It was very late and Suparna was walking alone in an alley which looked abandoned, but she knew there was a shadow following her. All her senses were sharp because of the fear in her heart. She was new to this place; no one has used this path. She was the first one to travel in this route. She didn’t know where her destination was, but she kept on walking down the alley. Suddenly there was a rustle behind her. Her fear increased and she increased her pace. She could feel something was behind her trying to pull her back. Whatever it was, Suparna was sure it didn’t want her to reach her destination. And then all of a sudden she felt a hand on her shoulders. Not able to withstand her fear anymore, Suparna screamed for help
“AAAAA!” Suparna screamed and then woke up with a jerk. It was just a dream. Her entire body was covered with sweat and her mind was in a frenzied state. Tears filled her eyes and she started to sob uncontrollably.
“Su! What happened? Another nightmare?” Anjali was asking her, trying to pacify her distraught room mate at the same time. Anjali and Suparna were working in the same call center and shared a room too. They have been acquainted for almost a year and they have become good friends. Suparna has been having these nightmares for a long time. Anjali has been trying to get her friend go to a doctor. But Suparna was so stubborn in this matter. Anjali didn’t know why, but she felt as if Suparna was hiding something.
It took longer than usual for Suparna to relax. She has been having these nightmares from the time she decided to leave her past behind and start a new life.
Nobody in her current life knew about her past. She has never uttered a word to any soul. Whenever people asked her about her past, she would evade the conversation. Only her employer knew about her and it made her feel very insecure. Even Anjali didn’t know and she was not willing to change the state. She didn’t have any dark secrets to hide, but she didn’t want to remember either.
“Yes Anju, am sorry for disturbing your sleep. I am terribly sorry. These nightmares never seem to go away. Every time, I try a new technique to get rid of these nightmares, they just seem to get worse”, Suparna explained to Anjali.
“That’s Okie, Su. Why are refraining from a doctor’s consent?”
“Please, Anjali. If I go to doctor, then he will ask me some questions which I don’t want to answer. I am sorry.”
“Okie. Leave it. Let’s get some rest. We will have to go to work in another five hours.”
Suparna couldn’t sleep again. She was tossing and turning in the bed trying to get some sleep. After sometime,she got up and went to the living room of the house that they were staying in, she opened her bag and took one of her diaries which was tattered. None of them knew that these diaries were a key to solve the mystery of her past. She has been trying to destroy it many times, but she never could bring herself to do that. She had been hoping that every day, there might be a change in life but it is the same. Now once again hoping that the new day might bring a change in her life, she started browsing through the pages of her diary.
“ 8th November, 1995
It was raining like cats and dogs today. But am happy, as our school declared holiday. I can play with the kids staying in the ground floor flat. As you already know, Mom is not feeling well, so I am doing my current year in school from my aunt’s house. I now have a big gang of friends. It has been a good year so far. I never thought could draw perfectly. But I got a good for one of my drawings. Now I know, am not that bad when it comes to drawing. I will have to just practice and work hard. No need of asking my sister to help me anymore. Okie. Aunt is calling me for lunch. She has made my favorite dish, vegetable biryani with potato fry. I am gonna go. Will meet you later. Bye”
“ 8:00 PM
I just read the entry I made in the morning. I was happy in the morning, but I feel very sad now. After having my lunch, I slept till 4:30 and then I got up .I freshened up myself and waited for the clock to strike 5:00. PM. It was my regular playtime. I went down and waited for my friends at the usual place. I waited for sometime and then aarthi, hema and suba came. They lived in the J block of our colony. We were waiting for the gals from the flat in ground floor. After sometime we started playing with the sand which was placed there for the repair going on in one of the houses. We built a sand castle and used some bricks as a fort so that no one will destroy it accidentally. After that we played the gals game of cuzzaway and caterpillar and zig – zag-zoom and ham cheese ham burger. Aarthi’s mom then called us saying that it was getting late and they had to do some homework. So we said tata and left. I went to Suganya’s house (the gal from the ground floor) to ask why she didn’t come to play.But when I went there, only Suganya’s dad and her grand ma was there. Uncle said Suganya and her mom have gone out . Uncle asked me to come inside. He was asking about how I felt about staying in aunt’s place and studying. I told him that I felt good and don’t feel much tired and I have lots of friends to play with. He was asking about my favourite heroes and heroines. I was answering him very enthusiastically. Suddenly, I felt Uncles hands inside my t-shirt and i tried to push him away. He held my hands and placed on his thighs. I took off my hands and pushed him on the floor and rushed home. I am so scared, I know he was gonna do something wrong and am too scared to say this to my aunt. I came home and vomited. I feel very bad. I can never forget whatever happened.Oh God ! I am so scared. I am not a bad gal. Why did he do like that. I hate him…………………….”
There were some more things written in the diary, but they were faded as they have been blotted by her tears. Suparna sat there, with silent tears flowing from her eyes. The memories were flooding through her mind. That incident is etched clearly in her mind. She felt a new urge of anger towards the man who had been the first to scar her beautiful mind, heart and soul. He was not the only one to do that. Suddenly, she was overwhelmed with so much grief ,that she was feeling as if she was not able to breath. There was a sudden thud on the floor. Suparna came back from her reminiscence with a jerk and saw that it was time to get ready for office. She didn’t know what made her to read the diary. “Maybe I was looking for some kind of explanation from the diary for these nightmares. But if I have to find it, I will have to go through diaries, but there is lot of them.” She decided, that she will complete one diary a day so that she can find an answer for her journey in abandoned alley ….
The Abandoned Alley
“Good Morning! Welcome to Informatics Helpline, How can I be of assistance?” Suparna could hear the voices of her colleagues offering assistance to various callers in their own way. She has been at work for the last two hours and didn’t have any calls to look into right now. She decided to take a break .
“Anju ! can u cover me up for 15 minutes. I need a break.”
“Okie Su!, But not more than 15 minutes, as I have a hunch that we are gonna be flooded with calls.”
“Thanks Anju, I will be back soon. Do you need anything?”
“No, am fine, thanks”
Suparna went to the pantry and made herself a cup of coffee .She sat in the table next to a glass window and her eyes started to wander the streets, observing all the people walking on the road. After sometime, her gaze fixed on a young couple who were holding hands and walking slowly. They looked so happy and peaceful together and this brought a smile on her face. Her memory started wandering backwards and came to a stop at the image of she and Rahul holding hands. He was the only person; she had ever come to love and still in love. He was her best friend in her college days. He knew everything about her except those incidents which had left her wounded. She fell in love with him and knew that he loved her too. She wanted to be true to him. So she told him everything that she had been hiding from him. She thought that he will understand, but his reaction was opposite to what she had expected. He slowly withdrew from her till there was no contact.
Not wanting to breakdown in the office, Suparna relaxed and found that it was almost 15 minutes. She left the pantry and on entering the work area, the same cacophony of voices greeted her. She went to her seat and carried on with her work after thanking Anjali. She became busy in the second half with a flood of calls just as Anjali had predicted. After a hectic day at work, Su and Anjali went back to their place. After having their dinner, they decided to turn in for the day. Suparna went to the living room and switched on the light and opened her satchel that contained her diaries and randomly picked one. It was diary of the year 1997. She immediately realized that it’s gonna be a long night.
“Hi there, 14th January 1997
I am in my native place in uncle’s house for the pongal celebration. This is the first time that we are coming to my native place for pongal. Usually we celebrate it in Chennai itself. Today morning, my brother was wearing a traditional dress called “panjakacham” in Tamil. I, bro and cousin sis went to the temple with our uncle in BLACKIE. That is the name of Uncle’s car. On her way back home, blackie stopped functioning. My brother had to walk 2 kms in his dress to get some fuel for the car. I was laughing at the image of my bro in his attire. He looked so funny.He was very angry and irritated that he had to roam around in the stupid attire and he was having trouble to make it stay.On reaching home, I shared this with everyone in house and we all had a laugh at my brother’s expense.Poor bro’s face went red with embarrassment. ha ha ha .”
Suparna was chuckling as she completed that entry on her diary. She turned sober as she missed her brother and the silly fights with him. She then browsed her entries and her hands stopped at the page dated March 28th 1997.
“Hi there, 28th March,1997
It has been a long time since I had the nightmare of that Uncle. But yesterday night , I woke up with fear because of that nightmare and couldn’t sleep after that. So I switched on the lights and started studying for the English –II exam that I had today.The question paper was very easy and am sure that I will definitely score a centum in it. If I do score well, mom had promised to get me a ladybird cycle. I have science exam tomorrow and am prepared for it. After the exam , I have to attend the special class for physics. So I will not be able to sleep in the afternoon, so I better get to sleep. But am still wondering about the nightmare. Hope I do not get the nightmare tonight. Ok then, bye Good night .Sweet dreams.”
Su knew what was gonna come in the next day’s entry and her hands were trembling as she turned the page. Her eyes were already filled with tears.
“Hi, 29th March, 1997
Why does it always happen to me? Life is so dirty. I don’t wanna live. I feel so dirty and like garbage. I feel like am gonna become crazy. Why do some human beings behave like animals and why is it that am so unfortunate, that am being picked up as a plaything by these animals. I am so scared. I am not sure whether to tell mom or not. I don’t want to school anymore. Hell, I don’t even wanna live anymore, let alone going to school. I never thought that physics sir would do something like this to me. HE is an animal. HE dirtied me. I fought him , but he was so strong. I screamed for help and this aayah saw my situation but she never helped me .Are her eyes blind or heart? I am so sick of people. I don’t know what to do . Am very scared. But am angry too, on this animal who should have been a teacher to me. For God’s sake these persons are supposed to be educated.They say that education turns you into a human being from an animal. But this pig still remained one even after education and gaining so much knowledge. There are so many pigs like this one roaming in this world and that’s what I am scared of. Am very scared. God HELP ME PLEASE.What mistake did I do ? Why this cruel punishment. It is more worse than a guillotine.. I don’t wanna live . I hate u god! . Y do u have to be so harsh on me. This is not fair at all. I hate you and I will never pray to you again. U are a bad god. U are very partial. I HATE U. Do u get that? U have lost one child. U could have done something, but u chose to do nothing . I HATE U AND I HATE MYSELF.What am I gonna do ..”
Su closed the diary as the memory replayed in her mind. She couldn’t control it. She started crying, still cursing God for scarring her at so an young age. She then remembered that her best friend died because of the same animal. She couldn’t bear the anguish and so committed suicide. She was also dirtied by the same animal. But nobody did anything. Even Su couldn’t do anything because of the fear. She hated the man who had spoiled her in young age never letting her be happy When she told Rahul about this , he felt betrayed and this memory served the purpose of separating them. All the anguish, that she had locked up in her heart resurfaced again and she felt like she was choking. All the memories were playing in her mind. Her eyes were drooping with tiredness and she realized that it was already 2:00 am in the morning. She went to the bedroom and lied down on the bed .She was crying and slowly she slipped into sleep with the memory of her first meeting with Rahul. The memory slowly drifted into the dream and she entered the abandoned alley once again.
The Abandoned Alley
Suparna was once again walking through the abandoned alley and had the familiar feeling of the shadow stalking her. She woke up with a start just as she felt the hands on her shoulders. She was covered with perspiration. Su turned to the clock and found that it was already six o clock in the morning. She gently woke up Anjali and started to get ready for the day with the hope that it would turn out to be good. After getting ready, both of them left for office at around 8:00 and reached by 8:45. They started their work at around 9:00.Both Su and Anju were dedicated to the job very much.
At around 11:00 A.M, Su decided to take a break.
“Hey Anju! Care to join me for a cup of coffee?”
“Definitely Su! I am tired and need a break. What’s refreshing than a cup of coffee. Come ,Let’s go. We can ask Harrison to cover for us”
“Hey Harry! Can u cover me and Su for 20 minutes? We are going for a break. That’s why. By the way , u need anything ?”
“No problem, u girls go and take a break. When u come back get me two bars of snickers.”
“Okie Harry, no problem”
Su and Anjali entered the pantry to find it completely void of people. Su went and sat at the same table where sat yesterday and started looking outside the glass window, as she sipped her cup of coffee. Anju, who was talkative by nature, was unusually silent. Su gazed through the street and her eyes found the same couple who were on the street yesterday. Her lips curved forming a smile on her face. Su turned to Anjali and was shocked to see tears in her eyes.
“Hey Anju! What happened? Why are you crying? You know you can tell me ,don’t you?”
“Yeah Su ! I know and I was going to tell you.Well, It’s Sanjay. Well, you know that I proposed to him and he was disappointed .So he started avoiding me . So I just lied to him saying that I was just confused when I proposed to him and now I am clear that am not in love with him. After that, he became normal and we started talking just like before.But, whenever he flirts with me or say some thing romantic, I feel happy .At the same time ,its very painful when I realize that he doesn’t mean anything he says. It feels like he is tearing my heart.”
“Hey Anju ! I know what you are going through is painful. But you have got to be strong.Think on the positive side,atleast now you are able to talk to him.I remember how miserable you were during the days when he avoided talking to you. I have a feeling that he also loves you,but hasn’t realized it yet.But we can’t be sure until he says so. I know its very difficult for you , but you have to wait. Now come on, cheer up ! Don’t worry. Even if Sanjay doesn’t loves you back, you will have Swamy who loves you so much .. he he”
“Prat ! That’s not funny. I shudder at the sight of the guy who is just an replica Snivelly Snape. I will rather be heartbroken than to be with that guy. Uuugh!”
“Now, that’s the Anju I know.Come, Let’s go!”
After the chit chat Su and Anju left for the work area. After a hard day at work, they left for hime .It was Su’s turn today to cook.Since Anju was still upset,Su decided to surprise her with her favorite dish,Dosai with Chicken kurma.She went out and returned with chicken .Anju was asleep on the couch.Su started to prepare the dishes and finished it in two hours. Anju woke up to the mouth watering aroma of chicken.After the dinner, Anju went to the bedroom, to talk to Sanjay for sometime.
Su went to the living room and opened the bag that had all the diaries in it.She picked up a diary and found that it was of the year 2008.This was a gonna be a night full of pleasant memories. She browsed the pages and stopped in May 2008
“Hi There, 21st May 2008
I had my arrear exam in DSP today. I hope to pass. I have already got my DOJ in July. Hope by that results will come. Am very nervous. I don’t know what will happen if I don’t get through. All my relatives know that I am placed , but they don’t know that I have an arrear and my career prospects depend on the result. You know what ? I got a new friend request in Orkut from a guy called Rahul. I accepted it, as he had mentioned that he also was a great fan of HP.”
Su turned the page with a smile on her face.She knew that the entries in the pages will mostly be about Rahul.
“Hi There, 27th May 2008
You know what? I chatted with Rahul for four hours in the net. We have so much things in common.He is also an HP fan.His favourite pair onscreen also is Shahrukh and Kajol.He seems to know ,what am thinking. I am not able to talk glibly to him, like I do with others.I have already told him lots about me except those ……… He gave me his mobile numbers today so that I can talk to him whenever I feel like.”
Su was grinning as she finished reading the entry. She was getting close to him, but she had not realized it.
“Hi There, 4th June,2008
Today results were published. But I didn’t get my results yet. It will take some more time. I talked with Rahul for two hours over the phone. It was so good. His voice was awesome. We decided to meet up next weekend. Am so eager to meet him.”
“Hi there, 14th June,2008
You know what?Am so happy. I met Rahul today. He is very handsome. God, his eyes were mesmerizing and very piercing.We met in Abirami mall, since it was close to both of us. I went to the mall and searched for him.So I had to go out and call him from a phone booth as I don’t have mobile phone. I called him up and asked me if I was the girl in chocolate color salwar. I said yes. He said that he saw me coming inside the mall and looking lost. I asked then,where he was sitting. He said that he was sitting beside a family with a baby. I went back and found him playing with the baby. He looked so cute. The meeting was supposed to be for only 45 minute, but we talked for 3 hours. He went to order apple juice for the both of us and on his way back, there was a small kid with a hat standing. He stopped and played with the kid for sometime. It was so good to watch him.It was so good talking to him.He was so polite and gentle.We talked about so many silly things which made perfect sense at that time.But now thinking back, if anyone had listened to our conversation, they would have thought that we were mad. Thanks to Orkut! I have a good friend now..”
Su was nostalgic by the time she finished reading the entry. Rahul is the only person that she missed most from her past life. She loved him so much that it hurt her in the end.She was feeling sad and sleepy.She turned off the light and placed the diary back in the bag and went to the bedroom.She closed her eyes with the image of Rahul holding her hand which slowly drifted to the abandoned alley.
Sorry for the very much delayed post. I was caught in a web of issues. It took me so much time to escape from it.Will post regularly henceforth.
The Abandoned Alley
Su woke up with a jerk and found herself looking at Anjali’s worried face. She convinced Anjali that she was fine but Anjali didn’t believe. Both of them started to get ready for the office. They reached office and started working after checking their mails. There were lots of calls that needed to attended and it kept them glued to their seats. Su was not even able to take her usual 15 minutes coffee break. Time flew by and it was lunch time already. Su and Anju left for the cafeteria. Anju was talking over phone with Sanjay; so Su bought the food coupons for both of them. Su was thinking about the memories that she read last night. She was so immersed in her thoughts that she didn’t notice her coupon number blinking on the screen.
“Madam, what is your coupon number?”
Su came to her senses and found that people were staring at her. She mumbled an apology and left the counter with the food that she had ordered for herself and Anju. Anju was still talking over the phone and Su was reminded of her training days when she used to speak with Rahul over the phone for hours. She missed Rahul so much. Su wiped her tears. She had thought that leaving her past behind and leading a new life will not be painful. But she had been wrong. The pain was still there even now and it was becoming worse as days went by. She felt very jealous of the people around her who were very happy without any fear and worries.
She longed to be carefree just like them. But she has never been able to, ever since the day when she lost her innocence. She has always been with a constant fear. She had lost interest in everything until the day Rahul entered her life. He had turned her world upside down, right from the first day. He was the one who had brought genuine smile on her face after a long time and to bring back her confidence. But now, he too had left her.
Su heard someone calling and found Anju waving her hand.
“Yeah Anju! Why are u shouting?”
“I have been calling u for the last five mins? Guess u were in ur own world.”
“Oh ! Am sorry. I was just thinking and I guess that I got carried away.”
“It’s ok. Come! Let’s go”
Su left the cafeteria with Anju and started the work immediately. It was more hectic than it had been in the morning. Fortunately, their day ended soon and both of them left for home, exhausted.
Su was very anxious about the memories that was gonna read that night. She went to the living room and switched on the light .Wishing that it wouldn’t be distressing memories, she opened the satchel and picked a diary with her eyes closed. She slowly opened her eyes and found that it was the year 2009
“ FEB 2009 1st February,2009
I am so happy today. I proposed my love to Rahul today and you know what? HE TOO LOVES ME… hehe..
Unbelievable isn’t it? But I am so happy. I am lucky to have him in my life. But one thing that still worries me, is that how will he react when I tell him about that incident in my life. I am afraid that I will leave me. I can’t hide it too. I need to tell him soon…
What? Oh u wanna know how I proposed him.? Okie .Will tell u wait…..
Well u know that I have been waiting for the right time to confess my love to him.. Yesterday ,Anupama called and told me that she was in love with Raju and even Raju loves her, And then the day before yesterday, both Arun and Sanjana called up and confessed that they were in love with each other and they just now realized it. They wanted me to be the first person to know about it. It was as if the atmosphere was filled with love. Any conversation that I had with any of them finally ended with the topic LOVE.I couldn’t wait anymore. So I decided to call Rahul and tell him everything. It was a risk that I had to take , but I needed to get it out of my system.So I called him and this is what we spoke..
ME : Hello, Rahul?
RAHUL: Hey Sweetie!
ME: Are u busy, right now?
RAHUL: No, tell me. What’s up?
ME: ….. Listen, I need to tell u something. But don’t talk in between. Just listen to what I have got to say. Can u do that ?
RAHUL: Of course
ME: OK. You may be shocked or disappointed or even angry when I finish speaking….. here it goes.. I think I am in love with you.
No No … I AM IN LOVE WITH YOU… I don’t know whether you feel the same way or not. But I just needed to tell you this as you r my best friend. I don’t hide anything from u and I didn’t want to hide this too..That’s why am telling u this..
RAHUL: Hey! U know what ? U were correct. I am really angry with u ..
ME: I am so sorry …
RAHUL : Wait. Don’t talk in between. You had ur chance to speak what ever u wanted to. Now its my turn. As I said I am angry with you. You always be the first to do everything. Always ahead of me. Here I was, planning a romantic way to propose to you. But you just spoiled all my plans by just saying that u were in love with me like eating a piece of cake.
ME: What ? What r u saying? I am not understanding anything..
RAHUL: My sweetie, the brilliant gal who sometimes becomes an idiot. What I am trying to say is I TOO AM IN LOVE WITH YOU.I LOVE U SWEETIE..
RAHUL: Hey Su! What happened ?
ME: Nothing, I just pinched myself to check whether it’s a dream or reality. IT is real… I LOVE U RAHUL.
RAHUL: I LOVE U. But am still angry with u?
ME: What for ?
RAHUL: You spoiled my plans remember?
ME: Okie. Tell u what ? Why don’t u propose to me again? Anyhow, I don’t know what ur plan was.Surprise me..
RAHUL:Now, that’s a good idea. I am gonna sweep you off ur feet.Watch out!
ME: ..giggle.. I am so happy. U have no idea how much tensed I was.
RAHUL: So that’s why you were not speaking properly?
RAHUL:..So now the wolf is out of the basket, I guess?
ME: Oh yes .. Now what do we do?
ME:When? Where ?
RAHUL: Let’s see about that..
We spoke for 5 hours on the phone.. I feel like am on top of the world . he he ;-) “
Su smiled and turned the pages. There were more entries that had many phone conversations. Those were the happiest days of her life.
The day did start wonderfully. It’s Valentine’s Day today. I gave Rahul a shirt as a gift and he gave me music CD of BSB.
We went to citi centre for shopping. We spent the day shopping and then we watched a movie in the afternoon. In the evening,we went to restaurant for dinner. Rahul had reserved a table. The ambience of the restaurant was too good. The restaurant had been decorated beautifully. It was an amazing sight. Music was playing in the background. We had our dinner. Just as we finished the dessert, I heard the music stop and I heard Rahul’s voice. But Rahul was sitting in front of me with his mouth closed. I could still hear Rahul’s voice. I was confused. It was Rahul’s voice delivering the famous Varanam Ayiram dialogue “Hi Malini, I am Krishnan”. But the names were changed. I was amazed. The dialogue didn’t end the same way .Rahul was professing his love through a poem. I turned to see Rahul on his knees with a rose in his hand.As soon as the poem ended ,
“Su, I love you so much and I wanna spend my life with only u and nobody else. Will u accept my love ?”
I found myself nodding and I kissed him on his cheek.He was surprised but happy. I hugged him and whispered, “ I love you so much” in his ears. When he hugged me back, I felt secure and had nothing to fear about. We left the restaurant and returned home in his car.
We stopped two blocks away from my home. Rahul took my hands in his.
“So how was the surprise”, he asked.
“It was wonderful and am happy that am in love with u”
“Good to know that u liked it. I was worried that may be u wouldn’t like it.”
“Oh really ? “
“Yes , I was very much tensed as I love u so much.” Saying that he kissed my lips and without realizing what I was doing I kissed him back. I didn’t know where all the passion came from as it was very intense. When I felt his hands on my skin, I felt a jolt inside me and my mind immediately went back to the memory of THAT day and I saw HIS face, the person who had taken away my innocence. I screamed and pushed Rahul away.I started crying, realizing that it was just Rahul and not THAT man. Rahul was worried and scared that he had hurt my feelings…. “I am so sorry Su! I didn’t mean to ..I don’t know what came over me ! I wanted just to kiss you. Please don’t hate me Su ! Am so sorry”
I wiped my tears and told him that I was fine and that he didn’t hurt my feelings and I would never hate him and left home.
Why did I remember that incident? Rahul just touched me. Why did I remember that man’s face? Will I feel the same way every time Rahul touches me. But I love Rahul. Why does that memory has to come in my mind? Oh God ! What is this nightmare and why is it haunting me. But one thing am sure is that I need to tell Rahul soon about the incident…………”
Su closed the diary. There were some more entries in the diary. But Su’s heart was already heavy with the sadness and pain of not having Rahul by her side. It was almost one o clock. She decided to read the rest of the entries, the next day. So she kept the diary back in the satchel and went to the bedroom. Su closed her eyes and started her journey in the dark alley once again.
The Abandoned Alley
Su woke up to the pleasant aroma of coffee which filled the entire house. She knew it must be late as Anju drinks coffee only after gets ready for office. Grudgingly, she turned to her left and opened one eye to see the time. The clock showed that it was seven o ‘clock Cursing herself, she got up from the bed and took her mobile to check whether she had received any messages. She was surprised to see a missed call from an unknown number at 6:45 AM. But she ignored it and started to get ready for the office. After 45 minutes, both Su and Anju left home for office. They already knew that there will be lot of calls from new customers as they had taken a support activity for a new product, and they have to be careful in handling the calls. As expected, they were amidst a flurry of calls, the moment they switched on to their system. Both Su and Anju were deft in handling the calls and satisfying the customers. They even helped some of their colleagues who had a problem in explaining to their customers. Once they finished the calls, they left for cafeteria.
Su was surprised to see 5 missed calls from the same unknown number.
“Hey Anju! Do u know whose number is this?”
Anju was on the phone with Sanjay. She asked him to be on the line and dialed the number that was displayed in Su’s mobile. But Anju didn’t have that number in her contact list. Su, then decided to call the number later in the evening, when she was relaxed. They went back to their cubicles once their break was over. When they were in midst of some calls, Su got a mail from her TL, addressed to all her team mates informing them about the project party scheduled that evening. She immediately started typing a mail saying that she will not be able to make it. But she stopped when she felt a hand on her shoulder and turned to see Anju pleading with her eyes to come for the party. So she deleted the mail that she drafted and smiled at Anjali. Anjali grinned and gave her a hug and whispered thanks in her ears. Around 5:45 in the evening, when the calls were taken over by the next shift, Su along with Anju and her team mates left for the party. It was just dinner treat from their TL congratulating them on the team’s efficiency to handle the calls. He also said that he got engaged and that also was a reason for the party.
Su and Anju reached home at around 8:00 P.M. In the party mood, Su had completely forgotten about the missed calls. She took her mobile phone and dialed the number, but all she got was the response that the number was not reachable at that moment. It was then Su remembered that she had to complete the diary that she started reading the previous night. Anju who was darn tired, sent a message to Sanjay that she was very tired and sleepy and that she will talk to him the next day and slept off. Su went to the living room, opened the satchel and took the diary of the year 2009.Su knew that the entry unread will be very depressing. But she had to read. Slowly with trembling hands, opened the diary and turned the pages. She stopped at the date Feb 21 2009. Her eyes closed involuntarily. This was the date that had left her heart wounded. It was the day that shattered her dreams about her future with Rahul. Su opened here eyes with tremendous effort and started reading the final entry that she had written in the diary.
“ Feb 21,2009
I really don’t know what to write today as I am overwhelmed with emotions. My mind has turned very chaotic and am not able
think. I met Rahul and told him everything. He left the place without uttering a single word. I have been calling his number, but he has not picked up yet. I really don’t know what to do. I am confused and scared. This is what I told him in the mall.
“ Listen Rahul, I have to tell u something very important. Please be patient till I complete. It is very difficult for me to say it quickly. So I if happen to pause in between, just hang on and please don’t ask any questions in between. Please ?”
“OK .Sweetie, as u wish.”
“Remember valentine’s day, when I screamed and pushed you away. It was not because that u hurt me….. but it was because when u touched me ,I remembered the face of a person that was not you…………….. I will tell u who that is…. Rahul, I know that I have never hid anything from you except one thing, which I have been keeping as a secret from everyone. I hope u understand why I never told u earlier, when I finish speaking..”
After a silence of 5 mins and few deep breaths, with tears already in my eyes, I told him.
“Rahul, the face I remembered that day was of my Physics sir who taught me in 6th STD. I remembered him because he was the one who stole my innocence away from me.”
“Your innocence? I don’t understand”
“Yes, my innocence. That was the day I realized the fact that there are people who still live as animals. I know you are confused. But as I said earlier, it is difficult for me to say this as I have never told anyone in my life. Not even my parents. What I meant, when I said that he took my innocence away is that ……………..[deep breath]…………HE raped me.” Rahul didn’t say anything and so I continued.
“It happened when I was studying in 6th standard. You know that am poor in physics .So back then, in the school, we had special classes for the students who scored poor marks in a subject. I was the only one who was bad in physics. So I had to attend the spl class for physics. During one such class , this incident happened. That was the day I learnt how cruel a person can be. I had no idea of what was going to happen.He was an animal and he behaved like one . He ruined me completely. I was feeling so dirty and scared after that. I was very afraid of whether ppl will believe me or what they will think.Ever since I have never trusted anyone. U always ask why I never had any close friends. The reason is this incident. I never could trust any people. I lost interest in everything. But then you entered my life and changed everythin. I have been wanting to tell u this, from the day I proposed to you. But I couldn’t bring myself to speak it out. May be it was the fear that when I tell u , it will hurt me more . I was in denial all these years and it was the fear that stopped me. But on that day when I pushed u , I decided to tell u everything. I know u will be angry with me and u have every right to be so. I just hope u understand how I felt and that this was not easy for me. I am so sorry ,Rahul. I love you so much and I don’t want to lose you.”
I didn’t know when he released my hands which he was holding when I started the conversation. He left without even uttering a single word. I don’t know what to do. I wish that he understands me………….. I just now got a call from Rahul. He doesn’t want to speak to me anymore as he feels that I have betrayed him, by not being true…. Oh God! What am I going to do ? I love him so much .This is what I was afraid of and my fears have come true today……”
Su closed the diary and was crying silently. Tears just didn’t seem to stop. She cried her heart out, letting out all the grief that she had in her heart so far.
After half an hour , Su composed herself. She kept the diary in the bag but was startled to hear the ringtone of her mobile. After closing the bag, she took the mobile and saw that the call was from the same unknown number. Deciding to admonish the person who is calling, she attended the call. But she received a shock.
“Hello, Who is this?”
There was silence in the other end for a few seconds and then the reply came.
Su was shocked to hear the voice. She can never forget this voice. It was the voice that she had been longing to hear. Su’s mind was filled up with so many questions and emotions. She felt like as if she was being suffocated. Overwhelmed with emotions, Su fainted.
The Abandoned Alley
Su woke up and saw Anju dozing off in a chair by her side. She felt thirsty and so she silently got up from the bed and went to the kitchen to drink some water. As she poured herself some water, she realized that she was feeling very weak. She thought that may be it was because of the food she had in the party yesterday. Her mind wandered from the party to the memory in the diary and she remembered everything. Su dropped the cup of water that she was drinking as the memories flooded in her mind. On hearing the sound, Anju jerked awake. Seeing the empty bed, she rushed to kitchen from where the sound had come. When she entered the kitchen, she found Su sitting in the corner with her back against the wall, hugging herself and sobbing uncontrollably. Her body was trembling. Not knowing, what had caused her friend this much grief, Anju rushed to her side and hugged her and started to console her.
“Shhh! It’s gonna be alright!” Anju just hoped that those words become true.
“It’s ok. I am here. Nothing will happen”
Su’s sobs slowly reduced but she was still crying. Anju helped Su to stand and they went to the bedroom. Su was still crying. Anju didn’t know how to make her stop crying and each time, she said anything to console her, the sobs increased with more vigor. Anju felt very sad to see Su so distressed. Not able to bear the plight of her friend, Anju started speaking.
“Hey Su!, I seriously don’t know what happened to hurt you this much. I know you have always been withdrawn. And lately, u have been having those nightmares. I have never asked anything about you,as I knew you weren’t ready to share it with me. I respect it. U are my closest friend apart from Sanjay. You have always been there for me. U made me happy whenever I was feeling down.And I too want to be there for you. I feel so sad when I see u fighting these nightmares and whatever that is disturbing u all alone.I feel so helpless. It is not fair,Su. You don’t have to fight it alone. You are not realizing what you are doing to urself. And yesterday , I wake up hearing a sound and when I rush out of the bedroom, I find u unconscious on the floor. I panicked and it took me so much to get u wake up. Su, U don’t have to fight alone .I am here to help u. I am happy to have u as my friend and I don’t want to lose you.I have always been here. Please do tell me whatever it is disturbing u . If u are scared that I will judge u, then u must be stupid. U know me better than that! Please Su ! Let me help u! I can’t bear to see u like this.”
Su who was listening to Anju couldn’t control herself anymore and she told everything to Anju. Anju was shocked to hear everything, but her respect and admiration for Su increased in folds. Anju hugged her and let Su cry as she held her. It was a long time before Su’s tears stopped. Su was feeling drained and her eyes were drooping with tiredness. Anju helped her to lie down so that she can rest for sometime. Anju saw that it was already quarter past twelve. Realizing that she hasn’t prepared lunch yet, Anju went to the kitchen. Once she finished cooking, she went to wake up Su so that they could have their lunch. But when she saw Su sleeping, she decided to wake her up later. She went back to the living room and started thinking about everything Su had told her. She realized that the nightmares started when Su had left her past behind i.e from the day Rahul left her. Anju thought that maybe the nightmares will stop, if Rahul came back.
But she also was angry with Rahul. How could he have been so selfish? She had known Su only for the past six months and in this time she had come to consider her as a close friend. And then she remembered that Su told her she fainted on hearing Rahul’s voice. She took Su’s cell phone which she had put on charge earlier,and went to the logs. In the received calls list, she saw the same unknown number from which Su was getting missed calls yesterday. She wanted to call that number and talk to Rahul if it was really him. But then she knew Su would not be happy if she came to know,so she fought down the urge. And she had a instinct, that if the person was really Rahul, then he would definitely call Su again. She just hoped everything will be alright.She didn’t want Su to suffer more. That girl had suffered a lot. After half an hour, she went to wake up Su and then they had their lunch. Su was still feeling tired ,so she went back to bed after lunch to rest.
While Su was sleeping, her cell phone vibrated in the living room where Anju was reading IF TOMORROW COMES. She picked up the cell immediately to attend the call as she didn’t want to disturb Su. It was the same unknown number. Steeling herself ,she hesitantly said
“Hello! Who is this? This is Anjali here”
“Hi, this is Rahul here. I am Suparna’s friend. Can I talk to her?”
“ Oh! So it’s really you! Rahul?”
“ Yeah ! Can I talk to her?”
“Sorry! U can’t talk to her. She is sleeping. She fainted, when she heard your voice on the phone. I don’t think she is in a condition to talk with you.”
“What happened?!”,Anju could feel Rahul was tensed but still she was angry.
“ As I said she fainted”
“Is she okay now? Am sorry, I didn’t know that she ….”
But Anju didn’t let him finish. She could no longer control herself
“She’s a bit better now. By the way! Why are U calling her NOW after all these days. You left her just like that ,didn’t You ?
You should have been a stupid for not able to understand what she was going through and u called urself her best friend. Before u ppl became lovers, u were friends. That friendship was the first thing that made u love each other. She told u the truth, because she considered u as a friend too. She thought that u will understand. But u thought like a selfish lover. Poor gal was shattered when you left her. U left her to suffer all these days and now u come back saying U are her FRIEND. Where were you all these days when she needed you?”
Anju composed herself. She took deep breaths and listened to What Rahul had to say.
“You know everything ?”
“Yes I know everything. Sorry! I have no right to be angry with you. But it all came because I care for Su.”
“You don’t need to apologize. I know I was a stupid. U were completely true. I did act like a selfish lover. I was very angry with her because she didn’t say anything abt it earlier. When in anger,u turn blind and not know what u are doing. It was the same with me. Without thinking, I left her. But I have been regretting it for a long time. When my anger subsided, I realized what I had done. I called her immediately, but she didn’t respond. I didn’t want to lose her and when I went to the place where she lived, I found that she has left. I was distraught not knowing where she went. I broke down completely. I cursed myself for letting her down. But I had a blind faith that I can find her. I started my search for her and have been search for a long time. I ran into Sanjay during one of my searches. He was my college mate. We had not been in contact for a while. After that, we started to talk frequently. One day when I was feeling very depressed, I told Sanjay about my search for Su. He asked for Su’s photo and when I showed him, he was shocked. But he didn’t say anything to me. He had come to know Su through you. He knew u respected her and hence he realized that Su wouldn’t want him to tell me. So he kept silent. He had agreed to help before I showed the photo. But then after that whenever I asked him whether he had any progress, he started evading the topic. One day I confronted him regarding it and he told me that Su was ur friend. U have no idea how happy I was. I got Su’s number from him and couldn’t wait to speak to her. Speaking of Sanjay, I should tell you one thing. That guys is so deep in love with you but hasn’t realized it yet! Don’t Worry he will come to his senses soon!”
Anju who was listening silently to everything blushed at his last statement.
“Thanks! I am sorry for shouting at u earlier”
“As I said u need not apologize. I am happy that Su got a friend like you to care for her. Do you think I can see her tomorrow?”
“I am not sure Rahul. She is very emotional at the moment. So I can’t tell you what her reaction will be when she sees you. She might get worse. I know u have been waiting long, but still I think it would be good if we give her sometime. I think, it will be better if u meet her after a couple of weeks. I hope she would be better by then.”
“Okay! I will wait. I just don’t want to lose her again”
“Don’t worry!. Everything will be alright”
“ Am just keeping my fingers crossed”
“ Just have faith.”
“Thanks a lot Anjali for hearing me out. I feel confident now.”
“It’s okie,really!. Okie. Will talk later. Bye”
Anju disconnected the call and went to check on Su and found her sleeping. Feeling a bit tired herself, Anju slept next to Su.
It took three weeks for Su to recover completely from the depression and all those days Anju took care of her. Su was normal once again and she felt good after a long time. Though she still had nightmares, they were not that much distressing. The familiar shadow was taking shape. Su went back to work after the long leave and started working with the usual enthusiasm. Anju was very happy to see the change and the new confidence that Su exhibited. Anju was in contact with Rahul, keeping him updated about Su’s health. After one week, almost one month after Su got ill, Anju decided that it was time for Rahul to meet Su. She felt that Su can manage well and not breakdown. Anju informed Su that Sanjay and his friend will be visiting them that weekend.
On Sunday, they woke up early and started to prepare food. As they were waiting anxiously,their door bell rang.Anju squeaked and rushed to open the door. Su laughed and followed her. Anju opened the door to find Sanjay standing there.She hugged him and Su invited him inside the house. As Sanjay stepped inside the house, Su was shocked to see Rahul standing near the door. Her face went through a myriad of emotions and she stood staring at his face. She came to her senses when Anju inivited him to come inside. Su mumbled a welcome note that no one could hear and left to the kitchen.Anju,Sanjay and Rahul looked at each other. They didn’t know what Su was thinking and Rahul was very tensed. Su came back from the kitchen carrying a tray with plates containing some snacks that she and Anju had prepared. Rahul’s eyes never left Su’s face. There was so much tension in the air. Rahul wanted to meet Su’s eyes but she had her head down.
Sensing that Rahul would want to talk alone , Anju and Sanjay left the living room.
Rahul stepped near Su and lifted her chin with his trembling hands. He was startled to see tears in her eyes. He had expected her to be angry . But he could see only pain in her eyes. He was not able to hold himself anymore and he apologized to her.
“Su ! I know I hurt you very much and I can’t take back the suffering you had gone through. I know I was stupid when I made the decision. I know it hurt u very much. I am sorry. I don’t know what got into me. I let u down. I was not thinking properly.
I realized my mistake and when I wanted to apologize to u, I found that u have left. I didn’t know what to do. I love u so much and I didn’t want to lose u because of a mistake that I did. I have been searching for a long time with a blind faith. I missed u so much. I know even if I apologize a thousand times, it wouldn’t be sufficient. I love u so much Su and I Know how much u should have loved me to tell me the truth. I was a complete moron, a stupid git. Su ! I don’t want to lose you. I know u have been living a life in hell all these days and I don’t want you to live like that anymore. I know u are angry with me. U can hurt me how much ever u want Su !, but I never want to leave u again. I love u so much! Please take me back Su! “,Rahul was on his knees pleading with all his heart.
Almost ten minutes passed in silence and then Su replied.
“ I don’t know Rahul!. I have been through so much suffering. But I don’t blame u, nor am I angry with you. I don’t know why, but it ha always been that way. Never could be angry with you. I loved u so much and I still love u. But have been suffering so much and have been hurting a lot. And I am scared if I take u back, and then again if u leave me, I will not be able to bear it anymore. I do love u more than anything, but I am scared of the pain if it doesn’t work out. I don’t want to hurt anymore. I missed u very much. All I am asking you is to wait for sometime. I need sometime to make myself believe that u will never leave me again. I know that u mean that but still it will take time for me to believe it completely. Till that time can u wait for me,Rahul?”
“Of course! Su ! I will wait. I cant expect u take me back just like that. I will wait and I don’t care even if it takes long time,till the time u say ok. I promise that I will never leave you! But just one request ,can I get an hug please ?” Rahul asked with his arms wide open.
Their eyes met each other and Su rushed to his arms that were waiting to hold her. Su held on to him tightly and started to cry. Rahul started to pacify her.
“Sh! U have nothing to worry. I am here with u now. I will never leave u. I love u so much and I missed u”
“ I too missed u , U IDIOT. U have no idea how much!”
In Another Room…
Anju was happy to see everything went well. She turned to find, Sanjay looking at her.She smiled,but he just kept looking at her. She raised her eyebrows and asked what’s wrong.
Sanjay blurted out “I Love you” Anju replied “I Love u too”
Sanjay then said “No! No! I don’t mean it in the usual way I do . What I meant was …….. Anju , my babe, I am falling in LOVE. Will YOU catch ME?”
Anju was so happy . Her joy had no bounds..She turned around.She has been longing to hear that from Sanjay. Sanjay thought he had said something wrong and started to ramble on a apology. But Anju didn’t let him continue as she kissed him on his lips. Surprised but happy,Sanjay kissed her back. When they parted Sanjay asked
“Was that an yes?”
“Well,what do u think it was?”
“ I think it was an yes, but I would like to hear it from u”
“Yes. I am crazily in love with u”
After sometime Anju went ti Su and whispered the news in her ears. Su shrieked happily and hugged her . Rahul conveyed his wishes to both Sanjay and Anju.
Sometime later Sanjay and Rahul left for home.
That night, Su slept with a peaceful mind. As she entered the abandoned alley,she sensed the familiar shadow.With renewed confidence,she turned to face it and was amazed to see two people in its place. One was a male and the other a female. As she took some steps closer to them, a smile formed on her face which slowly turned to a grin. It was Anju and Rahul. She held their hands and when she once again started her journey through the alley she was amazed to see that the dark alley has transformed itself in to a lane filled with trees and sunlight was pouring through the branches. The Alley was neither dark nor abandoned ….
Rahul kept true to his promise and was waiting patiently. He had suggested Su to join a NGO so that she can help girls who have suffered the fate similar to her.
She can give them the confidence and show them the reason for them to move on and that the life is not over yet,that they are not alone in this world.There are people who care for them too. Su thought about it and joined a NGO. Apart from the time she worked in the call center,she devoted rest of her free time in helping the girls in the NGO.Su realized that she was feeling content in doing the service. Even Anju,Sanjay and Rahul helped her organizing some events for the benefit of NGO. Anju and Sanjay got married a year later.On their wedding day, Rahul proposed again to Su and she said yes. They got married after six months. Su was leading an happy life that she deserved.