After 30 minutes, Ishani kept the phone on the table and leant back on the sofa.
Thank God, Jithu had kept his word and hadn’t mentioned anything to Annie.
And she had avoided any question that Annie had asked surrounding him. She was thankful that she had said nothing that would rouse Annie’s suspicion.
Her head had started to ache terribly with tensions bombarding every bit of her brain. Picking up the mobile, she got up from the sofa and went into Annie’s bedroom.
Although she had managed to move almost every bit of belonging to her friend’s room but somehow she had forgotten the medicine box. Grimacing, she started to think of other options but avoiding going into her bedroom would mean a terrible and bad migraine by morning. She let out an irritated sigh and got up from the bed.
Almost rushing or rather running, she quickly picked up the medicine box from her room and came out.
And then banged the door shut as if making a statement that this room no longer belonged to her and she hated it from the core of her heart.
As she again sat down on Annie’s bed, she took out couple of pain killers and had them. After quickly changing her clothes, she slipped inside the covers and pulled them on her.
An hour had passed but still no sleep. Every time she closed her eyes, her mind kept repeating the words that she had heard at Subhash Kaka’s study.
Words, which had burned her heart; words, which had turned the one and only blood relation she cherished and loved into ashes.
Ishani sat up and shook her head.
The deception she had faced in the last couple of days somehow had managed to destroy the human emotion called love inside her. If it hadn’t been for Annie and the children then she would have actually given up all hope.
The burning of tears pricked the inner corner of her eyes and she pressed them hard.
Shedding tears will be wastage of energy especially if it’s for people who had betrayed her.
But there was no way she could control the emotion rising in her. Finally after a lot of struggle, she gave up.
Sobbing uncontrollably, she let the torrents of emotion just flow. Years of neglect from her family, her grandmother’s death, losing the best friend she had, years of struggle to survive and finally Ajeet’s deception slid down her cheeks.
And Ishani did not make any attempt to brush them off.
After a while, even though the tears had dried up, the aftermath of the emotions rammed hard against the sinews of her brain making it impossible for her to think anything else.
She needed sleep; a dreamless numbing sleep.
Picking up the medicine box from the bedside table, she opened it and then took out two sleeping pills. Without thinking much farther, she gulped them and switched off the light.
And as the medicine drugged her, she slipped into deep slumber where faces and words just vanished into obscurity.
But one face kept hovering in the deep recesses of her brain every now and then.
The face she never wanted to see again.
The face she wanted to wipe off from her memory.
Morning ventured with more heaviness than before. As Ishani opened her eyes, the sun light beaming into the room stung hard. She blinked trying to focus and then pulled the covers over her head. The darkness inside blanket was like a shield against the world waiting outside. But within seconds, the world rushed in with its ugliness and deception as the events of the past swirled inside her head.
Without moving out of the blanket, she stretched out her hand and fetched her phone. As she unlocked it, the world just tumbled in.
Missed calls and messages from Annie, Jithu and Subhash Kaka bombarded her phone all at once.
Taking a deep breath, she messaged Annie that she will call back later. And relayed the same message to Jithu.
And then dialled Subhash’s number.
“Where are you?” she heard Subhash Kaka ask in a panicked voice just as the call connected.
“I was sleeping Kaka. Sorry!”
“Hey no worries. I was just worried that’s all. Okay listen, I will have the papers ready by late afternoon. Could you come down to my place by 4, 4:30?”
“I’ll be there by 4:30, Kaka.”
“Great! See you then!”
She kept staring at the ceiling as if trying to fix the path she was supposed to walk on. But even after staring at it for more seconds than required she could figure out nothing.
Giving up, she got up from the bed and mechanically started getting ready for the NGO.
Somehow the past events had numbed her, if not totally but partially. She was thankful that she was able to block every negative feeling arising in her.
There were more important things to be taken care of than her feelings and emotions.
By the time she locked the door of her house, the determination in her increased by manifolds. She reached the NGO and immediately jumped into work. And as she finally came and sat down in her office it was already time for her to leave for Subhash’s house. She called Jithu and relayed the instructions for the night and she picked up her bag and exited her office.
Not knowing what triggered her to call for the children but she followed the instincts and did so. As all of them gathered around, she smiled and opened her arms.
The children shrieked with joy and rushed in for a group hug.
Feeling the prick of tears, she blinked her eyes vigorously. If anything ever happened to these children—
No, Ishani stop thinking on these lines. You will not let anything happen to them, ever.
Letting them go, she looked at all of them and smiled.
“Now all of you behave yourself and don’t pester Jithu too much.”
The children nodded with mischievous looks on their faces.
Smiling hugely, Ishani got up and left.
Just as the car stopped at the traffic light, her phone rang and picking it up from the seat, she looked at the caller ID.