Drama Inspirational Comedy
She sat in the starbucks café, sipping her coffee and staring out of the window. The blood stained knife lay next to her handbag, covered with her blue silk scarf, on which was pinned a gorgeous, lustroaus, pinkish purple broche. The chair next to her was vacant; there was nobody she was sharing the moment with unlike usual. She often had somebody next to her to talk to for hours on that table, but perhaps; today the knife was her only companion. I made an effort to walk up to her, and question her about the situation and her loneliness. “Shipra, do you mind if I join you?” I asked. Wiping off her wet eyes, she nodded without uttering a word. I dragged the chair opposite to her’s and ordered a coffee for myself. Shipra and I know each other as we had been studying in the same institute since our childhood, but were never very close to each other. On rare occasions we exchanged smiles and that was all. No other interaction had happened ever.
“So… nice coffee isn’t it? Perfect drink for this weather!” I uttered, trying to break the silence. She shook her head indicating that she agreed to what I had said and sipped her coffee. I smiled. I knew she was upset, but could not guess what the reason could have been. She had a happy married life, for the last two years of her wedding. She isn’t comfortable with her husband anymore maybe; I thought and glanced around the café.
Meanwhile, I guess Shipra noticed a suspicious look on my face, hence she tried to come out of her trauma struck behavior and talk normally. So she said, “How strange life is. With no reason sometimes, you have somebody to count upon and with all the reasons also, you can’t trust a particular person.” I got confused. “Yeah… true, it happens… you seem to be upset… what is the matter? You mind sharing it?” I asked and saying so picked up a tissue paper to write something. “I don’t really know, whether I am upset or happy. There is a lot to say. This tissue paper reminds me of my torn life.” She replied. “In that case, you should share the problem, preferably with a person who doesn’t know you well… because they won’t be able to judge you. Come on… tell it out to me.” I insisted. “I don’t mind sharing with you Rohan… If you are patient enough, then listen to it…” Saying so Shipra started narrating the reason of her tears…
“It was 3:40 in the afternoon, some day in the early winters when I saw her for the first time.
Vividly popular and extravagantly beautiful – Sania Talwar; A known face to almost everybody, she was a gem of a person. I was a primary school teacher in a school where she was in the 11th standard.
Our eyes met and she passed a cute smile. That was the beginning of our sweet and simple relationship. I would rarely interact with anybody or any of my colleagues as I was very introvert person. I used to sit alone in my room working for hours together. After she found a place in my heart, I would wait for moments to start talking and laughing out loud with everyone. That was the kind of influence she had on me, she made me start interacting with people. The initial interaction with her was very formal. She wished me and I only smiled in return or on rare occasions wished her back. I never found a reason for her to be seen in our block as her class was three buildings away from ours. On questioning, she would very calmly reply, “Was there to have a glance at you!” Smiles and laughter would follow and the scenario would later be forgotten by all.
Those few giggles marked the nurturing of this strange and untold relationship. We had nothing in common, she was confident and witty and I was reserved and shy. She would give her best in every activity she took up and I would always be a little laid back and lazy; but as destiny had it… we got along well with each other.
As days passed by gradually, I and Sania often sat in my room gossiping for hours together.
“You look so pretty… as usual!” saying so; Sania would walk into my room almost every day at around 3:15 pm ensuring my wait to be with her was over. “Ah! You always say this. Anyways, Thank You!” I replied. “My pleasure ma’am!” she would abruptly say with a wink. I don’t remember when in these conversations, we exchanged our phone numbers. The amount of fun that I had in school was on a rise and my condition at home was deteriorating day by day. My so called loving and caring husband had all of a sudden, turned highly possessive about me. I was chatting with Sania on whatsapp, when he misunderstood the scene. Ankit (my husband) screamed “Stop giggling to the jokes of an outsider! You are my wife now.” I tried to explain who it was, but he was in no mood to listen. ‘Thash” came the sound; he threw my phone on the bed and gave me a tight bash on my face. That was the first time ever somebody had slapped me. Even my parents hadn’t hit me so hard. With a shocked look I picked up the phone and walked out of the room to continue my chat with Sania. I had tears in my eyes; the hit was so painful. I didn’t let Sania know about it.
Early morning, the next day, I drove down to the school without having a word with Ankit. I was upset with him and clearly wanted him to realize his mistake. Sania was there in my room at 7:35 in the morning that day. I felt her suspecting something fishy. “Good morning ma’am! How are you? How did these scars come up on your face all of a sudden?” Sania was inquisitive. Prior to this incident, I had never discussed about my family with her. “Good morning dear! I am fine… All good with you?” I replied. “What’s with the scars?” she enquired again. “Nothing much honey just got hurt; don’t worry!” I answered and saying so pulled her cheeks gently to cool her thoughts.
I don’t know if she was convinced with my words or not but the conversation came to a halt at that moment. With the generous smile on her face, she bid a goodbye to me and ran upstairs to catch up with her classes. In the evening, we never had a discussion on this matter again. As she entered the class, I pulled a chair for her… such was our understanding for each other. I knew she would take a chair next to me. She had a great sense of humor. “It’s too hot… isn’t it?” I initiated the conversation. “Has to be, you are around after all!” She responded. I blushed, patted her back and we continued talking until we left the school premises.
I was pretty scared of returning home. I was unaware of what was awaiting me at my residence. The feeling of insecurity was gradually taking over my confidence. My hands shivered as I started my vehicle and drove back home. I was happy to see the door of the house locked as that indicated that there was no one at home. I breathed the air of satisfaction. I unlocked the door and stepped in. hardly minutes later Ankit was back from work. He was not sorry for his behavior last night. When I questioned him about it, he behaved rudely and I was being hit brutally again. Mercilessly he was hurting me, as if that was his birth right. My eyes were closed and glimpses of Sania’s face were passing by my sight. Her jolly looks and comforting style was giving me the reason to survive to meet her again, to see her and talk to her. After this situation at home, I started keeping away from Ankit. I and Sania now, often met at this starbucks café. Almost every evening after school, we were found here. All my nights were boxing and fight sessions for my husband. He would throw tantrums on me to keep my mouth shut and behave normally in front of others.
My wounds and bruises were increasing day after day and Sania noticed them regularly; she seldom questioned and I rarely ever answered. Perhaps she knew, I was a victim of ‘Domestic Violence’ and therefore she would never miss a moment to let me know, how much she cared for me and how much she loved me.
My husband on the other hand was leaving no stone unturned in torturing me. My fairytale house of ‘Astrocards’ was tumbling into bricks of horror and hatred. My soul was murdered every day, and only Sania could rejuvenate my life. She made me live with happiness in all situations.
Ankit twisted and turned my bones, scratched my face, slapped me hard and walked out of the room dropping me down on the floor. I was bleeding. My eyes were moist, as I dreamt of life getting back to what it was.
In the evening, the next day we had a function at school. Sania and I were waiting for moments to have a long conversation. My wounds and blood clotted arms were covered by a gorgeous blue saree. It was Sania’s favourite colour and I was well aware of the fact. Actually mine too, that is why I chose to drape that on myself. The performances were in full swing and Sania was sitting right next to me when I received a call from Ankit, “I want to talk to you; now. Come out to the parking area.” He said and hanged the phone. He sounded polite. I got up from my seat and without letting anybody know, I walked up till the parking lot.
“What are you doing here? Why at my school? What is so urgent Ankit?” I spoke abruptly as I saw him waiting for me. He was wearing my favorite blue shirt. There was no other soul there. “Couldn’t wait to let you know, so came here!” he replied while turning his face towards me. Ankit’s voice and interaction was different that day, he was not harsh, not rude but really sweet. Probably he had realized his mistake. I walked close to him. “I have been transferred to Delhi by my company!!! You are coming along with me. We are shifting. Isn’t that amazing!”
Ankit exclaimed grasping my arms tightly. To me his words were like a thunderclap. Moving to Delhi from Lucknow meant getting away from my only source of happiness – Sania. I could not believe my ears. “No! It is not. I am not going anywhere. I am staying here without you. Do not force me. Ask the company to allow you to work from here. I am not going. You understand…” I shouted. ‘Dhash!’ he had slapped me again. “How dare you say that? You know how tough it was to achieve this promotion? I let it go only because you want to flirt around in this city. You have no clue what I can do.” He shouted in return and pushed me hard. I almost fell to the ground.
With all the anger of months old fights boiling in me, I picked myself up and punched Ankit on his stomach. He was shocked and so was I. I don’t know from where had those guts come in me at that moment. “I won’t go with you.” I ordered. Sania arrived at the scene at that moment and pulled me out of the fight. “Don’t you touch her that way!” she yelled at Ankit. I was trying to keep her out of this but Ankit dragged her in. he pushed her back and slapped her too. “You ladies should know your place in the society.” Ankit said.
A few seconds later, he went upto the dashboard of the car and pulled out a knife. He walked straight to stab me. He waved the knife in air expecting I was standing there but Sania came in between me and the knife. Ankit’s anger and ego had sliced past Sania’s stomach. She fell to the ground with her head in my lap. Almost dying, she said “You know how pretty you are. The moon feels shy when you are present in open air. Leave this man and live your life. I love you!!”
By the time I could tell her, how much she meant to me, her heart had stopped beating. I was shattered. “Why does a man always have a right to decide a woman’s life? Who gave you those rights?” I said in a heavy voice. “Stay away from me you coward!” I shouted, picked up the knife and Sania’s body and walked out of the campus. I have never seen Ankit since then. I carried the knife with me as a memory of her, and as a stint to remove all evidences against my husband.
I buried Sania’s body along with her family and kept that knife with her blood on it as my source of strength. I wrapped that knife in the blue silk scarf, she had presented to me last birthday. This broche pinned on it was worn by Sania on the night, she was murdered. Her last remains are the only source of life to me. I wish I could tell her just once, how much I loved her and how much I valued her presence in my life…” Shipra ended the narration and started starring outside the window, holding the scarf in her hands.
Life is such a roller coaster! I thought. The story I just heard was the truth of existence for numerous more women across the globe. A question arose in my mind: what was responsible for the prolonged beating session? The answer is very clear. It was Shipra’s silence. Sania
Talwar would have been alive today, had Shipra revolted to the abuse. Even after the murder, she destroyed evidences by keeping the knife with her and allowed a scoundrel like Ankit to walk away freely. Shipra’s life has been ruined and Sania’s support is also missing as an accidental murder stole her heartbeat. Shipra sits in this café for hours, looking out of the window, weeping and repenting the fact that she could never tell Sania about her affection towards her.
Time needn’t be valued only in the professional sphere; it is very necessary to respect time for personal interactions as well. We never know what comes next for us, so live the moment and tell people how much you love them. One never knows when we won’t see our dear ones again… As Shipra continues her sobbing with the scarf in her hands, I rest my thoughts into endless gloom, an old Hindi classic – ‘tere bina zindagi se koi, shiqwa toh nahi, shiqwa nahi… tere bina zindagi bhi lekin, zindagi toh nahi, zindagi nahi…’ plays in the background…