‘A girl is walking and as she covers the distance, she goes more inside the darkness of the night. Wearing a greenish frock with two ponytails up in her hair, she keeps walking. She seems frail and because she has her back at me, I can’t see her face. “Hey! You there, stop!” I try stopping her but she doesn’t stop and keeps diving into the darkness instead. Curious, I follow her. As soon as I touch her shoulder to stop her, she turns around. I turn cold after seeing her face. Two lifeless eyes look at me, cheeks having a permanent line of the path of tears. My feet get glued to the earth to see myself staring back at me. Yes, it is me; I am sure but why am I like this? Suddenly I feel a magnetic force pulling me into the darkness and without a word, lifelessly; I follow myself in the darkness. It’s a cave it seems to me; I look around to see where exactly I am. I find myself standing in the midst of a riverbed. Black water flowing. I feel someone creeping up my leg, I shake away the thought but when I look at what was there, I shriek at the scene. A big poisonous snake is creeping up. Yes, I know it is poisonous because I have studied that in science class. I jerk my leg and try to run, but I am bound to the ground. I feel something else in my hand, a scorpion. Oh no! Where am I? The more I try to free myself, the more I get stuck here. I start crying like mad; I can see demons wherever I look. Just when I am about to give up, I see a flicker of light coming from somewhere, I shout out loud “Ma! Paa”I know, my ma and my paa would be coming soon to save me from here. They love me a lot. I start pushing them hard so that the demons get off me and I run frantically towards the flicker of light, I just know that ma and paa have to be there. My intuition proves correct. I see ma and paa from here but just as I call them, I am pulled inside the cavity formed in the sand created by me standing on top of it. Oh no! It’s not just sand, its quicksand. The sand keeps pulling me downwards as if pleading me not to go ahead and forcing me to stay with it. I know, I will be drowned in a matter of a few seconds and then I won’t be alive anymore. I keep on calling ma and paa but they can’t hear me. I see them arguing over something, fighting with themselves. As they have always been since quite some years. Their argument level is so high that they are unable to hear me pleading to them to save me from death. Time listens to none, as ma and paa kept on fighting; all I remember is being drowned inside the quicksand….”
A visibly scared and sweaty Roohi jolts out of her sleep with a shriek, only to find herself lying on her bed. The lights are on and there was no darkness around. She was afraid of darkness and that’s why she never let anyone switch the lights off her room, not even at night. Checking the wall clock, she sees that it is around 5 in the morning. Reaching for the glass of water on her bedside table, Roohi gulps down the water in one go. Wiping the sweat beads formed on her forehead because of the treacherous dream she had a few moments back, Roohi sat down thinking about what has been going on in her life off lately.
Her once, very happy family was scattering now. Her ma and paa both love her to the core but she could understand that something was wrong in their life. Her ma and paa used to fight everyday behind closed doors but the volume in which they fought was so much that Roohi could listen to them from her own room. There has been a new word which keeps on popping up in her ma and paa’s discussions. Trying very hard to decipher the meaning, she failed. She could hardly pronounce the word. Roohi couldn’t understand the meaning of the word, but owing to her parents’ expressions, she knew it was something serious.
9 year old chubby little girl Roohi felt her life going down the drain when she first saw her parents fight and her mother had taken her to grandma’s place around 3years back. As a kid, Roohi was very happy to be at her grandma’s but it had been 2months she was there. As she was very notorious, she used to jump around everywhere playing pranks on everyone at her place but off lately, whenever she used to jump around, her ma scolded her. She was very depressed with the ongoing circumstances around her. And that was when she heard the word for the first time ‘Divorce’
After two months when they had come back to her father’s place, she was more than happy but things had changed, ma and paa used to talk less and fight more. Though they still cared and loved Roohi as their life depended on her, but the ‘Happy family’ feeling was amiss. Roohi used to cry to sleep every night telling her pillows the saga of her depression. It was from that time that she started having those recurring dreams of horror and terror. The end was always the same, but the situations were different. In all those dreams, she saw something happening to her and herself calling to her parents but they were so engrossed in fights that they were least bothered to hear her desperate pleas.
Off late, she has been very quiet in her class and otherwise which resulted in her losing all het friends. She had lost her appetite even. She couldn’t let her heart out to anyone and she was suffocated within.
Today, as visions of the past come to her; Roohi decides to lighten up the mood of her parents as was her habit. She saw that she had woken up early, even before her mother called her. She wanted to surprise her mother knowing very well that at this point her mother would be in the garden, practicing Yoga. As she was jumping happily to surprise her mother, she was oblivious to the pair of eyes following her closely.
It was 5.30 am when Tara woke up from her sleep. It has been quite a tedious night the day before and she had been tired. Tara Dutta was a media professional; and a fitness and perfection freak she was. Always prim and properly dressed, Tara used to don her formals with very light makeup matching perfectly with her fair skin and short hair everyday to office. It’s been her routine of waking up at 5in the morning everyday and after a rejuvenating session of Yoga, boiling milk for her daughter and waking her up for school. Today, she had woken up half an hour late and the yoga session had taken her a tad too long because of her tiredness. All refreshed from the session and after freshening up in the morning, and boiling milk for her daughter she went up to her daughter’s room.
Tara opened the bolt of the room and closed her eyes, as was her habit and wished her daughter a very good morning. On getting no reply from her daughter, she opened her eyes only to see Roohi’s bed empty. She kept the glass of milk on the bedside table and searched the washroom for Roohi, but she wasn’t there. She kept on calling her name and searched her whole house for her daughter but to no avail. ‘Where could she be?” thought Tara. She ran to the security guards and hoped they would know something about her disappearance but they had no clue.
The ever so perfect Tara, depressed and dejected at not having known what to do next, fainted in the garden itself…
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