The Life of Myra - Chapter 17
The Life of Myra - Chapter 178 mins 775 8 mins 775
Six months later
I wake up, confused, disoriented as to where I am. But just for a few moments. The haze immediately clears and I remember I am sleeping in my bedroom, warm under my comforter.
My life from past few months flashes in front of my eyes.
I was so caught up in my own psychotic thoughts, I didn’t realize when I had stopped the medications under the influence of Saudamini, and then began plotting against Madhumita under the influence of Jigyasa.
That day, when I tried to run away after being confronted by Rishi and everyone who cares for me, it took them no time to track me down. I don’t remember that time much, its still a blurry memory, but Rishi tells me I became violent, and I had to be sedated and put in the psychiatric ward under constant observation and monitoring. He immediately started giving me the medications through an IV as I refused to eat anything, still paranoid that he was poisoning me. It took one and a half months for me to come out of that paranoid episode that had consumed me so brutally.
But I can now see how much the people around me love and care for me. Not a single day went by without Mom or Mahika visiting me. I refused to even see them in the beginning, but they persisted. Slowly I began seeing reason and logic. I began feeling comfortable with them just like old times. Anish and Madhumita visited me after two months. I was so ashamed of myself that I didn’t know how to apologize to them. But both were very understanding, and consoled me, saying they believed I am a good person, and whatever I did was due to things which weren’t in my control. Well, they are right in a way. I really had no control. I really, actually saw Saloni and Viraj. And Mayank!
But if anyone has been really patient with me, it is Rishi. It would have been easy for him to leave me after all of this unfolded. But he didn’t. He persisted in his efforts to cure me, and in his belief that I can lead a normal life.
Four months later, once I had stabilized on my medications and in complete remission, Rishi helped me get medical fitness for joining back at the hospital. Of course, after everything that happened, they cannot reinstate me as a nurse practitioner, for obvious reasons. I can’t be made in charge of someone else’s life. So I have been given the job of front desk receptionist at our hospital, and even though I miss being a nurse and serving patients, I enjoy this job. I need these normal social interactions to keep my mind busy.
Dr. Shantanu resigned from our hospital, and last heard, he and Dr. Samira have started their own clinic. Good for them, I think, but I always keep wondering if I was the reason they left our hospital. They neither came to meet me after I recovered, so it somehow feels that they hold me responsible for what happened to Dr.Samira, even though I have absolutely no memory of the same, and they haven’t forgiven me.
Rishi has been staying with me from the time I was discharged from the hospital. And he takes good care of me.
My mobile pings. It’s a text from Rishi.
'I had ECT’s lined up, so left early. See you at the hospital.'
'Okay. See you soon', I reply.
I quickly shower and get ready. I eat the sandwich that Rishi has thoughtfully made for me, and hail an auto.
Another thing I lost, at least temporarily, along with my nurse’s license, is my driving permit. I will be given my license back only when Rishi deems me fit enough to drive on my own. So I have to go by auto.
The day is good, with the usual rush that keeps me busy, and my chattery companion Smriti not making me feel bored for even a moment.
“Excuse me?” comes a deep voice and I turn to look at the dark brown penetrating eyes looking at me questioningly.
“Yes?” I ask.
“I am Dr. Ritesh. I am looking for the Head of Medicine department, for my joining,” he says.
I don’t remember what happens next, and when I come to my senses, Smriti is shaking me by my shoulders.
We both aren’t where we are supposed to be, we are standing in the corridor that leads to the Medicine department.
“What are you doing?” she hisses.
“Wh-what happened?” I ask her.
“You have been transfixed from the moment you saw that new doc. He was asking you something, but you just kept glaring at him, as if hypnotized. I had to intervene and tell him the directions while you continued staring at him without even blinking an eye lid. It was really embarassing! I had to lie to him that you get absence seizures sometimes, before he could leave as you continued your hard stare. And then, as if in a trance, you have been following him,” she narrates, breathlessly.
I shake my head. “S-sorry. I don’t know what’s come over me!' I stammer.
"Are you alright? What's happening?" Smriti asks, concerned.
"I - I don’t feel very well. I think I will call it a day,” I say, and rush over to pick up my things, without waiting to see if Smriti thinks I am crazy.
I text Rishi that I am not feeling very well, and that I am going home.
Instead of hailing a cab or an auto, I decide I will walk home. The walk will help me clear my head.
I walk along the footpath, as the mid-afternoon traffic rushes past me on the main road. People hurry along the footpath, shopping bags in their hands, some trailing children behind them.
I notice a small book shop on my left, and on a whim, I enter. I am a voracious reader, but there is not a single book in my house, to read. I remember Rishi packing all of our books in a huge trunk and donating them to some library.
As I skim through my favourite section of fiction, my eyes land on a mesmerising book cover. It’s the close up of a breathtakingly beautiful woman’s face, half covered by her own dupatta. She has eyes the shade of green moss, and curly brown hair. There is something about the expressions in her eyes that tugs at my heart. The backdrop is shades of yellow, that seamlessly go on becoming darker and darker from above downwards - lemon yellow - dark yellow - mustard - orange - till it is bloody red at the bottom. I pick up the book. ‘Swanandi’, the name is written in bold red against the palest yellow on the cover, the red colour dripping over the letters as if it were blood.
I buy the book and head home.
After freshening up and getting changed, I settle on my living room sofa cozily with the book in my hands.
Swanandi is an independent woman, whose husband slowly, meticulously, under the guise of extreme love and care, makes her completely dependant on him. He makes sure she loses her job, he makes sure she loses her driving license, he even cooks for her so that she becomes dependant on him even for basic needs. She is an artist, and loves canvas painting. But he gets rid of anything and everything related to drawing and painting from the house, including every last piece of her own painting! He gives her medicines under the name of multi vitamins, which are actually sedatives and make her sleepy all day. He alienates her from her friends and family. When she tries to contact them, they tell her he has conveyed her message to them, that she doesn’t want to see them, ever. He convinces them that she is suffering from some social interaction phobia, and trusting him, everyone stays away.
One fine day, Swanandi realizes what is happening. And sees the real demon behind the mask her husband constantly wears. She hatches a fool proof plan to get rid of him Scot-free.
The first step of the plan – do not swallow the medicines he gives, spit them out as soon as he is out of earshot.
“Hey,” my trance is broken by Rishi entering the flat with his keys. “How are you?"
I sit up. Had I fallen asleep?
“Good. I am ok now,” I smile at him. At my loving, caring husband. Who takes care of me, cooks for me, but who doesn't let me drive and who doesn't let me follow my passion of reading.
I know what will happen next. The routine is pretty much the same. He will freshen up, play a nice music in the background, and cook a sumptuous dinner for the two of us. Then we will eat it together, laughing, as he tells me silly tales from the hospital.
And then he will hand me over the small yellow bowl with a red and white pill, a pink capsule, and a yellow tablet.
He will fetch a glass of water from the kitchen, and watch me as I swallow the pills.
Like always, I will oblige today.
But then, once he is out of earshot, I know what I have to do!