Chapter – 10
Vijay did not plan to reveal his love for Harini until she completed her exams. It was the last day of the exam, Vijay bunked his college. He lied to Arvind that his dad had called him for a new venture.
Vijay and Harini were seated in a restaurant. Vijay made up his mind to talk about his love for her. But the only thing that kept running in his mind was, whether Arvind would accept it, or would he get furious on him for loving his sister. Before all this, Harini should accept his love, Vijay thought. Harini felt something unusual in her mood today. Her mind and heart were excited as if something great was about to happen.
“My exams are over. I have a month to prepare for my admissions. Probably by June first week, I would have joined IIAD”, Harini shrugged her shoulders.
Vijay did not feel comfortable to talk to her about his love, though both of them, by then knew that they were in Love.
Harini was not sure why Vijay, being a guy was having hesitation. She was still waiting for him to speak up first, in fear of being rejected. She felt his care for her, his sincere efforts to bring her dream come true and his support during various times. But were those out of love or out of normal courtesy?, she was not sure. She wanted it to be love, but was very much afraid at the same time to open herself up.
Harini and Vijay had a short chat after which they left the restaurant.
Harini started preparing for her admissions in IIAD. Her dad accepted her view and did not pester her to apply for engineering. Vijay made sure Harini prepared well. He gave his best support. One evening, as Vijay happily returned home, he saw his home in complete silence. He sensed something was wrong.
“We pampered him so much. Did we expect anything in return or at least for us? We had been asking him to score good marks, just for his future. Just look at the rank he had secured”, Vijay heard his father’s voice, breaking the silence. Vidyuth sat on the sofa, as though he was waiting for the topic to end.
Vijay signaled him “What?”
Vidyuth pointed to an envelope on the table that had come from University, requesting for attending the counselling for engineering. Vijay could see the rank that was written in block letters.
7417- Vijay got a closer look now. Within few seconds, he burst into laughter. Vidyuth signaled him to lower his voice.
“Wow. You are trailing by 250 ranks, when compared to mine. Super da. You are great.”, Vijay whispered, as he chuckled under his breathe.
“Idiot. Don’t laugh. And yes, that is why dad is furious. He checked with few of friends. Looks like for such Rank, I will get into your college only. Dad is sure not to get a seat through payment. He wants me to do my engineering in merit. That’s why, he is scolding Me.” he signaled towards the kitchen from where his dad’s voice was coming from.
Exactly after one month, Harini got her admissions in IIAD and Vidyuth joined his brother’s college as his family expected. Vijay’s dad was much disappointed, yet he advised Vijay to take care of him. Suresh’s fury was now at its peak as he noticed Vijay visiting Arvind’s house more frequently than ever. He was not able to stand it. He made up his mind to teach him a lesson. It was only then he came to know about Vidyuth joining the college.
Vijay and Harini were not able to stand the fact that they would be separated for the next two years.
Vijay thought it was now or never. He made up his mind to talk to her. His mind raced to focus on his love. He completely forgot about Arvind.
Harini had been expecting that Vijay would speak up first all this time. She felt today was the right time. She bought a beautiful greeting card, wrote her love for Vijay on it and kept it safe in her bag.
Vijay knew that Harini’s parents would accompany her to Airport. He decided to meet her at a coffee shop nearby.
Both of them sat in Long silence. Vijay was the one to break it.
“You would be away for the next two years. We would not be able to meet”, he began to talk.
“Hmmm” Harini nodded.
“You have given me so many special moments in my life so far. It is just because of you my life has got new colors and meaning. “ he paused for a long time. “I… “ he dragged.
Harini thought he would tell it now.
“I.. I really thank you for coming into my life. “
So all the pause and drag were just for a Thank you, Harini thought. She was disappointed.
“I….”, Vijay stammered again.
He will tell it this time, Harini thought.
“I am going to miss you so much, Harini. “, Vijay’s tone saddened.
“Those big round eyes, the expression they show, your beautiful face, above all the way I feel when I am with you; that unique special feeling. I would definitely miss that Harini”, Vijay continued.
Harini was excited; she could sense where the conversation was going.
“Harini”, Vijay called, waiting for her to look at him. She was now looking at his face.
“Harini..”he called, looking into her eyes directly. They poured enormous love. He could feel it.
“Harini, I… “he again dragged. Harini was still looking at him, her gaze fixed on his face.
“Harini, I love you”, Vijay, at last told, mustering all his strength.
She was still looking at him. She just smiled. Her happiness knew no bound.
“Harini”, Vijay called.
“Yes”, she replied.
“Guess I told you something”
Harini did not answer; she just took out the greeting card and letter which she had written for him.
Vijay’s happiest moments were just few centimeters away. He felt on cloud nine as he read the love proposal Harini had written for her.
“The day I met you, my life changed. The way you make me feel is hard to explain. You make me smile in a special kind of way. You make me fall deeper in love with you every day.
You are that one person in my life who gave me a million feelings, a thousand thought and a hundred memories.
All I wanted was to find that person in my life who can stay with me, no matter how hard it is. You are one such person.
I fell in love with you, the way you fall asleep; slowly and then all at once.
I love you Vijay.”
He closed the greeting card, placed it on the table and held Harini’s hands for the first time. Harini felt Vijay’s fingers were cold. He slowly caressed her fingers. She slowly slipped her fingers in between Vijay’s fingers.
“I love you”, both of them told in unison. They laughed together. It was a beautiful day.
Few hours later, that day, She boarded the flight to New Delhi. With a heavy heart Vijay returned home. Arvind sensed the changes in Vijay for the past few months. He suspected that it could involve Harini. Yet, Arvind decided to stay quiet and calm until he got a clear picture.
Chapter – 11
“All the best Son. My prayers for your bright future”, Vijay’s mom blessed Vidyuth as he was about to leave for his first day at college. Vijay and Vidyuth travelled by car. Vijay introduced Vidyuth to almost all of his classmates. Their college life was smooth and fine.
Harini and Vijay had been in constant touch through phone calls, romantic emails and sms. Harini was able to get closer to a girl named Anita who was from Mumbai.
It was after a month, Vijay missed Harini badly enough to lie to his best friend and visit her.
“Hey Arvind, I am visiting my Cousin Shwetha da. I am going to Udaipur. I have asked Vidyuth to take the college bus today. Please take care of him”, Vijay lied. His Cousin was also put up in Delhi. He used the same to get permission from his dad for the sudden visit to Delhi. He could not lie to his father as he took care of ticket bookings.
“Hey, remember, you need attendance man”, Arvind warned.
“Dude that is why I am leaving on a Friday afternoon, so that I can be there for next two days.”
“Who will take care of Vidyuth then? Why are you not taking him with you?”
“Come on da. He has just joined. He cannot afford to take leave. Hence I am the one leaving. Hey , now , listen. Take care of Vidyuth. Show him the stop where to get down. I am leaving. Bye.”, Vijay hurried. Arvind was a bit puzzled.
It was around 3.30 PM Vijay reached New Delhi Airport. Harini was waiting for him. He came running to her and hugged her.
“How are you Sweetheart?”, he inquired.
“I am ok. How can I do well without you? “, Harini replied.
They had planned to go for a restaurant. Vijay planned for a night stay in his Cousin’s house so that his parents had no doubt. He thought of spending the weekend with Harini, in the day time.
It was almost 4.30 PM when they reached a restaurant. They ordered for some chat items to snack on.
“Missing you badly, baby”, Harini almost grabbed Vijay by his Arms and rested her head on his shoulders.
“Me too”, he patted her cheeks gently. “It’s going to get over soon. We will be reunited again”, Vijay spoke to cheer Harini up.
As he was about to bite a piece of Samosa, his mobile rang. He hesitated who was it disturbing his solace. It was from his college. He was wondering what it could be.
“Hello”, he answered.
“Yes, My Brother. First Year CSE.”
“What?”, Vijay froze. His face turned pale. His lips dried.
“No. I cannot believe this.” Vijay was in tears.
Harini was confused and terrified.
The call got disconnected. Vijay was shattered. He stood there like a dilapidated building.
Harini shook him. “Vijay, what was it. Why are you like this? “
Vijay tried to gather his words.
“Vidyuth met with an accident while going home. He fell from the bus while it was moving hit the floor and he died on spot”, Vijay’s voice broke. He could complete the sentence. He could not imagine his life without his brother. It was his fault. What would he and his family do without him. His body started trembling. Harini was in tears too. She knew how much Vijay loved Vidyuth. She was as consoling as she could be. She went with Vijay till Airport.
He left for Chennai in the next available flight.
As Vijay landed, his hometown, Chennai, looked horrible than ever. For a moment the honks of the vehicles irritated him. How would have Vidyuth felt when he went down? He was not sure.
By the time he reached home, most of the formalities in G.H had been completed. Arvind and his family were there. Vijay’s mom came running to him; she was not able to withstand the loss of her son. She desperately looked at her son, wanting a word.
He stood there silent as if he wanted his mom to read his response from his lips, before even they escaped his throat.
Arvind’s parents were of a great support. Vijay took a corner to sit, rested his head on the wall and looked at the ceiling, despondent and silent. The house had seen Vidyuth as a new born infant. Being the second son, his Mom did not go to her native for maternity. The wall, furniture, curtains, everything reminded Vidyuth in one way or the other.
Vijay looked at his dad. His eyes showed only angst.
Arvind walked to Vijay. He stretched his arms as if he bore his arms only to succor the distressed Vijay.
“What happened da?”, Vijay cleared his dried throat, so that the words fell out.
“He got up to get down. The bus was still in motion. He tripped. He fell on the road from moving bus”, Arvind almost broke into tears. Vijay interpreted his tears were out of grief. But he had tears out of guilt.
Harini kept calling Arvind and Vijay to bolster them up. The rituals happened one by one.
Couple of weeks passed by.
The most young and vibrant Vijay had turned into the most dejected one. He never spoke to anyone; except Arvind. Suresh’s mom was of a great source of strength to Vijay’s family.
Vijay’s family was besieged with phone calls , expressing grief and condolences.
Vijay’s dad filed a case against the college demanding full explanation on his son’s demise.
They closed the case as an accident due to careless attitude of a youth, trying to hop out the bus while in motion, as their reputation was at stake. Vijay’s father could not take further actions, as it involved his elder son’s education.
Harini was in constant touch with Vijay, consoling him, encouraging him and supporting him, in spite of his dormant behavior. Their relationship was not the same after Vidyuth’s demise. She flew from Delhi to meet Vijay twice. Vijay just sat beside her, fixing his gaze to a random object and spoke only for a Hi and a Bye.
If Vijay had a valid reason to succumb to his situation, Arvind’s behavior bothered Harini more. She could feel that Arvind was like never before. She concluded that something in Vidyuth’s death had caused Arvind to be so.
She patiently waited for everything to return to normal.
Chapter – 12
Days rolled by. Harini was in the verge of completing her final year. She had been to Chennai before her exams. She intended to meet Vijay.
They were seated in a restaurant. Vijay, missing his brother was evident from his eyes, which were droopy and the skin beneath which had predominant dark circle. Of course the loss was irreversible, Harini thought.
“How are you”, Vijay spoke.
Probably in the last one and a half years, this was the first time Vijay had initiated the conversation.
“I am doing well, Vijay”, she responded. She felt too odd to hear her own reply, because it was formal than ever.
There was a pause.
“Vijay, I love you”, she started again.
“Love you, too”, he managed to smile.
“Vijay, I can understand and feel what you have been going through. You are remembering Vidyuth in every single breathe. Had he been beside, would he be happy to see you this way?”
“What are you trying to say?”, Vijay looked up for the first time in the past fifteen minutes.
“I am not telling. I am requesting. A humble request.” She paused. Vijay did not interrupt. “Please move on, Vijay. At some point in life, when know nowhere to go, the best thing is to go with the flow, just accepting things coming our way. We might not find the meaning at that point of time, but later every piece will fall in place. But for all this to happen, we have to move on. ”, Harini continued.
“Move on, where? “
“In life, Vijay. Move on in your studies. Move on in life. You have placed so many decisions in pending. Revisit them. Become stronger. Nature loved Vidyuth so much. That is why it took him back so soon. He is with us. Around us, loving us, guarding us”, Harini hastened her talk.
“But not living with us”, Vijay banged the table.
“Vijay, I am not sure how to…”, Harini was interrupted by Vijay.
“I can understand. You want me to move on and marry you. It is high time your life needs an answer, right? You have decided that you have waited for long. Listen Harini, my brother meant everything to me. I don’t want anything in life now. I cannot show you the same love, I have been showing before. If you are tired of my dejected behavior, you are free to move on. YOU MOVE ON. That sounds better. Go marry a guy who can Love you alone. Marry a guy of your choice. Now just leave me”, Vijay shouted.
Harini fought back her tears. Her deep brown eyes were wet. She looked into Vijay’s eyes directly. He turned away. Nothing was going right, she thought. His words poked her hard. She left the restaurant. She turned back to look at him as she opened the door. He did not bother to look at her. Tears rolled down her cheeks.
She reached home with reddened eyes. His words lingered in her mind. She could not take it. She covered her face and cried, until she slept.
Vijay could not sleep either. He re-read all the texts and consoling words Harini had been sending him all the while. He felt he had been too harsh on her. His eyes were moist. He realized that he was hasty enough to chide her mercilessly. She was not wrong at all, he realized later. He decided to meet her and apologize for his folly.
Harini was not sure when she fell asleep. She was woken up by the bright sun shine. She was not sure what time in the morning it was. She hurried to search for her mobile. She remembered not taking it out when she reached home. She searched in her bag. It was 15 minutes past 9. There were two texts. Both were from Vijay
“I am sorry”, read the first text.
“Shall we meet today, please” read the second.
She did not reply. Her nostrils flared. She decided not to reply.
After a few seconds, she typed “Where?” and sent the text.
She convinced herself that it was her last text to Vijay that day. Also she made up her mind not to meet him.
Few hours later, she was busy searching for him. They decided to meet in the beach.
Harini‘s love for Vijay was strong enough to break all her resolutions. It was him and the love for him, which was of the highest priority for her. Everything else did not matter; even herself and her so called strong resolutions.
“I am sorry”, Vijay spoke as he sat beside her.
Harini did not answer.
“I said, I am sorry” , Vijay repeated.
“For what?”, she kept her voice low.
“For everything, especially, being harsh on you”, he grabbed her hand.
“I was not hurt because you were harsh. You could have beaten me to death or buried me alive. You did worse. You asked me to leave you. You asked me to marry someone else. You are in agony, I know. But from where did you get the guts to speak that way”, Harini spoke in a single breathe.
Vijay was silent. His grip on her hands reflected his moods. She could sense his genuine love.
Harini continued to speak. “I know Vijay. Love is not just about sharing happy moments together. It is also about how we brace each other at time of melancholy. Love is all about staying together, fighting the odds together, maneuvering the obstacles together and of course living our love life together.
Vijay continued to remain silent. He slowly caressed her fingers.
Without turning his head, he asked, “For all that you have been to me, at the time of distress, I wish I should do something for you. What do you want my love?”
“Find a job”
“But you have not completed your course”
“Idiot, find a job for you. Be it in your father’s firm or at a place of your choice, make sure you find it. The loss, your parents suffering is irremediable. Stand up. You have to make it up. Make them see Vidyuth through your eyes. Make them come out of it. Try to keep yourself busy and vibrant. Unfurl the same to them.”
The affirmation her big eyes gave him were mammoth. He decided to change his mind that day.
“Where shall we go for dinner?”, inquired Vijay.
“Wait, I guess you said sorry in the beginning. But , I have not forgiven you yet.”, Harini replied, her voice and face grim.
Harini’s discordant behavior confused Vijay.
“So, what is the punishment?”, he asked.
“You have to marry Me. “, Harini smiled and started digging the sand.
Vijay smiled. It was the sweetest punishment, he thought. He never knew, that he would penalize his lovable Harini, post wedding.
Chapter – 13
Few months passed by. It was one year since Vidyuth met his quietus.
Vijay found a job in a reputed firm. Harini was now busy doing her certification. Arvind , Suresh had found a job too.
It was a casual Sunday evening. Harini had come home for weekend. Harini invited Vijay for dinner. Harini, Vijay and Arvind met in terrace after the dinner.
“Anna”, Harini called Arvind.
“Don’t address Vijay that way. You will feel for it”, Arvind replied sarcastically.
“I am calling you, stupid”, Harini hit Arvind in his arm.
If it had been the same old notorious Arvind, he would hit her hard back. But now he was different. He was still not out of the whammy, Vidyuth’s demise had put on him.
“Tell me”, he cleared his throat.
“Arvind, will you get your sister married to me? We both…”, as Vijay spoke, Arvind gestured Vijay to stop.
“You both are in love since you met on our college tournament.”, finished Arvind.
“You knew it?”, Harini’s jaw dropped.
“I am your brother. I know what is happening with my sister.”, Arvind smiled.
“So, when are we going to announce it formally? Decide on it fast guys. We have loads of things to do.”, Arvind continued.
It was Vijay’s turn to drop his jaw.
“Are you ok with it?”, exclaimed Vijay.
“I am fulfilling it, not just because it was my sweet sister’s wish. It is my best friend’s wish. “, Arvind looked at Vijay. Vijay hugged him.
Arvind rested his head on Vijay’s shoulders. His eyes were moist. “What would I tell him when he comes to know about it?”, Arvind spoke in his mind. It was terrifying. He thought he shall hide it forever. Guilt overtook him.
Couple of months later, both the families agreed on their children’s wish. Vijay was a completely transformed person now. The Vibrant Vijay was back, Harini’s adorable Vijay too. Vijay called Harini.
“Hello”, Harini smiled as she attended his call.
“My love heaven is just a day away. By this time, tomorrow, you would be my wife. It’s just you who can bring so much happiness and beauty to my life”, Vijay started.
“Enough , my dearest, have something in store after the wedding too.”
“You will not run out of Love and I will not run out of words, describing your love for me.”
“Oh my god. Hey listen, don’t make me blush.”
“Missing those cheeks and the blush”, Vijay sighed.
“Hey Sweets, listen, I am starting from home to wedding hall. See you in the evening. We would have been paired for the family ritual then”, Harini smiled as she cut the call.
As the families reached the wedding hall, the rituals began. Reception was about to commence in an hour. Harini got ready beautifully in her zardosi saree. Vijay was already waiting on the dais. He smiled at Harini as she climbed up. She stood near him. Harini was short by a foot in height. She raised her head looked at Vijay, and then lowered it, trying to obviate the demure woman in her.
The reception ceremony ended on a happy note. Vijay and Harini had dinner together. Vijay had invited Suresh to stay overnight. Bharath had joined them too. Vijay swiftly took two steps at a time and tried reaching the terrace. Harini signaled him “Where are you going?”.
“Bachelor’s party. Guys are up.”, Vijay pointed his fingers to terrace.” Arvind told he will join later as he had some work”, he continued.
“Are you going to drink?”, Harini’s face shrunk.
“No, never. Just sponsoring the party. I will while my time away with lays Chips and Pepsi”, Vijay smiled.
Harini smiled back. Vijay took a few steps. He suddenly stopped. He was not sure what stopped him. He slowly turned towards Harini. She was still standing for him, smiling. Vijay flashed his broad smile. They never knew it was going to be the last time Vijay would smile at her.
Bharath and Suresh were ready with drinks. They started drinking slowly. As the bottles were emptied, Bharath started losing his mind. Suresh was better compared to Bharath. Vijay was worried about Bharath’s state. If his parents knew that Vijay’s friends had been boozing, they would be furious.
Vijay shook Bharath.
“Tell me ,da”, Bharath spoke to Suresh. Suresh turned his face hard in Vijay’s direction. “He called you”, Suresh shouted.
It was getting into Vijay’s nerves. “Guys, don’t shout. Do you hear me?”, anger marred his brows.
“Sshhhhh”, Bharath signaled to Suresh.
“Guys, listen. Please, please, do not tell mom or dad about this party. I arranged it exclusively for you guys.”, Vijay’s hastened speech startled Suresh.
“No we won’t spill a bean. We are good at keeping secrets.”, Suresh assured.
“Yes”, Bharath spoke as he gulped his last ounce of beer.
“Especially me. You can check with Suresh. It has been one year. I am still keeping the secret about your brother’s murder. I have never told anyone about who pushed your brother off the running bus”, Bharath blurted out. Vijay looked at him in dismay. Suresh was shocked.
Vijay’s fury knew no bound. He started splashing cold water on Bharath’s face to stop him from getting into hangover. The series of cold water splashes, made Bharath regain his conscience.
“What the hell did you tell now?”, Vijay demanded.
“I am sorry”, Bharath apologized.
“Is it true?”, Vijay’s voice raised.
Bharath hung his head. “You idiot”, Suresh raised his voice before Bharath could tell it. “This drunken dog is trying to spoil your wedding. You better do not hear it”, Suresh objected. Vijay’s face turned red. He demanded Suresh to tell him. Suresh was forced to play back the original incident.
“I was also travelling in the same bus. Arvind forced your brother to dance in the moving bus. I stopped him. But he pushed me away. Your brother refused to dance. The bus driver kept warning Arvind that he would complain. Arvind did not care. As Vidyuth kept denying Arvind’s words, Arvind got furious and he walked to your brother. Arvind pushed him forcing him to dance. Your brother lost balance, as the bus was moving. He fell down and the rest is….”, Suresh dragged. Vijay’s eyes were moist. Now everything fell in place for him; Arvind’s sudden increase in concern, his constant saddened mood since Vidyuth’s demise, his immediate approval for Vijay’s love. Everything was just because he had killed my brother, Vijay thought. His rage was at its peak. As he rose to go down, Arvind came up to join them for the party.
He was shocked to see Vijay’s face. He was panting heavily. Arvind sensed something was wrong.
“Vijay”, Arvind called slowly.
“You monster; you killed my brother”, Vijay shouted.
Arvind saw Suresh and Bharath. He could guess it should have been Suresh, who had revealed to Vijay about this.
“I was wrong. I am sorry. I am ready to take any punishment from you. But please don’t punish my sister for this”, Arvind begged.
“Sorry? A single word would suffice, right? It was a meagre loss. You don’t even have to tell a sorry”, Vijay sarcastic voice hardened as he gritted his teeth.
“Please don’t stop the wedding. I cannot answer my parents. Please don’t let my sister know about this.” Arvind pleaded.
“Don’t worry. Stopping the wedding would involve my parents too. I do not want to give them any other major blow in their life. We have had enough. This wedding will happen. Your sister will pay for your folly.”, Vijay spat the words . “I was not concerned about my brother. Probably I took his demise lightly. Hence I did not show interest in investigating further. If though I had, I would have identified what had happened to him, much earlier. I am going to marry and punish myself for my silliness.”, Vijay continued as he descended the stairs.
It was only Harini who had been smiling all through her wedding. Through her corner of her eyes, she did not miss to notice Vijay. He was just staring at the consecrated fire that was burning for the wedding ritual. Though he stared at the bright fire, he visualized his life darkening.
Chapter – 14
Vijay was still staring at the curtains as he narrated his horrifying past. Shyam sat on the couch with his hand on his head.
“As I promised, I have narra…”, as Vijay spoke, Shyam interuppted.
“You have made the worst decision. You have been punishing the wrong person.”, Shyam uttered.
“I know. I have been chastising Harini for Arvind’s insanity. But my personal life is at stake too.”, scoffed Vijay.
“Even if you had punished Arvind, you would still be wrong. It was not at all Arvind’s folly the other day.” , Shyam expressed in dismay.
“What?”, Vijay turned towards Shyam.
“Just a sec”, Shyam excused himself, as he searched for something in his bag. He took out a chip. It looked like a memory card. He inserted the same in his mobile. He played a video.
“So, the prince is alone in the bus today. Where is your escort? Your brother will learn some good lessons today.”, Suresh scorned at Vidyuth.
“Hey dude. We might get into trouble.”, Bharath pulled him back.
“His dear brother needs a lesson. He cannot ditch me just because he got new friends.”, Suresh gritted his teeth.
“Hey, Arvind is coming.”, signalled Bharath.”Let him come.”, Suresh turned towards Vidyuth again. Arvind took his seat beside Vidyuth.
“Hey, bro.” he patted him on his shoulders.
“They are ragging me” , Vidyuth complained helplessly to Arvind.
“Hey, That is your brother’s bestie, Suresh, he wont harm you.”, Arvind assured.
“Bestie?, yeah really”, Suresh rose from his seat. He walked towards Vidyuth “Come on. Entertain us with a pole dance. Come on”, demanded Suresh.
Bus had started to move now. Vijay could sense it because the video was shaky.
“No, he won’t”, Arvind stopped Suresh. Suresh was furious.
“Mind your own business.” , Suresh snubbed Arvind.
“Get, up. Dance”, exhorted Suresh. Vidyuth obeyed timidly.
Arvind too rose from his seat, blocking Suresh’s way towards Vidyuth. Vijay now could hear the Bus driver’s voice, asking the students to sit, though Vijay could not see him in the video.
There was a sudden screeching of the wheels, Arvind who was standing in front of Vidyuth, confronting Suresh lost his balance. He fell on Vidyuth. Vidyuth, who was now almost near the bus entrance, tripped and descended rapidly backwards through the bus steps. As the situation panicked, Vijay could sense that the phone in which the video was being recorded was dropped. “Hey guys”, Vijay could hear Shyam’s voice for the first time.
“Anna, stop the bus”, he could still hear Shyam’s voice. Now Vijay could hear a lot of voices. He was able to make it out that Vidyuth had fallen and the crowd gathered around him.
Shyam stopped the video. “I was the memeber of anti-ragging committee. I thought it all started in a normal note, I kept recording just to make sure Suresh’s behaviour was escalated to management.
I safeguarded this memory card with me, just to hand it over to college management. But they closed the case as an accident. I was not able to handle it. Every time I saw the video in my phone, I kept thinking about the poor guy who was ragged. When I saw you in college, after the incident, I tried to tell you the truth. But I was not sure if it would bring back all the remorseful memories for you. I was not sure why, but whenever I tried to discard this, my instincts asked me not to. Now I have things falling in place. I had been keeping it safe just to ensure your love life is restored and your wife is saved.”
Vijay was agape in incredulity. His body trembled. Harini, the one who showed him just love, unconditional love, had been suffering due to his prejudice. His mind raced. Where was Arvind now? He did not even bother to think about him. His mind stopped there.
“But..”, he spoke for the first time in the past twenty minutes. Shyam was startled by Vijay’s voice.
“Why did not Arvind protest when Suresh blamed him during the pre-wedding party?”, asked Vijay.
“Suresh was astute enough to make Arvind believe that he was the one who pushed Vidyuth. It was where Suresh had been a conniving man. That was how Suresh deceived Arvind.” Shyam almost lost his temper.
“That was how he had deceived me too.”, Vijay’s eyes were moist. He never knew why tears rolled down. Was it for Vidyuth or Harini or Arvind or for himself, he was not sure.
Harini, what has happened to her?, Vijay collapsed on the chair.
“Shyam, how are you going to treat Harini? Split personality disorder is something that I have just read in fiction novels and have watched it in movies.”, Vijay spoke helplessly.
“Well, I can explain. As you might be aware, Split personality disorder, is a mental illness, in which a person transforms into the other. The other person is called alter. There might be several reasons for the birth of the alter. The most common reason is the mental pressure. Failure to integrate various aspects of identity, memory and consciousness in a single multidimensional self, causes the birth of the alter. Hashna should be one such form of Harini. They always named themselves in rhyming. Harini, Hashna, hope it makes sense. “ , Shyam tried to simplify the medical terms for Vijay.
Vijay still threw a skeptical look. Vijay narrated Shyam about the incidents that happened; the official paper incident, jewelry mortgage and of course the confusion with Kamini Aunt’s house.
“But how did you quickly conclude it was Split personality disorder?”, asked Vijay.
“I saw a woman talking to my mom. She was strange. She did not appear normal, mentally. But when I saw the same woman again in your house, with the most innocent eyes, It rang a bell in my mind. I knew both were same, but still with few differences in body language, expressions. I thought it should be DID.”, Shyam justified his quick diagnosis.
“Do not worry. You have had too much for today. Just relax. Please bring Harini to my clinic tomorrow. We shall talk”, assured Shyam. As they were speaking, Harini who was now awake slowly opened the door and approached Vijay. Vijay looked at her confused and terrified. “Harini does not know anything about Hashna. That is the worst part. Harini is totally unaware that there is an alter within her. So keep yourself calm”, Shyam spoke to Vijay under his breathe.
“Vijay, what happened to me? Why my left hand wrist is tied with this cloth? And may I know who is this”, she asked pointing to Shyam.
“I am Shyam; Your neighbor. A doctor too. You fainted due to head ache and hurt your wrist. I have just treated you with an antiseptic injection and head ache tablets. There is nothing to worry. Your husband and I have become good pals.”, spoke Shyam, as he smiled at her.
She smiled back, weakly. “Why don’t you both visit my clinic tomorrow? “, invited Shyam.
“Sure”, Harini replied as he saw Vijay. Shyam took a leave. Vijay locked the house. It was almost late in the evening, when Harini felt her stomach was growling. She was tired. She sat on the couch.
Vijay was not sure whether to talk to her or not. Where would he begin? Could he muster his strength to tell her that he had been wrong all this while? Would he tell her about the strange mental trauma she is been affected by? He was not sure. He toasted few slices of bread for him and Harini. He made sure she ate. She dozed off in the couch. He sat beside her, staring at the dark walls, listening to the chirping of the night birds and insects.
Chapter – 15
Shyam’s clinic looked and smelled fresh. It was pristine. He had painted his clinic with mild and soothing colours. Harini was just looking around casually, while Vijay was biting his nails in anxiety.
Shyam came out, a session with one of his patient was over.
“Welcome, Mr and Mrs. Vijay”, smiled Shyam.
Both of them smiled back. Harini’s deep brown eyes, her long lashes and perfectly curved eye brow were impeccable against her fair skin. Her eyes expressed so many emotions.
“Shyam”, Vijay called. Vijay’s voice startled Shyam. Had he been looking at Harini for a long time? He wondered.
“Come in”, Shyam ushered them inside. As they walked in, Shyam requested Harini to take up the patient’s chair.
“I thought we were invited on a friendly note. Are we here for any treatment”, asked Harini.
Shyam smiled. “No no, It is of course a friendly invite. This is all just to make your husband more convivial.” smiled Shyam. “Only if I could talk to you, I will be able to find why your husband is always grim. You have to help Me.”, Shyam continued.
“If it is for Vijay, then I will do anything, doctor.” , Harini words came out in a jiffy.
“You can call me Shyam”, he smiled.
“Sure, Shyam”, Harini assured as she took her seat.
Shyam pushed back the seat. “Make yourself comfortable and relax”, told Shyam. Harini sat there and closed her eyes. The serene environment induced an unknown feeling into her.
“Just relax Harini. It is calm and peaceful here. You are completely relaxing. After this your eyelids may feel heavy. But I will help you with it. Just relax”, Shyam tried to hypnotize Harini.
There was complete silence. Harini did not move. But her eyeballs did. It was a rapid movement of her eyeballs. Then it slowly stopped.
Shyam signalled Vijay that she was getting into her sub conscious state.
“Harini”, Shyam called slowly.
“Vijay? Vijay? Are you calling me? Are you looking out for me? I will do anything for you Vijay. But just say I love you. Just say I love you Vijay”, Harini started crying. Her voice broke. Vijay woke up from his chair in panic. Shyam asked him to sit.
He noted something on a paper.
“Harini. I am Shyam. Your doctor.”, Shyam spoke soft yet strong.
Her facial expressions calmed down. Shyam could sense it.
“Harini, just now you have been crying, asking your Husband Vijay to tell you, that he loves you.
So he does not tell that often?”
“Since our wedding he had never been telling it or showing it” , Harini answered , still her eyes closed.
“You know why?”, asked Shyam.
“No Shyam, I am not aware. That is the one, which stresses me a lot. It is very difficult being punished without knowing what the folly was.”, Tears rolled down her cheeks.
Vijay’s eyes were moist too.
“You had any clue why does he not love you?”
“Shyam, he still loves me. His love for me is immortal. Just that he is not expressing now.” Shyam smiled to himself. He noted something.
“Ok, Sorry Harini. You have any clue why he stopped expressing?”
“No Shyam. That is what is killing me inside. There should be something in me which he found after wedding. Hence he stopped expressing. I am really not aware what in me made him hate me or at least made him express his hatred. This mere thought gives me a lot of pressure inside my head.”
Harini held her head. Her eyes were still closed.
“Ok Harini, what happens then?”
“It gives me immense sorrow. I start thinking about the happy moments we shared, like my marriage album or any lovely conversation we had.”
“And then, and then I again start thinking what went wrong. My head starts aching.”
“What do you do?”
“I really don’t know. I repeatedly think that it was just because of me; Vijay had stopped expressing his love. “
“I don’t know. I would be helpless. I did not have any one to help me. Everyone around me just accused me. They asked me to work on my short coming and conquer my Husband’s love back. I, myself did not what my folly was. How could I correct it, when I do not know what was wrong in the first place? I would be helpless.”, Harini starting weeping. Tears started running down.
“I don’t know. I really don’t know.”, Harini continued to cry helplessly. She closed her face with her hands and continued to cry. Vijay tried to get up, as if he urged himself to console Harini.
Shyam signalled him to stay calm and sit on his chair.
After few minutes, Harini slowly took her hands off her face. She dried her tears with her hands. Vijay and Shyam witnessed her facial expressions change. She opened her eyes and looked directly into Shyam. Vijay froze. He could not believe his own eyes. Harini’s eyes showed a new tint of glitter. With the same facial features, just with the complete transformation of her expressions, she looked like a new person.
“And then , what Doctor? What do you really want to know?, she demanded. The innocent and timid talk was now gone. She showed a lot of attitude and behaved with an air of ego around.
“Harini”, Shyam called slowly.
“Stop it Doctor. That stupid lame dog, Harini is lying down, succumbing herself to all your spell.”, Harini pointed to the empty chair.” I am Hashna. The beautiful, modern, bold and of course that lovable woman my Vijay wants.” , replied Harini. Her alter, Hashna had taken over now.
Vijay was shocked. He tried to swallow. He suffered a lump in his throat. He could not believe his own eyes.
“So you are Hashna?”, asked Shyam.
“Yes”, she replied as she slowly pulled a strand of her hair and started curling it with her left hand fingers.
She mumbled a hindi song.
Her body language was completely transformed. Vijay was witnessing how his innocent Harini had now transformed into a bold woman.
“You like hindi songs?”, inquired Shyam.
“Yes, Of course. That is because I was born in Delhi”
“Oh I see. Hashna, can you elaborate on that?” , asked Shyam. He was now slowly trying to bring out Hashna fully.
“It was in New Delhi. Six months back”, smiled Hashna.
“Can you please tell me how did it happen?”
“My love Vijay, took that lame dog with him and went to visit his sister, Shwetha.”, Hashna explained as if Harini was a different person. “Vijay’s parents and Harini’s parents had come too. It was a fine evening; Vijay’s sister started the talk. She kept forcing Harini to tell what was wrong between them. She kept asking repeatedly. This insane woman did not have anything to answer. She started crying helplessly. She cried until she was tired. The parents accused her for crying. They stopped the conversation, assuming it was useless to proceed. Harini did not reveal about Vijay’s disinterest in her. She kept quiet and took all the blame. That night she wept horribly. She felt she had nowhere to go. She decided to kill herself. That imbecile woman did not even know how to kill herself. She slowly slipped into the washroom, filled the bath tub with water and tried to dunk her head. She suffered for breathing. She gasped for air. She struggled for a moment between life and death. It was when I was born. Something in this Harini made him hate her. I thought I should be an all-new woman. I decided to mould myself into a form, which would be loved by Vijay completely compared to much he hates Harini. If Vijay’s entire liking took a form, it should be me, I thought. That is how I started working on myself and that is how I am till now”, Hashna took a long pause following her prolonged talk.
Shyam started noting so many things.
“Do you like Harini?”
“I hate her. Listen doctor; do not talk about that female to me. She is now standing as a hurdle in between me and Vijay. I hate her. I want to kill her.” shouted Hashna. She pointed to a marble flower vase. “I would smash it on her head and kill her”, Hashna was shouting on top of her lungs. She was panting heavily. She was out of control. Shyam sensed the situation was going obstreperous.
“Harini, Harini”, he shook her. There was no response.
“Harini”, Shyam shook her hard.
Harini’s facial expressions changed again. She was slowly transformed into her own self. She fell back on the chair. Shyam injected something on her hand. He signalled Vijay to get up and come out.
Vijay was terrified. Shyam could sense it from his face.
“Vijay, from this initial session, all that I could make out was, Harini was subjected to depression of not knowing what in her made you hate her so much. The depression has resulted in birth of Hashna, Harini’s alter. In order to eradicate the alter completely from Harini, you have to make Harini believe that the reason for the outcome of Alter does not exist and will not re-appear in future. Hashna could be completely removed from Harini’s imagination only if the need of Hashna does not exist in Harini’s real life. When the reason for the Alter’s appearance does not exist, eventually the Alter will leave.”
“In any DID treatment, the toughest part is to identify what caused the birth of alter. In our case, we have achieved the breakthrough right in the first session. It is now completely in your hands. The reason behind Hashna’s birth was…”, as Shyam spoke, Vijay started to speak.
“The reason behind Hashna’s birth was, Harini imagined that she is the reason behind my hatred towards her. “
“Exactly”, Shyam acknowledged.
“Now it is your turn to eradicate the need of Hashna, which will happen only if Harini gets the confidence in her conscience that you will love Harini , with her own self, with her own pros and cons. Hashna’s need inside Harini’s mind and body will vanish only if you strongly convey to Harini that there could be no one else whom you will love.”, advised Shyam.
“Shyam, will my Harini be cured? Will I get my Harini back?”, asked Vijay.
“Well, that is in your hands.” , replied Shyam. Shyam could sense the change in Vijay. There was an urge in Vijay to cure Harini. There was an urge in Vijay to apologize to Harini. Above all, there was an urge in Vijay to love his Harini all over again. It is a good sign, Shyam thought.
“Vijay, but it is not over. We have just known who Hashna is. There are still so many questions to be answered. Please bring her tomorrow too. We will have a session again.” , Shyam reminded Vijay.
“You are blessed”, Shyam said, as he scrolled through his notes.
“In her sub conscious state, according to her, no other man exists, other than her Vijay. What a pure and deep love!”, exclaimed Shyam.
Vijay hung his head. He had not been worth of it until now. I will love my Harini , not just the way I loved her before, even more than that. I will cure my Harini. I will love her like no one has ever loved anyone else before, Vijay thought.
Shyam sensed some movements in Harini. He slowly walked towards her. She slowly opened her eyes. She was tired. Vijay followed Shyam.
“Vijay!”, she called out.
Vijay helped her to get off her chair. He held her arm tight and helped her walk. Harini looked at Vijay for a moment. Harini’s eyes, inspite of undergoing all those, conveyed so much grace and love. Her closeness reminded him of their first meet. This was how he helped her out of the park after hitting her. Is this event signalling him some goodness that he is going to start his love all over again? , thought Vijay.
Shyam waved them a good bye as he saw them getting into their car. Being a psychiatrist, he almost dealt with most concealed parts of patients ‘personal life. But he was clear that he should not relate to them more than what he actually should. Shyam thought that the same could not be applied to Harini. There was something in her eyes.
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