“Hey Wake up!
Wake up, for you are left with just 30 more minutes.
You better sleep after this is over; rather that would be your only choice. Just 30 minutes later, when the crescent rays will fall on the black hood covering your face, when you’ll be tied with, or rather “in” a knot, for the second time of your life, believe me you would not want to be in haste. You don’t want them to see your eyes popped out, or your filthy tongue stuck out like a creep right? So, get up, go get your hair combed, your teeth cleaned, and most importantly collect as much happy thoughts as possible in your stupid brain.”
The only child of his parents, this kid was a loner, an antisocial introvert who liked to stay back in his shady living-slash-playing room, and wished to stay there for lifetime. Skipping school since the fourth grade, his mother very well accepted his social awkwardness as well as his mind’s disability and was happy with hiding it from the rest of the world. Whilst I, I watched him grow, I kept calling out for him, in his good times, or bad. I lived in him.
When he was 10, his mother was relocated to a new place, around 50 kilometres from the capital, a place where neighbourhood was as far as the corner shop in the hometown. He was terrified. He had to greet the visitors all along. It was then, he met his first friend, a girl. After she came into his life, there was no shady place, in his house, or heart or anywhere. ‘I love when Vaidehi blinks and smiles at the same time’, he’d say to his mom. One day, it was evident to him, that Vaidehi had the most beautiful eyes he’d ever seen. I still remember how his mother must have felt when she would have realised that his son had one more best friend now.
His mother was long gone before he’d even think of proposing Vaidehi to marry. It was the same girl, the only girl he’d ever spoken two words to. He left his mother’s house and starting living with her at a completely new place. ‘I’ve kept your lunch in the kitchen, heat it carefully, okay? I’ll be back by 7’, she used to say every morning to him, like a mother warning his kid before herself going out.
Apart from his “work from home” job, he was passionate about clicking pictures. Or rather, he liked to save the moments he was enjoying with her. Some days, he used to shuffle between them, recollect the memories, shed a few tears, curl up on the bed and just wait for her to come in the evening. He was also good at dodging off important calls.
Best were the college days, when he started perceiving how real, the real world was. He was afraid on the first day. Four years later, he had a job, a “work from home” job, a girlfriend, and no family. But he had learnt how to ignore bullies and be in love, or at least that’s what he’d think.
‘Come in the City Hospital ASAP. Your wife is here.’ Some lady spoke on the phone. The call was from Vaidehi’s number. He rushed out, alone in the traffic and around so many people. He was little mad at her, why she didn’t take time off work during her last months.
‘It’s a baby girl’, The nurse announced.
‘Let’s call her Gayatri’, Vaidehi said.
‘That’s a beautiful name’
‘It’s your mother’s.’
‘Oh yes. Of course.’
As the Judge broke the nip of the pen, he declared : ‘According to the evidences presented by the accused himself and his self-admittance, the suspect, on charge of murdering his wife and his baby child, is hereby sentenced to be hanged till death on the month’s last day at sunrise. May God have mercy upon his soul.’
She was drunk. One day, when she came home. Or maybe high, he could not figure, he remembers, during college days, she had mentioned one of her female friend who was into heroin at those times.
Vaidehi’s call history. Her friend’s name in recent calls. She was definitely high.
He could not dare speak a word to her. He made sure the little girl is fast asleep.
She started abusing herself on daily basis. He was worried. He considered himself to be at fault. Maybe, she was not enjoying with him as much as he was. Maybe she didn’t love him like he did.
‘Nah! That can’t be it.’
Gayatri got into kinder garden. More house chores. Vaidehi couldn’t find time to visit her friend these days. She did go to work, but usually cut short her work hours in the evening. She was not happy.
‘I will make her feel good.’ Maybe one more kid? Maybe pregnancy will stop her from drugs? He knew if he’ll ask her, she would politely refuse or unwillingly agree considering her husband’s wish. Let it be an accident. Months passed, he started worrying. Nothing happened. How about a medical check-up?
‘I’m sorry sir, but you are infertile’, the doc said.
Within seconds, the first face to appear in front of him, was of his cute little daughter, Gayatri.
Call history. Her friend’s name is still there. Ring, ring. ‘Hello?’, a hoarse voice; shocked to the bottom of his hearts. It was of a man.
This is about the night, the night he became the “accused”. Vaidehi was chopping off vegetables in the kitchen. He was looking at Gayatri, smiling, wondering. He could not hold any longer. He sneaked in.
*’Sorry I got late, had lots of pending work at office. Dinner would be ready soon. I’m preparing noodle soup and rice. *
‘I had to talk to you about something. I am sorry.’
She stopped. ‘What happened?’
‘I am sorry, I checked your email.’ His heartbeat racing fast.
‘Why the fuck would you do that?! And so what?’. She put the knife back on the table and stepped towards him.
‘I saw the notice from your office. They said you haven’t showed up in two weeks.’
She was Numb. His legs were trembling.
‘Vaidehi, you love me right?’
‘Yes’, her lips were straight.
He went straight to bed. Later that morning he woke up, to find himself alone. She was gone with Gayatri. The knife had cut real deep. It was a bloody mess. He fainted.
“What type of a person you are! That woman had no love for you, but why are you still doing this for her? Just go home already.”
The thick rope got around his neck. Eyes closed, hood on, memories started flashing in. And then came the regret, the regret that he would have loved Gayatri more, both of them.