Stillness Of The Night
Stillness Of The Night5 mins 102 5 mins 102
"Everything was so quiet that night, I still remember. I ran home in a flash, it was dark," said Preethi. She was speaking for the first time on the phone with her Psychologist after the incident. Preethi continued, " I was never scared of darkness before that evening. I was brought up like a boy in my house and I was born to my parents after 10 years of their marriage. We are from a town in Karnataka. My father is a farmer basically. My father always wanted a boy and as I came along he decided to fulfill his wishes through me." She sighed and there was a brief silence as she went back into her childhood.
"My parents let me do whatever I wanted, there was no restriction at all. I did not play with dolls as I never saw any. Even though we were from a middle-class family, my father bought so many colorful toy bikes, trains, and autos. I loved to dismantle all the electronic devices at home. I really had fun growing up and was the life of all my relatives."
Preethi continued, "At 16, I decided to become an engineer. As usual, my parents had a huge argument and my dad won finally and I was allowed to go ahead with studying science in high school. I was so good in my subjects that I did not have time to make friends or was inclined towards any other activity. My only focus was to get a distinction and get a scholarship to a college in Delhi. As they say, the grass is always greener on the other side. I had read so much about the fast life in Delhi that I wanted to be a part of it and experience it."
"As I aimed, I got the distinction I was working towards and got into this amazing college in Delhi. For the first time, I was traveling out of my town. Everything seemed larger than life and like a dream. The excitement of being part of such a prestigious institution and that too on merit was a huge confidence booster for me. I stayed in the hostel for the first month but the food was gross. Roti and palya always were too much to handle for me.
For the first time in my life, I was feeling lonely. I missed my parents for sure. I spoke to them every night but I did not tell them I was homesick as they would start worrying. I decided to help myself. From the next day, I consciously started looking around for people I could possibly get along with in class. It took me an entire month to start speaking to Shruti, Shashi, and Raghav. They were all from Bangalore and I felt at home, at last, speaking with them in Kannada.
As we got to know each other in the first month and all of us felt the same about the hostel food, we decided to move out and we found a decent PG accommodation near the college. We could cook anything we wanted and Shruti and I enjoyed experimenting with food. For the first time, I came in touch with my feminine side. I liked it, to my surprise.
Delhi's life was amazing. I don't know how 3 years flew by. I am almost finishing my final year and I am already feeling sad about going back home in 6 months." The psychologist added, " I can imagine how deep a friendship you must have formed here and the independence that you have here must have made you a stronger person as well." Yes, I am strong. At least I thought I was very strong till last week. I started giving tuition to school kids to earn some pocket money to support my expenses here. I was walking back that evening as usual. It was my payday and I was already making a mental note of the list of things I should get with this money. I did not notice someone on the floor and I tripped over and fell. Three people emerged from the dark and held me from behind. I looked around but there was absolutely no one and that is when I faced fear for the first time. It was an intense feeling and my hands and legs felt as if they were made of stone. My voice was not coming out of my throat and I felt frozen. The three men had masks on so I could not see their faces and it was too dark to figure out anything. The men started going through all my things, took my wallet and disappeared into the bushes as mysteriously as they had appeared. I mustered up all my courage and ran home without looking behind. I reached home and told Shruti what happened. She called Shashi and Raghav and they came over. On the way, they saw a person who was murdered in the middle of the road. Then we put all the pieces of the puzzle together and here I am feeling extremely fearful of the dark because of the incident. Can you please help me in any way? I'm scared I will get myself into more trouble. I am not sure if I will be ever able to sleep peacefully again. This is very scary for me to handle." Preethi seemed desperate.
The Psychologist said, "Preethi, you have been extremely brave to hold yourself up in such a situation. Why don't you come over to my office tomorrow? Let's work together and see how to take this forward. But you must know that I am with you and I will always support you through this tough phase". They decided the time and disconnected the call.