Angels and Demons - Part 3
Angels and Demons - Part 38 mins 216 8 mins 216
It took me 20 mins or so to get Mishra uncle's home by my cycle. I walked past the rajdoot parked just outside the front porch. On the doorsteps, I stood for a while. I was thinking about how I will greet them when suddenly I heard a female voice," Who is there?" "Me. Sorry, I forgot to knock." "Oh Ajay, please don't be so formal, come inside. I was expecting you. You are a little early. Please sit. Let me see where Ankita is." A middle-aged woman said while showing me the couch. She was Mrs. Mishra. I was sitting on the couch and trying to get comfortable with the surroundings. Piles of books, a wall-mounted above the waist-sized photograph of late Mr. Mishra, a showcase full of toys and other small souvenirs, a TV with an attached DVD player, and an old couch covers with the matching window curtains. I was slowly sinking into the soft and cushy couch while thinking to myself that, damn! Mr. Mishra has done alright for himself.
Suddenly I was interrupted by a pair of the most beautiful eyes I had ever seen. It was Ankita. "Please let me bring my books. Mom just gave me this glass and sent me here," she said while pouring the water in the glass. She went inside the next moment by leaving the water pitcher on the glass tea table in front while I was still trying to come up with something to say. Within the next two minutes, she was back with her school bag. "You didn't have to bring all your books! We will just study math for today", I said. She looked straight at me. I am not a psychologist but I could read those eyes were full of complaints. So I told her to sit down by leaving the bag which she had in her hands to put it back. "Okay then let's begin with geometry today. Basically, geometry is a really fun subject. You can able to solve every problem in geometry if you can just imagine it, picture it. Imagine this book is a plane..."
I continued for the next 2 hours or so. It was one of the most difficult things I had to do at that point in my life. She was getting up every 10 mins in those couple of hours with silly excuses. Feeling thirsty, want to drink cold water from the fridge or want to use the bathroom, etc. Because of that, I couldn't manage to complete how much I had prepared. I was riding back home and thinking about the problem I had taken in my hands. It was a beautiful problem though. I thought of meeting Aniket on my way back. The next moment I realized of the outside world. It was almost 8 at night. I just Smiled and pressed the cycle bell vigorously to find my way home.
My college started after some days. I went to college every day at 9 and returned by 3 in the afternoon. Then I prepared for the tuition. But I couldn't able to concentrate on my study because of this hectic schedule. Keep yourself busy with something and the time will fly away. Now it's almost been a month since my tuition. One day I gave her a notebook and asked her to write some questions. I gave her 5 questions. 2 from Math, 2 English, and one from Social Study. I let her work on them for the next 15 mins. After 15 min when I took her notebook to check and I saw an empty page, even the questions were not written on it. I screamed," What the hell!" She was shocked at my outburst as she never had seen me in an angry mood. I realized the situation and tried to calm myself down as far as possible." What is this Ankita? Why didn't you even write the questions? Is there anything that you can't understand? C'mon. It's almost a month now. I need to see what you have learned in these weeks. You must focus on your study. No matter how much I will try, only you will write the papers in the exam, right. If you will not concentrate on the study, this time also you will fail and will not be promoted. Is that what you want?"
She was just giving me a cold look like she was clueless. Then she just started screaming out of the blue," Yes! I want to fail this time too. Is that a problem?" She banged her fist on the study table so hard that her pen and pencils got scattered all over the room. I was not expecting that. I could not understand anything. So I calmly asked," Why do you want to fail?" "Listen, you get paid to teach me. Don't try to put your nose into my personal business", she said before disappearing into the house. I could not say anything. I got up silently and left without any further words.
I would not have gone back if only godfather had not come to our house the next evening. He gave me a hundred bucks as the first month was over, in front of dad. Dad told me nothing at the moment as godfather was there. I told godfather what Ankita told me the other day. He heard everything and replied," Do as you are told. Make sure that she sits to study every single day. You will be there tomorrow right?" as he kicked start his Rajdoot. I nodded to him with a fake smile (Can't take a chance on a man with a gun). Dad called me afterward and asked me what was going on and why the godfather gave me money. I told him everything. I told him how godfather offered me the proposal for tuition. Then I felt that I should tell the fact behind me doing private tuition.
So I said, "Dad I haven't been the best son to you. I have been nothing but useless and I'm truly sorry about it. As soon as my engineering will be over, I will find a job. In the meantime, I thought of earning whatever I can for home." Dad held me up and said," Son, there are hundreds of people in the world who will call you useless. But never call yourself that. We even find some use for our broken, worn out, and thrown away items. You certainly have more usefulness within you than you realize, you just have to find your place in this world. Don't mind people while finding your way through life. Some will call you names. Some will hate you, may through stones at you. Never count how many stones they threw at you or where it hit. Build your throne with those stones and stage yourself so high that they can't even reach you." He stretched his hand towards me. I took his hand and shook them with a little smile. It's funny how the massive wall between me and my father had taken down by godfather. Every person has that someone in their life, who does something so unexpected which ends up changing the way of their living.
From the next day onwards I closed my eyes and ears to her every nonsense and juvenile attitude. She had a pet cat, Maya. On some days she used to take it in her lap and played with it for an entire evening. I also figured out a way too to keep myself occupied. I started taking my college assignments to the tuition and started doing them to avoid another outburst. She had this nasty habit of getting up and vanishing inside the house every 10 mins. Although it bothered me a lot, never again I asked her any questions since that day. But I was not stupid. I could sense that she had gotten failed intentionally. Her mother had bad health and fell sick very often. One day she had kept her whole school bag over the table. She was inside the house for the last 20 minutes. I got curious and took her bag to check out her school notes. I went through them one after another. As expected most were blank. Although I had piled up all her books over the table, the bag still felt heavy. I reached for the bottom of the bag and my hand stopped as I took out a brown leather diary. I started turning the pages of the diary. On the very first page, there was a full-sized picture of Ankita when she was 4 years old.
I continued to read through the diary. It had some drawings. Many pages were written about her daily life, or just stroked through. Many pages were stroked through with pen or lipstick or crayon and even with chalk. I went deep into my thoughts when I turned those pages. I could feel something through those scribble marks buried in those pages. "It's private. You aren't allowed to read it." It was Ankita standing just behind me, didn't know since when. Before I could ask her about it she took the diary promptly from my hand and said," I write a diary when I feel bad about something. Do you know that there is no such thing as an angel or demon in the world! Every person has both of them."
Then she sat down and continued to study for the remaining time. I had never seen her talking like a philosopher. What did she say about angels and demons? Where did she get that from? I couldn't understand a thing. She used to distract me by asking silly questions. Like why the earth even revolves? Whether Tippu Sultan had a love marriage or an arrange marriage? Why a person dies? Why Maya purrs? and many more but that day I discovered something new inside of her. It felt like I had hope for her after all. So I thought of giving the last push. I was riding back home that evening while Aniket gave me the breaking news. Godfather was arrested. In some kind of land dispute case. I felt a bit relaxed for some reason.