Picture from the net***
It was late afternoon, when we reached the hotel. Walking over to the veranda, I opened the sliding window, scanning the street. Deep in the folds of the concrete jungle was a small town, seemed comfortably settled without regard for other people’s feeling, without scrupling to speak of the dead….I sighed.
I looked up; a bunch of seagulls flew swiftly, heading towards the east. My mind skated free …I visualized my departed brother in law with his arms stretched out like wings amid those flock of birds…. Wondered, what made him jump off the twentieth storied building, with the intent to commit suicide at the age of twenty four! Death came…so easily for him. I was sure that the cause of death was filtered, transposed, and altered by the university authorities, as is inevitably done in most International cases. Destiny is trickier than it sounds....Though I showed no interest in accompanying my husband to come to Singapore to collect the coffin and belongings of his brother, but I was almost forcibly brought here.
My husband, Raghav came into the veranda, a cold draught from the air conditioner followed him. We were on the 23rd storied pent house and I looked down instinctively. A strange sensation stirred under my feet and pushed me towards Raghav. I linked his hand with mine; my nails gouging into his skin, evidently proved I was terrified and a mysterious horror was looming in the background...
A wisp of pale smoke suddenly interrupted my moment of comfort… a large part of it settled on my face, clouding my eyes. I swallowed hard, my lungs felt constricted ---for a moment, a lifeless, inanimate face, contorted in agony, hung on the edge of the horizon, and then disappeared from the view without a sound. We could sense the turn in the weather. It became cold, very very chill and misty all of a sudden.
I pressed closer to Raghav, but didn’t speak a word. It was best to believe what I saw and not comment...I stared at Raghav’s tightly set jaw, sensed the contained anguish and anger. Deepak managed to strip us, once again, of peace.
The town had shifted behind the clouds; leaving only remnants of a pale greyish sheen eerily over the space. It was a perfect maze to lose oneself in. We exchanged a quick glance, and moved out of the veranda. A gust of wind followed us, and I swiveled and thrust my hands into Raghav’s and literally pulled him inside the room.
When I met Deepak for the first time, after my marriage, he was more or less a psychological wreck…he claimed that he healed under my care, He was convinced that meeting me had turned his life around. And yet, I could never understand him. I was never comfortable with him. I told him several times, that something about him broke my peace of mind, and made me nervous. His response was always terse: and one day, he doffed his hat and said…” I’d quit this life one day, and would like you to join me in celebrating my re-entry into the next world…’ I thought it was a joke.
For greater good and peace, I deliberately moved away from him. When Raghav learned about it, he was initially confused, but felt disgusted about the whole affair later. His disgust was soon replaced by concern, and fear with the anxiety and soon the brothers were at loggerheads over me. Raghav started regulating his universe and mine and this in turn, controlled the unruly meanderings of Deepak’s mind and eventually ruined the relationship.
Deepak left for his higher studies to Singapore and the distance ensured marital bliss for my husband; but, I suddenly became lonely...and slippped into a phase of poor health. No amount of rest could prevent the miscarriage...My reserve, my recoil from all kinds of emotional exhibitionism was no doubt a matter of heredity and upbringing.
One morning, only an hour before our lunchtime, the doorbell rang. It was Deepak's friend; he broke the news of Deepak's death. I felt sad.
"Good riddance', muttered Raghav. I left the room, quaking a little; my eyes filled with tears. my soul's wound was showing through..... I tried hard to hide my grimace. He looked at me for a minute or two and without a word went his way. I thought Deepak deserved better. Deepak ended his life the same way he’d lived it, impulsively and with the minimum of kindness...
There were puddles of moonlight in the terrace as we were sitting in the hotel room. Raghav was making plans for the funeral arrangements over his evening drink. I realized he was artfully using me with the motive of jealousy. I felt small...and wished to escape from my hotel room and walk on and on until my feet reached the end of the world.
The night was windy and suddenly a shadow fell across the room. I glanced at the terrace; there was a figure standing there… I recognized the stony face with that tough jaw line. He lingered there for a moment and turned around. I watched him walk over to the parapet and walk away.
Raghav rose from the bed with a jerk and walked towards the terrace with a pen knife in hand and screamed: ‘That good-for-nothing lad! Perhaps, I have to kill him today to prove that I’m still alive. Or kill myself to bring him to senses…’
Raghav couldn't control himself; he bent over the parapet with his arms outstretched. Before I could grab him, he lost his balance and tripped below. I was stunned to silence! . Everything was over in a few minutes.
Within two days, all arrangements were made to transport the two coffins back to India. I was psychologically destroyed.
Life has been ineffectual for me, despite all emotional involvements. All through, I have been a mere participant in someone else's dream. At last, I am in peace now...
Disclaimer: This is a work of pure fiction. Any resemblance to anyone, living or dead is purely coincidental...