Till Memories Do Us Part
Till Memories Do Us Part11 mins 33.2K 11 mins 33.2K
Maya kept pacing about the room, muttering to herself while throwing fervent glances, almost every second, at the man in the hall outside. Every time she saw him, her face contorted with anger and the muttering became all the more incessant. Once a very beautiful woman when she had been happier, almost angelic in physical beauty and demeanour, she now looked dark and dishevelled. She was beginning to resemble her own shadow, as anger seethed inside her and extreme anxiety began to engulf her senses.
This bullshit has been going on for too long now. God, I don’t need this. Really need to end this, one way or the other, she muttered to herself.
As Maya watched, the man in the hall smiled lovingly at the woman he was talking to, as she stood close by, almost rubbing shoulders with him. They seemed to be engrossed in their conversation. From time to time, the woman looked admiringly, or so Maya thought, at the man as he spoke. After another five excruciating minutes for Maya, the conversation finally ended. As the woman was leaving, the man quickly patted her shoulders playfully. In return, she giggled winking at him, blew him a kiss and left the place. The man turned to leave and caught Maya looking at him through the door that stood ajar. He seemed not to know how to react. He smiled sheepishly, embarrassment clearly showing on his face.
The rascal is feeling guilty now, having been caught like a deer in the headlights, Maya thought, as she watched the man walk away quickly. She allowed herself a satisfied smirk as she felt she had got wind of what was going on behind her back all these days.
Sanjay sat by the window in the room watching Maya, wondering what was going on in her head. Day by day, Maya’s anger and anxiety grew with her suspicions and she had become aggressive and arrogant of late, probably believing that it made her look strong. Sometimes she did not even realize the intensity of the tantrums she was throwing around. The Maya that Sanjay always knew was the sweet, beautiful woman with an infectious smile, who spoke softly and cared for others. He had been smitten by her since the first day he saw her at college. He instantly fell in love with her, and wanted to marry her. He wanted to live happily with her. But God sometimes did not answer all the prayers.
Sanjay could not bear to see Maya like this, and felt sad that such a beautiful being could be in such an adverse, unhappy situation in life. Nobody said life was fair, but it didn’t have to be this bad.
As he sat lost in his thoughts, Maya turned towards him. She came over and sat next to him. While her face still burned with anger and jealousy, her eyes were brimming with tears as she looked at him.
She seemed to hesitate just a little before she spoke “ I am going to ask you a question. I want you to tell me the truth. Nothing but the truth, I beg you.”
Sanjay knew too well what Maya was going to ask. He did not have to wait too long to find out that he was right. He was not surprised though.
Maya asked, ‘Has my husband fallen in love with that woman? Seeing their intimate behaviour towards each other, it seems so to me. Tell me what’s going on.’
Sanjay kept quiet, not wanting to answer the question, and wondering how to deal with the situation.
Impatience began to show in Maya’s voice as she probed further ‘Why are you quiet, Sanjay? You must know something. You always say you are his best friend. He must have told you something. Tell me the truth. I can handle it. Are they having an affair? Did he sleep with her?’
‘Look Maya, now you are really thinking a lot and getting carried away by your emotions. You need to relax. Why don’t you...’
‘Just answer the goddamn question Sanjay. Did my husband sleep with that bitch? ’, Maya asked, interrupting Sanjay.
Sanjay was unnerved a bit by Maya’s sudden aggression.
He said, ‘No Maya, nothing like that has happened. And it will never happen too. You have to trust me on this. I know for sure that your husband loves you a lot. ’
‘Well, you are his friend and would only defend him even if he was having an affair. All you men are the same.’ As Maya spoke she looked at herself in the mirror on the wall. She remained silent for a couple of minutes, looking at herself intently before speaking again.
‘Tell me Sanjay, could my husband be planning to leave me for that woman because I have grown old now and not looking as beautiful as I used to be?’, Maya asked.
‘Come on Maya, what makes you think you are not beautiful? You still look gorgeous to me, as always’.
For a brief moment, Maya’s face brightened up as she blushed. Momentarily at least, she had forgotten about her husband and his ‘affair’.
‘Now you stop flirting with me Sanjay. I never knew you were such a flirt back then in college. When did you become one? Anyway, I am the wife of your best friend. Show some respect’. She chided him mockingly.
Sanjay relaxed a bit as he saw Maya getting into a cheerful, flirtatious tone with him. He liked it that way, and it calmed her down as well.
But he had thought too soon, he realized to his dismay.
Maya looked around and asked, a touch of irritation building up in her tone again, ‘ Now where the hell is my dressing table? It goes missing again just when I want to dress up a bit so that I can feel better and beautiful once again. This is really irritating. Where is it? And what are all these wires hanging around for? Ever since my husband fell for that witch, the house has never been the same again. But this is my house...my house and MY HOUSE it will always be.’ Maya was yelling now.
‘Relax Maya, why are getting so worked up? The maid probably moved the dressing table for cleaning.’, Sanjay answered warily.
And before Maya could continue with her rants, Sanjay asked ‘Maya, you used to sing so well. Remember that competition in college when you won the first prize for singing. Don’t you practice singing these days? Come on my nightingale, why don’t you sing for me now?’, he asked cheerily.
‘Just shut up Sanjay. How can I sing when I am not happy anymore? My husband is having an affair with another woman, and that has gone to the point that they can’t hold back their displays of affection even in front of me these days.’
Sanjay sadly realized he could not divert Maya’s thoughts to something positive.
After pausing just a brief moment, Maya continued, her anger rising and the pitch of her voice increasing, ‘I don’t care about singing anymore. I don’t care about anything anymore. In fact, everything is so irritating, SO IRRITATING, and I am only getting fed up. If I live with him anymore, I will go mad. I want to leave Delhi. I want to go stay with my dad in Mumbai for a few days. Let me see if my husband misses me even a little bit. At least, I will know for sure.’
Saying this, Maya sat down on the bed and began sobbing uncontrollably like a child, her body shaking. Sanjay wanted to hug and comfort her. But he could not. He was just a ‘good friend’ to her.
I have to do something before things get out of control now, he thought. He picked up the phone receiver on the table by the bed and dialled the number.
Shortly, after a few painful minutes, Maya and Sanjay looked up as they heard the door being opened. Maya saw her husband walk in, and the woman also came along with him. Still crying, Maya quickly rose up from the bed and lunged at him, planting a hard slap on his cheek as she yelled, ‘How could you do this to me? How could you cheat on me for this bitch? How much I loved you? Why did you even come here? Get out...don’t stand in front of me. GET OUT NOW.’
Maya then lunged at the woman, her face red with rage. Maya wanted to kill the woman. She hated the very sight of her. The woman could see it in Maya’s eyes.
Sanjay quickly recovered his senses and grabbed hold of Maya’s hands before she could hurt the woman.
Maya cried out as she struggled, ‘Sanjay, even you? I thought you were a good friend and I could trust you. Even you? How could you?’.
She felt weak and subdued now.
Sanjay did not pay heed to what Maya was yelling. Instead he cried out to the man, ‘Dinesh, quick, get the injection. Shilpa, help me hold her.’
Immediately the woman also caught hold of Maya’s hands. Maya was whimpering now, totally devoid of all energy to yell or struggle. She was resigning herself to her fate. Before she knew it, Dinesh injected her arm with a serum. Within a few seconds she started feeling dizzy. No sound came out of her mouth though she tried to speak. She slowly started to black out.
After laying the sedated Maya gently down on the bed, Sanjay looked up at Dinesh, his teary eyes filled with fear and questions.
‘Dinesh, please do something to save her. I can’t see her like this. I cannot bear to see her mind and memories breaking apart like this. Every day is a living hell for her. She thinks you are her husband who is cheating on her and she wants to go stay with her father in Mumbai; the father who is dead now for four years. She does not realize this is a hospital room in Mumbai and is searching for her dressing table. I don’t have the strength left in me to see her suffer like this. Please do something before she even forgets who she is.’
Dinesh and Shilpa looked at Sanjay with sad faces, sympathizing with him.
Dinesh spoke, ‘Sanjay, Maya’s test reports have come through. Her condition has advanced to the second stage of dementia. I am sorry. The medicines I gave her worked for a while, keeping her condition stable. But now it seems like...’. His words trailed off.
Sanjay was at loss of words and simply stared at Dinesh. He was drained off all energy.
He said weakly, his eyes begging ‘Dinesh, please cure her. The disease is slowly killing her every day.’
Dinesh inhaled deeply, ‘Sanjay, we have had this conversation many times before. But as your friend and a doctor, let me tell you again clearly, if that will help you accept the reality as it is. You have to understand that vascular dementia is not easy to deal with. The head injury that Maya suffered in the accident ruptured her blood supply to the brain resulting in a hemorrhagic stroke. This is causing a decline in the brain cells which is not only affecting her memory and her entire reality right now, but is also gradually impairing her normal brain functions such as reasoning.’
Dinesh continued, ‘She is behaving in this unpredictable, aggressive manner because her condition is gradually deteriorating. Such patients tend to hallucinate, see and believe things that are not there, and not know what is real and what is not. She is not mentally ill; she is medically ill. I am doing my best to improve her condition and keep her stable, but you have to understand that I am only prolonging her life as much as possible. Her condition is not curable.’
Sanjay stood shocked, as tears started rolling freely, down his cheek.
Dinesh’s heart went out to him and his voice softened from the assertive tone he had tried to maintain.
‘Sanjay, not only you, but Maya too is a very good friend of mine. I promise you, if there is a way to improve her condition, I will definitely do it. I have already spoken to Dr.Amarendra Rao from NIMHANS and requested him for a consultation. Let us hope for the best and put our prayers and burden to God. I don’t know what else to say.’
Dinesh patted Sanjay’s shoulder reassuringly. ‘ I will come back to check on Maya in a couple of hours. You should get some rest too. Call me if you need anything or she wakes up before then.’
Saying this, Dinesh and Shilpa walked out of the room, leaving Sanjay with Maya.
Sanjay looked at Maya lovingly as he sat next to her. He ran his fingers through her hair and then held her hand as he watched her sleeping like a baby. In the last four months, no matter how many times he told her the truth or showed her the albums, she always woke up to a different reality that she believed to be true. Pretty soon, he too stopped trying. All he wanted was a happy life with her.He did not get all that he wanted in life, but he would give Maya everything she needed now, he thought.
Before lying down on the sofa to catch some sleep, for he was too fatigued to stay up, he looked at Maya one more time with tears in his eyes but a sad smile on his lips and whispered to her,
‘My dear wife, you may not know who I am to you, but when you wake up, I will once again be your good friend whom you can trust; till the memories do us part. I will always love you.’