Marian Grace



Marian Grace


The Chaos in My Mind

The Chaos in My Mind

33 mins

Between the two of us, Yashvi was the first one to understand that a human being had the capacity to break one’s own heart in search of security and financial freedom in life. 

How badly that understanding must have affected her? It must have killed her from the inside to know that she was capable of letting go. 

And then, I slapped her, blinded by emotion, hurt, feeling that I was being cheated. 

My parents, two younger sisters, and their husbands were insisting that I tell them the truth. I lived with my father and mother near Cananore city. So they noticed that even though I worked in an office just half an hour’s drive from home, I had started coming home late at midnight. I barely slept the whole night and my eyes had started to look like they were hiding some forbidden truth.  

 They cornered me at the weekend. 

I came back home at 11.00 PM that night. But just as I opened the front door, I was received by the stony faces of my people. 

 The girls seemed especially pissed off of their brother, who was undoubtedly their hero when they were younger, a young man with a promising life. 

Now, however, he looked like a junkie, a loner, and a loser. What would they tell their husbands about their brother now? There was no hiding that I was not just having the worst time in my life but had also turned into this unpresentable, unkept, psychopath-looking person. Even I hated seeing myself every day in the mirror. 

 My mother was the first one to take the subject up. 

“What happened to you?” she started questioning me. 

 Then a sob escaped her throat. She paused and took some time. It pained me very much seeing it because I knew that she was hoping to get through her emotions and talk to me. But she was unable to do that. Her emotions were winning over her. She was just a mother. When it came to the safety of her only son, she became upset. It was natural for her. Nature won and she sat down, wordless. My father patted her on the back. Tears started to flow and I saw her take her face in her hand and shiver. 

 My youngest sister Priya’s husband David cleared his throat and began to speak. 

He was Catholic, the odd one out in our family. He and Priya had a love marriage. No one went against their wish to get married in a Catholic church. Priya’s views about their life together were strong and clear. We siblings were all young. We were excited at the idea of a mixed marriage. I knew my parents had not entirely approved of their relationship. But David won them over with his talk. No, it was his decency. He was so good. He told us that all Priya and David had to do was to sign a permission form for a mixed marriage, which he could procure from the Bishop’s office. There was no need for conversion for the sake of marriage, he had told us. He had said that it was the Canon Law, the governing rules of the church. The marriage could be held from the church and all our relatives could participate. Some of our relatives didn’t approve of the marriage. But they came to see the ceremony. Some of them, from that day, kept their distance from us. 

 “We are not just Hindus,” they said. “We are Thiyya Hindus.”


 That was the caste to which we belonged. Their argument wasn’t going to stick because I knew several of my relatives who married outside of their caste. I thought that it wasn’t the caste they were worried about. It was religion. We were told some of the stories of Protestant pastors trying to convert people of our community and holding prayer meetings in some houses in the neighborhood. 


 From whatever little I heard from David, I knew Catholics were different from Protestants. Although there were missionary activities, Catholics were more like an institution, well organized and hierarchical than like someone, just standing in the street or at a congregation preaching the Bible. Once when we visited their home, we met their parish priest, named Father Biju. He was a kind man who never mentioned religion in our conversation, unlike the Protestant Ministers and pastors we had seen. 

Priya was baptized after marriage. She said it was her own choice. I didn’t like the way she said it. She seemed all peaceful and calm. She wasn’t worried about what others would think. But we all did. It was as if Priya, out of everyone else, cared the least about her conversion. 

“When you judge someone, you’ll also be judged by the same parameters,” she had told me.

I decided to use the same strategy to find my footing in this gathering today. 

“Mother was telling us that she asked you a couple of times what your issues were. I mean, buddy, we are grown-up people, no longer children. Sometimes, the words we speak are not the right words and they hurt others badly. The hurt by spoken words is more vicious than the hurt by metal weapons,” David paused.  

I waited for him to complete. He didn’t. 

“I don’t know what you are talking about David. When you judge someone, you’ll also be judged. So please stop judging me,” I said. 

Amal, the husband of my first sister, Pragya got up and left the room. I felt at ease. I should thank him, I thought. I wished everyone had followed his example. 

David persisted, though. “Mother says you shouted at her when she asked you about your problem. She is very upset to see you ruin your life like this,” he said. 

That was true. I did shout at my mother when she was prying about my personal life. What I didn’t know was that it would hurt her. 

“I didn’t know it would hurt you, mother,” I said, not looking at her. 

“What is it, Prem? Do you even care to tell us about it? Look at you! You don’t look healthy anymore. You are my only son. I don’t want to lose you. You are the only one to take care of me and your dad when we are old. The girls were all married off. I can’t depend on them anymore.” She said this with a glimmer of rage in her voice. When mother said this, my second sister, Pragya touched my mother’s shoulder and sighed uncomfortably. 

“I even tried to call Yashvi. She isn’t picking up or returning my calls. Did something happen between the two of you?” mother asked. 

My mother knew everything about my girlfriend. We got acquainted with each other during our high school days. Ever since then we were in one other’s company. 

No one spoke. So they all knew about Yashvi. I doubted if they knew the depth of our relationship. 

“We broke up, and it's none of your concern,” I said. 

“So? Now you don’t want anyone else to help you?” mother intervened. 

I sighed, accepting my defeat in holding external intervention off. I wanted to burn alone in the fire of lost love. Yashvi was my first love. She would be my last. There had been a series of matters that kept brewing between us. Neither of us cared much. But there came a time when we couldn't ignore it any longer. Her family was insistent that she went abroad for a better job. I was adamant that she stayed home, here in our home town. This went on for almost six months when finally, Yashvi came up with this great idea. She said we could continue our relationship as a long-distance relationship. 

She hadn’t told me if she had decided to go abroad at all. All she said was about this long-distance relationship. I saw the problem right away. 

“Are you going abroad, really? Have you made your choice?” I confronted her. 

“I said, we could continue our relationship,” she had replied. 

“Since when do you think telling the truth doesn’t matter?” I hit her. A crimson bruise formed on her lower lip like a flower bloomed in the wrong season. 

When my initial rage dampened down, I asked her if I should take her to a hospital. Her lower lip was cut and her friend Deepa was with her, standing at a distance while we spoke in the shade of a mango tree. Deepa saw everything.  

Perhaps, Deepa had told everything to Yashvi’s family. Perhaps, Deepa herself had advised her against this ‘abusive relationship’. Perhaps, Yashvi took the decision herself. That evening, I received a text message from Yashvi telling me that everything is fine between the two of us. The only problem was that she wouldn’t be able to attend my calls in the future as she was having to deal with the matters related to her employment abroad. 

I felt like the ground under my foot caving in. I felt my job was inferior, my family, and my existence was pointless. I tried to contact her but failed. 

She was true to her word. She didn’t pick up my calls. I tried to see her. I even went to her house, but her parents simply said she wasn’t at home. I took it for granted because I didn’t see her scooty in the parking lot. 

I slipped further down into the abyss of hopelessness. 

David came to me and put his hand on my shoulder. All this time, I stood with my head hanging down due to the pointless despair. 

“Look, brother, only if you tell us everything can we help you,” David said. 

Their intervention was getting into my nerves. It was too much torture for my feeble mind.  

“Well, thank you for your concern. But this is my personal matter and I cannot tell you everything I feel or experience. I feel that you guys will judge me after listening to my story. You are my family. I know you want the best for me. But see, it’s reality. Face it. I am uncomfortable telling you certain things. Leave me alone,” I said with some curtness. 

My lack of empathy struck them all. The meeting wound up without any significant breakthroughs. 

After that meeting, my sisters and their husbands left home without telling me. My mother started keeping herself aloof from me. I noticed her secret phone calls. When I came near, she would either change her subject of conversation or pretend that she was just chatting with some friends of hers. But she was calling her girls. I knew that intuitively. I knew they were talking about me. 

I wasn’t sure, though. So I called Priya. She was the most sensible one among the two of them. I wanted to end my mother’s estranged behavior because it was killing me.  


“You have no right to ask me what my mother and I discuss or what I discuss with my sister,” Priya stated bluntly as I broached the subject. 

I agreed. She was right. But it was my privilege to know what they were discussing if the topic of discussion was their brother, me and my broken relationship with a girl who couldn’t even tell me the truth that she was leaving me. Where was the straightforwardness in the world? Had we all gone hypocrites? 

Priya cut the call without answering my question. But what she had told with her silence was two things. First, I understood that my mother was calling my sisters and they discussed my life. Second, I understood that if I continued to erect this wall of estrangement around me, I might finally lose my family also. 

I went to work but couldn’t focus on my job. Something like a premonition hung in the air about my family being estranged from me. It hurt just as bad as it hurt me when my erstwhile first love had told me that she couldn’t be answering my phone. 

Crap! I cried in my car on the way back home from the second day of work after that intervention meeting on the weekend. It was Tuesday. I went home earlier than usual and reached home at six in the evening. Mother was taken aback seeing me this early. I tried to smile at her, thinking that everything would be alright with a smile. Don’t they say in quote-literature that “a smile is the most powerful gift there is.” 

One by one, my sisters arrived with their families. This time, they had brought their kids. 

The cake I bought was kept in my room. I went inside to pick it up. But by the time I returned, I found that there was a better-looking cake on the table. Everyone was standing around it. Mother was gloomy, yet she tried to be merry, failing in each trial.

 It was my mother’s birthday. Buying the case used to be my responsibility for our parents’ birthdays and wedding anniversary celebrations. I had kept that tradition, even if I was burning from the inside by the loss incurred in my love-life and my mother’s alienation. With the large cake in my hand, I hoped to be devoured by the earth. 

I didn’t think my family noticed me. So I quietly turned to leave the room. I could go back to my room and hide the cake there.  

“Oh, you’ve bought a cake too! Mother asked me to bring one when we came,” Pragya said cheerfully.    

I didn't want them to notice the cake that I brought. I froze on the floor. 

“Hey bro, come. We will cut that cake later and share it with neighbors, what do you all think?” It was from David. 


“Yeah, good thinking.”

 First Amal and then my father raised their opinions. 

David cleared his throat. “Happy birthday to you… happy birthday to you…. Happy birthday to dear Amma, happy birthday to you…. May the good Lord bless you… may the good Lord bless you… may the good Lord bless you dear Amma, happy birthday to you….” My nieces and nephews clapped. My sisters and their husbands clapped. My father clapped along with David’s singing and my mother forced a smile on her gloomy face. David beamed with joy. 

My mother slowly bent over the table with a plastic knife to cut the cake. I saw her hands shiver. She paused for a moment before cutting the cake. Then the plastic knife went cleanly through the fresh cream. The mother picked a piece and waited as if considering the options. My nieces and nephews waited to see who their grandma was going to give the piece of cake to. Her eyes brimmed. Tears dropped on the cake she held in her frail, shaking fingers. 

“My son, where are you?” My mother called me. 

I was standing behind her. 

David clapped hard as if he had won a lottery. He was grinning from ear to ear. 

Uninvited tears flowed from my eyes. They hurt my pride. I was crying in front of the whole family. My nieces and nephews were watching how their uncle cried. 

I went closer to my mother. She turned towards me. I opened my mouth and she gave me the first piece of cake. 

“You, my first child, are my only sustenance and strength until I die,” mother said. 

I broke down, crying shamelessly, and losing my strength to keep standing up. Amal and David came forward to hold me and pacify me. 

I touched my mother’s feet with both my hands. My tears washed her feet. 

When David and Amal picked me up, I kissed my mother on her cheek. I noticed that the skin on her cheek had started to show signs of aging. I held her closer and cried like a child. 

“I am sorry, Amma,” I said. “I am sorry for behaving like a fool.”

David and Amal took me to the sofa. I sat down, my face in my hands. The cake I brought was now with Pragya. I had dropped it when mother had called me to have the first piece of the birthday cake.  

David came and sat beside me. Amal kept his distance, showing worry written all over his face. 

Before my mother could come and speak with me, I spoke to David. 

“David, save me. I don’t want to feel this way. I feel hollow. My thoughts are getting suicidal. Save me, David. Can you save me?” Tears flowed down my cheeks, exulting the primitive shamelessness of the darkness beyond human origin. 

“Don’t cry,” he said and patted my back. The kids were curious, crowding around me. David asked all of them to go and play with Amal. 

Amal, taking the cue, called the kids outside and went to the courtyard with his phone. 

“Let’s take some pictures in your new clothes, guys,” he said. The children screamed in excited shrill voices. They went outside, leaving me and David in a delicate situation. 

“Please tell me, brother. What really happened in your life that you kept hidden from us all?” he said. 

I heard everyone go silent in the dining room where the women were arranging the leftovers from the birthday cake.  

I sighed deeply, trying to buy time and arrange my thoughts. To whatever extent I tried, I couldn’t bring myself to neatly order my thoughts. The memory of my relationship with Yashvi was chaos in my head. No one could understand a thing if I said it just as it came to my mind, no order, no meaning to certain events that happened to me. How could this possibly be? Was I turning insane?   

“I don’t think I can express it all here,” I said at last. 

David put his arm over my shoulder, making me shed more tears. David was younger to me in age. But he was acting as if he was an elder brother. I saw his intelligent smile as if he understood half my problems without even having to listen to me. 

I was about to get up and leave when my father came inside the living room. With him was Amal. 

“Prem, we have no issues. You take care of yourself, ok?” my father said. He was not making eye contact, clearly overwhelmed by the scenario.

From the kitchen, I smelled the making of semiya pudding, my mother’s love taking the form of sweetness and nourishment. What was I good for? I was good only to give her pain. The thought burned a hole inside my soul. 

As David left me in my room, I said, “Save me, David. Brother, please save me.” 

I folded my hands to beg. I didn’t know what I was begging for. 

“I want to smile again. I want to be happy again,” I mumbled. 

I didn’t know if David heard me at all. He quickly turned his face and left me there, alone. 

The next morning, I got a call from David. He asked me to take a day off and meet him in Iritty town. I did as he asked me to. 

He asked me to meet him in his parish church. I felt uncomfortable at first when I heard the location of our meeting. 

“Can we meet somewhere else, please?” I asked him. 

“It’s Ok, brother. I need you to meet someone,” David said. If he was asking me to meet someone and took me to his parish church, the person he wanted me to meet was surely his parish priest, I thought. 

Reaching there, I saw no one except my brother-in-law, David. He took me to a small building situated beside the church. David walked in front of me and knocked on the door of the building. It opened and the man he wanted me to meet came out. 

It was after all the parish priest that he wanted me to meet. What a tragedy! I thought. 

“You kidding me?” I whispered to David. He just smiled back at me. 

“Hi, I am Fr. Biju,” the priest said. We had known each other from my sister Priya’s wedding, four years ago. Fr Biju still remembered me. 

“So tell me everything about it,” Fr Biju said. 

“I don't know how to tell you what I had been through,” I said. 

“A counseling session helps in dealing with issues like loss of a loved one,” Fr Biju said. 

“You have to open up, brother,” David said. 

Tears welled up in my eyes. “I am unable to make sense of anything,” I said. 

“I think I have a very effective option for you, Prem,” Fr Biju intervened. 

Fr Biju was a kind man. He was in a coffee-brown cassock. He told me that he runs a community named “My First Love” to give counseling to those who are in relationships before marriage. 

“We often give too much importance to what happens to people in marriage. We scarcely give notice to relationships before one gets married. I mean, this is important because marriages are affected by what we have been through. The relationships we enter before marriage define the path our marriage would take,” Fr Biju said.

It made a lot of sense. I was curious to see what the community was about. But one question nagged at my mind. 

“Would it be possible for me to join? I am not a Catholic. I do not intend to be one, either. I mean people like me can visit your community?” I openly asked. 

The answer from Fr Biju was in the form of laughter. He took great pleasure in explaining the working of the community to me. It was an informal gathering where people can come and openly discuss the problems they face in their relationships. Since there would be an expert on the scene, he or she could clear the fog from many questions and provide clarity to the participants regarding the decisions they need to make in life.” he paused. 

Then looking me in the eyes, he said, “What good would it do if God’s many blessings aren’t distributed among all of his sheep, irrespective of their names, colors, and gender?” 

The sessions were held from five to six every day in a rented building a few meters away from the church. 

The next day onwards, I started visiting “My First Love”. To my disappointment, on the first day, it was Fr Biju who attended as the ‘expert’ to guide the participants. But he was not in his cassock. 

I kept quiet most of the time. It was a one-hour session. We sat in a circle. Each one had to recount their relationships and failures. Out of the seven participants, only three spoke up. The rest of them just grimaced at the priest. This made me sympathetic. I felt bad for Fr Biju. he told us how to cooperate in a world of selfish interests. I spoke a few words after Fr Biju’s talk to encourage those who already spoke and to save the day for Fr Biju. But when I tried to speak about the break-up with Yashvi, I found myself at a loss of words. The chaos returned to my mind that prevented me to speak with my family. 

After the session, Fr Biju met me outside. 

“Thank you for helping me in there,” he said bluntly. 

“Well, it’s no problem,” I said sheepishly. 

“You are not here to help me, or anyone else, Prem. You are here to help yourself. Don’t think that I need your help. Those other kids don’t need your condescension. It’s a pity you don’t understand it,” Fr Biju said bluntly.  

Those words were equivalent to a slap right across my face. I felt my heart pounding in my chest. A surge of rage covered my eyes. 

“Father, don’t get me wrong. You said there would be experts to guide the participants. Pardon me, today, there was no expert. I asked one of the participants. He said you were the only one they met ever since they started these sessions here,” I said. 

“You know Prem, these sessions are free. I don’t take any money from any of the participants. But this building you see is rented. I pay its rent from my monthly allowance as a priest. I keep it just because I could provide an opportunity for these young kids to start building relationships strong and start learning about relationships early in their life. I’d certainly love to enroll experts from various fields including psychologists. But for the time being, money is the constraint. Did I answer your question, son?”

The oldest participant was older than me. He was perhaps, twenty-eight. His name was Vimal. He was one of the first ones to join. He was a Hindu, not my same caste. I had asked him about the sessions and he had only good words about the program. During the class, when I noticed the silent ones, I had asked him why they were so. They didn’t come here on their own will, he had told me. They were here due to parental pressure. It had made me think. Even in an institution like this where personal development was sought, parental pressure became a factor. 

Irrespective of Fr Biju’s irating remarks on my behavior, I went back to the session on the next days of the week. After the session, I often spent time with Vimal and avoided Fr Biju outside the session. 

An assignment was planned for the weekend. Fr Biju asked us to think about a hobby we were passionate about when we were children. 

At the moment, I thought it was an unimportant assignment. On my way back home that evening, my mind was searched through the memories of my childhood days. 

During those days, we didn’t have mobile phones. Our past time activities were very much grounded in reality, involving hands and feet and not just a glowing screen and a thumb.

Along with the memories of hobbies, came rushing into my mind the memories of my sisters and my parents. I smelled the mangoes and the guava leaves that were part of my childhood days. I could even feel the taste of sweets our mother made for us. When I reached home and looked into the mirror in my room, I saw a big smile stretched on my lips.

Those beautiful memories had transformed something inside of me. I called David the next day, told him everything about my first love and how I lost it. He said he had confidence in my will to survive. I was reluctant to tell him about my behavior with Fr. Biju. But when I told him he told me that Fr Biju wouldn’t take it personally. 

“I didn’t know how to make amends,” I said. 

“You don’t need to. I am sure, Fr Biju had seen worse situations. If he doesn’t bring the subject up, you don’t need to mention it at all. Well, in every circumstance we human beings will respond in a specific way. Sometimes, it is difficult for us to predict these responses,” David told me. 

His words made a lot of sense. 

I went back to the “My First Love” gathering on Monday evening. I was excited because I had rediscovered a forgotten hobby. When I was a kid, I used to write jokes. As my favorite pastime, I spent hours on it and made a small journal full of my cartoons and jokes. I found the notebook inside my old box of comic books that survived the onslaught of my teenage years. 

I remembered that it was those jokes that helped me win over Yashvi, my first love. 

Everything seemed to shine with a new light. A connection that I hadn't noticed before was slowly emerging between my past and the present. 

The session was sparsely populated. Two of the participants were absent. Fr Biju smiled at us all. He made eye contact with me. I smiled back at him. He seemed to have no ill feelings at all. 

One by one, we started to elaborate on what we had discovered about ourselves while traveling back in time through our memories. I was worried about losing my thoughts into the chaos that existed in my mind. But the chaos existed before discovering my old notebook. 

When I stood up to speak, I couldn’t find words, at first. Then I thought about a joke. It was about the past, present, and future standing up to tell their stories. 

“When the past, present, and future stood up to tell their stories, it was tense,” I said. All laughed, except Fr Biju. He looked amused. 

I was relaxed and words started to flow in as I told them my story. I started with my notebook and my hobby of writing jokes. Then I told them about Yashvi, the beginning and the end. 

“At first, when Yashvi left me, I thought that the present was playing a nasty game with me. I thought that my life was over, and it was due to my own shortcomings, mistakes that I kept repeating. No one deserved to be with me, even my family, I thought. When I did the previous weekend’s exercise and discovered the notebook, I realized that I was taking life too seriously. Perhaps, God knew that I wasn’t good at taking life too seriously. So He had given me this talent to write jokes. But I had forgotten all about it. Perhaps, my biggest mistake was to forget about this beautiful hobby. Instead of being enraged at Yashvi’s words, I should have taken it kindly and with tolerance. But in order to do that, I had to have something else with me, something that occupied me. Unfortunately, Yashvi was the only thing that occupied my body, my mind, and my spirit. I could have turned insane had I not found out about this place.”

A clap followed my speech. I had spoken in the session, for the first time about my break-up. 

Fr Biju raised his hand as if asking permission to speak up in the gathering. 

“Don’t need to tense. We are no grammar police,” he said grinning ear to ear. 

Tears shone in my eyes but this time not due to sadness. 

After the session, I was with Vimal when Fr Biju came near us. “I am glad that you’ve found this humble place useful, Prem,” he said. 

“Why don’t they have places like this everywhere? God! It would save some serious heartaches and help several families survive the ordeal of handling a seriously messed up person, just like me,” I said. 

“Shall I take it as a compliment?” Fr Biju winked. 

My response was silence, as I was watching the young people leaving the session with radiating smiles on their faces. 

“How long do you plan to be with us, Prem?” Fr Biju queried. “Clearly you’ve made progress.”

“I don’t know, father,” I said. 

Going back home, I asked myself the same question. Two options opened before me. First, I could continue with the session and seek permission from Fr Biju to open a similar gathering somewhere in Cananore. I was very impressed by the idea behind the venture, giving guidance to young people in relationships. It would have served me better if I had any form of guidance earlier in my life as to where my relationship was heading. 

Second, I could just stop going to sessions altogether, thanking Fr Biju and David, and resume my life as a new person. Could a person be a new person as if at the flipping of a switch?

When I reached home and saw my mother, I found my answer. No!

She was speaking with my father. When they saw me they stopped talking and my mother went inside. My father started pretending that he was reading a magazine and wasn’t supposed to be disturbed. Usually, these days, I would walk into my room and close the door. 

Today, it was different. The chaos in my mind had subsided and words had started showing up at my service. After telling my story at the “My First Love” session, I felt confident that I could tell my mother what happened with my life. 

I followed my mother into the kitchen. I heard noises of utensils clanging. I saw her take a steel plate and place it on the wrong shelf. 

“Amma,” I called. 

She didn’t turn as if she was adamant about not acknowledging my presence in the kitchen.  

“You were right. It was about Yashvi. We broke up. I was clueless as to how my life would go on without her. I felt like life had no meaning at all,” I said, looking down. I told her our story from start to finish, until the point when I slapped Yashvi and her response to it by not attending my calls. Then I told her about the maddening chaos of thoughts that clouded my mind.

I heard a rattle of steel plates. Then silence followed. I looked up and saw my mother standing opposite to me with her back turned. 

I placed my hand on her shoulder. She turned, took my hand, and kissed it. Tears washed my hand, cleaning it of all the stains it had accumulated, all the mistakes it had committed.

I cried with her, inclining my head on her shoulder. 

“I am sorry,” I said. 

There was one more person who deserved to hear an apology from me. I called my office and told the manager that I would be on leave the next day. 

Early in the morning, the next day, I went to meet Deepa, Yashvi’s friend. I met her near the supermarket where she worked as an accountant. 

I told her about the ways I suffered and finally about my sessions with “My First Love”. She said she was happy for me. Something told me that she wasn’t. It was just for her to feel that way. 

“I am sorry for what I did to your friend,” I said. “I want to meet Yashvi. I want to apologize to her for hitting her.”

“Yes, that would be nice of you,” Deepa said. “Where was this place you said? This… First Love thing?”

“Oh, that’s in Iritty. It’s run by a Catholic priest named Fr Biju,” I said. 

“Oh, I see,” Deepa’s face fell. 

“Anyone can take part in the sessions. No religion, no caste, no gender barriers,” I said. 

I saw Deepa light up again, giving me the impulse to say what I came here to say. “Why don’t you bring Yashvi to the session today evening? It starts at 5.00 PM. You can reach there after work. What do you say?”

Deepa pretended to think, taking time, looking up and down. 

“Or I could go to her house and apologize to her,” I said. “I thought that the session would be a nice place to open up about my mistakes.”

“I will think about it,” she said. 

Deepa called me fifteen minutes before the starting of the day’s session. She asked me for directions. She said the two of them hadn’t been to Iritty before. 

I told her which block she needed to find and which side of the road it was, sitting at home, having my tea. On that day, I skipped my session. I wanted to take a chance. I didn’t want to be there if Yashvi came. I had called Fr Biju earlier to update him on the matter. I had told him that Yashvi needed special care. She too had lost her first love just like I did. She was also physically assaulted by the person she fell in love for the first time in her life. The damage she incurred was more than the damage I incurred. 

Later that evening, Fr Biju called me. He said he had met Yashvi. She was apparently looking for somebody and sat through the session like any newcomer would, eying everything suspiciously. But as the sessions progressed, she started showing signs of engagement. “Yours was the right decision to bring her here, Prem. She needs help. The reason I didn’t want you to come when she was there… I hope you understand. With you in the scene, she might not feel comfortable opening up and sharing her wounds that this relationship inflicted upon her.”

“I understand father. Once, again, I must thank you for everything you’ve done.”

I could apologize to Yashvi. But what good words would do when the deed was done and it had hurt someone deeply. If I was suffering emotionally from Yashvi’s decision to go abroad, she too was going through her own battles, her own pain. She too was losing a loved one, her first romance, her trust with the heart. She couldn’t share her true feelings with me, which I understood now. 

Dear Yashvi, if you happen to read this story, this is my message to you- “Goodbye, Yashvi. You didn’t do anything wrong. I am with you, even when you decide to let go of our relationship. I am here to support you, even when support means waving goodbye to you.”

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