A crowd had gathered around the flat. A few police officers were investigating the site. One was busy taking fingerprints, while the other was questioning the numb soul. Another one was playing with a baby while others were examining the scene. A steady chatter was heard amongst the crowd.
"How come?" "Are you sure?" "This can't happen" "There must be a reason!"…..
The police officer asked the lady, "Please give me a detailed account of everything that happened."
The lady didn’t speak, instead she laughed and grabbed the manacles from the officer.
The officers were confused.
"Did he try to kill you?" he asked her.
"I am already dead." Her lips moved and then she just stayed still.
The crowd began whispering again.
"She has turned mad!" "I could hear them every night" "They weren't like this before!"
The night was dark and gloomy. The air was turning cold. It was flushing in from the long, open window. The white diaphanous curtains framing the open window were shimmying with the pale scents. "Tik-tok-tik-tok" the clock was moving; round and round, the world was moving. The room was illuminated with pallid moonlight and deadly silence struck along.
A young mistress in black was seated on the bed, placed in the centre of the room, opposite the long window. The ghastly winds kept on blowing, speaking of the unknown. The girl held herself close, trembling and horrified. Her legs were tapping the floor in-synch with the beats of the clock- "Tik-tok-tik-tok"
She was hidden under the shadows of the night, wounded and marred. She was whimpering softly, staring at her own reflection in the mirror. Her legs were cold, and her hair was frizzy, tangled and unkempt. Her hands were shivering, shivering hard, facing her head. She had a revolver in her right hand, pointing to her head. She was crying, the eyeliner from her eyes had smudged all over her face, tracing the paths of the heavy downpour of tears.
She looked down upon her knees, in a worry, her heart torn. She kept the revolver beside her on the bed and cried again. She scratched her scalp and her uneven brown hair and forced them out, pulled them with strength, until she got a bundle in her hand. Then she stared at those hair, and cried again.
She wiped her tears and took the revolver back in her hands and then put it in her mouth. Her jaw was trembling and tears rolled down again from her sullen eyes. Suddenly she heard a noise.
Few days ago….
The day was finally up. After nine months of struggle, (a sweet struggle) at last, the most beautiful day had come for Simran . Just a few hours were left for Simran to be a mother. She was very excited and happy about the prospect of motherhood. But, her happiness was being haunted by some souls. She was scared, scared of something, some mishap. When her water broke, her mother-in-law was the happiest person on the earth. Simran was happy for her, but still her thoughts haunted her. Her in-laws and her husband wanted a boy. The thought of her giving birth to a girl, kept haunting her soul.
And her nightmare came true. Simran gave birth to a lovely girl. Simran was very happy when she heard her child cry for the first time, but at the same time, she saw her husband in an agony. He didn’t even take a slight look at his child, he walked out of the hospital without even glancing at them both. Simran was distraught at first due to his actions, but then she was scared, thinking of how to face her in laws now
Simran was an educated individual, but it is very difficult for a single person to militate against a whole bunch of opposers. And so she found herself in a weak state, alone with her innocuous daughter. She had no visitors, and this upset her a lot. After she was discharged, and when she went back to her home, she was shivering. She rang the bell.
Her husband opened the door swiftly. The colour faded from his face as he saw Simran and his daughter. He opened the door wide and looked down and moved back into the house. Simran felt distressed. She couldn’t hear any sound in the house, she was expecting some celebrations for the homecoming of their child, but it seemed her expectations were very high.
She found the house dead. There was no one in the house except her husband. Her in laws had already left when the news came to their ears. She felt deplorable and distressed again. She sat on the sofa and kept the cradle aside. She looked at her baby and smiled, and then shed a few tears and kissed her. The baby was asleep,she looked just like a doll.
Simran kept staring at her face and then walked into her bedroom. She found the room in a strange state. She opened her cupboard and couldn’t find her possessions around. She hesitated for a while and then spoke.
"Amit, where are my things?"
Amit was sitting on the bed, working on his laptop. He was continuously typing and his speed increased as he heard Simran speak.
Simran observed his actions carefully and walked heftily towards him. She jumped beside him and shook him hard.
"Amit, I am talking to you!" she screamed at her loud "What has happened to you?" she slapped him. "Why did you leave me alone? Why weren't you answering my call?"
"Because you have failed us all!" his eyes grew red "It’s because of YOU my family left me… YOU have increased my burden, YOU have failed our dreams."
"Amit, you..how could you…. You assured me that you wouldn't mind if it was a girl," she cried "I had hopes from you…"
"Oh please Simran!" he shouted "For God's sake, just leave me alone, go to your room…" he pushed her out of the room and locked the door.
Simran was totally broken, lost and bewildered. She didn’t know what to do. She was lost in a dark maze, in a vortex of despair. Everything appeared numb, still for her. She was seated near the door of her former bedroom. She had lost hope. But then she saw the cradle moving, she heard her daughter squalling.
She moved up and fed her and then took her to the adjacent room. The room was a mess. Amit had thrown all her belongings in there. She cleared the stuff and then made a place to sleep. She just dreamt for a better morning, but it was not to come.
The next morning when she woke up, she found Amit in a hurry, unable to get ready for his office, he was busy making food.
"May I?" she asked him humbly.
He didn’t reply. He gave her a cold look and then left without taking a look at them. In the evening too, the condition was same. Simran handled the situation for the first day, then the second and then the third, but at last, she burst. She couldn’t control the silence in her house.
"What have I done Amit?" she pounced on him. "Why are you doing this to me, to our child?"
"Because, I don’t want that child!" he shouted.
"But why? What has she done to you?" she cried "Why are you behaving like an illiterate individual, why are you behaving like your parents?"
"Don’t blame them!" he slapped her.
"You slapped me?" her tone grew dark "Amit has what happened in these few days to alter you so completely? You’re not yourself at all!”
"Simran, I don’t want to discuss this," he said "You know exactly what I feel."
"You don’t know," she laughed "Did you even take a look at her?"
"I don’t want to!"
"Amit..!" she pulled his collar "She is your daughter! Just see her once, just see her smile, I am sure you will change."
"…. I am ashamed of her!" he pushed her aside and she fell down. She cried and then felt even weaker.
At night, when she and her daughter were asleep, some shadows entered their room. Simran was fast asleep and she couldn’t sense the terror, but her daughter did. The figure dragged closer to the cradle and grabbed the transient lively doll. The small baby gazed into the eyes of the figure, dark and full of terror. The dark eyes stared at those tiny black eyes. But then suddenly the darkness grew gloomy and the man tried to suffocate the child.
Simran heard some noises and she woke up all of a sudden. She switched the light on and saw Amit pressing the child's face. She quickly ran towards them and kicked Amit aside and snatched her daughter from his evil hands. She was so very terrorized and scared. Amit didn’t react, he left the room without saying anything or answering Simran.
Simran closed her eyes and hugged her daughter tight. She could feel two hearts beating. She quickly called her in laws and told them the story.
"Amit has gone crazy, he tried to kill her, please help us, please" she begged over the phone, but she was ungracefully spurned by them. Her hopes died after that. Every night, she couldn’t sleep peacefully, a threat was always roaming in her house.
She really felt helpless and frail. She was breaking. No one helped her. She was all alone.
One such dark night, while she was asleep, Amit again tried to murder the little angel. This time too, Simran was successful in saving her daughter, but she had lost her temper now. She was very agitated by her husband, her in laws and the discriminatory society. She grew very furious this night. She couldn’t see the line between right and wrong. And in this blind-fold, she crossed the thin line.
That night, when Amit went back to his room, she grabbed the revolver from her cupboard and banged into Amit's room. He was sleeping quietly on his bed alone. She softly walked in and sat near his head and started laughing loudly like a madman. Amit woke up quickly and saw Simran in this weird state.
"Simran! Simran!" he called her out. She didn’t reply and kept on laughing like a wicked witch. She was dressed in black. She didn’t respond to his calls and then suddenly she removed the revolver from behind and shot him straight into his head.
"Boom…."a loud noise rolled over their building and everything became silent.
Suddenly Simran heard some noises in her surroundings. A lot of people had gathered outside her flat. She peeped through the eye-hole and realized her mistake. She grew unstable and was unable to understand what to do. She ran into her new room and sat on her bed, pondering. She felt claustrophobic, she opened the window and sat on her bed. She stared at her hands, her body, all red and shabby. She slapped herself and punished herself.
She ran back to Amit's room and checked him again. Yes, he was dead and cold. She fell on his bed and cried aloud and then started laughing aloud like a lunatic. The banging on the door grew more insistent. She didn’t reply. She took the revolver which lay beside the corpse and ran back to her room. She stared at herself again, in the mirror and then banged her head on the wall and then chuckled and screamed loudly. Her head was bleeding, she didn’t know what she was doing. She took the revolver in her right hand and then held it to her head.
Suddenly she heard the police siren downstairs. She acted fast and took the gun in her mouth. She wanted to die, to leave this world, but then suddenly she heard a voice. The pale moonlight which glistened over her child started fading. Her daughter began crying, the siren was still going on and the knocks at the door grew louder. She saw the bonnie face of her daughter. She looked beautiful. Suddenly she changed her mind.
The police broke the door and found her sitting on the sofa, fully covered in blood and in a shabby state. Her eyes grew watery and the gun was still resting in her right hand. Her soul had already died the day things changed. It was just her lifeless body that remained, which was so immaterial and inhumane. The police found the dead body in the bedroom and then they found the child crying. The constable closed the open window and took the child in his custody. The police officers came towards her and asked her
"Did you kill your husband?"
"Yes" she replied boldly.
"What happened?" the constable asked humbly.
"I was kissed by death." She replied in awe.
- Shubhankar Gaikwad