“My name is Khu… My name is Khu… Khu…”
But then she didn’t utter more while her forehead started getting tense.
“This is the first time I’m seeing someone not saying their name. I believe that your name has some bad memories etched with it, that’s the reason even in your unconscious state you are not willing to take your name. Hmm! Rather than wasting my time on knowing her name I should move forward as that’s the only way now,” he muttered to himself.
“Okay! Okay! Forget it! Now tell me something about yourself? Where are you from and what about your family?” he further asked.
“I… I was a small girl, living happily in my small world with my parents and my sister Mishika who was four years younger than me. Mishi and I were more friends than sister. We both use to share everything with each other. Though we belonged to a middle-class family and weren’t too rich but still we were happy. Everything was so good till I turn twelve years old.”
“What happened when you turn twelve?” he asked.
“Huh! What happened?” she smiled ruefully and then added “Earlier I used to see my parents romancing with each-other but later I started seeing them fighting with each other. Their voices along with the sounds of crashing objects used to echo in the whole house making both me and Mishi scared. We both silently used to hide inside the cupboard sometimes to not get in front of his eyes even by mistake otherwise things won’t remain good for us. Know what? My dad who used to take me and my sister to the park earlier now started hurling abuses towards us. The same man who earlier used to hate drunkards, himself becomes one. The person sitting with whom we used to play, laugh and do what not, now even going near him started making us tremble in fear. Earlier he was our hero who used to protect us from evils but now that same hero of ours turns into a monster who was the sole reason behind our each and every misery. But that wasn’t the end, only the starting,” she said while tears were descending from her eyes continuously.
“What do you mean by it? What happened with you further?” he asked apprehensive of what more she had faced in such a small age.
“I mean that my life has taken an unexpected turn which had lead me to a tunnel which depicts nothing but an obscure cavern of darkness which sucks happiness out of my life making it hollow from within. Those fights, abuses, fear, stinking smell of alcohol becomes a part of my day-to day life. At starting I used to cry along with my baby sister but then with every passing day I started getting used to it. My only aim all those time was just to save Mishi from all this and I got succeeded in it upto some extent. In day-time I used to keep her away from home, sending her to neighbour’s house while during night it was quite difficult. But I still used to manage it somehow by making her sleep early, putting cotton in her ear and all. She was a sound sleeper so it becomes bit easy for me. But then I’ve to become the scape goat, but then also I was happy as I know my baby sis- my Mishi was safe.”
“You mean to say your own dad used to abuse and beat you?”
“Hmm!” she hummed and added “Though not every time but yes it started increasing with every passing day.”
“So it must be used to pain a lot? How you used to bear it?”
“In start it did but with the passage of time my body got jarred to all those pain. The pain which I used to feel in the beginning soon becomes a part of my life which soon started searing my body taking away the feeling of father’s protectiveness with it. But all hell broke when a year and half later I lost both my Mishi and my mother. I never ever felt so alone, so lost and this much incapable of myself as I felt that day. It was as if someone just snatched out everything from my within. That day I not only lost them but everything which I’d hold dear to me. Though I was in pain from so long but then somewhere in my heart I did had the hope of everything getting back to normal, but no… that day… that day I realised that I was living in an illusion, a façade which was broken by my own father,”
“What so you mean by your father?”
“Huh! For the whole world it was an accident but I knew that it wasn’t…. it wasn’t…” she cried inconsolably.
“I didn’t get you and by the way why would your father killed his own wife and daughter?”
“My dad… No… he can’t be my dad… he can never be…. My dad used to love us but he…. He was a monster who… who killed them…. I can never forget that day… can never forget how due to him I lost my mother and my… my baby sister,” saying this she started trembling and hiccupping while crying as if she was reliving those painful memories yet again.
Seeing her like that doctor tried to calm her but when nothing work as a last resort he brings her out of hypnotism.
After coming out of hypnotism she started looking here and there as if trying to recognise where she was and when after a few minute she recognised her surrounding she calmed a bit, immediately gulping down a glass full of water given by the doctor she said “Doctor! You got to know whatever you wanted to know. Right! So now I don’t need to come here?”
“Sia! I’m sorry but you’ve to come here again.”
“What? But why? I mean you got to know it all so why do I need to come here now?”
“No Sia! I’ve not even reached till half of your past.”
“I understand that it’s not easy for you but you’ve to understand my child that you can’t move forward carrying the baggage of your past and to unburden yourself from it you’ve to let me reach to your wounds so that I can help you heal them because only then you can start afresh.”
“That I’m letting you do. Aren’t I?”
“Yes, you are. But along with it you’ve to be patient too Sia because it’s not a one day process, it takes time. Inflicting a wound might take just a second but healing it will always take more and one have to be patient for the wound to heal otherwise it might just worsen the situation. And I don’t even know completely what had happened with you so how can I treat you?”
“But that hypnotism…”
“Yes Sia, I did hypnotised and you and you also started revealing me but then you starts getting panic and so I’ve to bring you out of it.”
“Oh!” she murmurs.
“By the way Sia, don’t mind but what’s with your name that even after being hypnotised you wasn’t able to utter it?” he asked.
At this Sia starts fidgeting in her chair while her face started turning pale. For few minutes silence prevailed in the room as she didn’t speak anything while doctor waited for her to speak, but after few minutes what she uttered made him rooted at his spot.
“I don’t utter it doctor because it’s not worthy to be uttered. You know what doctor, people love their name because it is their identity. But I hate my name because it’s nothing but a jinx to me. A curse which had brought ill-fate with it. Whatever happened with me is all because of that identity of mine and that’s the reason I don’t even wants to remember my name,” she uttered with such a venom in her voice that he stood speechless.
Looking ahead of him she added “You know doctor, I may not remember what I’ve told you in my state of hypnotism but I can feel it… feel the pain that I’ve shared, and I can’t explain to you that how raw, naked and exposed I’m feeling currently. It is like my pain, my wounds everything are lying uncovered and anyone can come and make them bleed to their heart’s content,” saying this she left from there hurriedly not wanting to feel it anymore while the doctor looked at her retreating back with a worried expression mixed with sadness and utters “I know it’s hard to open-up but then it’s the only way which leads to the path of healing my child.”
As soon as the CD stops Akshat took a sigh of relief as if he accomplishes some big taks.
“Gosh! If this is the starting then what’s going to be end? Catching a criminal is easy but seeing how his crime has affected the victim is so difficult,” he muttered to himself realising that emotional pain is one of a kind which may be invisible to eyes but seeps out in the words of the sufferer making it hard for one to refrain himself from feeling it.
But soon he was broke out of his revere when his phone rings showing an incoming call. Sliding the green button he picks up the phone and answered it.
“Oh! Okay! Don’t worry sir I’ll be reaching there soon,” saying this he slide the red button after which he took the pouch with himself and left from there towards police station.
Sia came in her room and bolting the door she sits on the bed, that name still resonating in her ears. Cupping her face she couldn’t help but remembered the day… the day when for the first time she realised her own name is going to be the handcuffs of her own life.
“Why? Why’re you doing this with me? Why have you brought me here? Why?” she asked.
“Gosh! You girls are really irritating except when you pleasured us,” said the man sitting on the chair with a hood covering his face while a women was sitting on his lap.
At this she looks away scrunching her nose but then gathering her courage she asked “You… You didn’t answered my question. Why have you brought me here? What wrong I did? Please tell me? I’m not getting anything.”
“Hmm! I’m not in a mood to answer you,” he said.
“Please!” she pleaded, then after a hiatus she added “See! I don’t even know you so I deserves to know that why am I getting such a treatment from you?” she asked at which the man sitting on the chair pulled the girl sitting in his lap more closer from his one hand while from the other hand he pressed her breast making her squirm in her place and looks down.
“Oh! So this kitten has got a tongue too?” he asked giving a vicious smile while his others fellows started laughing.
After a minute or two he added “Okay! Let’s fulfil your wish but before that you’ve to do something too.”
At this she look towards him and then at the girl sitting in his lap with a horrified face while that man laughed it off and kissing the collarbone of that girl he said “Don’t worry. I’m not in a mood to taste a girl of fourteen. You’re fourteen, right?”
He asked at which she nodded her head.
“Hmm! And I’ve heard that today is your birthday?”
“Yes!” she said scared not knowing what’s coming next towards her.
“Ofo! Scared kitten you just relaxed. You see today is your birthday and I’ve gifted you this new place to live and I know you’re hungry too. So why not give you some milk? All the more I’ve heard that milk is the favourite of cats & kittens,” saying this he gestured one of his man who nodded his head and went out from there. After a few minutes he comes back with a tray in his hand having a glass and two small containers.
“Hmm! So how much sugar?” he asked.
“Two spoons,” she said a bit nervous.
“Okay,” saying this he opened one of the container and pick a spoon full of its content and poured it in the milk making her eyes widen in horror.
“That… That’s red chilli powder not sugar,” she said stuttering.
Removing the girl sitting in his lap he comes near her and bringing the glass in front of her pour two spoon-full of red chilli powder in it and said in his vicious voice “Oh baby girl! It may be red chilli powder for you but for me its sugar and I asked you in my regards not yours.” And then after a hiatus he added “And yes to add to its taste let’s just add some taste to your milk,” saying this he opened the other container and taking a spoon-full of it he once again pour the content in the milk and looking towards her with his hooded cap covering his half of the face he said “Now that’s what we called the tasty milk with red sugar and yellow Horlicks.”
“That… that wasn’t Horlicks… but turmeric powder,” she said feeling dread at which he laughed and said “Well! It’ll give a nice taste to the milk,” saying this he forwarded the glass towards her while she shook her head sideways.
“Think about it. You’ve to just drink this special milk and then you’ll get to know the reason. Think! Think!” he said thrusting the glass near her face making her crouch back in fear.
At this he sighed and twisting his lips said “I don’t understand why people don’t understand when we talk like saints, but nonetheless if you will understand the language which makes you tremble in fear then let it be,” saying this he kept the glass on the floor and taking his seat back he said with a dangerous glint in his voice.
“Either you drink it yourself and get to know the reason or you’ll be forced to drink and will get nothing but punishment for disobeying me. Chose the one which you feel is better,” saying this he took the glass of wine and started drinking while she looks down at her hands with tears brimming in her eyes. Knowing well that nothing is in her favour she gulps her saliva and with trembling hands pick the glass and brought it near her lips, praying for the heaven to open and do some mercy but nothing like that happen.
Not having any choice she took a sip and immediately started coughing with the bitter-chilly taste of the milk while tears started flowing out of her eyes. Coughing, she look towards him and said “Water! Please… Water!”
“No baby…. You can’t have water in between otherwise its delicious taste will be long forgotten. So now like a good girl drink it,” he said in a sickly-sweet voice.
“Please!” she pleaded but it doesn’t have even an ounce of effect on him.
“DRINK!” he commanded making her shrunk back in fear and wiping her tears she took another sip which did nothing but brought another bout of cough along with a stream of tears rolling down her cheeks, but none of the person standing their care as if it was nothing to worry.
Realising that no one is going to help her some more fresh tears rolled down her cheeks as she remembered her mother who was always there for her, who used to protect her from all the ill-things, who used to cocoon her in the warmth of her embrace making her forget all her worries, but now she is all alone, alone to fight, alone to live and alone to suffer. Somehow coughing and crying she drinks that horrible milk which was even worse than bitter gourd juice and then look towards the hooded man comfortably sitting on the chair sipping his drink.
“I… I did… as you said… now tell me… tell… why you’d brought me here… my… my dad…. He’ll be waiting for me,” she said coughing, though her insides burned calling that person her dad who is the sole reason of her mother and sister’s death.
“Well! First of all let me tell you that I’ really impressed with the fact that how good of a student you are,” he said keeping the empty glass in his hand on the table, then wiping his lips with the back of his hand he added “But saying that, I would like to correct you.”
“Correct?” she asked wiping her tears while he continued.
“You know what girl? No one will be waiting for you in your home… certainly not your dad, and as far as I remembered apart from him you’ve no one in your life. Isn’t it?” he asked with a smirk making her insides churn in fear.
Somehow gathering her courage she asked “What? What do you mean by it? And… and you were going to help me then why all this?”
“Oh! Poor baby is getting confused. No worries let me explain you. The father to whom you wanted to see behind the bars got sick of you and sold you to me,” he said with a laugh which resembles devil while she shivered in fear hearing the bitter truth of her life. Never even in her scary dreams she thought that something like this will ever happened with her but now she realised that reality is harsher than those scary dreams, because dreams break when you open your eyes while reality stays with you.
But what gives her shiver was the consequences. She may be a child of fourteen but in last few months she’d seen enough. Covering her front with both of her hands she asked in her trembling voice “What… What you want to… to do with me?”
At this he laughs… laughs like a devil… laughs like a maniac and after a minute or two when his laugh subsided he said “Nothing much as of now… certainly not what you’re thinking,” he added upon seeing how she is trying to hide herself.
“But yes do follow what you’re said to do otherwise the consequences won’t be good,” saying this he gets up and was going out of the room when he heard her voice.
“If you don’t want to harm me then why’d you brought me here in the first place?” she asked in shaken voice.
“Because you’re Khushi Gupta,” he said angrily and left from there leaving her with lots of questions in her mind whose answers she’ll ever get or not only time can tell.
“Nothing has changed… nothing really…. I may be away from them but the scars given to me even after years seems so fresh and vulnerable as if it was all happened yesterday,” she uttered to herself as if knowing well that this pain will always remain within her.
Here after finishing his meeting Arnav was driving back to his mansion when he saw some goons harassing a girl. Stopping his car near them he came out of it so as to save the girl from being harassed only to realise that the girl is none other than Tammana. But as soon as he come out those goons run away while she stood there trembling.
“Tammana, what are you doing here in the middle of the road at this time?” he asked concerned for her.
“Actually sir I was returning home when my car broke down and then these goons come seeing a girl standing alone on a deserted road and started harassing me. If you didn’t come on right time then only god knows what would have happened to me,” she said sobbing while Arnav tried to console her.
“Hey! It’s okay. Now everything is fine.” Looking towards her car he added “And don’t worry I’ll drop you home. Tell me where you lives?”
“At XYZ apartment in ABC area.”
“Oh! That’s quite far and it’ll take around an hour or more for us to reach there,” he said and then look by his watch only to find it showing quarter-past eight.
“Umm! Tammana if you don’t mind can you stay over my mansion for tonight? Don’t mind, actually it’s my mansion is just fifteen-twenty minutes away from here and if I went to drop you then by the time I’ll reach my home my daughter will be like a burning volcano as she is used to sleep only after she spends time with me. I hope you’ll understand.” Arnav added.
‘Why would I when all I want is the same,’ she thought smilingly and then said “No, not at all ASR. I can understand. And well this way I’ll be able to meet your family, especially your lovely daughter,” she said at which Arnav nodded and soon both left from there towards Raizada Mansion.
*3500+ Words... Quite a long update. To get next update soon, you know the drill... >> Like & Comment*
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