It was nothing like a weather that never happened before. A typical monsoon evening; a cool breeze overlapping the place all over, with a humble lustre of sunlight at the colloids of the recently rain-fragmented westers. The ground was still damp. A group of kids larking about in the park; a pond with stagnating waters, mowed grass and unducked leaves over the surface; and a gathering of elders with their regular evening yoga, the other corner.
HETAKSH and AIYAANA were sitting on a bench adjacent to the pond, looking at their rippled replications, confabulating about their future as they were getting engaged within the next couple of days. HETAKSH grasped her hand and in a rugged voice he assured, “We’ll live happily together; escorting each other through every thick-and-thin of life! I love you AIYAA!”
AIYAANA on the other hand, seemed apprehensive and quite flustered, infact. And all his efforts could just gloom a split of spurious grin over her face. “I was……” she said, stuck deep into some arduous thoughts.
“Yes darling?? What happened?”
She looked tensed for a while but drenched herself a little shake to set free of the condition.
“Nothing—” she said.
Overlapping in duration, a sweet little girl joined the panorama.
“Can you please pass that flower at your end of the pond, sir?” she adjured with a hovering voice. “I’ve been trying for long but couldn’t afford reaching it.”
HETAKSH raised his hand into the pond and took out a rare little blossom hardly found in such baking-hot domains, though, a bit blemished off one side. He then redressed the damaged leaflet and turned it over towards the curious girl.
“Here it is!” he said. “You know you are die-hard gorgeous. What’s your name sweetheart?”
“AMEYA” she whispered in a squeaky voice.
Her voice was much like those tiny tots who prove out to be the well-refined and naïvely delicate of all the kids, whom, a frail snoop would incinerate the entire chef-d'oeuvre to ashes.
“Do you know what AMEYA means?”
“I know I’m very dear and lovable” she said in a bit unnatural manner. “Grandma placed my name as AMEYA which means Immeasurable and without bounds.”
“Oh! That’s great, you are very intelligent as well” AIYAANA chuckled and drew her close to her, raising her up in her arms, and giving a delicate kiss on her rose-red cheeks. She had finally brought a smile on AIYAANA’s face that seemed nearly impossible lately. “Your parents would be really proud of you.”
“Yes they love me… but they scold me a lot. They say they won’t live with me for long!” she spoke tonelessly.
As they were absorbed by her reply, a deep virile voice clinked the surrounding, whamming their ears.
“AMEYA! AMEYA!” the voice snarled. “Where have you been? It’s been an hour since you left. I’ve been searching all long.”
“Heyy Mrs—” said AIYAANA. “—I guess I recognized you. You are Mrs KIRLOSKAR, the new lady in our locality; Mr BASHIR’S new tenant.”
“Yes!” with a weird smile she grunted, lifting her daughter back into her arms.
“You have an angel daughter.”
With a formality nod she framed a joust of her lips and went off, throwing them into a state of agitated confusion. She eyed them angrily as she left, but the innocent face was found still staring at her new friends.
A week later, HETAKSH and AIYAANA went together to Mrs KIRLOSKAR’s house to invite her and the family to their espousal. A few moments after the doorbell could be heard, Mrs KIRLOSKAR reached the door to open it. Inviting them in, she said, “I— I’m really sorry for my abrupt behaviour the other day.”
“It’s absolutely okay, we can understand there might have been some rough sledding being the reason” said AIYAANA heeding at an eye gazing them since the very beginning.
“Umm… yea……..” Mrs KIRLOSKAR said in a blur voice.
AIYAANA finally broke up her silence looking at an eye starring at them from behind the huge couch Mrs KIRLOSKAR was sitting at, and said, “Heyy sweetie! How’s you? Do you remember me?”
She was just going to smile, when her eyes twinned the potentate mother’s eyes. She curtsied at her guests and started snailing towards them. Within the blinks of the eye, both AIYAANA and AMEYA got chummier and had some howling moments together. Mrs KIRLOSKAR couldn’t deliver this.
“AMEYA, don’t you have to spruce up your room today?” said Mrs KIRLOSKAR. Hearing this, AMEYA started proceeding towards her room. And once again, her eyes were busy contacting her guests.
After some casual gossips, they left.
AMEYA looked nothing like the rest of her family. She was sweet, delicate and a fair princess, small and skinny, with brilliant oceanic eyes and shiny copper brown hair that was always tepidly worked upon. Her hand always dressing that gravelling bunch of hair covering her eyes. Unlike the hulked harshness of the mother, with large bulging eyes always peeping from behind a pair of round spectacles resting over her nose like some grumpy teacher of the crummy high-schools. And the new couple were now worried for her.
While preparing for the engagement AIYAANA seemed a bit strained and busted, “I cannot forget those horrified eyes. They seemed so much tensed and in pain. Why does Mrs KIRLOSKAR have to behave like a bitch to that angel?” And continued, “I promise I’ll love ours’ a lot. Their every pain will be mine first.”
Her quivering hands, tremulously started spitting up things irregularly; sprinkling the decoratives as it went by; the flower bouquets, Rashan and other kitchenwares. Her dense eyes clearly revealed what she was going through, the very moment. HETAKSH places his hand on her shoulder, and pulls her by his side with her head laid resting on his shoulder.
“Yup, I know, love. Just try and relax.”
Soon, the wait came to an end as it was the golden day. The day when every wish, and dream will come to life. HETAKSH and AIYAANA were getting engaged today. The entire house was in the air and guests, relatives and cheerers could be seen till where the eyes could reach. The entire ménage were busy inviting guests at the entrance and the celebrations were supreme.
“And look, here comes Mrs KIRLOSKAR” said HETAKSH.
“Congrats kids, have a great life ahead.”
“Thanks, Mrs KIRLOSKAR” said AIYAANA looking here and there, “Where is AMEYA? Didn’t she come?”
“She got ill last night… will be better soon…”
The bash was just at its verge when suddenly dreadful voices were being heard at the outside byway, beneath the house top dormer. All the wedding guests rushed to the parallel fenestra. A crowd had gathered in the neighbourhood. HETAKSH peered down into the front gate and what he finds is suddenly Mrs KIRLOSKAR appears with a face full of flood showers. HETAKSH and AIYAANA rushed down to the incident site to learn about the matter.
“What’s the matter Mrs KIRLOSKAR?” inquired HETAKSH. “Why’s this ambulance out here? What’s wrong?”
But the lady remained muzzled. For the first time she could be seen drenched in cold sweat. Looking around, HETAKSH got a glimpse of the inside ambulance and what he saw was something he couldn’t believe on his eyes. AMEYA was lying in the ambulance struck to some medical machines and ventilators. The incident left him hush and benumbed at the moment.
HETAKSH took the keys and buckled up his car to the local Civil Hospital along with his fiancée where AMEYA had been admitted. The car stopped at the hospital entrance and the couple rushed to the counter installed at the entrance of the hospital.
“Where’s AMEYA admitted? —AMEYA KIRLOSKAR!” HETAKSH asked the yet-so-calm nurse at the counter.
“Room No. 301, Sir!” and explained him the way to the admitted room.
He rushed to the said room followed by AIYAANA. “What’s the matter, Doc?” he asked the doctor supervising at the respective room. The doctor had nothing to say and his silence evidenced that the matter was getting intensely critical. After a while, he clutched his hand and dragged him to his cabin. “Have a look at the report mister.” Said the doctor. “The patient is suffering from final-stage-HIV and nothing has been done yet!” HITAKSH fell frozen on the doc’s armchair. The doctor kept explaining but he got dumb and couldn’t hear rather being a lifeless dullard. All he could see or remember was the stills spend with the girl since they met the first day. Then it all started with a tear and ended up to a flood stream of emotions. With a melancholic agony of mind, he started creeping towards the rest of the crew.
As he reached them, he stuck dead. Fear flooded him. He didn’t have the courage to tell them what he actually heard of.
“What did the doctor say?” queried AIYAANA.
AIYAANA was standing questionnaire staring towards him. He knew it was no good and he’d have to say something to her.
“—it’s all over. Nothing is left to love or live—” and explained everything that happened inside the doc’s cabin. The matter wrenched her heart of her arteries.
“Mrs KIRLOSKAR! Mrs KIRLOSKAR!” she cried. “Look what the doc’s……”
“The HIV — ya.” she said “…she used to get ill regularly since birth; but we never bothered to get her fully CHECKUPED and when we learned, it was already too late.”
“Didn’t you go on for some docs— some treatment— or…maybe…?”
“She’s my daughter, my only hope of life. Do you seriously think I’d let her to end so easily?”
“But…” said AIYAANA in a questioning voice and interrupted by Mrs KIRLOSKAR.
“My husband was a very hardworking man. We were satisfied with a small house of our own. But as we learned of her disease, all the money just drained away in a couple of months and we were forced to be shifted to a house-on-rent in your locality.” she explained.
“But, Mrs KIRLOSKAR…”
“I know what’s going on in your mind. I used to be so renunciative and always rude on her; my insolent behaviour towards her is your concern. Isn’t it?”
“I loved her a lot, more than I do care for myself. But she’s the symbol of our unfledged sins that we committed in our boisterously spent childhood.” she snapped “—every time she comes in front of me, she makes me regret the sins I committed and made her to suffer for those sins, fating her to an eternity of torture.”
Her heart could be felt sinking horribly. Her emotional flood gates had now burst wide open. Both AAIYANA and HETANKSH tried to consolidate her over the pain, stood rattled over what could be done next?
“Today, she’s lying there on the death bed because years back, it was me and Mr KIRLOSKAR who eloped and decided a stress-free as well as an imprudent life. I was a reckless impetuous and an irresponsible person. Today she lies there because I was uncaring. I was inconsiderate of the consequences it would have on our lives and the future of my family. I SNATCHED A LIFE! I KILLED MY DAUGHTER!”
The young couple HETAKSH and AIYAANA had a big lesson to learn from the incident that day. Life is for joy but it itself isn’t a joy infact. All human sins seem so much worse in its consequences than in its intentions. Temptation is always an accident just waiting to happen and along with it, come responsibilities; a promise to stand by them forever and a day, no matter what the circumstances are. And this all needs to be done with a set of guidelines and instructions from the journal of life. We are free to choose our paths, but we can't choose the consequences that come with them. HIV does not make people dangerous to know, so you can shake their hands and give them a hug. Also, no child should ever be referred to as a mistake or a mere result of lenience. Everyone deserves a shadow of happiness in his life…
“Let your past make you better, not bitter.”