“Gouthami …” Called Chandra!
I stopped and looked back.
“Gouthami, Don't worry. You will be alright. Happy journey!”
I gave him that old cold look and whispered, “Thanks!”
As I settled in my seat, the bus started to move slowly. I was neither watching Chandra nor anyone on the bus. I was just too sleepy and was waiting for my turn to produce my ticket for the bus conductor.
Suddenly, a girl in a red drape churidar, mostly, in her early twenties caught my attention. Seated at the window in the front row, she was checking with the conductor the time the bus would reach the destination. He replied to her 6 am approximate. It was 11 pm then. The lights were off on the bus.
Passengers were relaxing and getting ready to doze off as the lights went off on the bus. The girl turned back to take a peek at her co-passengers, and then she started preparing herself to sleep. I too adjusted my seat comfortably and closed my eyes. Almost after forty minutes of the journey, I opened my eyes a little disturbed to the snoring sound of an elderly man in the back row of my seat. Surprisingly to my attention, the girl in the red drape chudidar was not sleeping. I was observing her in the dim light wondering if she too was disturbed with the snoring sounds of the Co-passengers. She opened her handbag and removed a cover. I was just watching her curiously to see what she was doing. She slowly opened the cover and then opened her water bottle. I understood she was about to have some medication. She started swallowing the medicines continuously, and it shook my head for a while getting a clear vision of what she was trying to do. She closed her bag and her eyes at the same time.
I felt as if my heart was choking and started to feel nauseated. My heart was pounding very high, and I couldn't breathe for a moment.
The conductor was waking me up in the morning as we reached the destination. I woke up with great difficulty and found the bus was almost empty. I and the girl in the red dress were left on the bus. I was sensing a kind of negativity and went to her trying to find out she was alive. She was breathing and that relaxed me a lot. I told the conductor that I would wake her up. The bus stopped. The driver and the conductor got down from the bus. I tried to wake her up, but she was not opening her eyes. I felt panic again and tried to open her handbag to make sure what she had done the last night. I was shocked to find twelve empty alproax strips in her bag. My nerves were tremored, and I jumped from the bus instantly, went to the conductor, and tried to explain to him the situation. Then I watched her from the window of the bus that she was talking to someone and getting up to go. I went inside the bus immediately but she got up, took her bag, talking to someone invisible, and caught an auto without looking at me. I heard her saying Meghana working women's hostel to the auto driver. I googled the location, caught another auto, and followed her. After thirty-five minutes, both autos stopped at the hostel's gate. She got down saying thanks to the invisible person in the auto, whom she was talking on the bus, went inside the hostel without giving money to the auto driver. I gave money to both autos and went inside the hostel following her. She directly went to a room on the ground floor and knocked on the door. A girl opened the door who might be her roommate, and there was an elderly woman inside the room waiting for her. The girl told them that the bus conductor brought her safe to the hostel after she took 120 alproax pills last night on the bus. She fell unconscious on the floor, and I was surprised to the hell hearing that. A high tension atmosphere was created there in a couple of minutes. The elderly lady was crying. The hostel warden with the help of the other girls took the girl to the nearby hospital. There was no one to hear what I wanted to say. My mobile had started ringing continuously, and I picked up the call. It was from Chandra. I told him that I would call him back in a few minutes. I followed them to the hospital and met the warden. I told her everything I saw, and she said that the girl was too enigmatic from the beginning. I understood that the elderly woman was her mother. After doctors had confirmed that she was out of danger, I left my mobile number to the warden, started back to find an auto to my place. Sitting in the auto I contemplated deeply in my mind. I always wanted to become a story writer and had won a few prizes at the college level for my short stories. The strange behavior of the girl talking to an invisible person reminded me suddenly. I was wondering why the girl told her hostel mates that the bus conductor helped her to reach the hostel safely. I called the warden to make sure that everything was fine there. I was surprised by my curiosity about that incident. The writer in me provoked me to find out more about her so that I could find a mysterious tale for my next project.
A few days later, when I was talking to Chandra on the phone, a call from an unknown number was coming in between. I guessed it was related to that girl, and lifted it asking Chandra to call back later. A young girl's voice wished politely ... I responded and understood that she was that mysterious girl's roommate in the hostel. “How's your friend now?” I asked. She said her mother made her vacated the hostel.
"Madam, she forgot a bag of her certificates in the hostel room. Warden told me that you have her mother's contact number. Would you please contact her and inform her? We were trying her mobile number,
but it was switched off. So calling you. Warden doesn't have her mother's number, it seems."
I told her that I would collect the certificates and post them to her address. I went to their hostel in the evening and collected the bag of that girl and came back to my place. I called her mother but she was not willing to talk anything to me. I told her about the certificates, but she was disinterested to collect them. She hung up when I asked about her daughter. I felt a bit embarrassed but understood that they were disturbed a lot so they would need some time to respond back normally. I really wished to know about that girl very much. I opened her bag to see the certificates. She was a science graduate and now pursuing her masters in some university. I found a diary in the bag. With little hesitation, I opened the book. There was a name written in big letters - ANAGHA
ANAGHA, I was born after rejecting society from my mother's womb.
This was written on the first page when I opened her dairy. I was very much excited to read the entire book. I had my lunch. I switched off my mobile as I did not want any type of distraction. I settled on my bed and opened the book.
I started reading... ANAGHA , I was born after rejecting society from my mother's womb. I felt it was tough and kind of a herculean statement. I sensed some enigmatic charisma in her book just like her appearance.
I was anxious to read what's inside it. Flipped the next page.
“Oh, why are you so ruthless, cold, and brutal and have no feelings?” He asked.
I smiled. The practically doe-eyed smile of mine pissed him off. "You are the fucking disgusting egoistic idiot I have ever seen," he said. The notorious smile on my face didn’t change. "A disturbed kid has been raised and became a pervert now," he shouted.
I was quiet. He was quiet. Ohh, wait... Let me introduce myself first. I am Anagha, Bio-Chemistry final year. I have come out from the eccentricity and weirdness of the people when they feel me eccentric and weird. I would like to become a metaphysical writer. I am interested in surrealistic art and would like to use the bold and ingenious conceits often by deliberate harshness or rigidity of expression. The guy who is constantly pressuring my brain with his lectures is Jenny, my classmate with whom I have been in a relationship from the past two years. He is the second guy with whom I have been in a relationship now. The first one is Nanda, whom my parents had arranged a tie-up and in a very short time they broke up for petty egoistic issues. They neither cared to ask while arranging my marriage with him nor bothered to break the engagement without my concern. I fucking don't understand how the hell my parents can’t think about my physical intimacy with him before they canceled the engagement.
Jenny is a cool guy to move on. For two years we had a hell of fights and arguments but the one thing I am so happy with him is my self-respect is respected. We share and discuss everything. Our opinions are mismatched sometimes but it never became a problem. He is an average guy in studies, and I never bothered and cared about my education. By joining in this course is completely my mom's preference and biochemistry is my dad's priority. I am interested in literature but few parents unknowingly create a feeling of financial dependents/slaves to their children hence there is nothing to do except acceptance. This is all about me."
I stopped reading for a while and understood that she has problems with her parents like so many kids. And boyfriends are so common in that age. I don't find any curiosity reading that except a sentence - Disturbed kids raise to become perverted youngsters... It's true. I called Chandra and spoke to him for a few minutes. I started narrating everything that was happening with this girl. He listened patiently. I knew he would. That's why I use to tell him every damn thing that I care/don't care about. I switched off my mobile again to open the next page of the book.
There were titles given to every page. It grabbed my attention again, and I would like to read the names of the titles first.
My earliest experience -
Nightmarish reality -
If I could go back in time -
Near-death experience -
Violence can be an answer -
Unusual insight -
I opened the first chapter.
My earliest experience -
I was a shy natured, God-fearing, studious child whereas my brother was active and smart. My parents, relatives, and friends used to tease me for my shy nature. I was afraid of people, and so I always preferred to stay home and never played with the other children in the colony where we were residing. My brother was continuous, making fun of me at that time. My parents used to see and laugh along with him. I used to get angry but I always hid my anger from them. One day when all of my family wanted to go for a movie, I was not really interested so my mother told me to stay in the neighbor's home till they come back. I was reading my class books in their house. Neighbour aunty called me and said she was going out and asked me to continue my studies. I said ok. After sometime uncle called me and started misbehaving by touching my private parts and asking irrelevant questions. I was very afraid of and meanwhile, aunty came and I felt relaxed. When I complained about the whole situation at night with my parents, they, without completely listening to what I was saying, started yelling at me saying that I need to grow up. I remembered what my parents said - "Anu, you need to get exposure or you will end up as a foolish girl complaining unnecessarily without happening anything. Don't overthink and complain again like this next time." I was speechless and I kept quiet. They asked me to sleep. My brother was laughing at me. I covered myself with a blanket, closed my eyes, and cried silently. I didn't know that time, that this kind of situation I would be dealing with throughout my life.
I closed the book and was disturbed by reading her diary. But I had decided to read it completely. I cursed God for creating agony in that girl's childhood and opened the book again.
Nightmarish Reality -
Sekhar is our family friend who frequently visits our house. I am studying biochemistry in some college which is a little far away from the city. I along with a few friends share a house to stay there. It is my last semester to complete my graduation. We are staying there for the past year. In the holidays I use to go to my home. One day when I was home Sekhar asked me that if I need some money and he will be happy to lend me. I am surprised and told him that I don't need it now. He said he knew the gold chain that my mother has given, I had lost it somewhere. He questioned me "What do you tell your mother if she asks..." He knows very well that my mother is schizophrenic and is very abusive and violent at times. I am afraid and worried that my mother would punish me. My parents went to some other city to attend a function. Sekhar asked me to relax. He knows that I love drinking coke. So he brought a Coke bottle for us and a little snack. I poured him and myself a glass of cold drink. After serving him the drink, I went inside the kitchen for a couple of minutes. After we finished our drinks, I fell unconscious. I woke up after some time, I found myself lying nude in the bedroom and Sekhar asked me to forget what had happened and threatened me not to tell that to anyone or he leak my objectionable photos, a video of the incident.
He even asked me to please him in all ways and keep him happy. After that incident, he started harassing me blackmailing about photos and videos of the incident. I am forced to bear the pain of mental and sexual abuse until Jenny helped me to get out of that guy completely from my life in all ways.
I stopped reading for a while. My anxiety took me over for some time and after some time I again started continuing with her dairy.
My short affair with a beggar - An unusual insight -
I was in my Bio-chemistry final year. After the first semester exams completed, I had planned a tour along with my friends. Chandra was my boyfriend at that time. We were all excited about the travel, booked the tickets, and had finished shopping, and finally came the most awaited day.
We were 12 members in our group waiting at the railway station for the train to arrive. The train had arrived on time and we all settled down in our seats and the train departs. A few of my friends suggested that we play antakshari. Everyone was looking up to me to agree to that, and I did.
Then came my turn to sing, and I blanked out. I asked Chandra for help, but being an introvert, he was unable to offer any help. Then I heard a beautiful male voice singing that surprised all of us and then we turned back to see who it was. It was a starving beggar, looking very shabby, with torn clothes, tangled hair, and very displeasing looks.
The group’s gestures, though they offered some money, had put him off, and he was scared. I suddenly realized that and called him back but he continued to ask for alms from everyone. The rest of our group went back to playing again, but my thoughts were stuck in the middle-aged beggar. He was very lean, tall, and unhealthy, he stood near the vestibule of the compartment. While everyone else was busy in their activities, I walked up to him and asked his name. He said he does not remember. I was surprised. He said when he woke up one day, he was on a railway platform and does not know anything beyond that. He asked for help but no one helped him, instead suspected him to be a street thief. This was all he said. I told him to go and bath in the washroom on the train. I gave him a set of clothes from my friend who was also tall and slim. I gave him my comb and asked him to comb his hair neatly. I went to the pantry and bought some food for him. After he had his food, he was looking so different than what he looked like a while ago. All my friends were surprised to see him like that. I asked him to sing a song for us. He happily sang an old Hindi Kishore Kumar's song. Everyone was listening to him, and his voice was beautiful and melodious.
People started offering him money. Our destination had arrived and I was a bit disappointed. All of my friends said bye to him and got off at the station. I gave him a quick tight hug and kissed him. I shared my mobile number and ten thousand rupees cash. He was speechless and started crying. I told him “From today your name is Kishore. You are not a beggar. Call me on my number whenever you feel like. Do some work and live. I love you", kissed him again and stepped out of the train onto the platform. My friends were shocked to see my impulsive reaction towards a beggar. Chandra kept quiet.
Kishore used to call me frequently and I was happy to know that he was working as daily labor and stopped begging. I always used to tell him I love you whenever he called me. He always smiled listening to my words. One fine day, he called me and sounded sad. I called him to our place against my friend's wish. He came and I asked him why he was so dull. He showed me some medical reports which showed he had advanced throat cancer. I took him to another doctor with his reports and the doctor said he would not be living for more than a couple of months. I was deeply depressed and asked Kishore what were his last wishes. He told me he would like to live with me until he dies. All my friends opposed my positive decision and called my parents and they summoned me. My parents were mad at me for what I tried to do, but I did not care for anyone and stayed with him for one and a half month and then he passed away. All that time we slept together holding hands, while he sang Kishore Kumar's songs with his unbearable throat pain, every night, for me. I hugged him and kissed him every time he sang a song for me. He asked me to accept him kissing me one time. I accepted. He very passionately kissed me. He then sang a song and went to sleep. He did not wake up again. I arranged for his cremation and was all alone in my room until I completed my graduation. He is no more now but I always remember him and his voice. He left a remarkable impression on me.
Near-death experience -
I wish I wasn’t born... Being born was my first ever mistake that couldn't be reversed. It was a mishap... Bringing up physical, psychological, and sexual abuse was the worst nightmare for anyone.
The darkness which I faced by my mother which was not her fault as she was a schizophrenia patient, had affected every aspect of my life. This darkness, which was the only way I can describe it, had followed me like a fog, but at times intensified and overwhelmed me, usually triggered by distinct acts. The next damage that was done to my body as I mentioned in my earlier chapter. Most of my life had been spent feeling dead inside, waiting for my body to catch up. I feel like a grime is covering me. I feel like I'm trapped in a contaminated body that no amount of washing will clean. Whenever I think about what happened I feel manic and itchy and can't concentrate on anything else.
Every day I use to have nightmares that haunt me. It makes me avoid sleep. I would be angry and lost in thought and then be interrupted by someone saying "Hi" or making small talk, unable to understand why I seemed cold and distant. I walked around, viewing the outside world from a distant portal behind my eyes, unable to perform normal human niceties. At the same time, I was also socially active and having a huge no of friends too.
Alcohol and other sedatives were also something that let me escape the darkness.
Alcohol and other drugs provided a way to ignore the realities of my situation. It was easy to spend the night drinking and forget that I had no future to look forward to. I never liked what alcohol did to me, but it was better than facing my existence honestly. There's no future here. I thought that if I got into a good college, or created something or spent time on my writings that I was proud of, then maybe I would feel some peace and not be constantly haunted and unhappy. But nothing I did make a dent in how depressed I was on a daily basis and nothing was in any way fulfilling. I'm not sure why I ever thought that would change anything. Growing up I viewed my future relationships as a possible escape from this thing that haunted me every day, but I began to realize how entangled it was with every aspect of my life, and how it is never going to release me. Instead of being an escape, relationships and romantic contact with other people only intensified everything about him that I couldn't stand. I will never be able to have a relationship in which he is not the focus, affecting every aspect of my romantic interactions.
Relationships always started out fine and I'd be able to ignore him for a few weeks. But as we got closer emotionally the darkness would return and every night it'd be gruesome crooked and crude and rude to me. It made me hate being touched because as long as we were separated I could view him as an outsider viewing something good and kind and untainted. Once we touched, the darkness would envelope him too and take him over and the evil inside me would surround him. I always felt like I was infecting anyone I was with.
Relationships didn't work. The fact that the darkness affected sexual matters most intensely made this idea make some sense, and I convinced myself of this for a number of years, starting in college after my first relationship ended.
I've spent my life hurting people. Today will be the last time. But honestly saying I am honest with everyone and always kind with everyone.
I recognize the irony of killing myself to prevent myself from killing someone else, but this decision should indicate what I'm capable of. My only fear at this point is messing something up and surviving.
I'd also like to address my family. I despise everything they stand for, and I truly lost my belief in them, in a non-emotional, dispassionate, and what I believe is a healthy way. The world will be a better place for them when I am dead—one with less hatred and intolerance.
They live in a black and white reality they've constructed for themselves. They partition the world into good and evil and survive by hating everything they fear or misunderstand and calling it love. They don't understand that good and decent people exist all around us, "saved" or not, and that evil and cruel people occupy a large percentage of their so-called beliefs, religion, and temples. They take advantage of people looking for hope by teaching them to practice the same hatred they practice.
I always believe the saying that Death is the orgasm of Life. Yes. Choosing death is as important as life because ORGASM IS AS IMPORTANT AS FUCK.
The book was incomplete there and I understood that this was her suicide note for her attempt on the bus. Tears were rolling down from my eyes. I was lost in her thoughts completely until I got a call from Chandra. I picked up his call and said hello in a low voice. Chandra guessed the sadness in my voice. Before he asked me, I told him about that girl and her story briefly. I asked him to accompany me to the place that the girl was residing in. He accepted immediately and told me that he would be here by the next day morning so that we both could go to that girl's place. I was really happy and sad at the same time. After I said bye to Chandra, I was again lost in my thoughts before I went to sleep.
Chandra came that next morning to the place where I reside. We both went to the place where that girl was staying. Chandra knocked. The girl's mother opened the door. Seeing us, unexpectedly, she hugged me and cried for a few minutes. Later she realized and asked us to come inside and sit. I asked her about Anagha and she had seemed very depressive when I asked her that question. The room was quiet for a few minutes. Her mother asked us to stay there that night because Anagha was not well and was sleeping in her bedroom. I was really curious to see her but her mom asked us to take rest for some time till Anagha wakes up. I was a little upset but Chandra comforted me it was okay to wait for some time. Her mother offered us lunch. I was feeling nervous and shaky while waiting for Anagha to wake-up and come. Chandra gave the certificates bag to her mother along with her dairy. I was disappointed with his action and all of a sudden her mother came to me and said we couldn't meet Anagha because she did not want her daughter to remember what she did. I was surprised by her behavior and was agitated. I was choking and felt nauseated. My heart was pounding very high and I couldn't breathe for a moment.
Gouthami called Chandra. I opened my eyes. My mother was watching me tensed. I was a little confused and asked my mother why she was so dull. She said I didn't wake-up for much time so she was worried and called Jenny. I saw him, and he was smiling.
What happened Jenny? I asked.
“Nothing Gouthami. My friend is suffering from Dissociative Fugue from so many days. She is fine now. I am happy for her."
“What is Dissociative fugue?” I asked.
"Because of some psychological issues she has, she forgets her own identity and starts living in another place with a different identity from the past few months. I found her and informed her family about her. She is with her parents now. She came out of that fugue state now." Jenny said.
“Who is your friend whom I don't know ever?” I asked.
“ANAGHA.” He said. “And she knew me as Chandra.”