The phone rang endlessly the 20th
time but he didn’t pick up. With every ring tear ran across Ani’s cheek though she dreadfully tried not to cry. She wiped her cheeks and tried again, for a nanosecond she thought he picked but then she heard “the number you are trying is currently switched off.” She burst out a huge cry as she couldn’t contain the pain within anymore. She had tried more than 100 times to call Rohan but either he wouldn’t pick or switch his phone off. It was 3rd
May, Rohan’s birthday and she had in the last three years been the first one to wish him.
Dejectedly Ani left home to go to office.
It had been 2 weeks she had not been to office, most of the time she kept herself locked indoors alone or lay in bed. She didn’t want to wake up. she was having a much better time asleep. And that’s really sad. It was almost like a reverse nightmare, like when you wake up from a nightmare you’re so relieved. she woke up each day into a nightmare.
She feared that the person who the office colleagues looked up to as a strong self-made manager was now nothing much a broken image of 1000 pieces. All through the commute she was constantly in tears. Her phone rang twice, her mother would call every hour to be a moral support and secondly there was a constant fear that she had that Ani would try to end her life again like the way she tried to do when she was in Mumbai. That’s the heart of a mother tender, soft and once she knows her children are worried about something that becomes her worry and she is not at peace even for a moment. Ani who would talk to her mom 5 times a day had started avoiding her call and would speak to her at those moments when her tears would dry up for some moments. She would feel miserable that she was giving pain to her mom whom she loved a lot. She constantly thought what right did she have to put her parents through pain. A relationship that held her hand from birth for a relationship that she had chosen and that person instead chose to give her pain.
Ani gazed outside the window looking at the service station that passed by where she always waited for Rohan. The bus stopped at the signal and she notice a couple cuddling in the auto rickshaw and
a smile broke on her face thinking how Rohan hated public display of affection what he mockingly called as PDA. Memories of her past flashed in front of her eyes when the bus passed through places where Rohan had dropped her only to take the auto from the other side to go back home. The smile soon receded when she realized the reality and the sore past few months.
Ani reached office and was greeted by sweet Sandra at the front desk, ‘hey Ananya, what’s up lady, where have you been? We missed your charm girl.” She delightedly said and attended the phone that rang immediately. Ani avoiding any direct contact hurried to her desk when the office boy Sumil ran towards Ananya, ‘Madam, I have made tea myself today with ginger, the way you like it, would you have a cup?’ Ani couldn’t contain her emotions and started weeping silently. That’s what depression does to you, it doesn’t allow you to embrace the love you have around you but tries to find happiness only in one thing that one longs for at that time.
She sat at her seat trying to wipe her face with a tissue when Rashmi came at her desk “Ananya, are you ok? You look pale, where were you all these days?” and she kept her hand on Ananya’s shoulder, that was the trigger when Ananya looked at her eye in eye and said, ‘I don’t want my picture taken because I was going to cry. I don’t know why I am going to cry, but I know that if anybody spoke to me or looked at me too closely the tears would fly out of my eyes and the sobs would fly out of my throat and I’d cry for a week. I could feel the tears brimming and sloshing in me like water in a glass that is unsteady and too full. I don’t want to live anymore Rashmi.”
Rashmi had been Ananya’s close friend and Ananya had stood by her all through the tough divorce a couple of years ago. Rashmi looked at Ananya, it was clear she hadn’t eaten or slept well for days. Her big eyes were red and swollen and her nose and cheeks bruised. Rashmi gave Ani a tight hug and said, this is not you Ananya, certainly not you.
Rashmi was a divorcee and a mother of twin daughters. A rare combination of being independent as life gets tough for a woman who is divorced and sensitive as daughters are the best gift to any parent and she was gifted with two. Rashmi came from a small town in Gujarat, was married at the age of 20 had two daughters at the age of 24 and was divorced by 26. She had thought her life had finished when Ananya met her through a common friend and got her a job in her company. Life wasn’t an end but start for Rashmi at 26.
Rashmi held Ananya’s hand and moved out of the office. They went to the Windsor, a hotel opposite their office. She guided her to the coffee shop of the four star hotel. They sat on the sofa as she kept looking at Ananya who’s tears had not stopped. “What would you like to have mam?” asked the waiter in a sophisticated tone. “One black coffee and a box full of tissues please.” retorted Rashmi in a confident voice. He got the tissue box which Rashmi held in front of Ananya and started speaking, “if you think I’m going to give you gyan on how to be happy you are wrong.
Firstly take as many tissues as you want and cry as much as you like here. Just shed those tears, feel bad rather miserable and cry. I will not say it’s a phase and it will pass. It has happened and come over you and it will take its own time or even longer to fade.” Ananya kept listening and took the tissues as she wiped her tears. Rashmi continued “Ananya it’s not going to be easy you know that, depression can kill people, it’s like that monster who wants to challenge you to win against them, it is on you to let the monster win or defeat it. But remember if you let the monster win you along with your family and close friends will lose. When you’re lost in a jungle, it sometimes takes you a while to realize that you are lost. For the longest time, you can convince yourself that you’ve just wandered off the path, that you’ll find your way back to the trailhead any moment now. Then night falls again and again, and you still have no idea where you are, and it’s time to admit that you have bewildered yourself so far off the path that you don’t even know from which direction the sun rises anymore. You know Ananya, I have learnt one thing of what happened in my life that do not give so much importance to anyone that you lose your own identity. Be emotional to the extent required, don’t make anyone feel that you will be affected if they are not around. Do not keep your feelings like a garden where anyone can walkover keep it like the sky where people wish to be but cannot reach.” Ananya’s tears had stopped as she attentively listened to Rashmi. Rashmi kept her hand on Ananya’s face and said, ‘cry as much as you want, feel normal about yourself, nothing has gone so wrong that cannot be undone. You are the person I look up to in life, don’t give up Ananya. My daughter always wants to be like you, that’s what you are a pride of your parents, idol to my daughters and my strength. Once we leave this place you will not shed a tear. Get that?” Rashmi pampered Ananya as they rose and hugged her. Ananya had stopped crying by then, Rashmi’s words and care had given her the strength to look forward in life. Ananya had gained more respect for Rashmi for the reason that she had not asked her even a word on the reason of why she was in this state and her emotions were so pure that she just wanted Ananya out of the situation she was in. Very rare are people who genuinely want to know how are you rather than the gossip surrounding it. Ananya did give a thought that if Rohan really cared would never had avoided her calls like that when he knew she was suffering from depression and had seen doctor’s prescriptions as well.
That night Ananya went home and called her best friend Nisha, “Hello Nisha!” Ananya said in a soft voice. ‘Ani? What’s wrong?” that was the magic between them, words were not needed to define each other’s state. “Nothing Nish, may I speak with you” Ananya said lacking confidence. “Why are you talking like this Ani, please tell me what’s the matter? Is everything ok?” Nisha said impatiently. “Nish, I’m scared that if I tell you something what will you think of me as a person and I will lose you as a friend forever.” Ananya said skeptically. “Listen Ani, if you tell me something and I get judgmental about you, then what kind of a friend I am? Nothing on this earth that you tell me can ever end our friendship ok. Now please tell me what’s bothering you.” Ananya spoke her heart out to Nisha, she told her that she was in a relationship with Rohan that wouldn’t be acceptable by the Indian society ever and it had been 3 years but she was not comfortable speaking about it to her. And finally why Rohan had stopped talking to her. After her talk for half an hour nonstop, she kept quiet and waited for Nishas response. Nisha was her friend since childhood and nothing was hidden from her. Ananya was expecting Nish to get angry and bang the phone. “Ani, you are such a sweetheart and I am the luckiest to be your friend. I don’t see any wrong in what you did. If I were in your place, I too would have fallen for someone. Firstly, get rid of the guilt and secondly, be strong. You can’t break over someone not speaking to you. I am sure he would have been one hell of a guy to swipe you off your feet, but at the same time unlucky enough to have lost you. So chill babes. I’ll come to your city soon and we will have fun.” Ananya after days had a smile on her face, ‘Nish, love you babes.” They spoke on various topics of the good old times, Nish’s boyfriends, mothers, travelling, dreams and lots more till wee hours of the morning. A sign that Ananya was turning towards normalcy, a sign that the strong woman was
about to return.
Sincere apologies to have stayed away from the blog for so long, I traveled to the showbiz cities of Nice and Monaco and the then to the most romantic city of the world Venice. It was lovely to sit by the sit with coffee and a novel.