In the darkness of the room she met with her old unfettered fear, that sound is again trying to say something. This has been happening to her for four years, but whenever she tries to go to the store room she faints.
But today mustering all her courage she went upstairs to find the answer. As she was climbing she heard the lullaby which her father used to hum for her when she was 3 year old. But now she detests it as she does her father. Standing in front of the door of the store room she took a deep breath and moves to open the door. With her hands trembling and the humming getting louder, she only hopes for something less fiery. She moves her hand to unlock the room when suddenly she felt another harsh sound.
It was her alarm clock. She woke up instantly and found herself breathing fast.
This is Rhea, a 22 year old buoyant girl who works as an Intern in the RGI news Channel in Mumbai. It has been her dream since she was 16.
She lost her mother when she was a child. Since then her father took special care of her but never felt an urge to get himself a life partner. He devoted all his time and money in nurturing his daughter. Being a Bank employee, his earning was quite well to fulfill every need of her daughter. Rhea was very close to her father and whenever she got angry her father always used to taunt her by saying – “You can’t stay angry with me and even if you try I will come in your dreams and cheer you up”. One day her father was watching television when she told him her desire to go for reporting as career. Her father not sure what to say to 12 year old girl, only kissed her forehead and said that she is free to do anything. After completing her studies in Almora – a small town of Uttrakhand, her father sent her to Dehradun for Graduation. Although she insisted to live only here but for the sake of her dreams she agreed.
It was her first summer holidays and she decided to give her father a surprise by reaching home. But she had no idea that an even more big surprise is waiting for her.
It was 6:00pm when she finally reached her home and surprised to see total darkness. She called out her father but didn’t get any reply. “But he should be home by this time” she thought.
She searched for her cell phone to call him when suddenly she heard something. It was like a conversation is going on but unsure from where. Following the voices, she moves forward in total darkness and witnessed a dim flickering of candle light. It was coming from her store room, unsure of what is going on she started climbing upstairs. She cracked open the door and got shocked to see her father. As she listened to the conversation and witnessed what lay there she felt numb.
This was her last day in her house. Her father begged her to at least listen to him but she was adamant to her decision.
Exasperated, she walks off and vowed to never turn around.
Doorbell interrupts her thought and Vani (her next door girl) handed her a letter and wish her for her first day of job as reporter. As always she flushed the letter in a repository place. She checked her watch, only an hour to go. She picked pristine white top and blue denims for her first day. She sits for her breakfast when her cell phone says a message from Dhruv.
Dhruv & Rhea has been dating for 3 years and he is the only reason she wants to live. He always told her that she should forgive her father as he is nowhere responsible. She knew he is right but because of her father she lost her mother.
Sound of horn blared and she knew Dhruv has come. She picked her ID card and hopped in his car. Like always Dhruv gave her Bouquet of white lily flowers, a box of chocolate and a forehead kiss.
“You look pretty in white and nervous too” said Dhruv.
Of course I am but I know once I will get my first assignment this nervousness would vanish.
His freewheeling nature always amazed her but today he look sad so she asked how is your mother? Is she fine now? His mother is a heart patient and recently she got a heart-attack, though it was minor but Dhruv is quite worried.
Yeah she is fine but I am thinking to visit her tomorrow.
Dhruv is from Dehradun and he came to Mumbai for two reasons – his job and Rhea.
He stopped his car in front of RGI office and bid her by.
Despite her painstaking job of reporting she always took it paramount. She felt an aura of mystery in her office with around hundreds of LCD TVs blaring day to day incidents and rush of people which is nowhere to seen.
She was thrilled after getting her first assignment. She has to cover about an accident near Juhu Beach. It is the first time that she will not be assisted by anyone. Her videographer – Nikhil, a young and shy boy is quite supportive so they completed their task gracefully.
On the way of her home she got a call from Dhruv, he said he would have to go Dehradun to see her mother. Though she knew it is urgent but deep down she was sad.
He sensed her mood and said I will come by tomorrow evening, how I can forget my baby’s birthday and give her a kiss.
Her mood lightens up and she reminds him of all the things which might be necessary for his journey. Whenever he goes out of station, he has to make a checklist of stuffs.
Late in the night, while they were talking she reminds him to call her once he will reach and bid him Good night.
It was around 2:00 pm when she woke up exhausted and her body shivering. Rhea picked her phone to check the time; it says 2nd of July, 2:30 pm. She knows it’s her birthday today and she should be happy but this happens to her every year.
She clearly remembers how her father used to celebrate her birthday. He loved to do little things that made her happy. On her birthdays he took leave from office and they called it ‘Father – daughter’ Day.
As the nostalgia hit her, she came back into reality and realized that there is no use of it now. She loathed him.
She got up early and received a call from Dhruv.
“Hey, Happy Birthday sweetheart”, and starts singing birthday song.
“Thankew sho much” but I am missing you a lot, she said mischievously.
Dhruv said “Awwww don’t worry right now just open your door”.
But nobody is on the door…..and instantly the bell rings, she opened the door in a state of shock. There she found a bouquet with a note.
”Now read what is there in the note” he said enjoying every moment.
Arre isme to kuch likha hai, and she took her precious time to read it.
Wow it’s the best poetry ye tumne likhi he
“Yes and flip it” he said.
“Dinner at 9:00” Aww thankew sho much for this surprise, I will be ready.
She is happy but soon she will face the terror going to befall on her.
When she reached her office she found the whole staff stuck at the TV. “Must be some breaking News” she thought.
It was mundane but still she went to check the news. A TV channel was blaring:
“It will be the first time in the judgments of Supreme Court that such Verdict has been delivered. An issue like this is still considered as taboo in Indian society. Until today Homosexual intercourse was a criminal offence but now Supreme Court of Delhi has passed a verdict which states the same-sex sexual activity legal”.
Rhea had no idea what is happening, tears welled up from her eyes as she remembers that day.
Standing at the store room she witnessed her father with her grandfather. She is not vey accustomed to her grandfather as he seldom visits them. She sensed something wrong and pressed her ear to listen their conversation.
“It is been 15 years since I am forcing to keep distance from my grand-daughter, but it’s enough now this time I will take her with me” Said her grandfather.
Though her father know he is right but he love Rhea more than anything, said “Why are you venting your anger on me whatever happened was an accident not my fault”.
It was your entire fault you should tell her mother that you are Homosexual, at least then she would be here with us. But she killed herself. You are a murderer, you stole all her happiness and now you are doing the same with your daughter.
Numbness passed over her body as she stared her father.
”No I had not done anything in fact before our marriage I went to this Psychoanalyst so that I can get over this. I tried every possible thing to make it up with her but she never listened to me” her father said.
“How can you think to be a heterosexual with some nonsense therapies by a Psychoanalyst? It is not possible and please I don’t want Rhea to grow up with someone like you” said her grandfather angrily.
It was an eerie for her.
It was the most painful day of her life and today it seems like past is coming over again.
A Reporter from CNTC channel takes a bite of a gay couple who said “We are also a part of society and it would be unfair to do discrimination with us. Would you do the same thing if some day you found your own brother or sister like us? This law is fair enough.
Rhea knew it is going to happen someday but now as this day has come she can’t control herself. Tears rolled from her eyes as she imagines her father all the way lonely for 4 years.
She came out of her office and started crying when suddenly she noticed Dhruv standing over. He hugs her and told her only one thing, “please forgive him he was innocent”.
And they decide to go Almora.
She packed her stuffs in quick succession; from inside she is extremely happy that she can now hug her father. As she opened her drawer, she found the envelopes which her father used to send but she never gave them a look. She doesn’t have time to read them all but she picks the latest one and got one more shock.
It was signed by their family doctor and said his father is critical and it would be good if she would meet him for once.
She felt like earth is slipping beneath her legs and without wasting her time she dashed for Almora.
When she reached, past thoughts came to her like wild horses.
As she came near her house she recognized a familiar face; it was Dr. Paul. He recognized her in a second and said she is late her father is no more.
She opens her mouth to say something but felt loss of words. She can only cry for all she did till today.
She pushed open the door and slowly moves toward her store room. As she climbs the stairs it felt like she is living her dream. She opened the door and found some letters which her father used to write for her when she was away.
All the letters were stuffed with apologies for his misdeeds. Her eyes stopped at a letter which seems freshly written and she starts reading it.
It said “Happy birthday my princess. I wish God will shower all happiness on you. I know until now you must have become a reporter as I knew you would be. I missed our father- daughter day. It will be the first time that I am giving you an advanced gift by leaving you. Stay blessed”.
She cried a lot as she hugged Dhruv and felt terrible for her mistake. That day she did everything that her father used to do on her birthdays.