ERUPT – XI

Reeta turned baffled. She was face to face with a woman of her age who was saying something that Reeta couldn’t hear in all the noise around her. She was scared that this woman was a worker for her husband’s political party and experienced a fight or flight moment. The lady could see the uncertainty in Reeta’s eyes and immediately showed her the ID around her neck. Reeta read it “Meenakshi Maan, Reporter and Journalist, Satyamev Jayate News”. Reeta let out a breath she didn’t even know she was holding.

Meenakshi held Reeta’s hand and took her away from the crowd, Reeta allowed herself to be steered, but her eyes were searching for Rex, still doubtful of his presence here. Meenakshi took Reeta to her car, and they both sat inside while Meenakshi drove her to a more deserted street and parked there.

She turned to Reeta, “Hello Ma’am, I am Meenakshi, I mean you no harm, in fact, I wanna help you but first you need to help me.”

Reeta gave her a perplexed look, “What can I do for you? Don’t you know I am mentally unstable!” She said the latter sentence with some bitterness.

“Ma’am we know how the media is portraying your image, and that is why I am here, I want people to see the truth, the whole truth, not just your hubby’s version or people’s viewpoint but your testimony too,” Meenakshi said in an empathetic voice.

“And why should I trust the media with my side of the story when they are the ones to assassinate my character and are all under the influence of my husband’s mighty shadow?” She confronted, Meenakshi gave her an apologetic look.

“Ma’am you can either choose to trust me or choose to send me away, but I promise you whatever you tell me will reach the people word to word. I am a woman too, and I believe there’s more to this episode than what has been told. Let truth reach out, talk to me as a friend, and if you don’t want me to tell another soul, I won’t.” Meenakshi said earnestly, and something in her tone was sincere enough for Reeta to believe her.

She let out a long breath and nodded, “Alright, I will tell you everything, but it shouldn’t be doctored.” Meenakshi nodded and drove Reeta to her studio.

Reeta was sitting in front of the camera, the crew had prepped her up, and she decided to go for it. Meenakshi sat in the chair opposite her, holding her hand, “Once the camera is rolling, you just need to answer my questions and think nothing else.” She said, and Reeta nodded.

She knew what she was going to say would be all over the news like wildfire by the evening and by tomorrow, Jay’s career as a politician would be finished. She asked herself if she was regretting her decision and the voice in her said ‘NO’. She has been silent for entirely too long, it was high time she spoke the truth, or it will suffocate her. Her inner self questioned her if this was her revenge on Jay, and the answer once again was ‘NO’. She was doing this to salvage her soul and body from his abuse.

That night Rex was sitting in front of his TV, watching the breaking news that had been on reruns for hours now, it was the only talk on every channel.

The lady he rescued at the beach had answered all his questions; she had vindicated herself. He was seeing it for the umpteenth time.

Meenakshi: Mrs Reeta Kapoor would you like to tell us about the events of the night you went missing from your home and rescued from a beach house?

Reeta: I wasn’t missing; I left home intentionally. I couldn’t take it anymore, it was suffocating me, and I needed to vent. Neither was I rescued from the beach house; I was safer there than my home, I was taken from there by force.

Meenakshi: What was suffocating you? What made you feel unsafe in your own home?

Reeta: I have been a victim. A victim of physical, mental and emotional abuse. And my tormentor was none other than my husband. I have been tolerating everything silently for years, but that night it just got too much for me, and I decided to leave.

Meenakshi: Are you saying that the soon to be Health Minister Jay Kapoor has been torturing you for years. These are grave accusations.

Reeta: Not just me, he has been unfair to his own country, his people, his values. He has been involved in several scams and crimes I know off. That is one of the reasons he wants people to think I am insane so that no one would believe me.

Meenakshi: Could you be more specific about the nature of these crimes and scams?

Reeta told her everything, everything she said was being telecasted.

Rex knew Jay Kapoor was finished. He looked at the screen, at the woman who was in shambles when he met her. She was showing great strength of character to say those things on television. She had risked everything, her marriage, her safety, her reputation and her character.

Meenakshi: One last question. You were taken from a beach house, and people are saying colourful things about you and the man over there. Would you shed some light on his identity?

Rex saw Reeta look up; he could see her struggling.

Reeta: I met the man the first time that day. He was kind and helpful and took me in as a gesture of humanity. I was passed out on the beach from where he rescued me and took care of me. I know his name, but I won’t tell the world about him. The only thing people need to know is that in a few hours I spent at his place, I came to see a real man for the first time in my life. I wish, I so want Jay had been the man I always wanted him to be, but even so, the thought of cheating on him never came to my mind.

With these words, the interview ended, and the reporter came on the screen with several known faces for a debate.

“Can I get a cup of coffee, please?” Rex heard a voice and spun on the spot. It was Reeta standing on his doorstep, looking tired and forlorn. He opened the grill, and she stepped in.

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