p r o lo g u e
IT WAS A SIMPLE MIDDLE CLASS FAMILY; spending a gratified life off a fair income. It had everything that a family needed. The chilled out grandfather, the snappy cool grandmother, the calm and collected father, the cheerful and lovely mother and the apple-of-our-eye daughter. The only problem with the family was:
It did not exist in real.
It was just a fragment of her imagination. Much like the other stuff that she thought throughout the day.
She had been curbed to tight scrutiny from the day her pint sized brain knew such sophisticated words existed. It was all for her overprotective mother, who had destroyed herself, falling a prey to depression.
Her mother; a lovely lady with decided yet charming features, married off a little late, had difficulties in conceiving a child. Already down to stress aided with self deflection, events never turned out in her favor in any possible way.
After her firstborn turned five, she had two consecutive miscarriages, that devoured her of contentment. She locked herself inside her house forever, fearing that she’d be misjudged.
Staying confined to the four walls of a simple apartment, had it’s on share of torment on her. She had grown passive and cold.
As a surprise in its self, eight months before the girl turned ten, her family had to announce, yet again, the arrival a new member.
“A little sibling for you it’ll be.” Her mother would gush in a not-so-herself way.
She would always act differently around her young daughter, filling her with all the amount of love that she could gather out of her rather cold self. She would discipline her politely, make her mouth watering delicacies, teach her the multiplication tables and on the nights that didn’t bring sound sleep to her darling daughter, she’d go down to the , pick a story book and read it for her all night in a calm and soothing tone.
“What is a bio-cyber war, mumma?”
“It’s a brutal and chronic-”
“What is boortal? And what is charonic?”
“It is nothing, off to bed now.”
“Mumma? Why are you crying?”
“I’m not, why say so, dear?”
“Yes you are, you were doing so yesterday as well, when father denied it!”
“Erm, it’s that- well, you see my favourite character from this book over here, she was lost. So, I was worried looking out for her.”
“And now, have you found her?”
“No, I don’t think I ever will.”
“Oh, see you’re father’s home, right there. Go, open the door for him!”
Her Father; was a poised, level-headed, mature adult, who always stood for he felt was right. They’d say he was a stolid individual of a controlled disposition that would only change around children. Though he cared for her above everyone and everything, his conduct would be a little stringent around his daughter.
He believed he had to be the one to discipline her, for after what his wife had been through, it would be wrong to expect her to be rigid or tough. And to ensure that she grew up to be an emotionally balanced individual, it was a necessity rather than a choice.
“So, that’s how you kick high.”
“Why do I need to do this, papa?”
“The last time I knew it, you were the one who wanted to master your moves to attain a blackbelt.”
“Yes, right!” “Papa?”
“Thank you, thank you very much for helping me practice!”
“How can I be–umm–antipathic and unsophisticated?”
“Say what? Who taught you those words?”
“They’re cool right?! I love them as well. More so because the aunts from the neighborhood… they call mother those names! I want to be like mother. A child who’ll inherit her qualities and make her proud… right, papa? Papa? Dad?”
“Did you tell any of it to mother?”
“Yes, all of it! But then she–”
“Started to cry?”
“Yes. And said they were–”
“Tears of joy?”
“Child, please let me know! When did you?
“Huh... Just right now. Before you called for me... Did I... I do something wrong, papa?”
“Uh– no, but please continue practicing by yourself for a while. I’ll be here in a minute.”
Such events never failed to baffle her. What was it? Why did her parents start to act so different all of a sudden? All these doubts had to remain hovering somewhere until they reached the ‘its nothing’ point.
Once, on a strictly warm afternoon of a Wednesday morning, the mother received a call:
“Hello Missus, we’ve had a word about your outstanding performances in previous organizations you’ve worked with. We’d like to offer you a job at our place if you’re not employed elsewhere at the moment.”
The woman’s answer was (naturally) a no. It was a straight denial and the next thing that caller knew was that the phone was hung up.
But the phone rang again, and this time a new and more friendly voice of a woman said:
“We’re really committed to working with such a brilliant individual as you. Please take you’re time and rethink on this!”
And then, as if highly intended, the woman lowered down her tone and more laid emphasis on each syllable,
“If it’s all about the baby that you’re going to have, do not worry, you’ll be entitled to a maternity leave four months before you’re due. Or if the pay cheque is what worries you, let me be clear, once you agree to work, money is something you will never worry about!”
Money is something you will never worry about.
Either the woman’s voice had something to do with the lines seeming so fascinating or it was her inner self, the one she forcefully denied was a part of her, who wanted to re-explore the possibilities of the working life again.
At the same night, when her husband sat at the dinner table, she spoke out on her decision to trying out this opportunity. She expected a happy response out of him. But he happened to be horrified at her decision.
He knew that she was unwell and not fully prepared to venture back into the job world. In addition to that, she had been carrying a child. If she were to take much stress it would only result in her condition worsening.
He gently asked her to deny the offer and wait until she was ready.
“But they’re paying me huge! Not that we’re in short of it right now, but... it is always good to have-”
“That money won’t be of any value if it didn’t bring us peace. My priority is my family’s health. You and our child need all the time in the world for yourselves now. You can wait until then. This matter is closed for not.”
But, the woman was not ready to accept his conclusions. It was her life and she had the right to take such decisions for herself.
And his thoughts turned out to be correct.
The work drained out everything that was left of her. She would always be busy with it, so busy that they had to hire a house help to keep their house running. So busy that she did not have time to look at herself. So busy that she forget she had a family to back home to. So busy that she forgot that she had a baby growing inside her.
Her personal life tore apart. She’d come home late at night, all frustrated and worked up and yell at her concerned husband for no reason. She’d go on and on, without taking a while to think and curse him for trying to impose an imperfect life upon herself, her young daughter and her unborn child.
This went on for months and months, until the time of her delivery.
Post delivery, ignoring the advice of her doctors and husband, she returned back to working. No matter how much he’d try to persuade her, she would not listen to her husband. He tried to talk to her on all subjects, but she avoided it all. She wouldn’t talk on anything, especially her work.
Gradually, to the changes in her behavior, the couple started to grow apart and the family fell apart. Fed up of it all, the husband had started to face his share of troubles in trying to adjust with her. She’d have one-sided fights with him. Feeling herself to be the one who’s ignored, unheard and not looked after, the wife, harbored hate towards her husband.
With this going on for days to weeks to months, the husband had stopped to take care of his family. It was like he had declared that his only role in the family was that of a father, who’d check up on the kids— once in a while.
He had turned selfish. She’d keep coming back to the family for her kids but he didn’t. He had changed, for good.
When he decided that he could take no more of it, the father to packed his bags and left his wife on her own, to deal with a six month old, who wouldn’t stop crying his eyes out and a bewildered decade old child.
Torn apart from her fate, the mother decided to erase all of it and move away from her past. Letting a few months pass in pain, she prepared herself and shifted to another country with her daughter and son.
After a few months at the new place, when the daughter, who was on the verge to step into the thirteenth year of her life, thought that her life had finally become stable, her luck punched her, right on the face and this time the mark that it left back was inerasable.
She was clamped to the organization that her mother worked for, against her free will. But -without a question- she had no way out.
Slowly and steadily, she started to get along with the people there and settled herself to the ways things went on in there. She was assigned onto a three-man squad, which started off as the ‘I-kill-this-person-if-I-see-them-any-longer’ brats’ gang and went on to become the ‘We-are-inseparable-no-matter-what’ team. They were all termed as geniuses who’d be the pioneers to the youngies’ in the organization. Anyhow, it was her life and there was no way it’d let her be at peace.
After returning from a not so normal diplomatic journey alongside their team leader, she and her fellow mate headed straight to research lab to reunite with the the smarty of their squad, who was kept back from the mission to help the organization with some official programming affair. They seated themselves next to the computer that he was working on. Weird as it could be, he avoided meeting their eyes as he greeted them with a tepid welcome.
On being asked for the reason for his strange behavior, the guy lifted his head for a minute and blurted out monotonously staring at the wall, “I... I overheard the head say ‘in that he’ll split us! I don’t wanna leave ya’ guys.”
“Whatever? Do you think this is the time to joke?” their unflappable teammate spoke in his always phlegmatic tone.
“I don’t know, but I–”
“–should get back home and take some rest.” she said trying winding up the books that lay in front of the smarty, as the other guy helped him to be on his feet.
It was a silent ride back home, which was not overlooked by their team leader, who adjusted the rear view mirror of his car and as the smarty got down,
“If there’s anything bugging you, stop pondering on it!” he winked at him, to which he smiled back. “The same goes with the two of you!”
When she reached home the first person she ran into was her younger brother, who stood at the threshold of the front door-panic-stricken and unbalanced. At her sight, he ran over to the front gate and hugged her tightly. She did not realize that he had cried his eyes red, until they made it to the porch.
“What is it, brother? What is it you say? Is it mother? She has locked herself again? Was she shouting at her own self? Crying as well? No, no, don’t worry, she might have made herself see one of those sappy movies again. Yes, you’re right, she might be fussing over the sad ending of some novel. Yeah, yeah, it could be that it is her head, giving her the trouble! Okay, now smile. Yeah, see, looks perfect on you. And, oh you’re yawning! Go to bed now. No? Then the person who makes to your room first shall be the winner. Three. Two. One. Tee-hehe!”
As and when her brother finally stopped making her to lie to him again and again, about her day and the stuff she did, he drifted into his slumber. She moved outside the room on her tip-toes, slowly walked down the staircase and made it to her mother’s room.
Her most of the time enigmatic mother, sat cross legged against the headboard with her head in her hands. On hearing her voice, thrice or more than that, the mother pulled herself out of trance,
“Come on in. We need to talk.”
She was beyond baffled when her mother announced, in a demanding voice, for her to accept her decision and retire to her grandma’s. She had no choice but to submit to her.
“No buts or hows or whys! It’s decided.”
The next day, the day of her departure, the first person to be informed of her sudden withdrawal was her team leader. Being a few years older to his tutees, the young man was far more accustomed to ‘goodbyes’ and ‘see you soons’.
“Why are you so anxious? New place, new people, new experiences! And on the brightest corner, you have you’re back freed from this lumpy organization! Cheers to victory!”
“I don’t know Mr. I-am-always-a-gemütlich! But, tell them on my behalf, maybe? I don’t think I can face them.”
“Hmm… if that’s the case, you can count on me.” the team leader patted her head and sent her off with a smile.
The last time she saw her, standing in front of her, holding onto a her younger brother’s hand; the only question that she asked her mother with a ‘see you soon’ was: when would I get to see you and younger brother again? Her mother, for the first time in years smiled cheekily and pulled her daughter into a hug. She did not say anything but pulled away and left. When she placed her hands on her hair, she knew that they were wet.
“Good bye, elder sister! I will see you the soonest.” the little four year old turned back and waved towards his sister with all his might. “Yes, very soon!” she giggled in an attempt to control her tears and waved back.
The girl had no clue of being a part of an extend family until her uncle showed up with a Vanilla ice cream, bribing her to move to her maternal granny’s house. She gladly accepted the treat, not revealing that her mother had already set the matter straight.
Accustomed to constant changes since childhood, the girl easily adjusted and blended herself into the town life at her grandma’s. It was a picturesque town, full of life with it’s breathtaking scenery, everyday hustle and bustle and fascinating people. The streets hummed with tourists from all around and markets danced with varieties of delicacies and goods. These qualities of the town and her grandmother’s subtle approaches towards keeping her happy distracted her from the sadness that she had walked over.
During the sober summer days, the girl lay restless on the grass holding onto to a new book every single day. She had a fill-my-stomach craving for reading books. She’d receive loads of them as in a birthday present or a random pamper. Her hair would tied into two pigtails, fixed at the ends with bands made of flowers. Her grandma’s hands had the same soothing touch of her mother’s.
She missed them. Father, mother, brother and her squad. But, somehow she had learnt to avoid those feelings. They would only bring bitterness. And this town life, it was far away, far from all agony. She loved this town life. She wanted to believe she would always continue to. Unlike the previous places she had lived in, this town had nothing straining to run away from.
Scratch all of it. The carrier of fate had decided to remain uncreative and let the same thing repeat over and over in her life.
That Town, the picturesque, flawless creation of Nature, saw it self be registered as a conflict torn town and a Siege- freed zone. Houses burnt, buildings bombarded, lives thrown into danger, diseases gulping down human immunity and information taken away.
An unforeseen attack, sudden and unformulated. Who would’ve guessed this: A nation, an entire sea away, would bluntly go rogue and rebellious and throw a brutal army of combatants in one of the most placid states of a country, as in an act of revenge for the harm that the latter caused to their nation in a war that took place decades ago.
The creepy winds that sneaked in from the corners of the creaking window, whistled in sarcasm, making the girl cry even more desperately than before. There lay all of their bodies, lifeless, being carried away wrapped in white sheets as the neighbours sung laments and cried on top of their voices. She did not go down, more than seeing her extend family’s lifeless bodies, hearing peoples’ cry and their urge to console her tore her from within.
The door opened before her and on the threshold stood a tall, bold man. She was petrified as she recognized his face. She got up from the corner of her bed and ran over to him. He kept one of his hand on her right shoulder and wiped her tears with the other.
“Enough of those tears now. They don’t have any place in your life now. Let’s go find her.”
“She who will erase your pain. She who will erase the pains of all of you’re kind.”
In the night that attended to all her laments, the fourteen year old had left everything behind in order to get her. She was going to find her. She definitely was.
The man trained her well enough to develop a sincere strength in all three aspects of her life that would find themselves drained out, namely physical, mental and social. On being assured that she was ready to be out there on herself, he told her that his part in her journey was had terminated, but he had an inkling that they would see each other again. He entrusted her with his plan of action and asked for her to have it undisclosed from anyone expect her right hand woman- an upright auxiliary who was also her custodian.
The plan, now set in concrete, took her back to the same city that her mother had tried to erase out for her. But this time it did not matter to her. She had a goal. A goal that she’d submit her all for. It was not the same girl- the same naïve blithe-who’d act like an unconcerned brat worried only about stupid matters of meagre value.
Everything had changed and for a matter of fact this ‘everything’ would be a subject to change for an undefined time, from her surroundings to the people she would care for, from her duties to the name she’d respond to. Her life described in a nutshell would be: abandoning everything that tended to form any sort of connection with any event from the past, present or future. She would have to give up on her identity and act out well as.
A rare move that no human would’ve imagined.
“Now, young miss, first things first, we need find you a new name that’s go in all of you’re documents.”
“Documents? What for?”
“To enroll in a good institute.”
“Institute? But I have never attended one! In the situation that we lived in, my parents thought it would be best for me to be homeschooled.”
“That, young miss, was your freaking past! The juggle shall begin now!”
“Oh, is that so? Throw the balls! I’m ready!”
The last two years of her academic life had to be the most hectic ones for her. Constantly missing classes for practice sessions, not completing notes and projects and the fact that she hated studying any subject but math and programming put a lot of load on her. Often she would sleep in a class or two and have herself saved by her friends.
She was a backbencher, a naughty prankster always under the teacher’s suspicion, yet her well behaved conduct and good manners won over some excuses.
Time flew like a full-fuelled jet plane, in between working out with weights and math problems and learning analysis to English dialogues.
However, all of this was just to show her a teaser of what was in store for the future.
Are you enjoying my ongoing story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, ridzynchrotxWrite a Review