A Loose Thread.

The waves washed Darshika’s feet as she stood on the beach watching the sunset. Though the sight gave her immense pleasure, yet she missed the evenings that were spent at home. A drop of tear trickled down her cheeks & fell in the waves that came ashore. Life was just the same to her now. All the silent complaints she made didn’t reach to God & got lost in the midway, just like her tears were lost in the sea. But pain made her try again & again.

“Darshika Madam, it’s time.”, the nurse said from behind, bringing Darshika back from her thoughts to reality.

“Yeah, I’ll be there in a while.”, she said.

Picking up her guitar, she followed the nurse silently to a house nearby. The nurse left as they reached the main gates of the house. Darshika rang the doorbell. “Mr. & Mrs. Amit Joshi”, the nameplate above the switch read. A man came to the gates.

“Yes? Who are you?”, he asked.

“I am Darshika. I was called to play some music for someone named Amit Joshi.”

“Oh yes, yes. Please come inside.” Said the man unlocking the gates. “I am Amit Joshi. Thankyou for coming.”

“Yeah. Thanks.”, said Darshika in a low voice.

Amit, on the other hand was loud & happy. He took out chairs in the verandah for both of them & asked Darshika to wait there comfortably while he brings her water and something to eat. “That isn’t needed. I am fine, really.”, Darshika insisted. But Amit didn’t listen.

She saw him rushing towards the kitchen. Putting her guitar aside, Darshika leaned back on the chair. She felt exhausted, even without doing any work. She blamed her emotions for draining her this way. Tired, she closed her eyes. Amit saw her from the kitchen. “She seems sad. Yet she looks so beautiful. I have never seen anyone like her before.”, he thought to himself. But he immediately felt guilty for thinking about her this way. “Behave yourself, Amit. Just behave.”, he scolded himself.

“You seem tired. Here, have water.”, Amit said to Darshika, while adjusting his chair. “No. I am not tired. But yeah, I was feeling thirsty anyway. thanks.”, Darshika said, as she opened her eyes. She gulped down the glass in one breath. Amit sensed her uneasiness. “We can do this tomorrow, if you are not well today.”, he said. But Darshika was already strumming her guitar by then. John Mayer was her favourite. She sang all his songs, playing guitar along with it, with utter perfection. Amit enjoyed her singing, and was amazed at how well she played. “She looks more beautiful while singing.”, he thought to himself. As soon she finished, Amit clapped for her. “You’re phenomenal. You have a beautiful voice. I haven’t heard anyone sing this way before.”, he gushed, keeping a check on his thoughts. He started to like her, but didn’t want to make her uncomfortable by telling her so.

Darshika smiled a bit. “Thankyou. I am glad you liked it.”, she said, putting her guitar aside. As she reached for another glass of water, Amit tried to strike a conversation with her. “What do you do for living, Darshika?”, he asked.

“Oh, I am a music teacher. I run my own music school.”, she replied humbly.

“That’s great. You must be having a lot of students then?”

“Quite a lot. Yes.”

Darshika planned to leave as early as she could, but enjoyed talking to Amit. By the time the clock struck 8, they both knew about each other’s hobbies, jobs, favourite music & movies, food, families, and everything under the sky. Darshika loved Amit’s sense of humour, and the gentleman he was and Amit loved to make her laugh. The way she flipped her hair behind her ear while laughing made him ask her out on a date.

“So can I take you out for a coffee?”, he asked.

“Well. I don’t mind a cup.”, she smiled.

Amit couldn’t take his eyes off her this time. Darshika blushed. Amit wanted to seal the moment with kiss, but checked his thoughts. It was time for Darshika to leave. They both decided the time for meeting the next day, and took each other’s number. “Call me after reaching home.”, he said while seeing Darshika off at the gates. Darshika left with a nod and a smile.

Amit started missing her as soon he went inside but the wait was inevitable. The thought of meeting her the next day brought smile to his face. he was having his dinner when the nurse came with his medicines. Though he hated to have medicines, but that day was different. Lost in Darshika’s thoughts, he had all his medicines without saying a word to the nurse. He felt stupid for smiling continuously, but went to bed with happiest thoughts.

Darshika came back to the beach again. She sat in a cafe nearby, & looked at the sea. She felt more tired than before. Too much patience took a toll on her, and she broke down. The nurse came from behind & touched her shoulder. “Don’t lose hope, madam. Hell be better. Alzheimer’s may not be cured completely, but can be controlled with time. I have seen other patients getting better. Have faith, madam.”, she reassured Darshika.

Darshika didn’t say a word. She knew there is a lot she is yet to see. She tried to calm herself while the nurse gave her the bills of all the medicines purchased that day. She kept the copy and signed the bill as “Mrs. Darshika Amit Joshi.”

Darshika was again at Amit’s house the next day, at the same time in the evening. She rang the doorbell. Amit came to the gates.

“Yes? Who are you?”, he asked.

The Aftermath.

Kaustuki felt strange as she entered the gates & advanced towards the main door. The creaking sound of hinges of the door pierced the silence that prevailed inside her house. There were so many people inside, both familiar and unfamiliar, but nobody made a sound. As she made her way through the crowd, no one noticed her.

She found Shivam lying on the bed, with his eyes closed. A part of her wanted to believe that he was playing a prank on her, involving everyone else in the room, but she knew better. She took hold of Shivam’s hand, in disbelief. As the coldness of his skin sent chills down her spine, she felt short of breath. She ran her fingers through his hair, something she always did to wake him up. She hoped for Shivam to hold that hand & pull her close, the way he always did. But it was too late for both of them.

“This can’t be. You can’t leave me this way. How and when did this happen?”, Kaustuki shrieked. “How will I live without you? Wake up. Please.”, she started crying. Nobody came close to comfort her. No one paid attention to her, the same way they did when she entered the room. Broken, she collapsed with tears on Shivam’s chest, wetting the white sheet that covered his body.

She looked around. Shivam’s parents were crying in the corner. She called them to help her wake Shivam up, but they didn’t listen. While her own parents were nowhere to be seen, & her in-laws being visibly ignorant, she pleaded others to help her. To her surprise, nobody paid heed to her. Scared, she turned to Shivam. “Wake up, please. Nobody is listening to me. I don’t know why. Maybe this has something to do with me. Have I done something wrong? Please, Shivam. Open your eyes & talk to me. Tell everyone to not be angry with me. I don’t know what I have done.”

Shivam didn’t move a bit. She felt a strange dryness on her lips & in her throat, but nothing made her leave Shivam’s side. Tired of her attempts to change the reality, she sat beside him, with her head against the wall. She felt a burning sensation on her neck, like that of an open wound. But her grief & despair made her ignore everything.

Kaustuki saw her parents enter through the door. As shock took hold of her, she felt her tears drying. However, they didn’t come to her & went to the other room. Kaustuki was surprised. Before she could question herself, she heard Shivam murmur her name. Her joy knew no bounds. “He’s alive. Look ma, he’s alive.”, she screamed in joy, looking at her mother-in-law.
“Kaustuki.”, Shivam whispered again, his eyes closed.
” I am here, Shivam. I knew this wasn’t true. But you scared me to death.”
“Kaustuki.”, Shivam said again, loud enough for everyone to hear in the room.

Shivam’s mother started to cry loudly. While some comforted her, some helped Shivam to stand up on his feet.
Kaustuki was confused at her mother I in-laws odd behaviour. “He’s alive, Ma. He was playing a prank on us. Why are you crying now?” But she paid no attention to Kaustuki’s words. She was annoyed by now. “Why is no one listening to me?”, she screamed. She turned to Shivam. “What is happening, Shivam? Isn’t the prank over yet? How did you faint? And why is Ma crying?”, she questioned, but Shivam was quiet.

Feeling stranger than before, Kaustuki stormed out of the room, to her parents. There were some other people in the room, staring blankly at something on the floor, & her parents were crying profusely.
“Shivam is alive, Mummy. Stop crying now. Why are you all…….”, she stopped in the middle.
The floor beneath her feet slipped. She couldn’t believe her eyes, as she looked towards the floor. “But how is this even possible?”, she thought to herself. Disbelief and fear bought tears to her eyes. She saw her own dead body lying on the floor.

“No. No. This can’t be. How?…”, she stopped again as she saw the ceiling fan in the room. There was a rope hanging to it. She saw her body again, this time, a bit more closely. There was a wound on her neck, like that of the strangle of a rope. She ran out of the room in fear, stopping in front of a mirror. There was the same mark on her neck. She remembered everything now. Guilt & remorse filled her up as she realised that she was just a wandering spirit now.

While Shivam & other family members took her dead body away for her last rites, the neighbours were heard talking about Kaustuki’s death by suicide.

It was a long ago.

As I sit here grieving & you lying in my arms, all silent & still, the pleasant memories of our togetherness has started to haunt me.

Seven years ago, when we met through our mutual friend, it was love at first sight. Teenage love is crazy. Sparks flew & soon we were that couple anybody would get jealous of. Our romance was short-lived but intense. I remember how I used to drool over your curves. Like aroma of an incense-stick, the passion in our romance spread in the air, during our meetings in that lonely corner of your room. I can’t forget that newborn-like smoothness of your skin that intoxicated me every time I touched you. You made one of the most melodious symphonies when my fingers tickled & played with your beautiful body colored in an amazing proportion of black & white. The world around us both envied & enjoyed our shameless love-making.

My parents were never against our relationship, but they were concerned about my studies. They disapproved our meetings that were longer than the usual. Like every other parent, they wanted me to devote my time in increasing my grades rather than spending it with you. I cried, I protested but it was all in vain. I finally had to break-up with you. I tried to convince you & my heart. You remained silent, away from my reach for the first time, silently accepting our fate.

Time flew away & I grew up, now a pro at living without you. Grades hardly changed, but I surely did. And my love too. You remained same all this while. Trapped in those walls & waiting to be freed. Maybe it was your true love that made me look for you after seven years of separation. I knew where you were. But the state I found you in made me realize my cold-heartedness & ignorance towards you. I don’t know whether it was my guilt or the rekindled flame of our love, that made me try to fix you, but all I wanted was to hear you again.

One by one, I desperately tried to blow away those thick layers of dust that covered you, & clogged my memories. You tried to create the melody on my touch but choked. You sounded harsh, but it was like you were collecting all the strength only for this moment.
That repairman tried everything, but little did he know that my piano was waiting for me, her long-lost lover, to come back so that it may die happily her embrace.