It’s been three thousand days and nights of endless nightmares since you’ve been gone from my life. Now I don’t know if I would even recognize any other way of living than this. I had often read that a single moment could change the course of life; I just didn’t know that that moment would be defiled by you. Now, there is a hole in my heart in the shape of you. No one else can fill it; why would I want them to?
The first time I saw you, my soul recognized you for who you were. I mistook the swift pace of my heart and the heat emanating from my body. Maybe if I had taken the time to think about it, I would have known differently. But some lessons are learnt the hard way only. And trust me, you have been the most painful chapter of my life so far. I wish there were some way I could describe it. Maybe the words could offer a release that no amount of alcohol or narcotics could provide.
The day you did the deed, there were people all around us. It was Di’s wedding and everyone was acting bonkers the way you do when there is too much to be done and not enough time to finish it in. The stairs bore patiently the running feet that couldn’t quite make up their mind whether they wanted to go up or down. The walls hid their faces behind the garishly bright decorations that the Aunt from the village had insisted were necessary to take away the evil eye. None of the rooms were truly empty; yet you found a place that could haunt my dreams forever.
I had often thought to myself that the Universe had conspired together to make my life as wonderful as it was. No one had thus far had any reason to be upset with me. While the teachers were satisfied with the straight A’s, my parents loved the fact that they had finally managed to create the perfect child after two tries. In a real world, my siblings should have envied all the love and pampering I received. But I was living in Utopia; they indulged all my whims and fancies even more than anyone else in the family. When something feels too good to be true, it usually isn’t. Good, I mean. Yes, you taught me that really well.
I had been laughing that day, quite a lot if I remember correctly. The tailor had delivered my lehenga and needless to say I looked gorgeous. The pink and white flowers in my hair were daintily arranged to accentuate my blushing innocence. But when they lay strewn on the floor, they didn’t look that innocent. What was it that told you I was ripe for the picking? Did you even consider about me before putting that pill in my glass? You looked at me and saw a doll that you could play with. A toy with which you could do just as you pleased and no one would know. After all, in our country, who believes that the devil walks amidst us?
They say that Di’s departure was delayed by half an hour because they could not find me. There were people running around calling my name. In one corner all the heavily dressed up Aunties stood around whispering how I had been spoilt silly. Everything was about not missing the auspicious hour and so forth. Finally, my father managed to convince the gaggle of peeping toms to accompany my sister to the venue while he and my brother stayed back to look for me. Little did they know that it would have been better for all of us had they not found me at all.
I can still remember lying in a pool of my own blood, watching curiously as my crumpled and torn dress tried to soak up all the evidence of my sin. Someone had thrown pieces of my glass bangles and a few petals from my hair carelessly around to give the scene an artistic appeal. There was a silence all around – inside and outside – though my breath did rattle out once in a while to announce my survival. From the corner of my eye, I could see footsteps approaching. I tried to turn my face away before anyone could catch me looking like the mess that I was; but while my mind thought rationally, my body refused to stop throwing tantrums. The last thing I recall is the tears flowing down from the faces of the people I loved and mingling with those that had dried up on my cheeks.
There was a very nice lady with a warm and comforting smile who had tried to talk me through my trauma. While the body had recovered traitorously quick, the mind had refused to accept that healing was possible. My ears shut out voices till my family became as numb as I felt. My eyes could not see beyond the shadow of the veil of my lashes; I was afraid of the things that I might see in the eyes of those who loved me. For over six months I refused to accept human touch and remained isolated in my self-created prison. My family hurt for me, probably more than I did; yet they gave me the best gift possible – patience.
It’s been three thousand days and nights of trying to understand what I did wrong or how I could have saved myself. I smile because I have seen that my all-too-knowing eyes seem to disconcert people. I walk, talk and do everything that is required to be classified as a living being, but do I know how to live? Some times when I can bring myself to be strong, I stand in front of the mirror and try to see what he saw in me. Some times, through the blur of tears I can see a little girl of ten looking back at me and asking me why. I wish I had an answer.