by Tiyasha Khanra
“I was not scared for I got suspended. I knew the danger is not over yet. I was humiliated by everything that happened to me. But that was not all for me, you know. I was just thinking an entire society and not one of them accepted the relationship between two teenagers, what if they came to know that I am having an adulterous affair with someone very popular. But that too was not the thing that made me scared. I got scared with the thinking of what if Pandey denies his involvement in our affair and tells everybody it is I, who provoked him? The situation was burning for me. And anybody could have believed anything infamous told about me. My affair with Jeet made me suspended but my affair with Pandey could have sent me to jail if it got revealed by chance.”, Asha Khanna starts today’s session with Dr. Dipsita Chakraborty in psychology department of Chandipur Rural Hospital.
“You can’t change anything overnight. It takes time.” Dr. Chakraborty replies.
“Even time can’t change everything all the time.”
Chandipur Rural Hospital,
3rd April, 2018
“So, what makes you cry oversleep?” Dr. Dipsita Chakraborty puts the first question.
“I don’t know what it is exactly. But whatever it is, it is terrible.”, Asha is having amnesia while replying. She can’t remember all the details and her facts are as broken as is her heart.
“There must be something troubling you. Tell me what it is, only then I will be able to help you.”
“It’s not something.”
“Okay. Then tell me what do you count as ‘everything’?”
“Day, Night, People, Nature..”
“Listen! Don’t cut yourself off from this ‘everything’. You are a part of it. Okay? Now tell me what comes first in your mind when you go to sleep?”
“A nameless guilt, which I am accused to.”
“Um-hmm. Go on.”
“Then a huge shadow of a giant.”
“What do the giant do to you?”
Asha’s eyes get moisturized. Dr. Chakraborty repeats herself, “What do the giant do to you?”
“Beats me. Severely.”, A stream of tears follows Asha’s cheek. She wipes it instantly.
“Did anybody beat you that way in real life?” , Dr. Chakraborty stops and then continues, “Listen! It’s a secret between you and me. Tell me everything truly. It’s all for your help.”
Asha sobs and then Dr. Chakraborty continues, “Today we are ending our conversation here. Do come next week and tell me everything you feel like you should tell. Only when you will utter what’s haunting you, you will feel light burdened. Give yourself some time. Okay?”
Chandipur Rural Hospital,
10th April, 2018
“So, you can feel free to tell me everything you feel like. Okay, let’s start from the day you got suspended. Tell me everything you did on that particular day.” Dr. Chakraborty awaits to hear from Asha.
“I got a very sound sleep while I returned home from school.”, Asha smiles.
“This is because you didn’t sleep well for several weeks while you were down with the tension of what will happen to you.”
“Yeah! To be very honest I was literally waiting for the suspension. Because I thought I will get punished and then I will return to normal life.”
“But life does not go as per our plan for all the time. I returned to normal life. But there was a metamorphosis, that changed everything in me. I literally grew up to a bitch to cope up with everything and everybody around.”
“But that’s not a permanent solution.”
“Who knows it better than me? But what can you do when you know that you have to spend two years with those people who caused you to shame?”
“You could have changed your school. You had time as well as an option in your hand.”
“Ma also gave me this solution but I considered it as bullshit. I had to accept my shame and come back. I really wanted to face the devils. If they are not ashamed to put some random guilt in someone’s name, then why should that someone be afraid to face up the nonsense? In other words, I grew stubborn.”
“What happened to you when you get up from your sleep that day?”, Dr. Chakraborty leans backward in her chair and crosses her legs.
“It will be easy for me to answer if you ask me what didn’t happen that day. Baba came and made me awake from sleep and asked me some random questions but neither I heard them nor I replied.”
“Then what did you do?”
“I didn’t do anything. He did.”
“He scolded you. Right?”
“He started with a slap. Then a storm of the slap was hurled towards me and it continued until blood came out of my nose and chin.”
“Sorry to hear that. What next?”
“Um-hmm. A punch came from him and hurt my neck. I was supposed to go to death at that moment. But lost my sense. When came back to sense I was unable to see anything properly because I was too tired to open my eyes. The only thing I can remember is that Ma was shouting at the top of her voice. She came to me in the next minute and first aid me. I threw the first aid box in the air and cried my heart out. That day I was really hurt. I was really injured. That day I really preferred death to this meaningless life. I ran to the roof and tried to jump from the edge. But Ma interrupted me. She dragged me downstairs and Baba tried to cover up his beating episode. Baba asked Ma to make me ready because he would take me to NH2, a restaurant newly opened in Subhashpalli. I was reluctant to go because neither I had to eat anything that day nor I had the strength to go. I was really down with the physical and mental pain. But nobody ever grunted my will.”, Asha leaves a sigh.
“First beating someone and then giving her a treat. Your father should have been here instead of you. Anyway did you go?”
“I was forcibly taken with Ma, Baba, and my cousin. Baba gave us a treat. We had have enjoyed Handi Biriyani and Chicken Chaap. I mean they enjoyed it. I only devoured. I was having pain in my face while I was seated in the chair of the restaurant. My neck was falling apart from my body. I got a scar on my backbone and I was unable to sit properly. I was barely managed to spend that evening in this pompous mufassal. The more the outside world was illuminating, the more darkness was covering my heart. I felt like someone is celebrating my pain, my loss, my failure, and my death. I preferred death that night to this meaningless life.”
Housing Complex, Dankuni,
In the chamber of Dr. Swarup Bhowmik,
25th September, 2016
“What’s wrong with you? Why are you looking so frail?”, Dr. Swarup Bhowmik (Asha’s physician) gets surprised with the damage of Asha’s health.
“I am having a very bad digestion doc. I can’t sleep at night. I am vomiting frequently. I am having deep pain in my stomach right now.”, Asha manages to say. A drop of tears rolls down to her cheek. She taps her belly with her palm and breaths heavily.
“Aren’t you following the diet chart that I gave you last time? As far as I remember your health was developing.”
“Sorry, doc. I failed to maintain the diet chart. I was depressed about some things in my life. And I messed up everything. I’m sorry.”, Asha covers her face with her hand and starts sobbing.
“It’s okay. It’s okay. It happens sometimes. You will be okay. Don’t cry dear.”, Dr. Bhowmik consoles her. Asha wipes her face. Dr. Bhowmik continues, “Just an injection. Are you ready?” Asha nods. He stands up and comes to her with a syringe. Asha folds the sleeve of her Kurti and Dr. Bhowmik injects her. “You will be okay. Giving you the medicines. Take them.” Dr. Bhowmik gives her the prescription. Asha takes it. She leaves the chair and falls down. Dr. Bhowmik hustles towards her and says, “Your pressure is low dear. Take care of yourself. Just sit here for some time more before you go. I am calling an auto that will drop you home.”
“No, thanks doc. You have patients. Please attend them.”
“It’s a matter of few minutes. Don’t worry. You seat here. I’m coming with an auto.” Dr. Bhowmik leaves his chamber and comes back after ten minutes. He speaks to Asha, “Your auto is waiting downstairs. Have a safe journey.”
“I can’t thank you enough doc. Thanks a lot.”, Asha leaves slowly Dr. Bhowmik’s chamber and catches the auto. The auto starts for Krishnapur. Cold breezes blow across Asha’s face. It gives her a little comfort. The auto driver breaks the auto down the bumper near Lichubagan. Asha grabs the seat and vomits up.
The auto driver helps Asha to reach her home. As soon as her mother opens the door, she blacks out. Mrs. Khanna takes her inside, pays the auto driver, and leaves him. She splashes some water on Asha’s face and Asha gets back to sense. Mrs. Khanna speaks out, “Who told you to go to the doctor without me? We have prohibited you not to go out without me or Baba. Don’t you get that? It seems like we have to lock you again in the room.”
“Help me to die Ma.”, Asha cries out.
“Why are you telling all these? And why didn’t you think before you did what you did?”
“I’m unable to bear the pain in my stomach. Get me to the hospital. Please!”, Asha pleads by joining her palms together.
“When did you have your last period? Just tell me the truth.”, Mrs. Khanna’s voice gets strict to stricter.
“I don’t know. I can’t recall. Please stop this. I am unable to take anymore.”, Asha hides her face between her knees. Mrs. Khanna comes forwards, gives her a jerk and slaps her hard, and then speaks, “Just tell me the truth. Are you by any chance got pregnant?”
“Oh my God! Where are you? I have served my life to you. And what I’m receiving from you? Why don’t you do anything for me? Why don’t you prove me to be innocent? Why don’t you giving an end to this suffering? I am tired. And I surrender to you. Just give it a stop. Please!”, Asha complains to the almighty. Mrs. Khanna repeats herself, “Don’t you think that you will be able to convince me with all your melodramatic skill. I have crossed your age. And I know very well what you are trying to do. Just let me tell you one thing, it won’t work. And now answer me, have you crossed all the limits? Have you already done the scam? Have you smashed our reputation to the soil? Have you got involved in the escapade? Have you really brought us the unwanted baby?”
“Uff! Ma, it’s not what you are thinking. I’m not pregnant. I am a virgin.” Asha tells the half-truth. And she herself isn’t sure whether she is really pregnant or not.
“I am calling Mrs. Ghosh and telling her all these things. You and your rascal lover are going to be in jail for having all these things done. You know that you are not eighteen plus. And your rascal lover is one year younger than you. Just think what have you done.”, Mrs. Khanna gives the threat. Asha gives a hiccup and foams come out of her mouth mixed with blood. Asha gives up and lies on the floor. She closes her eyes. Meanwhile, the floor gets dirty with the stuff coming out from her mouth.
Chandipur Rural Hospital,
26th September, 2016
Asha is taken over to the hospital at the midnight, given her condition was deteriorating at home. She is lying in the emergency room of the Chandipur Rural Hospital. Some doctors and nurses have randomly come and checked her up. But nobody has told anything to her parents. One of the junior doctors finally comes to check her and tells her parents that she is having a pre-stage of ulcer. Mrs. Khanna feels relieved for her assumption of pregnancy proves false. The doctor advises Mr. and Mrs. Khanna to admit their daughter to the hospital at least for the night. In the morning, Pandey calls Asha to inquire why she is not coming to Unicorn, the tuition center. Mrs. Khanna was keeping Asha’s phone with her. So she receives the call and informs Pandey about Asha’s health. Pandey comes the rush to the hospital. He meets Mrs. Khanna outside and in spite of knowing everything he gets informed about Asha’s affair with Jeet, Asha’s suspension from school, and her bad health from her mother. Pandey consoles Mrs. Khanna by telling her that he is there for Asha, always. Mrs. Khanna goes for breakfast. Meanwhile, Pandey goes to visit Asha. He keeps his fingers on Asha’s forehead. Asha opens her eyes, sees Pandey, and holds his hand. “Where were you that day when they suspended me? You were not in the office room nor you were in school that day. You told me that you will take care of things but you did nothing.”, Asha complains to Pandey, as she is meeting him for the first time after her suspension. Pandey frees his hand from Asha’s grab and tells her, “As you know I myself am a para teacher in the school and they will drive me away at any day they wish. What can I do for you?”
“But you told me that you will do something for my help.”
“I am not denying anything but I’m withdrawing my words,” Pandey speaks as alway as if this is the last word from his side and implying Asha not to pester with it. Asha’s mother barges inside. She sits beside Asha and starts crying. Asha tells to her, “Uff! Ma, please don’t create a scene here.” Pandey stretches his eyes to Asha and says, “Don’t talk like this to aunty.” Asha averts her face. Mrs. Khanna starts speaking to Pandey, “I know only you can make her understand about everything. Just ask her why she is doing all of these. She is having an affair with a third-class boy, younger than him. I won’t accept it.”
“Don’t worry aunty. I will talk to her.”, Pandey gives his best to convince Mrs. Khanna that he is holier-than-thou.
“What’s there to talk about? I can’t make any head or tail.”, Asha barges in.
“Shut up. You know what, you should know about the right place, the right time, and the right person. Don’t mess it up.”, Pandey hushes her up.
“Yes! To you, Unicorn is the right place, the tuition time is the right time and you, yourself is the right person. All you think is right and all you do is right and everyone and everything else is false no matter what they think or what they do.” Asha thinks of herself but speaks nothing given her mother is present there. The doctor comes for the check-up and asks everyone else to leave the room.
Chandipur Rural Hospital,
17th April, 2018
“Still having the problem of crying oversleep? Or have you overcome the trauma?”, Dr. Dipsita Chakraborty starts the session.
“You haven’t given me any medicine or medication yet. Do you expect me to overcome my problem without your help? I’m here for help but didn’t get any.”, Asha is straightforward like always.
“Um-hmm, don’t go too fast with your thinking. I can’t suggest you any solution without knowing everything that is there to know.”
“Okay! Then let me get through it as fast as possible.”
“Are you in hurry? Relax! Go slow. Otherwise, you’ll miss details.”
“That means I need to suffer long to suffer less.”
“ I didn’t get you.”
Dr. Chakraborty ignores and starts afresh, “Start from where you stopped the last day.”
“I can’t recall where I stopped the last day.”, Asha is in no mood to tell the past incidents like a tape recorder. She is seeking for the fastest and easiest way to escape from her problems. Dr. Chakraborty frowns and gives her a reminder, “You ended in NH2.”
“Oh, yes! My parents gave me a treat in NH2 before they actually scapegoated me.”
“What do you mean?”
“They locked me in my room for seventeen days. No phone. No internet. No connection with anyone. I felt like someone dropped me to the no man’s land and deliberately forgot to send any rescue.”
“How did you spend those seventeen days?”
“I used to sleep during the daytime and at night..”, Asha takes a pen from the pen stand and holds it between her fingers, then continues, “At night I used to fight with my emotions.”
“How? By writing and releasing the pain through your pen?”
Asha puts back the pen and says, “No! By staring at the dark sky from my window. By staring at the dogs in the black lane. By staring at the fan moving in the ceiling.”, Asha gulps a lump and continues, “You know what I lost my strength. I didn’t even have the strength to die. Neither had I the strength to live. It’s a third-world realization. Finally, l caught insomnia.”
“Your parents didn’t talk to you in those days?”
“I didn’t saw my father’s face for several months after he broke my face. But my mother used to come to my room and embarrass me with awkward questions.”
“Questions like what?”
“When did you got your last period? Are you by any chance got pregnant? Are you willing to marry that goat-faced boy? Or thinking of another suicidal attempt? – Questions like these.”
“It seems like you have gone through a helluva experience.”, Dr. Chakraborty passes a comment.
“Okay! Just prescribing you Doxylamine and Trazodone. Meet me in the next week.”
Unicorn Tuition Center,
3rd October, 2016
Asha and Pandey is sitting tete-a-tete. Pandey takes Asha’s hand and opens up, “How are you?”
“Fine.”, Asha replies with a broken voice.
“After so many days, I got you alone with me.”, Pandey starts to rub Asha’s right foot with his toes. Asha feels a knot in her stomach. She tries to draw her hand back but Pandey holds it more tightly. As soon as Asha swifts her foot, Pandey drags her to his lap. It gives Asha strong goosebumps. She turns her face away. Pandey cups her face between his palms. Asha closes her eyes. Pandey whispers, “Open your eyes.”
“Please leave me.”, Asha pleads.
“I said look at me.”
“Look at me.” Pandey invokes. Asha opens her eyes. The locks of her hair blow and cling to Pandey’s lips. Asha removes them from Pandey’s lips with her finger. Pandey unzips the chain of Asha’s Kameez and taps to her back. Asha clutches Pandey’s chest. Pandey tries to reach Asha’s lips but Asha makes him stop. Asha leans to Pandey’s chest, grabs his collar, and starts crying. Pandey kisses on Asha’s forehead, and whispers, “Shh! I am not a devil.” He hugs her and speaks to her ear, “What’s your plan for Durgapuja?” Asha wipes her tears, gets up from Pandey’s lap, and sits back in her chair. Pandey opens the textbook and repeats himself, “What’s your plan for Durgapuja?”
“No plan.”, Asha replies.
“Then come to me. We will celebrate together.”
“What shall I tell to my mother?”
“Leave that on me. I’ll talk to her. Just tell me whether you want to be with me or not. Rest I will manage.”
“Gibberish! I have seen your managing skill last time.” Pandey blushes. Asha blushes back. Pandey says, “That was a different issue.” Asha gives no reply, instead fixes her Kameez. Pandey gazes at her and then starts to teach her a new chapter.
Chandipur Rural Hospital,
24th April, 2018
“I was not hurt because I got helpless and people started disbelieving me. I was not hurt because I was dropped to aloofness and I was nowhere to go or nobody to rely on. I could manage those things myself but the thing that hurt me most was I felt betrayed; I felt like cheated. Everybody was using me for different purposes. Ma had some monogamous dreams that she handed me over, Baba had his strong stubbornness and to secure his ego he could have let me suffer alone in the desert, Jeet himself was good for nothing and he only had to have a so-called relationship even if he has no maintenance on it, school authority had to follow their biased code of ethics, teachers had to punish me for not licking their shits and Pandey had to choose me to do bad with me or to fall for me or to prey on me. Whatever. It does not matter. Does it?” Asha puts forward the question to Dr. Dipsita Chakraborty.
Dr. Chakraborty avoids answering, “In spite of having his wife and children, why he fell for you?”, she asks instead.
“Being a psychologist, I think you should have known the answer.”
“Yeah. But What I am asking is what are your points of view? What do think about why he fell for you?”
“As a matter-of-fact, I’m still searching for the answer. You know what some people seem very content from the outside but they are empty in their inner world. Pandey is one such person. I don’t know why he fell for me but I can presume what he feels for me.”
“You know what, he loves me for real. But he is stuck between all the responsibilities that he has to perform and a wild dream that can turn everything upside down. It’s dangerous to fall for someone with whom you can’t stay. But life is such a rollercoaster that throws you into certain deep ravines, where you can do nothing to get help and all your cries go futile.”
“Maybe. Anyway, tell me, are you feeling light burdened after taking the medicine? Are you getting sound sleep at night? Have your indigestion reduced?”, Dr. Chakraborty changes the topic.
“I am getting good sleep at night. In fact, I am dreaming.”
“Oh wow! What do you dream?”
“Some goddamn devil is beating me severely to the death.”
“It’s okay. It too will leave you eventually.”
“No, it’s not okay. And you know what I think? I think that this tittle-tattle won’t actually help me.”
Dr. Chakraborty stops writing in the prescription and turns her face up to Asha and speaks out, “Excuse me! If you really think that this won’t help you, then you did you come?”
“To tell you that I won’t come here hereafter. Goodbye. Have a nice day.” Asha collects her purse and steps outside.
Unicorn Tuition Center,
10th October, 2016
“Why do you love me, sir?”, Asha is curious to know while courting Pandey.
“Should there be a reason to love anyone? I love you for no reason.”, Pandey blurts out.
“It’s Nabami. Won’t you spend your time with your family?”
“Then who will be with you?”
“Don’t flirt with me.”, Asha gives a shrug. Pandey speaks nothing, instead stares at Asha blankly. By avoiding eye contact Asha speaks further, “Our love is an illicit one.”
“Love can only be pure or fake but never illicit.”
“Impressive.”, Asha blushes her cheeks red.
“Will you be with me forever?”
“I won’t mind.”, Asha doesn’t think before she swears. Pandey shoves Asha’s lock of hair behind her ears with his fingers. “Boring Durgapuja!”, Asha speaks to him. “Why? Aren’t you liking to be with me?”
“No! Well, in that case, I am not liking to be with you in this tuition center. It feels like a normal day and not an occasion.”
“Okay! I will make it an occasion with my love. I promise, my darling.”, Pandey speaks with Asha’s chin in his fingers.
“Uff! Give me a break.”, Asha pushes his hand aside.
“Okay! As you wish. So tell me, what will you like to have in the lunch?”
“Anything but not your adore (act of fondling).”, Asha speaks childishly.
“Are you sure?”, Pandey frowns.
“I think I am.”
“I won’t spare you today. Get prepared before I came back with the lunch.”, Pandey throws a Dairy Milk Silk towards Asha and leaves to fetch the lunch. Asha feels nervous and throws the Dairy Milk Silk back to the table from where Pandey threw it to her.
Pandey comes back after half an hour with homemade dishes and two paper plates. “You look so pale! Nervous?”, he speaks to Asha while serving the lunch at the table.
“What’s there to nervous? I will have lunch and then get back home. Nothing in between.”, Asha makes herself clear.
“You seem terrified this time. Haha.” Pandey makes fun of it and then speaks, “Aluposto, Sukto, Chingrimach, phoolkopi, and chicken. Let’s start.”
“All fine except chicken!”, Asha prepares to eat.
“I don’t like chicken.”
“Yes! But why?”, Pandey speaks surprisingly.
“There’s no specific reason. I don’t like it because I don’t like it. That’s all.”
“As you like Maharani.” Both of them start to eat.
Post lunch, both of them get washed their mouths and hands. And Asha sits down on a chair and relaxes his feet by placing them in another. Pandey sits in a chair, in front of her and tugs her by her right foot. Asha gives a cry, “Ouch! I said no.”
“I don’t give a damn to your ‘no’.” Pandey starts kissing her toes. Asha tries to get free of his hold but he tights his grip on her leg. Pandey comes close, picks Asha up from the chair, and pushes the chair far behind. He holds her tight. Asha moans, “Uff! Please!”.
“Look at your damn face, you need it more than me.”, Pandey replies. Asha speaks nothing but only blinks her eyes. Pandey gathers her face between his palms and gives a deep bite to her lower lip. Asha scratches his chest and makes him stop. She whispers to him, “You are hurting me.” “So are you.”, she gets replied. Pandey pushes her back to the wall and turns her around. Next, he unzips her Kameez and makes her Kameez fall down from her shoulder and then from her body. Asha refuses to turn towards him. Pandey gives her a jerk. She turns around unwillingly. Pandey starts breathing on her face and draws his fingers to her navel. She pushes him back. He comes close again and sticks her to the wall. By pressing him on her he speaks looking straight into her eyes, “Don’t force me to force you. Make it mutual. I won’t co-operate your disobedience by the way.”
“Oh! So this is why I am invited here.”
“Don’t misinterpret me.”
“How many heads do I have to lose by misinterpreting you?”
“Don’t off my mood right now.”
“No! I’m sorry for I didn’t take your consent. Sorry once again. You may leave if you feel like it. Asha feels incomplete with the love-making incident. She needs more but she can’t open herself up like a book in front of him. So she needs to manipulate Pandey to step further. She bends to collect her Kameez from the floor. Her cleavage gets visible from the top of her bra. Pandey loses control. A drop of tear comes down to Asha’s fair cheek. Pandey shakes his head, then comes to her, holds her hand, and speaks, “Sorry for my words. I won’t force you if you say no but before you leave just tell me one thing, you don’t want me to love you. Just tell me that you don’t like it when I get inside you.” Without stretching things further she speaks, “I’m ready to..”. Before she finishes, Pandey hugs her tight to his chest. He moves his fingers to her back and finally unhooks her bra, cups her breasts, takes possession of them, unknots her Salwar, removes her undergarment. He makes her lie down to the floor. He smooches to her necks, nipples, abdomen and finally rides on her, forces himself into her. He gives his full vigor to her; fucks her until he feels like it’s enough and leaves her once he gets tired with his thrusts.
“I think it’s sexy to have sex with someone with whom you should not have sex.”, Asha speaks after both of them get dressed.
“Don’t say like this. We love each other and it’s a fair reason to have sex. I feel like you are completely mine when I step inside you. Don’t you feel the same?”
“Is it the right thing for us to do?”
“I don’t understand any right and wrong. I need you means I need you. Anytime, anyhow, anywhere- whenever I will wish to have you, you have to be present.”
“There’s no otherwise.”, Pandey picks up the key of the bike from the table and continues, “Let me drop you home.”
“No thanks. I can manage.”
“I know. Still, I prefer to drop you myself. You know what, It’s hard to let you go. I want to accompany you as long as possible.” Both of them come out from Unicorn, Pandey locks the main door and starts his bike. Asha reserves the back seat and dares to say, “I must say, sir, “You are a good rider.” Both of them bursts into laughter.
About the Author:
Tiyasha Khanra is a poet and an author, she lives in Kolkata, India.