Leave Me Alone-6

Previously on Leave Me Alone:

Ajay and Sasha go Sasha’s house to celebrate her birthday. Ajay sees a portrait of a woman on red saree. Coincidentally, a woman similar to that on the portrait attacks him and he runs to the police station. There he meets Dr. Shrestha, who tells him something about Sasha’s past. Ajay does not believe him. So he calls Parmila, Sasha’s maid to confirm his story.

In this last chapter of the story, we explore through the dreams of Sasha and find out the one responsible for everything the couple has faced.

Sasha was in a dream. She was in the study of Dr. Shrestha looking for something when she saw a small brown notebook with a leather jacket on his table. She thought she had seen it earlier but could not say where. ‘I am sure this is not uncle’s notebook. Whose is it?’ she said to herself and lifted it up. She turned on the first page and saw the name of the owner written in bold capital letters: RESHMA.

Sasha was shocked. ‘What’s my mom’s diary doing in uncle’s office? He had said that this diary was taken up by the court as an evidence of her insanity. Has he been hiding things from me?’ As she was busy contemplating, she heard someone coming into the study. She immediately managed to hide the diary. Dr. Shrestha came in and looked around. He looked confused. Sasha asked, “What are you searching, uncle?”

The doctor hesitated at first, but when Sasha asked again, he replied, “Have you seen a diary? It has brown-leather jacket. I thought I had taken it to my bedroom. I couldn’t find it there. I must have left it here.”

“No, I haven’t seen such a diary,” Sasha said calmly. The doctor was an expert in catching lies. She felt he had caught her. However, she was relieved when he said, “It’s all right, Sasha. I must have kept it somewhere else.”

Dr. Shrestha’s office faded. She was now in her hostel reading the notebook. As she read the accounts of her mother’s life, she felt she was getting closer with her mother. She came to know the details of her life Dr. Shrestha could never have given her. She was shocked the most when she read that Reshma had been sexually assaulted. She developed hatred against the manager and the lawyer when she knew that their acts had changed the fate of her mother and her own.

The girl had a feeling that the distance with her mother was decreasing. She could feel her mother’s presence around her. One evening before she went to sleep, she actually saw her mother. Sasha looked at her with awe and despair. She wanted to cry in her mother arms but she could not touch her. The woman told, “You can’t touch me because of those evil men. Avenge me, my child.”

“I will, Mom,” Sasha said though she was not sure how.

“Find them out and destroy their lives,” Reshma said.

Sasha knew the stories but she had not seen the manager and the lawyer. As she thought so, Reshma said, “You must find a clue that helps you find them.”

“Where is the clue?” Sasha asked but her mother had gone. She wiped the tears in her eyes, washed her face and came back to her room. She thought she had understood the clue. She picked up the diary and turned its pages. On the bottom of the pages in which Reshma’s tormentors were mentioned, Sasha noticed that Reshma had repeatedly written these words: ‘One stitch in time saves nine.’

Sasha had thought Reshma had written that because she had failed to understand the true nature of the manager and his lawyer. That she had to be cautious when her boss was offering her own auctioned house; that she had to understand the ploy he had made during the pay rise. This time Sasha had discovered the pattern of the appearance of the proverb. She took the words literally and looked at the jacket of the diary. She looked at the odd stitch which she had previously thought was a production defect. She looked at it carefully. ‘It must be a manual work.’ She took a blade and cut the stitch. She ripped the jacket to discover an old picnic photo encircling two faces at the centre.

On a closer inspection, she saw that Reshma had written an ‘M’ above the head of the one on the right and an ‘L’ above that on the left. She saw her mother on the extreme right. She also noticed a bespectacled man. ‘Dr. Shrestha,’ she smiled. Sasha looked at the man marked L again. She thought she had seen him somewhere, though she could not place exactly where. As she kept staring at the photo, her phone beeped. As she looked at the face of the caller, she remembered where she had seen him. ‘Ajay?’ she thought. ‘How is that possible?’

***

Sasha leaped space and time in her dream. She was at the hospital in Dr. Shrestha’s cabin a few days later. He was in his desk writing something while she said, “I have a problem, uncle.”

The old doctor stopped writing and gestured at her to sit down. Then he looked curiously at her. After a moment of hesitation, Sasha said, “I’ve been seeing my mom recently.”

“In your dreams?”

“I see her ghost.”

“Ghost?” Dr. Shrestha stroked his chin and said, “Tell me more about your mother’s ghost.”

“She comes in a red sari and looks like that on the portrait. She wants me to avenge her death.”

“Do you want to do it?”

“No.”

“You’ve lied.”

Sasha’s mind raced back to the incident a few days ago when she had lied that she had not seen the diary. ‘How could he not catch that?’

“Do you want to avenge your mother?” the doctor asked again.

“Yes,” Sasha replied in an angrier tone. “Those who killed her must be punished. I can’t let them roam around.”

“Do you know who they are? How do you find them?”

“Yes uncle. I know about the two that are directly involved. The bank manager has disappeared. So I don’t need to look for him.” Sasha clenched her fist as she said, “The other is a lawyer. I know him.”

“Where did you get all these information?”

“I used different sources.” Sasha did not want to tell him about the diary.

“Alright,” the doctor said. “I think I know your sources.”

‘He knows.’ Sasha’s heart paced. She said to herself. ‘He knows I have read that diary.’

Dr. Shrestha, however said, “You got that information from Parmila, didn’t you?”

Sasha was relieved but she could not convince herself that the old doctor had not caught her lies. The doctor thought for a while and scribbled something on his prescription form. He stood up and walked towards Sasha. Handling the paper, he said, “I think you’re getting hallucinations again. I don’t know what triggered it. But I guess it’s your source of information. I’ve written some medicines. They’ll help you get rid of your hallucinations.”

Sasha nodded, thanked him and went towards the door. The doctor called out, “Sasha.” As she turned towards him, he said, “Don’t tell anyone that you’re experiencing hallucinations. And don’t tell anyone about the medicines I have given you.”

Sasha nodded again and walked out.

***

Sasha was in her room. She saw two coffee mugs on the table. ‘I am not alone,’ she thought in her dream.

She heard a clatter in the bathroom attached to her room. She was scared. She slowly walked towards the bathroom. All of a sudden, someone came out. She looked like her mother on the portrait. But she was puzzled. She had said that her mother was a ghost. ‘Ghosts don’t use bathrooms.’

For a moment, Sasha looked puzzled at the woman who had gone her. The woman did not see her. Sasha cried out, “Hey …”

Before she said anything else she realized that the woman would not listen to her either.  Sasha’s courage increased. She then went closer to examine. She looked at her for a moment and then looked back at her reflection on the wardrobe mirror. A young lady stood on a red sari.

In a flash, Sasha realized in her dream that the woman on the red sari was not her mother’s ghost but herself. “Stop,” she shouted as her other self walked to the door. “Don’t go. You can’t kill Ajay. He has not done anything wrong.”

The woman turned back. Sasha thought that her other self had listened but she picked up the coffee mug and went away. She ran downstairs. She looked for Ajay in the living room. He was staring at her mother’s portrait.

Her other self was in the kitchen. She put down the coffee mugs and looked at her own reflection in the mirror. She ordered herself to kill Ajay. “I won’t,” Sasha shouted. The other self seemed to listen. She got furious. Sasha saw a steel rod in the kitchen she had brought for some purpose she did not remember. She picked up the rod and smashed hard into the mirror. She fell down. She had won. The other self remained no more.

But she was wrong. Her aggressive self woke up and attacked Ajay with a broken piece of mirror. Ajay ran away. Sasha ran after him for a while and collapsed on the road.

***

An hour later, her dream took her to the police station. She was walking towards Ajay and Dr. Shrestha. The old doctor looked at her as if he had never seen her before. She was about to ask why he was doing so when he walked up to her. The doctor produced a syringe and in a flash it penetrated her skin. At that small moment before she passed out, she realized that the doctor was not as good as he seemed. She shouted in her dream, “Leave me alone.”

Sasha woke up on a bed. The brightness of the room dazzled her for a while. A machine beeped on her right. On her left was a boy with a familiar smile. “Ajay?”

Ajay helped her sit. He looked at her with compassion and said, “You’ve been asleep here for months. Our lives have changed so much, Sasha.”

“What happened?”

He told her about his meeting with Dr. Shrestha and Parmila, his annoyance with his father and his father’s suicide. “Dr. Shrestha turned out to be your biological father.”

Sasha was shocked. She had always felt orphaned after the death of her parents. Ajay continued, “He was your father’s friend. He had seen your mother once when he had gone to their house. The doctor liked your mother, so much that it turned into an obsession. In his madness, he went to his friend’s one evening, put sleeping pills on his friend’s drink and assaulted your mother. You were born as a result.”

Sasha bowed her head. She could not look at Ajay. He put his hand on hers and said, “You don’t need to be ashamed. You’ve done nothing wrong. No one will judge you for your birth.”

“But why didn’t my mother write anything about your birth in her diary?”

“The diary you read was not your mother’s. It was the doctor’s doing. He said he copied your mother’s handwriting and produced another diary. He then gave it to you. He made you think you had hidden it from him. The doctor also confessed that he had killed the bank manager. He had pushed him over a cliff one day. His body has not been found, however. He also killed your father when he knew what the doctor had done.”

“But he said I had killed my father.”

Tears fell down Sasha’s eyes. Ajay consoled her saying, “No, you did not. The doctor killed him and fed into your mind that you had done it. That way he could give you medicines for mental disorder you never had. He kept track of everything you did. The medicines he gave you enforced hallucinations. Your mother’s ghost turned into your alternate personality and it attacked me. It’s amazing how he could have guessed you would attack me that night. He was an evil wizard.”

Sasha cried harder. “I can’t believe how anyone can be such an evil.”

“He was evil but he did one thing right. He kept his word by treating you before the police took him in their custody.”

Sasha wondered about the changes she had gone through in her life. But Ajay was beside her. There was nothing to worry about.

THE END

← Read Chapter 5

Leave Me Alone-5

Previously on Leave Me Alone:

Ajay and Sasha go Sasha’s house to celebrate her birthday. Ajay sees a portrait of a woman on red saree. A woman similar to that on the portrait attacks him and he runs to the police station. There he meets Dr. Shrestha, who tells him something about Sasha’s past. Ajay does not believe him. So he calls Parmila, Sasha’s maid to confirm his story. Ajay still has some questions about Sasha. 

What answers will he get? In this chapter…

“I still don’t understand,” Ajay said, “why I was attacked?”

“There are some probabilities,” Dr. Shrestha replied grimly. “It is a fact known to me and my colleagues that Sasha believed within her subconscious that her mother was alive. Sasha used to have hallucinations in which her mother would talk to her. Whenever that happened, Sasha’s personality would alter. She used to be more aggressive, and used to gain immense strength. Ten men would find it difficult to calm her down.”

“So you believe Sasha’s alternate personality influenced by her dead mother in her subconscious attacked me?” Ajay intervened. “But would she?”

As if he had not heard anything Ajay said, the old doctor continued, “Using medication, we had been able to suppress the hallucinations and to some extent, the alteration of her personality. Some years ago, when she joined nursing, I recommended the medication be stopped. That was the biggest mistake I made.

“Because the medicines were not being administered, the hallucinations may have begun controlling over her for some time. Her mother might have talked to her, and convinced Sasha that you are either the one or related to someone who led into her mother’s death,” the doctor told to Ajay.

“But I am not related to any bank manager who went missing.”

“There was a lawyer who proved falsely that Sasha’s mother was mentally ill.”

Ajay was stunned. Dr. Shrestha seemed to look through him. He stammered the question that came into his mind: How do you know my father is a lawyer?

Dr. Shrestha smiled at Ajay without being surprised. “I knew your father’s name from your license last night,” the doctor replied. “I had doubted that he is the famous lawyer. You’ve confirmed my suspicions.”

“My dad can’t have done anything wrong,” Ajay said, terrified by what the doctor was trying to say to him. He stood up and looking straight at Dr. Shrestha, announced, “He might not have been involved in the case.”

“He is a professional advocate. It’s within his right to do anything to save his client. Why don’t you ask him yourself about his involvement in that case?” Dr. Shrestha replied, unclenched.

‘Was my dad involved?’ Ajay thought, his fear escalating. His mind was divided. Prior to the talk with the doctor, he could confidently bet that his father advocated the truth. However, after the doctor’s indication that his father had falsely accused Sasha’s mother of being a psycho. Trembling, he inserted his hand into his pocket, produced his cell phone and dialled his father’s number. “Ajay, where had you been all night? I’ve searched everywhere for you,” a hoarse voice asked.

“I’m at a doctor’s, dad.”

“Is everything all right?” Ajay’s father asked him.

Ajay wanted to lie by saying ‘yes’; instead, he said, “No dad, something is wrong. My girlfriend attacked me last night and her guardian says that you are related somewhere in the case. That I’ve been assaulted because she believed I was you in her state of altered personality.”

“Who attacked you? Sasha, is it? Are you all right, Ajay?” his father asked and before Ajay could reply, he continued furiously, “Anyway, don’t believe in any nonsense. How can I be involved in your girlfriend’s madness?”

“Do you remember a case twenty years ago?” Ajay said. When he received only silence in reply, he continued, “That case in which a reputed bank manager had been accused of abusing his employee. Though that woman had written the truth in her diary, the manager’s lawyer had proved in the court that she was mad and her letter could not be solid evidence against the manager. Do you remember that case, dad?”

Ajay had expected a reply but he actually received a hanging up tone in answer. He redialled the number four times but his father did not receive the call. He looked at both Dr. Shrestha and Parmila sadly. He felt weak. His legs could not keep him standing. He sat down on an empty chair and covered his face with his palms. He wanted to cry but he could not. Ajay could not believe that his father had done something that had affected him twenty years later.

Dr. Shrestha broke the silence, “You need to go to your father and talk to him. You have to ask him everything. You deserve the truth.”

“I don’t think I can bear the truth, doctor,” Ajay said bitterly.

“You have to face it, Ajay,” the doctor said, “not just for yourself but for Sasha as well.”

“Oh, I can’t,” Ajay y and stood up from his chair again. He picked his phone and dashed out. Before he reached the edge of the garden, Dr. Shrestha shouted out these words, which Ajay would clearly recall the following week: “Talk to your father, Ajay. If you don’t he might harm himself.”

Ajay did not return home for a week. He stayed most of his time at the hospital looking at his unconscious lover outside the ICU. She did not show up much improvement. Ajay was sad but was hopeful. He ate at the canteen. He made friends with the doctors, nurses and other medical staffs. When he felt extremely tired, he called his friends and slept at their houses. That was because he never felt like going back to Sasha’s place. His father called him several times during that week. Ajay picked up just twice. He had no will to talk to his father. Ajay’s father too had not been able to say anything. Silence had ruled over both the calls Ajay received.

The call, which overruled the silence, was too chaotic for Ajay. The man on the other side said, “Mr. Ajay, I am Inspector Pradhan.” After a few seconds of silence, Inspector Pradhan added with a loud sigh, “I have a bad news for you. Your father has killed himself.”

Ajay felt as if the world had collapsed. The doctor’s words rushed into his mind. ‘That doctor had the tongue of a wizard,’ he thought. For some minutes, he could not stand still. He sat on a chair covering his face. He gathered up courage and rushed down the stairs. ‘He must have left something.’ Ajay’s instincts told him that his father had not gone without letting him know the truth. He reached the street and got on to a bus that went the nearest chowk from his house. All through the journey in the bus, he thought, ‘I made a mistake in choosing to avoid myself from the truth. I should have followed Dr. Shrestha’s words. He is an experienced psychiatrist after all.’

Ajay sensed a chaotic silence when he reached his home. His mother lay unconscious because she had cried a lot. His older brother sat beside his mother in silence. Some officers were roaming around, still investigating the house. Ajay noted Inspector Pradhan giving orders to his juniors. He went up to the officer and said, “Inspector Pradhan, where is he?”

“In his own room,” the inspector said, “I’m extremely sorry at your loss.”

“Did you find anything, Inspector?” Ajay queried. “Any note he had written before his suicide?”

“Yes, we did find a note,” Inspector Pradhan said. “It was inside an envelope on his table. Your father had written on the envelope that the letter should be given to you only. I’ve ensured no one reads that before you do.”

Inspector Pradhan then produced the letter and gave it to Ajay, who tore the envelope and read instantly:

Ajay,

I had made several mistakes during the early days of my career as a lawyer. Those immoral acts, I never intended to do myself. I had been forced to.

Those days I worked as the legal advisor at a bank. The manager was, at first, friendly. He used to ask me the laws related to everything he was going to do. He paid me well. But one day, he showed his true colours. He talked to me about a lady who worked in his office. He said she was beautiful and that he lusted for her. He asked me to suggest ways so as to incite her. I was shocked by the way his true self had come out. So I resolved not to help him.

He was a reader of minds, however. He told me that if I didn’t help him, he would not pay my fees and he would get all of us into trouble by messing up with the loans I had obtained from the bank. I remembered you, Ajay. I could not let you suffer. I had to oblige to that evil man.

I had just said this, “Be her Messiah.” The manager talked to the lady about a profitable business and she told that to her husband. They took loans from the bank but the information the manager had fed into them was fake. Their business collapsed. Their house was bought in the bidding by the manager’s relatives and he took the house himself later on. And when the lady was in deep sorrow, he increased her salary, promoted her and gave back her house as a “gift”. By doing that he gained her trust.

One day, the manager expressed his feelings towards her. Because she was married and had a child, she did not accept his proposal. The manager turned mad and brutally forced her into physical intimacy. I told him that he could get into trouble but he did not listen to me. He continued his brutality and the lady suffered a lot in her mind. Some months later, she ended up her miseries herself.

The note she left before she died could get the manager into trouble. He told me to help him by calling her mad and that she could not be believed. I refused to do so. He threatened me that he would torture me and my family so much that I too would get crazy like that lady and commit suicide. I had to give in to his threats and I saved him from punishment by doing whatever he told me to do.

After he retained his post, I quit the bank and practiced in the court. I never saw the manager again but then I heard that the wicked man disappeared. He deserved such a punishment and I thank God for punishing him.

I don’t expect you to forgive me Ajay. I have committed sins by letting that manager play with the mind of the lady. Because of my deed, you have suffered. You’ll never have to face any trouble I create from now onwards.

Your dad

P.S.: A doctor took custody of Reshma’s daughter. He is the girl’s biological father.

Ajay trembled. The letter fell off his hand. He had made a mistake by not talking too his father before the latter’s death. He cried bitterly until Inspector Pradhan said, “I’m sorry, Ajay. But I am curious about something.”

‘What is it?’ Ajay asked through his gestures. The inspector pointed at a small photo on the top of the table and continued, “Is that you?”

“No,” Ajay said in a low voice, “It’s Dad”. The officer then remarked, “You two look strikingly similar.”

Read Chapter 4

Leave Me Alone-2

Previously on Leave Me Alone:

In the first chapter, Sasha takes Ajay her home. Ajay, who had never gone in before, is mesmerized by the decorations. However, the portrait of a woman on red sari who looks similar to Sasha (Sasha says it’s her mother) grabs his attention. Later, he sees a woman on a red sari. Before he can who she is, he is attacked. Ajay flees away from Sasha’s home.

Continue reading Chapter 2 here. . .

Ajay was gasping. The chilly wind that hit his nose and lungs did not help him. His legs, too were giving in and his feet were burning on the cold pitch. He did not stop, however. After a few minutes of run, he had realized that he was not being chased anymore but his mind had warned him that it could be a trap. Even under fear and darkness, his sense of direction had helped him reach the police station. As soon as he had stepped in, he had collapsed.

Ajay opened his eyes upon a hard wooden bench. He saw two men in front of him. One of them was a bespectacled man of about sixty. He had white beard and his demeanour spoke of experience. The other was clean-shaven man of about thirty. He looked the more curious of the two. “Bring him something to drink,” the younger man ordered. In less than a minute, Ajay was offered a cup of tea.

“Hello, Ajay,” the bespectacled man spoke, “How do you feel now?”

Maybe because of the tea, Ajay’s body had felt a little better. But the very thought of what had happened at Sasha’s place chilled his spines. “Sasha is in danger,” he said to the old man. “You don’t look like a policeman. Who are you? How do you know my name?”

The old man smiled. “I am Madan Shrestha. I am a doctor and I live nearby. I had been called here by Inspector Pradhan,” he pointed at the younger man, “who also happens to be my son-in-law. We had personal matters to discuss. That was when you stumbled into the station.”

“And I asked him to helped you,” Inspector Pradhan said sternly. “We took your identity from your driving license. You look well off. How did you come up here without your shoes? Who is Sasha? You were muttering that she is in danger even while you were unconscious.”

“She’s my girlfriend,” Ajay said and gave the Inspector her address. He took the case in his hands immediately. Leaving a junior officer Krishna and Dr. Shrestha with Ajay, he set off with some cadets. Krishna, who had been intently listening to everything earlier, spoke asked, “Let’s know what had happened to you and your girlfriend, shall we?”

Ajay said, “We met at a conference about a month ago. We discovered many similarities between us and we soon got fond of each other. We exchanged numbers. Text messages soon converted into phone calls. The more we talked, the better we started knowing each other. A week later we went on our first date.”

Ajay told them that he had planned a special treat to celebrate Sasha’s birthday. A cake and dinner was ordered at 9 o’clock that evening. He had reached Sasha’s workplace ten minutes before her duty would end. He made a call, which Sasha had received on the eleventh time. She had soon come down, smiling. He had gone to her and had dragged to the car. He had opened the door and pushed her. He had been a little harsh and Sasha had been face down upon the seat. Ajay had never wanted such a thing to happen. She had looked a little furious. He had run to his seat and played her favourite music before he had driven them to Sasha’s house.

Sasha had smilingly asked him to come over at hers. Ajay had thought that she was angry with him because of what had happened earlier. He had not struck a conversation because of the very reason. He had been surprised and had denied the offer as he had often done. But she had pressed him hard. He would not have given in if he had not planned the treat himself. So he agreed. If he had agreed to go to her house earlier, she would not have been as excited at that moment.

Sasha had walked off the car and opened the gate. She had also shown him the garage, where he had parked the car. While he was walking towards the main door, he saw Sasha standing still on the porch. She looked like she was thinking something. When Ajay had called her, she had come out of her trance, or whatever it was, and had said that she had been waiting for her. Soon she had taken him through the main door, which opened into the living hall.

He had been mesmerized by the grandeur of the room. Its floor was covered by fine red carpet all over. In the middle of the room were three couches arranged in the shape of ‘U’. The bigger middle one faced the door that they had just entered from; one couch on its left faced the kitchen and the other in the right faced the bathroom. A low table lay in front of the bigger couch.

Two stairs went up from the living hall, one just from a little left from outside the kitchen and the other symmetrically left from outside the bathroom. They met on the other floor to form a balcony. Under the balcony, within the living room, there were several paintings. Due to low intensity of light on that part, however, Ajay could not properly see them from far.

While he had still been wandering about the hall, Sasha had entered the kitchen. He had heard the sounds of the gas stove being lighted up some minutes ago. The God of Mischief had led him into the kitchen. Sasha had turned her back towards the door and had been watching the milk-pan. Ajay had walked up slowly looking at his own face in the mirrors on the kitchen wall. He had also noticed a small mirror over the sink. As noiseless as a cat, he had reached Sasha and all of a sudden, grabbed her from behind. At the same time, the milk had boiled up and fallen over the stove, ceasing the fire. Ajay had been scared. He had made a mistake again. However, instead of punishing him, Sasha had pulled him forward to kiss him. The stench of the LPG had hit her nose at the very moment and she had pushed him away and had taken care of the situation immediately.

Though Sasha had not said anything, Ajay felt that his mischief had been enough to make her angry. He had quickly left the kitchen and had rushed into the living room again. He had explored the part under the balcony that time and had seen a portrait-like photograph. It was a life-size photograph of a woman on red sari and a matching blouse. Her shoes and bag too were red. She had put on a small bindi on her forehead and sindoor above it up to her hair. Her hair had been tied in a bun and curls were left out just above her ears. The photo stunned Ajay because the woman looked so much like Sasha but the photo did not look like it had been recently produced.

Therefore, while Sasha had entered with two mugs of coffee in her hands, he had asked if she had taken a photo of that sort. She had said that it was not hers. An idea struck into his mind that the woman on the photograph could be her mother instead, and she had confirmed it.

“After that, there was no question in my mind,” Ajay had continued. “I had strolled a little, sipped the coffee, I sat on the long couch. She had soon come and rested on my lap. I could see her beautiful eyes. They were full of love. I could not keep my own eyes off them. All of a sudden, her facial muscles twitched. The eyes that were filled by love had become furious. They looked as if she was about to pounce upon me.

“My reflexes tried to keep me away from her. As I jumped up, a little coffee fell upon her uniform. She lamented for a while and shot upstairs. Meanwhile, I emptied the coffee mug and put it on the table. I also noticed that Sasha had taken her mug upstairs for I could not find them in the room and I clearly remember that she had not gone into the kitchen either. I do not remember how long I sat alone in that living hall waiting for her. I was attracted to her mother’s photo and had taking a closer look at it again when I heard the sound of breaking glass from the direction of the kitchen.

“I hadn’t noticed if Sasha had come downstairs or not. I had no idea if she had been into the kitchen. I guessed she might have and dashed into the kitchen. Fragments of glass were scattered on the floor. The big mirror on the opposite of the sink had been the victim. I was careful not to step on them. (I had kept my shoes on the shelf outside the living hall.) Then I saw a woman advancing at me from the right corner of the room. I don’t understand if the photo had enthralled my mind already, for the woman who was sprinting towards me looked exactly like the one it.

“”Get out of the house,” she shouted at me. I refused to budge. She came forward at me and furiously swung her left arm at me. What I had not earlier realised was that she had carried a knife. By the time I could notice that, it had already landed upon my face.

“I howled, cursed and ran away with my hand pressing the wound on my face. Whoever this woman was, I was sure had gone crazy and was after me. I don’t know if she was Sasha’s mother whom I had not seen earlier; nor can I say what she has done to Sasha. At the time I fled, I just wanted to escape the wrath of that woman on the red sari. A little later, I mind just told me as I ran hard, ‘Go to the nearest police station, Sasha needs help.’ That’s what led me here and I collapsed before I could speak out anything to you.”

 

 

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