and a man of his words. His commitment towards everything has been
real and genuine; no he is not a man who betrays others, he certainly is not!
He believes in moving ahead and not looking back. Moreover the point he is at
today is with me and nobody else!
I am his present and he is mine!
Our love will mature to one day be as good as wine!
Deepak had come back early that
night. He wanted to bring in the anniversary with Sandhya, infact for months he
had made efforts to keep his calendar completely free. After several weeks they
finally had dinner together that night; it was indeed pleasant for a change. It
was great infact. Sandhya had cooked his favorite biryani and
they talked, laughed and dined together!
“Yummy! I had been longing for it for
a while now” said Deepak as he kept eating the tasty Biryani!
“See how well I know you!” Sandhya
grinned. She had let go of the inhibitions and questions that had come up in
her mind earlier that night. Ofcourse, the short period of anxiety and
restlessness had left a slight headache and a numbing pain in her chest. But
she ignored those for Deepak was with her after so many days of dining alone
and no amount of ill-health could ruin this moment for her!
After dinner they lay on their bed,
Deepak’s arms around Sandhya as the breeze stroked them tenderly. Sandhya was
still not feeling very well with the chest pain but she figured it would be due
to the heavy meal; heartburn perhaps.
Finally it was midnight, yes it was
their 2nd anniversary; two years of being wed. Deepak looked
towards Sandhya and said Happy Anniversary honeywhile pressing her
hands gently. Sandhya with her hair open appeared lovely and elegant as she
looked towards Deepak. Her demure appearance made him feel a sudden gush of
emotions for he slowly hugged and kissed her like never before. Sandhya felt
warm within, she felt wanted and realized that she was right in not making an
issue out of that picture she had found earlier that day.
“I love you Deepak” she whispered
softly in his ears.
Deepak then took out a beautiful
diamond ring, held Sandhya’s hand and glided it in to her finger as if to say ‘With
this ring, I thee wed again!’ It was beautiful, almost surreal. But it
struck Sandhya then, she had to tell him about her past, she just had too! So
she spoke and this time with teary eyes.
“I didn’t get you anything Deepak but
I still have something to give you. I don’t want to keep this from you anymore.
It’s a burden I need to get off my chest! I had…” and suddenly Deepak put his
fingers on her lips.
“Sandhya, I don’t care what it is
that had burdened you so much but I want you to know that nothing from your
past could change the way I feel for you. If it is about the mental asylum then
darling I really don’t care. I came to know of it some weeks back, yes to be
honest for a moment I dwindled but then it was our love, our bond that brought
me back. I don’t care, I simply don’t care. I love you and I am very happy with
you, never been happier!” saying Deepak pulled her towards him.
Sandhya was sobbing by now. As she
lay with her head on his chest, she felt safe. She couldn’t believe her ears.
How could she be so lucky? Deepak was the best man in the whole wide world for
her and she knew it today more than ever!
“Deepak, you know I wouldn’t say life
was unfair to me. Yes, I was always depressed and there were only hardships in
my life. When I lost my mother, I lost myself as well. That was it, I couldn’t
take it anymore and life for me had ended then and there. But I was wrong, my
life never started till I met you. I love you, I really, really do”
“Sandhya you don’t need to feel
guilty my dear. I had a past too but I never discussed it with you for it was
over. There was a girl in my life. I was young and naïve but that was years
back and now you are my present. But I never feel guilty for not telling you
this earlier and neither should you!”
“Oh Deepak, I know about her. I saw
her picture but I also don’t care. For a moment I was jealous I must admit but
that was it. I know what we share is the present and that is all that matters!”
“I do too Deepak. I do too”
They were happy. They felt closer to
each other than they had ever before. Life is like that. You never know what or
who would change it forever. There might be obstacles, complications and
problems but there would always be this one person who would make everything
There are those that believe in love
and those that don’t. Deepak and Sandhya, believed in their love for each
other. It’s pretty simple, past is past and it more often than not complicates
lives. The choice is always in your hands whether to cherry-pick peace or
It was 10 in the morning by the time
Deepak woke up from his slumber. It was a bright sunny day. He had made plans
for lunch at Sandhya’s favourite restaurant and in the evening there was the
party Sandhya had organized. He turned to the other side of the bed and to his
surprise Sandhya was still asleep. It was strange as she was always up before
him. He smiled and thought that perhaps she was tired with all the emotional
talk they had the previous night.
Deepak moved closer to Sandhya and
hugged her. He gently stroked her hair and whispered he name in her ears.
“Sandhya..Wake up Darling”
She was in too deep a sleep so he
tried again and this time a little loudly.
“Sandhya.. Wake up! Rise and shine!”
Still there was no response so he
turned her towards him and suddenly as a bolt from the blue he realized that
she wasn’t breathing!
“Sandhya” he screamed as he tried to
catch a pulse or a heartbeat or a breath! But something was amiss, Sandhya was
“Sandhya no no no. You can’t do this
He took some water from the jug and
sprinkled on her but still there was no movement. He tried over and over again,
nervous and sweating like in a furnace, but still Sandhya didn’t move let alone
breathe! This couldn’t be happening to him he thought! He recalled Sandhya
mentioning some sort of chest pain at night due to indigestion but she was
fine! She was fine for heaven’s sake!
He poured the entire water in the jug
on her, all the time calling her name but she didn’t wake up! By now Nitai was
in the room too due to all the noise and the commotion. The doctor was called
but it was too late! Sandhya lay their lifeless, all wet but lifeless! She had
a severe stroke in her sleep, it was all over!
Deepak sat in the corner staring at
Sandhya’s comatose body. He just sat there as if he had shut out the whole
outside world. He stopped talking; he just sat there like a stone! People tried
to make him cry but it was in vain! Sandhya was gone, suddenly, abruptly! Was
it the photograph that took her away? Should he have told her everything
earlier so that it wouldn’t be a shock to her? But then she said she was fine
with it, she knew he loved only her! Deepak drowned in a whirlpool of questions
with Sandhya gone. He was not himself anymore; he was gone with her too. What
was left was a hollow man, searching for answers that were unlikely to come!
“Deepak…. Here take your medicines”
called out Dr Shetty of the Mental Asylum.
“Sandhya. Where is Sandhya” said a
man with an awry smile while gasping for breath with each of his words. It was
Deepak. He looked frail, sick and completely unaware of what was known as life!
Such was the cruel blow of fate that
Deepak ended up in the asylum from where Sandhya had once stepped into a happy
life after recovery. But at that time destiny had Deepak waiting for her at a
turn in the journey of life. But with her gone; would Deepak ever be able to
find a similar bend in his life?
Life is like a game of cards you
never know when you are dealt a losing hand! Deepak and Sandhya had wetted clay
to build a life of their dreams but before they could put up the bricks a storm
set them apart.
Labels: Short Fiction