Friday, July 24, 2015

Dear Roshini

Dear Roshini,

How is my little pudding doing? I know, I know, you’re all grown up now and you don’t like being addressed like this, but I can’t help calling you such silly names.  You maybe surprised or even shocked to hear from me now, that too not one-to-one at home but here in college that too after long vacations. I always felt that letters were the best way to express your deepest and most stable feelings.  The fact that the receiver can hold them in their hands and read them again and again is an added advantage.

The most  important bit in this whole message is that “I Love you”. You are the most important person in my life and there is nothing that I won’t do for you. You have given me unimaginable joys in simple things and I thank you for being part of my life. I have been proud of you the moment I set my eyes on you as a newborn and I am proud of you today.

Feels odd, to write a letter to my own daughter telling her my feelings.We have lived together all these years and I have held you in my arms everyday. You should already know most about me and I think I know much about you. Yes, even about the tattoo on your bum. 
But still I wanted to write to you my love. I wanted this extra connection between you and me that may outlive both of us.It makes our relationship a bit more tangible, doesn’t it?
You being a girl of current times, may say that even emails are tangible. After all one can hold a cellphone anytime and access the email. But to me email is even more impersonal than a typed letter. I don’t get to choose the paper, it’s color or texture, I don’t get to use a pen of my liking, I don’t get to write in my own handwriting and I don’t get to perfume it with the fragrance that is dearest to me.

Your father and I used to write a lot of letters to each other during our courtship days. The letters used to carry the intense fragrance of our new love and light scent of our perfumes. You may not be able to tell that by looking at us lately, but those letters, still in my study’s locker are a testimony to that fact that those days were real and so were the emotions. Like most things love is also transient having it’s high’s and lows and unfortunately our highs ended in our youth.

My own family had been my pillar of strength through the extreme lows in our marriage and you sensed that too. Your grandparents and uncle were always there for me, loving me, running errands for me, whenever I needed them. My brother, your uncle Paritosh, from being the silly little boy of my childhood, became my man Friday and my confidant. 
There was a point of time when I used to think what I would do without his support. My career and the growth of company was all thanks to him. Even at home he had been most resourceful and helped me juggle my work and family quite well.  There was a time when I could not have imagined living without his support, his encouragement and most importantly his brotherly affection.

It seemed so surreal, reading your journal from years ago where you mentioned how you didn’t like being held by Paari and then another where he touched you while you slept off on the sofa while watching a movie with him. I couldn’t believe my eyes and had to read those entries again and again to accept, what had happened. Sorry honey, I was not meaning to pry, but your recent rebellious streak left me in a very fragile mental state. I needed to understand why this distance had come between you and me. Looking back I was able to put the pieces together and explain why you avoided him in the past few years. Why there was always a class or a friend to be visited whenever there was an occasion to meet with him. Clearly I had not been the best mother, my neediness and dependence on my family must have been a more recognizable trait than of a protective parent. How I wish I could unwind the clock and prevent this from happening or at least make it stop as  early as possible.How I wish it were me to whom you had confided in and I who had put a stop to this. But I am thankful to your friends and to that tattoo for giving you courage and confidence that succeeded in getting rid of his clutches.

Your father is a good man Roshni, but something broke between us a very long time ago. I could not go to him with this. I was too coward even to accept to you that I knew. But knowing this I couldn’t sit still. How could I pretend that this never happened? That the person I trusted the most in my life and most importantly with my own child, could breach that trust in the most diabolical manner. I had a very hard time in reconciling with the fact that this dreadful thing happened to you and my blind trust in someone not worthy, had a role to play in it’s occurrence. The more he expressed his affection for me or you, the more my hatred for him increased. I could have confronted him outrightly but that would not have served any purpose other than telling the world about what had happened to you. Moreover he was more resourceful and useful than me in social circles, eventually it would have been my word against his and I know how that would have ended.

You can say I went crazy and started to look for other ways to teach him a lesson. For many months I couldn’t find a way that was befitting and also didn’t implicate me. But then my prayers were answered in one single word, called - Dimethylmercury. Pretty interesting chemical that. I had a really difficult time getting hold of this thing but our Nepal trip was a ploy to get it. Wow! what a hard time I had trying to convince you and your father to travel back by train and road. Anyway, using it was no problem at all. Paritosh was helping me in the garden, we were both wearing gloves, just that mine were not plain rubber gloves. I supposedly spilled a few of it’s drops on his hands which he didn’t even notice.

Then began the longest few months of my life. I knew that the poison took very long to show symptoms but I was getting impatient and well as paranoid. I started to wonder if the day would ever come? If I had bought the right thing? If it were pure? If Paari has super human capabilities to process a poison like that. You must appreciate my acting skills those few months. I remained the guillible, loving elder sister to him despite my inner hatred and anxieties. I had already begun to hatch my next plan to kill him, convinced that the last one had failed, when his symptoms started to show. He started getting sick, feeling numb, loosing vision along with other things. You must remember me being there for him and his family during his sick days. I nursed him, fed him, giving breaks to his tired,clueless and very thankful wife. I wanted to be close to him, to be sure that he was dying.They did detect it as mercury poising eventually, but the therapies to remove mercury from his body didn’t help much. It was established that he was going to die and I now only had to tell him the reason why he was suffering so much. As much as I wanted to rub it in his face and tell him before he became incoherent, I also had to avoid the situation where he could inform others and had me reported. 
Days went by and Paari became very religious and always wanted to hear shlokas or mantras recited to him. I always took care to subtly read to him the shlokas talking about one’s karma and how it comes to haunt us. How coming clean about one’s bad deeds can lead to salvation. In the mornings when he asked me to read newspaper to him I would carefully scoop out the stories about children getting abused by their relatives and express my shock at how someone can do it to an innocent child. I would wrap it up, by cursing those people and wishing that they be poisoned to death. It seemed that eventually Paritosh started to suspect. He would often ask me about you. He would also ask me if I thought he would go to heaven or hell? Not wanting to bite his bait I would tell him that he should have faith in his deeds and the purity of this thoughts. They will lead him to the place that is right for him. The ambiguity in my answers seemed to disturb him. He would get agitated and would sulk for hours. This game went on for many days, but hen he seemed to grow tired of it and kept quite. His health was also failing him in many ways and he was almost at the brink of death. A few days before he died he said to me, “Didi,  maybe you think what I have done is unthinkable or unforgivable. But if there was ever a moment of true brother and sister connect between us. If you think that there is one good deed that I have done in my life, then I beg you never to reveal to my family about the reason for my suffering. I can’t tell you why I did, what I did. I myself don’t know. I am not even sorry about it. I am sorry that I am dying like this. My children are young, they deserved better.” 
When he said this, his words just bounced off my head. Seeing him getting emotional, I assured him that his children and his wife will always love him like they have done so far. I came back home that day, emotionally drained and feeling a hint of guilt. Feigning bad health I didn’t visit him for a couple of days and then the news of his death came. 
I had imagined a sense of euphoria  coming over me when I hear this news. Reality was much different from imagination, I felt no happiness or relief when I heard of Paari’s passing. Instead of a climatic retribution, I felt my sense of loss deepening further. It was as if someone had cast a darker shadow upon me. The false sense of purpose that I had cultivated while killing him was suddenly gone and it left behind the emptiness that reminded me every second of my failures as a mother and now as a sister and a human being. Avenging my own daughter I had created two children who further deserved vengeance. 
You are my daughter and quite aware of my failings as an individual.Courage has never been one of my virtues and you should know better than blaming yourself for what will happen a few days from today. I have been thinking about it all long, ever since Paari died. Seeing him suffer so much for so long I have developed an aversion to poisons.  As I was thinking of better ways to achieve my goal, you had already started to plan for our annual vacation. You may blame yourself for picking up Jog waterfalls as one of the destinations. But the idea of going there was subtly planted in your head by me. I was the one who told you do something different, go to beaches , mountains and maybe a waterfall. I was the one who steered your mind towards Karnataka that offers all those things.

I have also arranged for this letter to be posted from my office only after a delay of 3 days. That will give me leeway to stop it from starting it’s long journey to you, in case I lose courage again. The fact that you are reading this letter today implies that I have been successful at jumping to my death at the Jog falls. But it would have looked like an accident, I don’t want to leave you or your father in a legal mess. If there is something that I want to give you my darling, then it is the sense of closure.  I punished the man responsible for the darkness in your life. I am proud of that. 
I don’t know if Paari deserved a punishment as severe as death but I certainly did.
I seek forgiveness from you for not being there when you needed me the most and for not being there whenever you’ll need me in future. 

You can treat this letter as my confession or a suicide note or both. But to me it is the closing of the dark chapters in your life.

Goodbye Darlin’! Thank you for being the brightest and shiniest light of my life.