“Ma’am…balance disorders…hearing….” Tried Abhinav, fiddling with his tie, to they extent of strangling himself, out of breath. “Ma’am, they were…labyrinth…otitis media…and…and…” aimlessly exploring the last page of sense organs, which perhaps, never got imprinted in his minds( Thanks to the chocolate fantasy, which he was so engrossed in devouring at midnight).
Mrs. Sahu, the biology teacher of eleven B, stared, ogled and haunted Abhinav, for his usual incapability to answer the asked questions. Only God knows, why he took Biology! Mrs. Sahu has this very strong premonition that if out of the 120 biology students, she taught, it was Abhinav, who would surely fail and bring shame to her unblemished name. “Oh forgive him God, he doesnot know what evil he does.” murmured the teacher, under her breath.
Turning her attention to the silent class, she gestured Shefali to get up. Some students made faces, as the topper of the class stood while others goggled at her with appreciative smiles.
But the opinion of Shefali-knows-all got flabbergasted as the class topper answered in silence, with her head leering towards her messy shoes. It had happened for the first time in her whole academic record. Everyone was awestruck. How could this happen? This was entirely impossible. Everyone was gawking at the two of them, with astounded eyes. Mrs. Sahu felt defeated and frustrated. After all, she had taught the whole class regarding sense organs, at least, thrice. This response had definitely dampened her spirit.
Masking her 440V shock, she was about to question another student, when the bell rang and everyone gave an evident sigh of relief. Mrs. Sahu left, revealing her anger by ferociously thumping the book.
“Why the hell did not you answer?” angrily asked Abhinav, diving to where Shefali still stood, as if embracing the naked ignominy of what happened.
She looked up and looked at Abhinav, with softness and love, evident from her eyes.
“At times, we need to show our loved ones, what we feel when they are embarrassed.” Her answer knocked Abhinav out of his senses. It had been only 4 months, when they first met. Shefali, the indomitable topper of 10 years and Abhinav, the new bie, who hardly knew the spelling of science, were a mismatch, when it comes to love.
“ I am sorry …I will study from now…I will surely do…I promise…” vowed Abhinav. He knew Shefali loved him more than he did her, he knew that there was one heart in the entire world who wanted his progress, he knew no one could inspire him and listen to his silence as Shefali does. He hardly deserved her. But, he could face his insult but not the deliberate insults that Shefali faced.
After the class got over, Abhinav and Shefali were sitting in one corner of the field, discussing the entire chapter of sense organs.
“Yes…the hearing problems are labyrinth, meniere’s disease, Otitis media, presbyacusis and tinnitus.” Shouted Abhinav at the top of his breath…simultaneously craving to hug his lady love. A wide smile spread on Shefali’s face. For her Abhinav was her child, whom she had to nurture, he was her little baby.
“Listen to this also…in all these disorders, especially Tinnitus, the person hears when there is no sound…right…” questioned Abhinav, jubilantly.
“Yes, he does.” Replied Shefali, feeling honored.
Days passed and amazingly Abhinav never failed. Both of them started preparing for medicals. Fortunately, studies became important for Abhinav. Thanks to Shefali. Both of them craved to be distinguished doctors one day.
But life had distance in store for them.
“I do not deserve you Abhinav.” Quietly spoke Shefali, over the phone. Her voice was weak, with a hint of sadness and pain. For the past one month, she was hardly seen out. She hardly picked calls, hardly went out. Her parents too avoided the social gatherings. The entire Singh family had nabbed themselves inside the cocoons of their four walls, not interacting, not listening, and perhaps not even breathing!!!
“What the hell is this…” said Abhinav, soaking the acidity of every word piercing his heart. He couldnot receive any answer in return. By the time, he reached to her house, they had vacated. No one knew why! Not even a single soul! No reasons, no explanations…just utter pain, hatred and curses.
Life seemed to stop for Abhinav. He cried day and night. All this while, he was fortunately oblivious to how much he loved Shefali, but now, he knew how ignorant he was. Her laughter, her concern, her soft eyes, her frown, her scolding…they had were now poisoning his existence. He cursed her, cursed their relation. Credited himself the biggest fool alive. But every face still looked like Shefali, every sound gestured her presence, her laughter revealed her smile.
To get out of the raw depression, Abhinav studied…studied…and studied…He wouldn’t allow life to fuck him off. All these years, he had seen people being tortured by the hollowness of life…he would not let him life, the carefree one, to suffer the horrendous curse. Why the hell, did she leave?...well, for Abhinav, it mattered more and more, every single day. How incapable he was, how small, how weak, how insignificant…
Years passed by and Abhinav’s transformed into Dr. Rohatgi. The tall dark handsome dude, the hearth-throb of hundreds of class mates, juniors and even interns. It wasnot that he did not date…he did, but rejected the girls, the second day itself. At times, he got a satisfaction and at times, just the raw pleasure of rejecting someone. Still girls lined up for him, no matter how mush he embarrassed them, hurt them and ignored them.
By the end of the day, he was the same eleven Std. Abhinav, locked in the April month…crying desperately for his only strength. His tear glands had dried up, they did not cry after that year. Who knew, it was for good or for bad! Tears made him human once and he was glad, he was no longer so!
“Who the hell is Dal Kishore to wipe off his hands, after raping the girl.” shouted Abhinav, at the top of his voice. The entire floor went silent. The junior doctor who was present at the court case and was updating Abhinav regarding the legal proceedings of Priyanka rape case, stood abrupt.
“Give me the address of the lady who is supporting Priyanka right now. I need to assure them. Law cannot be fooled…” asked Abhinav. He felt a bit relieved when the address of the Head of House for rape victims, was forwarded to him.
The very next day, leaving all his chores behind, Abhinav headed for the house. A meek and timid receptionist lead him to the owner’s cabin. Just as Abhinav was about to enter, his feet froze and the time stood still.
Sitting right in front of him, in maroon salwaar kaameej and neatly tied hair was his Shefali. She was engrossed in reading a book and hardly cared to look up. The face, which had haunted him for years, suddenly was conferred with life. He could not move…so strong was the strangeness. His suitcase fell down, unconsciously.
Immediately, Shefali looked up and stopped. The instant recognition which was registered in her face, suddenly vanished. She gave a professional smile to him and gestured him to take a seat.
“Where had you been Shefali…” ran Abhinav…not able to control his shock. He had forgiven her… her presence was enough for the absent years. Unfortunately nothing got conveyed. Shefali clapped her hands and the same timid girl came in.
“Sir, Ma’am suffers from hearing loss. She cannot listen to what you are speaking. You can convey the message to me…I will let her know.” She revealed.
“What the hell do you suffer from Shefali…Occupational, Ceruminosis, presbycusis, acoustic neuroma, meniere’s disease or otitis…” yelled Abhinav… “You wont have to stand embarrassed now…All these years, I have grown competent enough to challenge you…tell me Shefali...what the hell did I do that you punished me all these years?” shouted Abhinav.” Warm tears swelled in his eyes. The man who projected death cold patience, was shattered right now.
Shefali looked at him with wide open eyes. She did not stand up, remained rooted to her position, as if transfixed by black magic. She had visualized this encounter, every night before sleeping, but this incident still felt so fresh, so deep, so sharp!
“Don’t you care…why the hell you would…you played with me…you …” controlled Abhinav. “Anyways, I was here to reveal that I had evidence regarding defending Priyanka’s case…I will be there in the court tomorrow…have talked with the lawyer…” he informed and left the room, without a glance.
Shefali felt as if, life stabbed her again. Firstly, when she was raped…secondly when she left Abhinav and thirdly …today…When silence meets love…they suffer the agony together.
The nest day, Shefali had just parked the car, when she saw Abhinav surrounded by 4-5 dangerous looking men, near the court premises. She quickly moved towards him…
“Tell me frandly, you doctor, how much do you want?” questioned a stout and heavy man.
Abhinav was silent.
“Oh ho! Do you want to devour another girl with us…” suggested the other one.
“What’s your cost..?” barked the other…literally strangling Abhinav.
“Rascal…hardly said a word…let’s move…” ordered the leader…and the group moved off…casting threatening looks to Abhinav.
When they left, Abhinav tried to press his shirt and get his collar to his normal self, when he suddenly saw Shefali, with eyes filled with tears.
“Go away from here…” she whispered…
Abhinav smiled and said…
“You are still bad at lying…you could have strictly said on my face that you hardly remembered me…why was the whole nonsense?” he questioned, looking straight into her eyes.
“Why were you quiet right now…you should have given them back at their face.” questioned Shefali, wiping her tears.
“At times, we need to show our loved ones, what we feel when they are embarrassed” chanted Abhinav. Shefali was shocked to hear her long said words.
Unfortunately, they did not have time to converse further…the case had begun. The reports stated by Abhinav, clarified the entire issue. Priyanka was saved from characterless questioning…her already spoilt name was not blemished more…The case ended in her favour.
Before Shefali could verbally thank Abhinav, he had vanished. She searched for him, every possible place she could. But he was not there.
With tears in her eyes and defeated soul, she reached back to her home. These two days had been so pure, so magical, so overpowering. She felt alive after so many years. Watching Abhinav was a blessing in disguise. Perhaps, it was destiny for her. She had promised herself that she would never ever search for him. She had to keep to it. By now, he must be a married man…even a father…No matter, how fresh her wounds pained, she will still bury it…still ignore her soul and still shut herself.
But perhaps, destiny has something else in store for her. The note she found on her desk, revealed the unsaid, the unheard…
“If all my life I hated someone, it was you. But then, in this indomitable hate, I knew my love suffered in silence. You left my life, but my life still started from you and ended on you. Not even a single moment passed when you did not enter in me. Earlier I used to cry, when I was sad, but now, I am dead, I donot cry anymore. You did not even give me a chance to reason out, to reveal to tell…You vanished, with my heart pieces breaking in my soul…
I cant use the word “rape” as I discovered 2 days back, for being your reason to not deserve me. You suffered a greater ordeal, in silence, in pain, in torture. You felt I would leave you and hate you but Shefali, how could I? You had embraced the imperfect in me…how could I leave behind the perfectness I got?
Your eyes speak Shefali…they hurt me even more. Even now, they must be wet with warm tears…Donot you think we were destined to meet? Cant you trust me to give you your identity, your womanhood, your essence like other women of your age deserve and demand? You are not insignificant…you are not for use and throw…You have given a new voice to all those rape victims, which earlier, were never heard…You have proved to be justice, which almighty confers….
So, if you feel like meeting me, just ring your office bell. For a change, your timid girl wont come and lie, for the 100th time, anymore, like she does to any known person who tried to meet you. Face the truth with me this time…and yes! I wont drop my suitcase, so that you hear the sound and look up…it doesnot let you lie.
God bless you
Ps: standing right outside your door!
See the eternal love