Trigger warning: rape, abuse, suicide
“Gouthami …” Called Chandra!
I stopped and looked back.
“Gouthami, Don't worry. You will be alright. Happy journey!”
I gave him that old cold look and whispered, “Thanks!”
As I settled in my seat, the bus started to move slowly. I was neither watching Chandra nor anyone in the bus. I was just too sleepy, and was waiting for my turn to produce my ticket for the bus conductor.
Suddenly, a girl in a red drape churidar, mostly, in her early twenties caught my attention. Seated at the window in the front row, she was checking with the conductor the time the bus would reach the destination. He replied her 6 am approximately. It was 11 pm then. The lights were off in the bus.
Passengers were relaxing and getting ready to doze off as the lights went off in the bus. The girl turned back to take a peek at her co-passengers, and then she started preparing herself to sleep. I too adjusted my seat comfortably and closed my eyes. Almost after forty minutes of the journey, I opened my eyes little disturbed to the snoring sound of an elderly man in the back row of my seat. Surprising to my attention, the girl in the red drape chudidar was not sleeping. I was observing her in the dim light wondering if she too was disturbed with the snoring sounds of the Co-passengers. She opened her handbag and removed a cover. I was just watching her curiously to see what she was doing. She slowly opened the cover and then opened her water bottle. I understood she was about to have some medication. She started swallowing the medicines continuously, and it shook my head for a while getting a clear vision of what she was trying to do. She closed her bag and her eyes at the same time.
I felt as if I my heart was choking and started to feel nauseated. My heart was pounding very high, and I couldn't breathe for a moment.
The conductor was waking me up in the morning as we reached the destination. I woke up with great difficulty and found the bus was almost empty. I and the girl in the red dress were left in the bus. I was sensing a kind of negativity and went to her trying to find out she was alive. She was breathing and that relaxed me a lot. I told the conductor that I would wake her up. The bus stopped. The driver and the conductor got down from the bus. I tried to wake her up, but she was not opening her eyes. I felt panic again and tried to open her handbag to make sure what she had done the last night. I was shocked to find twelve empty alproax strips in her bag. My nerves were tremored, and I jumped from the bus instantly, went to the conductor and tried to explain him the situation. Then I watched her from the window of the bus that she was talking to someone and getting up to go. I went inside the bus immediately but she got up, took her bag, talking to someone invisible and caught an auto without looking at me. I heard her saying Meghana working women's hostel to the auto driver. I googled the location, caught another auto and followed her. After thirty five minutes, both autos stopped at the hostel's gate. She got down saying thanks to the invisible person in the auto, whom she was talking in the bus, went inside the hostel without giving money to the auto driver. I gave money to the both autos and went inside the hostel following her. She directly went to a room on the ground floor and knocked the door. A girl opened the door who might be her roommate, and there was an elderly woman inside the room waiting for her. The girl told them that the bus conductor brought her safe to the hostel after she took 120 alproax pills last night in the bus. She fell unconscious on the floor, and I was surprised to the hell hearing that. A high tension atmosphere was created there in a couple of minutes. The elderly lady was crying. The hostel warden with the help of the other girls, took the girl to the nearby hospital. There were no one to hear what I wanted to say. My mobile had started ringing continuously, and I picked up the call. It was from Chandra. I told him that I would call him back in a few minutes. I followed them to the hospital and met the warden. I told her everything I saw, and she said that the girl was too enigmatic from the beginning. I understood that the elderly woman was her mother. After doctors had confirmed that she was out of danger, I left my mobile number to the warden, started back to find an auto to my place. Sitting in the auto I contemplated deeply in my mind. I always wanted to become a story writer and had won few prizes in the college level for my short stories. The strange behaviour of the girl talking to an invisible person reminded me suddenly. I called the warden to make sure that everything was fine there. I was surprised for my curiosity about that incident. The writer in me provoked me to find out more about her so that I could find a mysterious tale for my next project.
Few days later, when I was talking to Chandra on the phone, a call from an unknown number was coming in between. I guessed it was related to that girl, and lifted it asking Chandra to call back later. A young girl's voice wished politely ... I responded and understood that she was that mysterious girl's roommate in the hostel. “How's your friend now?” I asked. She said her mother made her vacated the hostel.
"Madam, she forgot a bag of her certificates in the hostel room. Warden told me that you have her mother's contact number. Would you please contact her and inform this to her? We were trying her mobile number,
but it was switched off. So calling you. Warden doesn't have her mother's number, it seems."
I told her that I would collect the certificates and post them to her address. I went to their hostel in the evening and collected the bag of that girl and came back to my place. I called her mother but she was not willing to talk anything to me. I told her about the certificates, but she was disinterested to collect them. She hung up when I asked about her daughter. I felt a bit embarrassed but understood that they were disturbed a lot so they would need some time to respond back normally. I opened her bag to see the certificates. She was a science graduate and now pursuing her masters in some university. I found a dairy in the bag. With little hesitation, I opened the book. There was a name written in big letters - ANAGHA
I started reading... ANAGHA , I was born after rejecting the society from my mother's womb. I felt it was tough and kind of a herculean statement.
I was anxious to read what's inside it. Flipped the next page.
I am Anagha, Bio-Chemistry final year. I have come out from the eccentricity and weirdness of the people when they feel me eccentric and weird. I would like to become a metaphysical writer. I am interested in surrealistic art and would like to use the bold and ingenious conceits often by deliberate harshness or rigidity of expression. The guy who is constantly pressuring my brain with his lectures is Jenny, my classmate with whom I have been in a relationship from the past two years. He is the second guy with whom I have been in a relation now. The first one is Nanda, whom my parents had arranged a tie up and in a very short time they broke up for petty egoistic issues. They neither cared to ask while arranging my marriage with him, nor bothered to break the engagement without my concern. I fucking don't understand how the hell my parents can’t think about my physical intimacy with him before they cancelled the engagement.
Jenny is a cool guy to move on. Since two years we had a hell of fights and arguments but the one thing I am so happy with him is my self-respect is respected. We share and discuss everything. Our opinions are mismatched sometimes but it never became a problem. He is an average guy in studies, and I never bothered and cared about my education. My joining in this course is completely my mom's preference and the biochemistry is my dad's priority. I am interested in literature but few parents unknowingly create a feeling of financial dependents/slaves to their children hence there is nothing to do except acceptance. This is all about me."
I stopped reading for a while and understood that she had problems with her parents like so many kids.. And boyfriends are so common in that age.I called Chandra and spoke to him for few minutes. I started narrating everything that was happening with this girl. He listened patiently. I knew he would. That's why I used to tell him every damn thing that I care / don't care. I switched off my mobile again to open the next page of the book.
There were titles given to every page.
I opened the first chapter..
MY EARLIEST EXPERIENCE -
I was a shy natured, God-fearing, studious child whereas my brother was active and smart. My parents, relatives and friends used to tease me for my shy nature. I was afraid of people, and so I always preferred to stay home and never played with the other children in the colony where we were residing. My brother was continuously, making fun of me that time. My parents used to see and laugh along with him. I used to get angry but I always hid my anger from them. One day when all of my family wanted to go for a movie, I was not really interested so my mother told me to stay in the neighbours home till they come back. I was reading my class books in their house. Neighbour aunty called me and said she was going out and asked me to continue my studies. I said ok. After sometime uncle called me and started misbehaving by touching my private parts and asking irrelevant questions. I was very afraid of and meanwhile aunty came and I felt relaxed. When I complained the whole situation at night with my parents, they, without completely listening what I was saying, started yelling at me saying that I need to grow up. I remembered what my parents said - "Anu, you need to get exposure or you will end up as a foolish girl complaining unnecessarily without happening anything. Don't over think and complain again like this next time." I was speechless and I kept quiet. They asked me to sleep. My brother was laughing at me. I covered myself with a blanket, closed my eyes and cried silently. I didn't know that time, that this kind of situations I would be dealing throughout my life.
I closed the book and was disturbed reading her dairy. But I had decided to read it completely.
NIGHT- MARISH REALITY -
Sekhar is our family friend who frequently visits our house. I am studying biochemistry in some college which is little far away from the city. I along with a few friends share a house to stay there. It is my last semester to complete my graduation. We are staying there from the past one year. In holidays I use to go to my home. One day when I was home Sekhar asked me that if I need some money and he will be happy to lend me. I am surprised and told him that I don't need now. He said he knew the gold chain that my mother has given, I had lost it somewhere. He questioned me "What do you tell your mother if she asks..." He knows very well that my mother is schizophrenic and is very abusive and violent at times. I am afraid and worried that my mother would punish me. My parents went to some other city to attend a function. Sekhar asked me to relax. He knows that I love drinking coke. So he brought Coke bottle for us and a little snack. I poured him and myself a glass of cold drink. After serving him the drink, I went inside the kitchen for a couple of minutes. After we finished our drinks, I fell unconscious. I woke up after some time, I found myself lying nude in the bedroom and Sekhar asked me to forget what had happened and threatened me not to tell that to anyone or he leak my objectionable photos, a video of the incident.
He even asked me to please him in all ways and keep him happy. After that incident, he started harassing me blackmailing about photos and videos of the incident. I am forced to bear the pain of mental and sexual abuse until Jenny helped me to get out of that guy completely from my life in all ways.
I stopped reading for a while. My anxiety took me over for some time and after sometime I again started continuing with her dairy.
NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCE -
I wish I wasn’t born... Being born was my first ever mistake that couldn't be reversed. It was a mishap... Bringing up in a physical, psychological and sexual abuse was the worst nightmare to anyone.
The darkness which I faced by my mother which was not her fault as she was a schizophrenia patient, had affected every aspect of my life. The next damage that was done to my body as I mentioned in my earlier chapter. Most of my life had been spent feeling dead inside, waiting for my body to catch up. I feel like a grime is covering me. I feel like I'm trapped in a contaminated body that no amount of washing will clean. Whenever I think about what happened I feel manic and itchy and can't concentrate on anything else.
Every day I use to have nightmares that haunt me. It makes me avoid sleep. At the same time, I was also socially active and having huge no of friends too..
I always believe the saying that Death is the orgasm of Life. Yes.. Choosing death is as important as life because ORGASM IS AS IMPORTANT AS FUCK.
The book was incomplete there and I understood that this was her suicide note for her attempt in the bus. Tears were rolling down from my eyes. I was lost in her thoughts completely till I got a call from Chandra. I picked up his call and said hello in a low voice. Chandra guessed the sadness in my voice. Before he asked me, I told him about that girl and her story briefly. I asked him to accompany me to the place that the girl was residing. He accepted immediately and told me that he would be here by the next day morning so that we both could go to that girl's place. I was really happy and sad at the same time. After I said bye to Chandra, I was again lost in my thoughts before I went to sleep.
Chandra came that next morning to the place where I reside. We both went to the place where that girl was staying. Chandra knocked. The girl's mother opened the door. Seeing us, unexpectedly, she hugged me and cried for few minutes. Later she realised and asked us to come inside and sit. I asked her about Anagha and she had seemed very depressive when I asked her that question. The room was quiet for a few minutes. Her mother asked us to stay there that night because Anagha was not well and was sleeping in her bedroom. I was really curious to see her but her mom asked us to take rest for some time till Anagha wakes up. I was little upset but Chandra comforted me it was okay to wait for some time. Her mother offered us lunch. I was feeling nervous and shaky while waiting for Anagha to wake-up and come. Chandra gave the certificates bag to her mother along with her dairy. I was disappointed for his action and all of a sudden her mother came to me and said we couldn't meet Anagha because she did not want her daughter to remember what she did. I was surprised for her behaviour and was agitated. I was choking and felt nauseated. My heart was pounding very high and I couldn't breathe for a moment.
Gouthami, called Chandra. I opened my eyes. My mother was watching me tensed. I was little confused and asked my mother why she was so dull. She said I didn't wake-up for much time so she was worried and called Jenny. I saw him, and he was smiling.
What happened Jenny? I asked.
“Nothing Gouthami. My friend is suffering from Dissociative Fugue from so many days. She is fine now. I am happy for her."
“What is Dissociative fugue?” I asked.
"Because of some psychological issues she has, she forgets her own identity and starts living in another place with different identity from the past few months. I found her and informed her family about her. She is with her parents now. She came out of that fugue state now." Jenny said.
“Who is your friend whom I don't know ever?” I asked.
“ANAGHA.” He said. “And she knew me as Chandra.”