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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Day and Night

All characters and incidents in this story are imaginary. Similarity to any person or situation is highly regretted.

I

'I love him and I hate him to the same degree. I have to let go of one emotion.
But no. It can not be. I seek indifference. That is letting go.'

An year ago, I didn't think I'd be saying this to myself. We were happy. A newly wedded couple, blissfully unaware of what the future might bring. It was on a fateful night we were walking down the street after a late night show when the muggers cornered us. They look his wallet and our belongings. But when they turned to leave, one of them saw his most precious possession- me.

He tried to make a faint effort to save me, but they were armed and dangerous. I saw them fist him to a bloody pulp before they came for me. And yet, I imagined that a miracle would give him the strength to save us both. But no help came. He lied beside me, with his limbs twisted ominously. I can't say who I was more scared for at that moment.

They ravished me one after the another, until my tired screams turned into stifled whimpers. The last thing I saw before I lost my senses was a vague outline of his body. I was hoping he is still alive.

The morning came, I opened my eyes in a white room. I wondered if it was all just a bad dream. But the pain in the body was real. And I saw scratches and teeth mark everywhere. My body disgusted me. I felt warm tears tickle down my face and onto my pillow. For a while, I lied on my wet pillow, forcing my eyes closed- imagining, like I did as a child, it wasn't true.

I saw a plump woman in uniform. I asked her about my husband, not sure what to expect. She said he still hadn't come round.

II

The harrowing details of our reporting the incident and our endless wait to help identify the culprits can be spared. When we came back home together, we felt like strangers to each other.

He wouldn't look at my face, the face that he once loved. I wondered if he despised me. Months passed, we lay beside each other without him turning once. I felt he is awake, but even in the darkest hours, he didn't make an effort to touch me or look towards me. I felt I wanted to cry. And I cried. I cried till my tears dried the inside of me. I couldn't feel the pain anymore. It was a void, empty feeling.

We went on about on our lives as usual, but something had changed. Something which I alone could not set right.

III

I looked at her when she was not aware- while she fixed breakfast for me, with her wet hair hanging loose on her back. Sometimes, when she was not at home, I'd take a whiff of her clothes to feel her presence. But I couldn't look into her eyes or touch her or make the slightest effort at a conversation. I felt my voice would give away my guilt. Yes, my guilt . Of not having tried enough to save her.

Sometimes, I wondered if she knew that I was still conscious when they devoured her. I heard her calling my name, trying hard to look at me amidst those dirty hungry fingers. Her mouth being torn apart, and bit by bit her whole body.

She kept crying and calling my name. But I lied like a coward. Afraid of more blows, of the knives, of being shot in the head. Afraid of ending my miserable life, instead of rushing to her and holding her hand and telling her that she was not abandoned. That I felt her pain. For a wretched moment, I even hoped she would just stop calling my name, lest they should think I was still alive. And for that I have not forgiven myself. I never will in my whole life.

* Note: For more short stories, click on the label 'short story'*

14 comments:

sam said...

neither wud i forgive such a man... not to do what he should be doing 'twice' is a crime one shud never be forgiven off!!

Anand Sarolkar said...

This is such a depressing story!

Mithe said...

oh! This is a sad story but what I liked was the point of view-you brought out both beautifully..I sympathise with both.Men are not superheroes and though presented as protectors, everytime they cannot come up trumps-they are liable to fail too. Well written but very very sad ending

Shreyas said...

sounded like i was watching the hindi classic GHAR in english words

Aparna Kar said...

@Mithe, Anand
If you look past the morbidity of the tale, you might even see that is more about abandoning your love in difficult times than anything else. In fact, I thought about the section III first. I and II wove themselves as a natural course of the story progressed. I request my readers to read it with an open mind, and before labeling it 'feminist' just because I didn't bend on my knees and worshipped the greatness of men, look at it from a human angle.

@Sam
I don't know if I'd forgive such a man eithe. But I don't think she knows about his guilt. She hates him because she thinks that he hates her.

Aparna Kar said...

@ shreyas
I really have to watch that movie now. This is the second time someone mentioned the similarity. Btw, just for crime statistics - do you know how many women would have similar tales ? I guess you'd be surprised. Unpleasantly so...

Shreyas said...

I am aware and shudder at the cruelty and hypocrisy which we have in our country... We call our mothers god and rape evryone else who aint related.. these r sick times we dwell in...

LEARNING TO FLY said...

This story must have been painful to write. Its sad, but its true! The feelings and emotions of both the parties have been portrayed really well. A small suggestion I would like to make is to use "lay" instead of "lied". I don't know why but it just reads better that way. Am not presuming to be right, but the post would sound so much better to me that way.
What I really would like is a sequel to this post! I would like both the parties to confront their emotions and embrace the fact that both were victims. A tearful fight, some hurtful words thrown at each other, would grant them both some closure. This cold silence is hell to live with, the guilt is heart wrenchingly painful, the pain of rejection can be neither forgotten nor buried.

LEARNING TO FLY said...

I would have liked to email this to you instead of posting it, but I could not find your email ID.

Mithe said...

Hey, I didnt think it was feminist at all...I said I appreciate your outlook...thats what I felt:) Please understand that I was marvelling at your perceptiveness...

Dr Roshan R said...

I agree with Mithe. I don't think it was feminist. It was a strong story told from both angles... I can almost see in my mind the list of people I know who would react the way the guy did here.. I dont approve of it, just say it's part of our flaws

Aparna Kar said...

@Mithe
Please don't get me wrong. I didn't mean to say that you labeled me anything. It was one of the readers who mentioned it over the phone minutes before I was replying to the comments. I guess that stayed on and I mentioned for future possibilities. Thanks for your appreciation. Always humbled and elated by the kind words of my fellow bloggers. :)

Aparna Kar said...

@Dr Roshan R
There you go. You just made my day. It is so easy to relate to the characters from our every day life. You just did it and made it worth blogging. :)

Aparna Kar said...

@LEARNING TO FLY
You put it beautifully. But I guess I will refrain from writing a sequel. The charm of a short story is: the epilogue differs from person to person. I'd want you to weave your own ending. :)