Monday, 22 September 2008

Maya


Hello!  I am Raghav…“May I know your name”
The voice echoed across the room…
It was like a dream…
Because it cannot be real…Maya thought…
However, she could not stop hearing it…and she did not want to stop listening to Raghav…
Every second she spent with him flashed across the big pink walls...it felt like watching a movie, in a multiplex…
Was it true...it cannot be…Maya mused.
Raghav was no more…
He had committed suicide, but Maya was not able to fathom…she could still feel him in her arms…
She was lost in the memories of Raghav…and she wanted to die there…
That was the most known territory for her…
“How can he die…What was wrong with him…Did he kill himself because of me…?
Yes!  If he had married someone else, he would have been happy!
What was his best friend Mukesh doing when he jumped off the cliff…?
What are friends for…?
Couldn’t he save him…For me, for him, for all?
Maya was weeping…It was a routine for her to cry for 20 hours a day…
All of a sudden, she heard a noise at the door…
Knock…Knock…
There was a feeble knock at the door….
At twelve in the midnight…
Who could it be…Maya mused…?
Is that the wind….or a stray dog…?
Or leaves trying to comfort her…
It could never be a human being...
It was months since she saw one of her species…
Maya befriended loneliness for a change…
Now that won’t leave her…would it?
Anyway, between her thoughts, perception, and time, she could still hear the noise.
Knock Knock!
Maya was scared….rather petrified…
A little tremble wrapped her like a Mother…
She was chanting the name of Lord Ram….and slowly gathered all her strength and peeped through the window to see who had the courtesy to knock at her door…at that hour of the cold breezy night…
She would have been happy even it was a vandal or a stealer...
At least on pretext of some benefit they would have entered her house…
She longed to speak to someone... if not dear... at least near...
When she peeped... she saw…a beautiful night…
Soft winds singing duet with the beautiful flowers and the trees dancing to their tunes...
The dogs on the streets playing with their mates…
The cows feeding their calves…
It was so pleasant…She thought…
Nevertheless, no one could be seen knocking at the door…
Wonder who?
However, she was not irritated...
After a long time… she felt good…!!!
Went back to her room…
Sat in one corner…and was looking at it…
Was big…
Huge Baby Pink walls…
With MF Hussein Paintings…beautiful lamps…sparkling dangles…
Huge bed… could accommodate a hundred mortals….
Soft creamy bed spreads… pillows as soft as a baby’s bottom…
A huge LCD television… speakers…laptop…placed on a big sandalwood rack…
A huge cabinet with the most expensive clothing …bags… shoes…cosmetics…
Versace…Gucci…Maybelline, Avon, L’Oreal Paris….and many more… she couldn’t remember the names….
Her so-called corner…Looked like the room of a princess…
All the luxury a person could desire…
She had it…
But she felt worse than a worm…
Staring at the gigantic golden chandelier…
Never had seen or heard of such a big decorative piece…
Raghav had it from an auction when they had been to Italy….
Those were the best days of her life…
Thoughts about him sent shivers down her spine…
Her handsome Doctor husband….
Her life…her world…
She always wondered would there be any mortal in the world who was as lucky as she was…
Raghav was one of the finest men nature could have ever nurtured…She said to herself…
Born with a diamond spoon…in a royal family…but chose to be a doctor…
If he wished he could have owned all the hospitals in the district…but he chose to work in a village…For AIDS patients… very noble deed…she thought.
He looked like a Hollywood star…if not better
6Feet…Soft Creamy skin…large green eyes…Beautiful smile…Husky voice
Completely fit physique…When she saw him ...she said to herself…
“What is such a handsome man doing in this village…?
He should have been in the Movies…”
The first words he said to her…
Hello!!  I am Raghav…“May I know your name”
She felt enchanted…
Never in her life had she come across people who were willing to know her name.
And here was a very handsome doctor…staring into her eyes and talking sweetly…
She was happy for the first time in her life…
Of course, she had a reason…
A poor girl abandoned by her mother in a garbage van…
Taken to an orphanage…
Brought up with leftovers…
The same story that happen in movies…
But …it was like a miracle…like a storm that swept all her unhappiness, which she had earned for two decades…
She still remembers the day….it is fresh in her mind…and will be forever
Rampur…A small village in Gujarat…was the place she was born in…and wished to die in…
She loved her village.  It looked like the pictures on a wall poster…
Beautiful fields…thousands of trees…millions of flowers….
Enchanting rivers…clean lanes…but since six months cholera had embraced her village like a lover…People were dying.
As it was summer… the disease was traveling across Rampur in the speed of light… and as usual no response from the big people in her village…
She was visiting the government hospital in Rampur on a hot sunny day in summer…
For a change, the hospital was not as bad as she thought it was…
There, she saw a group of doctors sitting under a tent and looking into few x ray reports…
There were 10 people…5 girls and 5 men…
Girls were very sober…tired…”May be they dint sleep last night, So many people are infected…They must have toiled hard to treat them”, she thought.
She felt sorry for them…
Maya went to her ashram…saw if anyone was around…
Went to the backyard...there were many trees of different fruits…
There were herbal plants…sweet smelling flowers…
She plucked few mint leaves…few sweet litchis and cherries…
She plucked some herbs…
Ran to her kitchen from the backside…
Took lots of cold water from the Earthen Pot, It was boiling hot outside…
She thought a cold herbal drink would be heaven for them in this hot summer
Made a drink…tasted it…Felt it tasted good…
So happily, she went to the hospital...
When she approached the tent…
She felt low…How could I give them..??
Would they accept anything from me…?
They look like rich educated people...
The girls are so beautiful...
What will they think if they look at a short well fed dark skinned girl, with deep black eyes, blunt nose, chapped brown lips which had never seen a smile…long hair as thick as her destiny and dirty torn clothes ,offering them something to drink…
Maya never had anything nice to describe about her…
The only thing she loved herself for, was her unselfishness…She dint expect anything from her life…
She stood there lost in her thoughts as usual…
Then she felt like…someone was standing behind her…
Before she turned back…
She heard a husky voice
Hello!  I am Raghav…“May I know your name”
When she turned...she gasped for breath…
Here she was an ugly duckling…
She had never heard of sweet words ever…
What an Orphan gets from the world anyway, she thought…
People in Rampur used to call her Bad Omen…
Nobody cared for her…
But today…A handsome man…  Never in her standards asked for her name…was It just a name?  Maybe nothing more…
Neither did she anticipate anything from others…
But she felt great!!!
Raghav looked in her eyes…He felt like watching the sea…Full of uncertainty and pain…Not a conventionally good looking woman but something about her attracted him…he dint know what…but he felt blissful…
“She stammered…Maa y...ya”
Raghav laughed and said…”I am not going to give you any injection…
So don’t worry…I am a normal person like you…You can talk to me like you talk to your friends…”
She was puzzled…Friends?  What’s that..???
“I do not have friends so I don’t know how to speak to them…so I don’t know how to speak to you” Raghav saw her shivering…
He felt sorry for her…
So he said…”Don’t lie, I am your friend…talk to me as much as you want…he smiled at her…”
Was she was the happiest person in the world, she thought…
She liked him in the first instance…
But life had thought her a lesson…
Not to expect…so she liked many things but never expected to get them…
Raghav was one among them…
The first and the last man she has ever liked and will like...... she said to herself…
Raghav asked her “what you are holding in your hand…?”
She smiled and said…
“I got some herbal drink for you people, your friends looked tired and worn out…
This is a very healthy drink…”  Keeps you fresh and energetic…
He smiled and said “I heard Rampur is a nice village…now I know why”
Maya did not know to react to a compliment…had never received one before…
She had a vacant impression… he knew about it…
So he went with her to the tent and said…
“Hey buddies look what I have for you!!  Healthy drink prepared by a special person from Rampur”
All of them were delighted…
Maya felt they were waiting for some food…
All the doctors thanked her
She was happy…
Never felt so special…
After all the doctors had their drink, he took her to the hospital…
Did a blood test and all the other examinations and said “you don’t have cholera… it’s just an infection, tablets will do good…”and smiled…
She gathered courage and said why you are so kind to me…
When people in my village are not…
So he shot back…”It is because you’re going to be my wife…How can I be rude to you?”  
It was a joke, just to lighten her up but….
She did not react; she knew it’s too good to be true…
She said thank you and left…
Raghav did not expect such a reaction…He gets hundred proposals every week from attractive women.
And here she was…indifferent with blunt reaction …he was embarrassed but felt good
He wanted to speak to her even more…He liked her capriciousness…
He always wanted a girl who likes him not for his looks, profession, or wealth but for him…
He watched her leave and yelled…
Maya “Don’t forget to collect your blood reports tomorrow, and get me some herbal drink as well”
Maya did not turn…she dint want to see him again…
But that was not courtesy…
That night her mind was at war…
Raghav’ face, his voice, his nature
However, she never wanted her emotions take control over her, “what if Raghav leaves tomorrow?  The problems I have are more than sufficient for me
Let me not go tomorrow…”  Maya said to herself, prayed to Lord Ram for a nice day, and slept well…
She dint go near the hospital for a week…
It was difficult for Maya to hide…
But she had faced bigger problems…
Raghav waited for her…
He dint know why he missed her…
Had seen her only for couple of hours…
He thought “I have seen so many beautiful girls running behind me… but why am I missing her...what does she have in her that disturbs me so much..”??
He saw her blood report and called one of the staff in the hospital and enquired about Maya…he spent the entire week thinking about her….
Maya as usual was doing her regular work…she did not go to the hospital…
Maya was busy cleaning, cooking, and being yelled at by the guardian of the ashram for nothing…
She was also going to the temple and singing bhajans…
“This week seemed long”, she told the sparrows, trying to put up a smile…
They were chirping around her happily…
She heard the guardian yelling…
Ran towards the kitchen…she knew that yelling would have been for her…
She saw Raghav there…
Was shocked…
“What on earth was he doing here”?  She thought…
He smiled at her, when she came to the entrance
He had his entire crew of doctors…
He came to her and said…
“I don’t know to mince words…”
“Will you marry me?”
I am not willing to marry you because of my principles or sympathy
I believe a person like you can bring up a good generation…
And I have chosen you to be the mother of my future kids…
She was not surprised…was expressionless
The guardian was happy…for once…
Raghav said…think and let me know…
I shall pick you up and let’s move on…
Maya looked at his bright face and said…
Raghav you know why my parents abandoned me??
He said yes I saw your blood report…
And you still want to marry me???
Raghav said yes…
Maya laughed…she dint know why…
May be coz she did not want to cry…
She looked at his friends and said…
Please advise your beloved friend
I have AIDS…
I may not only die but also infect him…
I can’t imagine of having kids…
Why is your friend hell bent on losing his life…
He can get any girl he wants…
So Raghav said” I want you, if you don’t agree I won’t get married at all…”
”I believe in destiny, this was destined”
Maya said “I don’t think so, let’s see, you rich people don’t know the value of emotions…Please go back home and do your work”
Raghav went home spoke about this to his father…
His father was petrified…
He said, “If you marry that woman you can’t enter my house......
Are you crazy…?  You are a prince, a doctor…
Why do you want to marry an AIDS patient…”?
I want my generation to be healthy and happy
It’s all right if you can’t bring goodwill; kindly don’t defame our family name”
Raghav said…”I believe in destiny, this was destined”
He was adamant.....
He left for Rampur…built a tent in front of the hospital and started his work…
Maya came to know of it…
She ran to the hospital...
Raghav looked at her and asked
Are you sick???
Maya said No
So he said “Then come in the evening, I don’t want to keep my patients waiting for my personal work”
Maya met him in the evening…
Raghav said…
“Maya I love you…I want to marry you, all of us die someday, I want to die after living a life with a girl I love…Even if it’s for a day, I shall be obliged…”
Maya couldn't stop her tears…
She said “Both of us know I am not worth you, I respect your decision.  I shall marry you and at any point in time if you do not want me…Just let me know.  I shall live with your memories all my life”
Raghav smiled and said “You may never have to face that”....
Raghav and Maya got married…
It was a simple yet satisfying wedding.
Both were happy…
Raghav’s friends were proud…
They had their honeymoon in Italy...
Maya had never gone out of Rampur...
So everything she saw was new to her...
She enjoyed every moment with her husband in her arms…
Maya always asked Raghav...
Why did you choose me …?
Raghav smiled and said “Because I love you”
When they came back from Italy…
They were shocked
Raghav’s father had a heart attack on the day they left to Italy
He fell sick after he heard that his son got married to Maya
Raghav’s friend told him …that before dying, his father had told ,that his final rites has to be performed by his cousin Ramesh…and his son Raghav should not be informed..
Raghav went to his house took the pot with his dad’s ashes and wept…
His dad had given him all that a son could ask for…
He was the best dad...
Raghav felt guilty, all his relatives were staring angrily at him.
He left the place…Maya was sobbing.  She said “It is all because of me…”
Raghav said…”I believe in destiny, this was destined”
And that was followed by a period of utmost happiness…
Maya was spellbound looking at the love her husband gave her…
She was unable to react…
However as the days passed by, she became very possessive…
Raghav’s best friend Mukesh was the reason…
He used to spend the entire evening with him...
Maya hated him...
Neither did Mukesh like Maya
Raghav tried to improve their relations but both did not budge…
Mukesh always felt Maya was not good enough for him...
And Maya felt Mukesh was trying to take Raghav away from her...
Raghav loved both unconditionally
As the days passed by, Maya’s health condition deteriorated....
Raghav could not do anything other than looking at his helpless wife…
None of his ailments worked for her…
One of his maids told him, that there is a medicinal plant in Sanjeevini parvath, 15 km away from his farmhouse, which could cure Maya’s sickness at least momentarily.
He was a doctor, he knew that there was no cure, but love for his wife urged him to try once…it is just an attempt for a good purpose, he thought....
Let me go with Mukesh...
Mukesh was very brilliant in finding the right herbs...
He went home and called Maya...
He told her “Maya I am going out with Mukesh…we have something in private to discuss”...
Maya was angry …
She retorted “Raghav if I see you with Mukesh again I won’t talk to you”
He smiled and said “This is my last talk with him and I’m going to give you a surprise gift, just wait and watch”
Raghav and Mukesh left to the mountains in his Maruti800 car…Raghav had bought that from his salary...
He said to Mukesh “Remember those days, we used to go for long drives in the mountain ranges…lie on the grass and stare at the beautiful blanket with silver studs up above.  Count the number of birds flying…make huge garlands from sweet smelling flowers.  Swim in the blue rivers…Stare at the unblemished Moon…the twilight hour.  It was so wonderful...  Hope Maya was here...”
Mukesh nodded his head but grunted…How he can miss his wife... when I am right beside him…She was never going to be a part of this trip at any point…
He thought all men are like that...
If tomorrow he finds his love, he might be the same if not worse…
So they reached the Sanjivini parvath...
The maid had gone with Mukesh to this place before...
So Mukesh knew where he could find those plants...
Mukesh led Raghav…
They reached the pinnacle of the mountain...
Raghav felt like heaven...
The entire world was buried in depths
He could touch the clouds…he went screaming
“I Love you Maya”
Mukesh was so irritated; Raghav looked at him and gave him a sarcastic smile…
Mukesh found the herbs, he was about to go down to get it...
He pulled Raghav and said.  “Stay here”
Raghav said “I want to do it myself; I want to make the medicine from my own hands and give it to my wife”
Mukesh was angry…he knew it was risky but nothing was in his hands.”
“Raghav was an adult; he should know what’s good for him…  Let me go from here.  Let he do whatever he wants” He thought to himself and moved towards the car...
While he was walking, he heard a loud shriek…
Maya….!!
He sounded different this time…However, he loves shouting her name all the time he thought.  But he couldn’t hear Raghav after that...
Mukesh ran to the spot…
And found Raghav had fallen from the cliff…
His head was smashed against a hard rock below the mountains...
Mukesh froze…
He had warned him against going down…Raghav had assured he would pluck only those plants that were in the front...
Raghav had cheated him…
How could he?  Now what will I tell Maya...
She hates me already….he sobbed…trembled, felt like jumping down the cliff...
His best friend had died and he was helpless…
He dint jump as he had an obligation.  He had to fulfill his friend’s ambition…’
Mukesh called few people from the surroundings…
He took one of them along and moved to Raghav’s farmhouse...
Maya saw Mukesh coming alone…
She smiled...
All her thoughts were about what surprise gift Raghav is going to give her…  She knew Raghav loved to give surprises…
Mukesh had no nerve to say anything...
He sat in one corner…
Maya Suddenly began to sense something had gone wrong…
She had never seen Mukesh so quiet…
She said to Mukesh “Hello Mukesh, what’s in store for me”
Mukesh had never heard Maya speaking so softly to him…
He wondered how destiny played games with them…
He dint react…
The person who came with Mukesh was Raghav’s uncle Ramlal...
Maya dint know much about Raghav’s relatives...
Ramlal was angry, he walked in and looked at Maya and said “You stole our son from us, now you have killed him as well”
Maya’s world came tumbling down
She couldn’t see anything for a moment…
What did he say “I killed him?”
Which means he is dead???
She couldn’t cry, couldn’t move, and felt like a dead body…
She ran to Mukesh and asked him what happened…
He dint react…
Just walked away…
He couldn’t face Maya…
He blamed himself for Raghav’s Death…
If he were with Raghav, he wouldn’t have slipped down the cliff...
Ramlal yelled at Maya...
“You killed him…If he had not married you he would have lived like a king...
You swallowed his father; now he has committed suicide…because he could not bear the defamation against his family…You do not have to return anything to us.  Please don’t come into our village and spoil our family...”
Maya was not allowed to see his body…
The whole village started talking ill about her...
She was used to it…
But wondered what was wrong with her fate…
Raghav loved her so much…why did he commit suicide….
Maya was not able to fathom why Raghav did this to her…
She wanted to ask Mukesh …what went wrong, as he was with Raghav in his final moment...
But he was not to be seen…
Her fate was rude she thought...
It was good for once... and then moved back to square one again…
She sobbed…for days without food and water, tried to commit suicide…
She was saved by her maids...
Maya laughed at herself “Even Death hated me”
All the moments she spent with Raghav flashed across her mind...
Was going on and on…
She felt he was near her all the time...
Speaking to her…embracing her…
Everything she saw was like a dream…
She longed for company…
Someone she could speak to...
A shoulder to cry...
She had never expected anything from life until now…
Maya prayed to Lord Ram…
She said “Just a soul to listen, nothing else I shall ask of you”
She heard a knock…for the second time…
She moved to the hall to answer the door...
Was sure it was nobody…
After Raghav left, the entire village had abandoned her...
But she still opened the door…expecting some mischievous winds
No!!!  It was Mukesh…
She was shocked and happy!
After a long time she had found someone…
Lord had answered her prayers…
Mukesh went inside quietly...
She gave him some biscuits with water
Biscuits were old and stale…
Maya said…”No milk…you know, nobody comes here .Hope you don’t mind,
I don’t want to send you empty stomach”…
Mukesh dint feel like eating…it had bad odor
But to see her smile he ate a few…
Mukesh looked at Maya
She looked terrible….Bony…
Her disease had eaten her…
She was not able to walk, so she dragged herself out...
He thought she is going to be with Raghav soon…
She came and sat near him and said…
“Did Raghav commit suicide…?
Why did he do that??”
Mukesh nodded his head in dissent….
He had tears in his eyes…He was amazed at people’s belligerence…How can they poison the mind of such an innocent girl he thought...
He did not say anything...
Maya saw his eyes…
She said with a grin, “I got the answer”.
I know he dint want to leave me, don’t worry I shall go there soon and fight with him…”
Mukesh hoped she dint go…he knew why Raghav loved her…
For once he felt Raghav was right…he was lucky to have her…
He got up to leave…
Maya looked at him in his eyes….her eyes spoke to him…
All that he heard her say was…
“You know I am dying
I love your friend more than my life…
I tried to kill myself as well…
But now I don’t want to die…
His ambition was to serve AIDS patients...
He got married to one as well.
I want to fulfill his dreams…That’s the only way I can pay him back
Until I die, I want to serve people like me…
I do not want sympathy or luxury of the world…
I want your support to fulfill Raghav’s dreams
I am not forcing you, do not get me wrong
But I would be obliged if you could be a support for me, like you were for my husband…
I am sure he will be happy for us…and that is all we want”
Mukesh did not say anything...
He moved towards the door…
Closed it...
Came back to her and looked at her with gleaming eyes…
She smiled and said thank you
Mukesh wagged his huge tail and said…..
“Woof Woof”...”Bow Bow”!!!
Maya said that’s the softest bark I have ever heard...
He jumped on her and licked her …
She happily carried him and moved to her large room happily...
Like her husband Raghav said
”I believe in destiny, this was destined”.
She knew they were destined to be happy until her final moment!!!

A Day...with Nature

Silent whispers pervading softly down the lane…..
Beckoning vivid memories frivolous and sane…
Cascading through serrated realm of boons and bane…..
How soothing are the tiny drops of rain…..

Dark Blanket embodied with silver stone....
Mystics of a beautiful night I have never known..
The rhythmic sway of sweet smelling trees....
The benevolence of the capricious breeze....

The refulgence of the silky blue sea..
Chasing the soft shore, trying to flee...
When all the beautiful creations of thee
Are hovering the horizon with glee...
Mother Nature!!!!
On your soft lap, I would lay to see
A dream where I am me...
When Life wants to let me free
I shall offer you my soul as fee....