As part of my blog’s first anniversary I am hosting a ‘blog party’. Today my guest is Moon from Life as it Happens. Moon writes amazing Flash Fictions and short stories in her blog. She is a beautiful story teller. Moon has been a contributing author at mycity4kids and Women’s Web in the recent past. Her short story ‘A long way home’ has been published in the print anthology ‘ Flock – the journey’. Moon likes to write about human bonds and that which she believes is at the core of our existence- our thoughts and emotions, how they affect us, motivate us and make each journey in life, unique. Here she wrote a beautiful short story. Enjoy!!!
‘He is coming to get me’, Pratibha cried out .
‘Who, who is coming to get you, my dear?’
‘The man in the train.’
Veena saw droplets of sweat on Pratibha’s brows and face on a cool November day.
Pratibha had been repeating the same words since the past three days. At first, Veena had dismissed it casually but now she perceived it as a threat. Something had to be done. She tried to talk to Pratibha heart-to-heart, many times, but to no concrete end.
Veena needed to know what was wrong. Pratibha was their only child- calm, brilliant, compassionate. She had to be restored.
‘We need to consult a psychologist in the city for Pratibha’, Veena intimated her husband Amrish.
‘Are you out of your mind? What will people say when they hear it? Pratibha isn’t mad or anything. She will be okay. It’s a passing phase. I will call on the poojari and have him give Pratibha the amulets as Mata’s blessings.’
Veena felt angry and dejected . ‘And he calls me an illiterate fool’, she self-talked.
Veena called her sister living in the same town.
‘Didi, don’t even make that mistake. News like this spreads like wildfire. Pratibha is almost 21. You need to think about her marriage too. She will never get a good hand if people come to know about her imbalance. Treat her at home. She will be fine.’ Veena’s sister aired her opinion.
Veena couldn’t take chances, Pratibha was disoriented as ever, lost in her own impenetrable world, talked to self, responded to questions with blank looks.
Veena talked to Alok, her husband’s cousin brother, living in the city and requested him to help her with Pratibha’s cause.
Alok used to stay with them in their small town before getting a job in the city. Veena’s husband Amrish was always suspicious of Alok’s good-will towards Veena. There had been a huge fight and an end to the relationship, with Alok adopting the city as his home. However, Veena knew Alok was informed enough to not turn her down or dismiss Pratibha’s illness as a casual malady.
Going to the city meant a rebellion. For one, her husband might never accept her if he came to know, she was soliciting Alok’s help. Veena decided she now needed to stand up for her daughter, more than anything.
‘We are going to the city to my friend Jayashree’s place, a change of surroundings might help Pratibha’ Veena stated.
‘I am very busy with the factory work, I can’t accompany you.’, Amrish retorted.
‘Okay I will ask her to cancel your ticket. I will have her receive us at the station’ Veena replied.
‘Oh, so you will still go. You are a self-reliant woman now. Okay, go. Don’t complain or blame if something goes wrong.’
Veena was used to these bitter medicines now. She started packing without any protests.
Pratibha had taught her mother to read English. The doctor’s office had a wall calendar with a poem ‘Don’t quit’ written on it. Veena was happy to be able to read the inspiring poem. Veena copied the poem from the wall calendar, to read it out to Pratibha.
She wouldn’t quit, she couldn’t quit, because she had a daughter who needed her to stand by her side.
‘It’s a case of mild schizophrenia.’ Dr. Sanyal announced after a one-on-one session with Pratibha.
‘I would prescribe medicines and psychotherapy.’, the doctor continued.
Jayashree had been very co-operative ever since their arrival in the city. Veena would be forever grateful to Alok for the hard-to-get appointments with Dr. Sanyal. However, Veena had chosen not to meet him and Alok had respected her decision.
One week into the treatment and Pratibha was already showing signs of improvement, She was responding to the questions normally, the blankness on her face was disappearing and so was the perpetual dwelling in another world.
Amrish had been calling to ask about their return.
‘One more week’, Veena told her husband.
By another session, and another week of treatment Pratibha was almost back to good health.
‘Can she live in the city by herself, now? Veena asked Dr. Sanyal.
‘Give her one more month’, the kind doctor replied.
Amrish was already in the city to fetch his wife back at the end of the week.
Veena worked relentlessly to encourage and motivate her daughter.
‘Maa , I don’t want to live without you’, a sad Pratibha told her mother, on the eve of her return to the city to continue with her degree in Statistics from a premier institute.
‘My dear, bear with me and go out into the world again. You have but one opportunity. Don’t let it go. Create a life with your name carved on it so you may be an equal in a man’s world.’
Pratibha started sobbing profusely.
After a while, ‘I promise, Maa, I promise’, filled Veena’s heart.
This post is part of ‘Thursday Tales’. If you have a short story/anecdote/memoir to share do link up. Link your post to this post and just leave a comment with your post link and I will get back to you.