He always called her a hypocrite. A big FAT hypocrite. Whenever she held his hand and whispered ‘I LOVE YOU‘, he would remove his hand, smirk and say, “I know you are lying.” Maybe he did not hear it, but her heart would shatter into thousand pieces. Brave that she was, she would collect the pieces, glue them together and have a brand new heart to offer to him the next day. I admired her a lot. Admired her for her patience, her love, her endurance, her affection, her undying spirit. He will come around, I know. I must have done something that must have hurt him. He just has to see how much I love him. He will come back, you wait and watch, she would say. I would nod my head and silently pray that he sees the love in her sinking eyes. She was so hopeful.
The sun was about to bid adieu in that warm evening. I was standing in my balcony sipping hot chai and thinking about my next article when my phone rang. I kept my chai on the table and picked the receiver. “Hello” I said. “Hello, Hello….. Hello…., Prutha Can you hear me?” I was stunned. It was her. “Minakshi what happened? Are you alright?” I inquired. Her cold voice and her cold answer sent shivers through me. “I dont want to live anymore. I have lost it all. He raised his hand on me. I am shattered. Prutha, I could only think of you. I do not want to die as I have a child. What will happen to her? Please help me….” She cried. I was shocked. “Aman raised his hand on you? What the hell? Are you all right? Do you need medical attention? Should I call the Police Minuk? Say something….” I nearly screamed. “No!!! please do not call anyone. I want you. Can you please come to my place? Please I beg you to come over Prutha. Please….” She sobbed and hung up the phone.
I was dazed. To stunned to move. I slowly kept the receiver down. Suddenly it dawned on me that I could not do anything. I had to see her first. I went into my bedroom, changed and rushed to her place. I rang the doorbell. She opened the door. I was devastated looking at her. She looked so lifeless. Her lose hair, her bleeding lip, her fresh wounds were screaming of the agony she had just faced. I moved in and hugged her. She hugged me back and began crying. “Shush baby….Shush…. ” I tried to console her. I knew it was a futile attempt. She cried her heart out and I let her. I led her to the sofa and we sat on it still hugging each other. She was not ready to let go of me. I rubbed her back. After a while, she let go of me. I caressed her head, wiped her eyes and cheeks with my hand and cleared her messy hair from her face.
“Where is he?” I asked. “He has gone out….” she replied meekly. “Where is Nikita? Has that B****** hit her too?” I asked angrily. She shook her head. “Nikita is with my parents. Today is my anniversary. I wanted to spend some alone time with him and therefore I left her there…” She said and began to sob again. I did not say anything else. I made her get up, took her to the washroom and cleaned her wounds. Her blood had dried up at the corner of her lip. I gently washed it with cold water. There were some scratch marks on her neck and hands. I cleaned those up too. I took her back to the bedroom and helped her change into her nightclothes. She obeyed all my orders like a small scared child. “Minuk…will you have something?” I asked. “I am not hungry Prutha” She meekly replied. “Don’t be stupid. Come on… I will get you some milk. Ok?” I insisted.
I went to the kitchen, took the milk from the refrigerator and poured it in a vessel. I lit the stove and placed the vessel on it. I poured some turmeric and sugar in the milk and waited for the milk to boil. ‘What pleasure does a man get in hitting a woman? Is this the only way he proves his masculinity?‘ my mind bawled. The milk began boiling. I turned off the gas and poured the turmeric milk in a cup. I brought it to the bedroom. Minakshi was lying on the bed with her eyes closed. “Here dear, have this. You will feel good.”I said as I placed the cup on the writing desk and then helped her to sit. She refused to have it. I forced her and she reluctantly finished the milk.
I took the cup back to the kitchen, poured water in it and rinsed it. Suddenly, I looked up at the watch. It was 7.45 pm. Wow!! I had no idea. I had to go home. I finished rinsing the cup and placed it in the holder. I came back to the room. Minuk was sitting by the window staring outside. I went near her. I slowly stroked her hair. “Minuk Listen! I have to go….” I said. She suddenly came out of her trance, looked at the watch and looked at me. She seemed all nervous and frightened. “Please Prutha, dont go. Please stay. I want you here. Please stay….please…” She began to sob again. No matter what I said, I could not console her. She begged me to stay. Seeing no other way out, I agreed to stay. I assured her that I would not leave her side. Although I was worried, I had to be there for her. I went to the hall and made a few phone calls. I made rice and dal for the dinner. We quietly had it and I put her to bed. She was tired and therefore, she dozed off instantly. I changed into one of her nightgowns and I slept next to her. I was tired too, but I did not fall asleep. I always carried a book in my purse. I brought it out and began to read it.
At sharp 2.00 am, I could hear the sound of keys turning in the main door. He had entered. He walked in the bedroom. I looked at him. He was shocked to see me there. He did not move, just kept staring at me and then at his sleeping wife. I sat upright on the bed and I knew that I was ready to hit him if he even made a feeble attempt to hit his wife or me…
To be continued……