Gautham had left the room to attend a call that came from the landline which needed his attention.
Poornima was told to stay in the chamber until DSP gets back.
The empty, lonely room reminded her of her early married days in the apartment that she terribly hates now.
She was mostly left alone for the entire day. While her husband finds his way home in the midnight and leaves for work even before she wakes up.
Each day passed by with the hope, won’t he come home for dinner tonight. Her inside churned with pain as night turns day only to find him not at home to spend time with her.
Especially the days, she needed him the most. During her pregnancy.
But he never knew about it. She couldn’t blame him for not being with her.
She had let him go.
The room door made noises bringing her back to reality.
“I’m sorry for keeping you wait.”
“You have kept me waiting long enough—
I had gone far into my past only to come back to tell you again” she was exhausted. With the day and with her life.
Yet Poornima continued for the sake of her daughter. She needs to get back to her.
Gautham tried to understand the meaning behind those lines and proceeded with the session.
“Okay. Tell me about your daughter” Her eyes flicked from his file to his eyes.
She smiled as recalled the moment she held her daughter in her arms.
She was so tiny when she came into this horrible world, She was cute, fragile and she had her father’s eyes. One thing that I loved the most in her.
But she was an accident, not made out of love though” she laughed and took a moment to study Gautham.
“Kalidasan was very helpful. He used to bring me for check-ups and help me with anything whenever I needed.
It was nice to have an elder member in the family as a moral support.
Days went by, Netra turned two in a blink of an eye, that I realised there was no much money left for me and Netra to live.
I had to work. So, I left my daughter with Kalidasan and Janaki believing that they will take care of my daughter”
Poornima looked everywhere trying to control the tears that’s about to burst out, remembering the bitter reality.
“You know things in city like Chennai are quiet expensive and when you have no enough money...
I felt bad. Mad, actually.
Mad at my parents for getting me married to a man who can’t take the responsibility of his family that he promised to take care.
Mad at his parents for bringing up such a son.
Mad at him for being selfish and leaving us just like that.
Mad at myself for believing him though he never loved me.
But I had to work. I need to support both of us which turned me into a bad mother. Leaving my daughter with someone else to earn money isn’t a great thing. That’s shit.
I had to do overtime in order for me to be able to provide enough essentials for me and for Netra.
I had to sacrifice the most important time of my daughter’s life. I missed to witness her grow up.” she shut her eyes for a moment.
Contemplating, why even is she telling her sorrowful story to him.
And was he moved with her backstory, she wondered.
What good can it do, anyway? Yet she continued.
“In short, I only spend my time with Netra late nights. She will be sleeping most of the time.
I feared, she might forget who I am for her”
Poornima stopped and stared nowhere in particular. She went completely silent and wasn’t even aware of her surrounding all of a sudden.
Sadness engulfed her. Neither could she cry for it nor could she fix it back.
Gautham cleared his throat loud, she had been silent for long now.
Poornima came out of her blankness and looked around.
“Go on” he gestured her to continue but before she could go on, the door knocked once again.
“Excuse me, sir. The DCP is on the phone” the constable informed.
Gautham groaned. He hated being disturbed during work but he can’t ignore it either.
“The call is regarding your family, he requested you to speak to him immediately, sir”
He pushed the chair with much force and walked towards the door. Leaving Poornima alone in the lonely room again.
The lonely time gave her wondering mind liberty to think of her past. The thought of her husband kept bubbling in her mind.
Today seemed to be too much.
Maybe she needed him. His support at the moment.
Poornima begin to dream of a beautiful marriage in her earlier twenties and when she met him. She knew it was him that she will spend the rest of her life with.
She fell in love with him the day their eyes met. He had the most beautiful chocolaty eyes she had ever seen. His eyes became her favourite since then.
They married two months later after the alliance was fixed. Poornima was always left alone in that apartment.
And when he comes home early out of the blue, he would be drunk.
Probably that’s when truth finds its way out. In one of those drunken day, he spoke more or less open heartedly.
“I — I like you. I really do but... I can’t have you in my life...
I need to chase my dream and I don’t want you to wait for me... I won’t be a good husband...
But I really like you... and I don’t want to hurt you... keeping you with me and not giving you any happiness...” he fell without completing his words. The alcohol had taken control over his body as he collapsed on the bed.
Poornima sat next to him and stared at his handsome face. She ran her hand through his soft curls, that day he showed his deviant side of him, she thought.
“I’m sorry. This won’t happen again.” Gautham’s voice echoed around the room along with the noise the door.
“I hope so” she replied sternly.
Gautham nodded and checked his watch. It showed 4.20 p.m.
This interrogation session is taking longer than usual.
“Tell me about Netra, Kalidasan and Janaki.”
“I always considered them as my parents and grandparents for Netra. I trusted them and left Netra to grow up with them most of the time.
I spent less time with my daughter. So, it’s pretty hard to tell how compassionate they were to my daughter. As far as I knew, they loved her.
Three years had gone by just that way. I hardly had five hours to spend with Netra on working days and the only day I could have her with me was Sundays.
In one of those Sundays, Netra came to me complaining about body aches. And when asked Netra only mumbled, Tata(grandfather) and Pati(grandmother). Apart from those words she said nothing but kept sobbing.
The first that came up to my mind was, did they hurt my daughter?” she had a sad smile plastered on her face.
“Did you confronted them?” Gautham asked. He had his chin rested on his fist, concentrated on Poornima’s story.
She nodded while she had her eyes glued to the table.
I was so stupid. So dumb. Blinded with their fake love. I believed them.
When Janaki told it was normal for kids in her age to have bruises. I believed her.
I thought maybe yes. Netra is an active girl, she might have fell many time and thus the pain and bruises.
I let go of the matter and gave her ointment for her aches. How stupid?” Poornima shrugged and shook her head side to side. Embarrassed at her own action.
“But you believed them. It’s not your mistake. That’s not stupid, Poornima.”
She only huffed to his comment.
Gautham tried to conclude that this must be a child abuse case. But again what could have happen so bad that she went to the verge of killing the man?
Did Kalidasan tried to sell Netra away?
Is he involved in child trafficking?
Gautham couldn’t make a guess yet.