I Truly Believe In Love

When I was in college (graduation 3rd year), I read two books as a part of our syllabus – The Great Expectations by Charles Dickens and Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen. Both are great works. Human relations, follies, expectations, insecurities, vulnerabilities – mainstay of these works. Me being a romantic to the core person was swept off my feet by beautiful portrayal of Elizabeth and Darcy – the protagonists of “Pride & Prejudice”. Elizabeth, a strongly opinionated, free spirited , well read, beautiful and a charismatic girl. Her beauty was not only what was obvious but her refusal to let herself to be treated as doormat added to her aura. Despite of not having grand fortune and unfortunately quite a few annoying pompous characters in her family she never let herself to act or sound vulnerable. Meekness or submission wasn’t her. She represented grace. On the other hand Mr.Darcy was rich by leaps and bounds. Was as opinionated as his female counterpart was but the natural flair of talking easily to people wasn’t his forte. His stoic silence made him look haughty. His reserved nature was often mistaken for being too proud to mingle. But as the story proceeds the layers over his character get unveiled, making him a desirable life partner for every girl. Ok, I will be honest with you all – I really wished to have a Darcy in my life – handsome, even more handsomely rich and to enhance every other quality that he possessed – sensible & madly in love with a person to go to any extent.

It was their chemistry that kept me hooked. Left me happily teary eyed everytime I finished the book. I actually lost count of number of times I have read this book (haven’t yet counted the number of views I have paid to the series). It is no less than a fairy tale following the suit where poor girl meets rich boy, they get married and happily live ever after. It is more closer to the real lives where a union of two people isn’t devoid of involvement of families and friends. Superiority complex of affluent ones, misunderstandings – both of words & silence, expectations tied to engagements, pride invested in qualities (materialistic and otherwise) one possess, prejudiced opinions one forms of the other and how finally love finds it’s way – we do find such elements in and around our lives, isn’t it? That’s why this fiction stood the test of the time.

My Draw: To be honest, whether I read or watch this work of art, majorly it’s an escapism to the rosy world of romance I adore. I simply cherish love stories. It hand overs to me a sense of happiness. But over the years it apart from happiness it gave me one important lesson – Pride about something – good or bad, inadvertently nurses prejudice. Let’s forget about the book and it’s characters for a moment. Let’s take an example from what’s around us. A man regular in his prayers and social work feels proud of his desirable ways of life. When he sees another person who is not very invested in regular prayers and social work isn’t a part of his regular proceedings of life, the former one immediately forms a prejudice about the later one about how wrong he is without knowing him fully, without having an awareness of his portion of struggles in life. It is very much happening all around us. No denial. So if you let pride rest for long in your head get ready for an add on guest – Prejudice, period!

Moving on from this story, have you ever thought what would be life of Elizabeth and Darcy when they enter their 60s? When romance blooms completely into love. Well, not sure of them but I came across a Indian regional movie that exactly defines what love and companionship is. The movie’s name is Mithunam, which means a couple. It’s in Telugu. The entire movie is about an elderly couple – Appa Dasu & Buchi Lakshmi, whose children have settled in different parts of the world. In the entirety of the film you will see only these two characters. It might seem to be a reel showcasing their daily mundane activities but the depth needs a heart to let it sink.

The first thing what I noticed after I finished watching this movie is it isn’t some unrelated, non relatable celebrities that can give us couple goals. If companionship has to be understood look at our grandparents, look at our parents. My own in-laws are together for 42 years now. Have seen lows and highs together. Being together is what mattered. And probably for the first time on celluloid I have seen where it wasn’t about the rose flowers but about the fragrance it spreads. It isn’t about the attraction during youth but affection in the dusk of the age. Where hero and heroine aren’t the glamorous hot shots but someone more identifiable and relatable with us. Completely in love with this movie.

What Mithunam taught me?

Many beautiful aspects have subtly touched upon in this movie that can make a life meaningful and joyful.

  • companionship means understanding the unannounced pain, doing your part without being vocal about it. There was a particular scene where the wife comes to know how her husband has been helping her best friend over the years to get her son educated after her husband has departed. Never once did he let her know about her friend’s ordeals.
  • Work your bodies and rest your mind. Movie beautifully depicted the mantra for a happy and healthy life. From growing vegetables, doing chores to even unconventional jobs repairing slippers like cobblers do, this movie also speaks about dignity of labour and self reliance though in a very nuanced manner.
  • For the first time I heard the concept of attachment and detachment in this movie. Our love shouldn’t turn into constant worry or impediment – for us or others. Live life as it comes – this is what Appa Dasu taught me.
  • At the end when Appa Dasu dies, Buchi Lakshmi cries her heart out and says “thank you God”. Don’t get her wrong, she opens up as she talks to herself “I was constantly worried what would happen to this man if I leave this abode before him, he is like a child who can’t take care of himself. Now my worries are put to rest”. Is this not true love considering the fact that in India dying as a married woman (before her husband) is considered good.

I can go on about this feel good movie, but surely there’s more this movie can give us. Available on youtube with subtitles, give it a try! These two works have strengthened my idea and belief in love. I may not have Darcy, but surely I want to grow old with my man and lead a content life ☺️.

ERUPT – XIV

Yes, I did just that but you know it had a manifold effect on Jay. He turned from riches to rags in no time. The humiliation he received on national television, the way the media stripped his character and the way he was kicked out by his own political party had a deep impact on him. He was nothing more than a wretched man. And you know there can never be a punishment bigger than having to plead and seek help and ask for forgiveness from someone who was once a puppet in your hands.” Reeta replied beaming with pride.

Do you mean you helped Jay? Are you still in contact with him?” Asked Nidhi with squinted eyes. There was a look of surprise on the face of everyone present in the room except Rex because he was aware of what Reeta had done really. He pitched in to explain to the audience.

Reeta not only forgive him but also gave him a new lease of life. After all that happened with Jay as an aftermath of Reeta unveiled the true face of his, he became very vulnerable. There was no place he could go and there was no alliance he could turn to. Everyone treated him like a piece of dirt. His political support was backed out, he did not receive any favors in cash or kind and soon he was left unemployed. He couldn’t come to terms with the turn of events and he took to alcohol. Needless to say he used to breathe, sleep and wear alcohol. Newspapers reported him to be found on streets of Mumbai in a semi conscious state because of over consumption of alcohol.”

Everyone in the room were listening to Rex’s narration intently.

Reeta chipped in and continued further. “One night Jay called me. He was under the influence of alcohol. He first started swearing at me and blamed me for his condition. Well, I was indeed responsible for it but I did not regret it even a bit. I was calmly hearing him out. Some how I was confident that he cannot harm me any further. He continued spitting venom for some more time and then suddenly be broke down. He started crying like a helpless child wandering on a lost road. He asked for my forgiveness. He said he wanted to change. He said he wanted to live a decent life again and asked if I could help him and suddenly he passed out. Having lived with this man for 15 years, I could sense that there was a streak of truth in what he just said. I used my contacts and networking and found out more about him. It turned out that he was actually telling the truth that day. So I decided to do my bit and got him admission to the rehab center so he has a shelter and gets a square meal a day and also frees himself from the shackles of alcoholism.

Slowly the crowd started clapping and applauding. A girl stood up and questioned Reeta, “What are you made up of ma’am! You have a heart of gold!”

Somewhere in Mumbai

Jay returned to his cottage after a hard day’s work. He cooked for himself a humble meal of daal rice. Ever since he returned from the rehab center he was a changed man. He lived a simple life. To earn a living he served at an old age home through the day. His routine would never deviate from his cottage and old age home and there was no element of any change or excitement what so ever. But today it was different. He couldn’t contain his excitement today because he had received a letter from Reeta in the morning. The chores at the old age home kept him so busy that he couldn’t even think of reading the letter then but now that he was home and done with dinner he couldn’t wait any more.

With trembling hands heart filled with love and respect he opened the letter…

Hi Jay,

Hope you are doing better now. I can’t tell you how happy I am to see you as a changed man. I am proud of you Jay, it’s not easy to take the wrong path and find the right one again but you made it happen. I know your hands were trembling when you opened this letter and I know you will not sleep for nights together after you read this letter. I just know you well, after all, a woman knows her man like a sailor knows the sea!

Well, my secretary told me that you wanted to talk to me by meeting me in person. I am sorry Jay, I will not meet you. Not that I don’t have time but because I can’t spend even a second more with you than what I already have. I can read your mind Jay, I know you want to talk me in to getting back and starting a new life together but I am sorry Jay I can’t do that. That Reeta is dead long time ago. I am a fiercely independent woman now. The toughest time of my life curated me in to the best version of myself and I want the same should happen to you. Be the best version of yourself Jay, you don’t need anyone for that. There is a long way to go Jay. Continue to serve the elderly people and collect their blessings. That way you may feel little better from the torments of wrongs that you have committed. Apologies and regrets will fetch you nothing.

Stop thinking about how our life was together – good or bad. That is not going to help because now you are on your own. Think about how you want to channelize the energy and effort to make yourself competent enough to live rest of the life decently. Having said that, feel free to contact my organization for any kind of help if need be. We shall continue making fixed deposits in your name which you can redeem by presenting work certificate and salary slips. This will shield you from financial crisis if at all they arise in future.

Wishing you all the best.

Your’s truly,

Reeta
Founder of Shelter of Justice

 

THE END

ERUPT – XIII

Everyone in the hall were quiet and were listening attentively to Reeta when they were interrupted.

Ma’am, there’s a man who has come to meet you, but I asked him to wait outside in the waiting hall,” Ambika, Reeta’s secretary came to the meeting hall and informed her.

Does he have a name, Ambika?” Reeta asked with her eyes squinted.

Sorry Ma’am, his name is Rex, that’s what he said.” Ambika said.

Oh, Rex!” Reeta’s face lighted up as soon as she heard the name. She looked at the group of women she was talking to and said excitedly, “Speak of the devil and devil is here… You guys are so fortunate to meet the real man about whom I was telling you all… the man who rescued me when I was lying unconscious on the sea beach, you remember.” All the women giggled listening about the rescuer and were curious to see him as Reeta went out to meet and welcome Rex to the rehab room.

Reeta hugged Rex with joy of meeting him after so many years. It had been already 7 years from the time of their first meeting on the beach and after 5 years since they had met each other last. Reeta was always in touch with Rex as she had no one to support her. She struggled so much, running from pillar to post to stand on her feet. They could not speak much with each other at that particular time as Reeta was in her class with those victimized group of women who were rescued and given shelter at Shelter of Justice, an organisation founded and owned by her. 

All of them were eagerly waiting to listen to the latter part of Reeta’s story and to see Rex, a kind man, in their own eyes. Reeta walked in to the hall along with Rex introducing him while all others clapped and welcomed him. Rex acknowledged the respect he received and took his seat beside her as she started to speak.

Now I can continue with my life’s story while enjoying the presence of this great man. Guess what? I am feeling nervous now…” She said laughing while all others giggled as well.

Everyone’s eyes were fixed on Reeta as she went down her memory lane…

I was overwhelmed with emotions because of the life changing incidents that had been happening in my life for last couple of days. Though I heard Rex’s sorrowful stories,I had no patience to understand his pain at that particular time. But I was sure what I should be doing and what I was planning that night. I thanked Rex for everything that he had done for me and being my support for sometime and walked out of his house. Rex asked me to stay back at her place instead of going here and there at that hour of the night but I didn’t want that he should be attacked or harassed for my sake. That’s the reason why I just took his phone number before walking away from him. 

I didn’t know where to go as I was walking on the sands in the darkness while the moon beam shined over me with the silent sea seeming to be apathetic towards my plight. Tears were rolling down my cheeks as I walked as if there was no strength in my feet but I just dragged them to move ahead to an aimless journey of my life. I had a bag and some money with me which I had arranged before walking out of the house The Kapoor Mansion forever.  

Reeta was in tears and wiping it while narrating her condition of that dreadful night. The women surrounding her were in tears too. Rex was quiet and was happy to see a new Reeta in front of him who had grown up to be a leader and rescuer herself. 

Reeta gathered herself again to tell the tale further…

That night I went straight to the train station and took a train for Kolkata, knowing that it would be a cheaper place to live in and far away from the reach of that monster. If he was in the west, I was heading towards the east. It was a mindset that I will simply go in the opposite direction from him. My life in Kolkata was never safe even if I came here far from and on the opposite direction of where Jay was but I had that wish to fight and stand on my own to show to the world around me that, ‘No one can oppress me, living with dignity is my right as it is for any other human created by the same God.’ 

I had been mistreated, misbehaved with, misinterpreted, misunderstood yet no one could suppress me or oppress me anymore. It was this man, Rex, who never left me… He used to call me twice a day, once in the morning when I used to go out searching for a job or earning and once in the night before I sleep. I started working in different houses as a babysitter. That was the safest work that I found at that particular time as I needed a place to stay as well instead of on the road along with the street beggars. I helped everyone that I met on my way, who were oppressed and suppressed by others and I kept making friends along the way. 

I started teaching the kids on the street while I babysat and soon drew attention of those who were sold out for these causes. I was appointed as a social worker as I had my education backing me. And this man was the happiest when I told him that I got a job, a respectful job. 

Reeta smiled looking at Rex as he bowed his head down, acknowledging her praises. 

And here, you all see me, your Reeta… Reeta Didi, Reeta Ma’am whatever you call me today. I could found this shelter because of this friend of mine who gave me shelter seven years ago amidst all the odds. Do you all know? This man was harassed even after I took the precaution of not being associated with him. That monster, Jay, forced him and humiliated him to know where I have gone. He tolerated everything for me as a good friend and didn’t open his mouth.” Reeta spoke while clasping her hand with Rex’s with gratitude. 

That day’s talk was about to be over with Reeta’s long and dreadful story. The women were so encouraged to hear her story. Rex was happy to see that vulnerable woman lying on the beach whom he rescued once, is a powerhouse now for all others. But there was one young girl who was raped by her colleagues who was not looking very happy and satisfied. Although all of them were still more or less in traumatic state and trying to recover slowly.

What happened dear Nidhi? Do you need anything my child?” Reeta asked looking at her attentively.

How could you just leave that monster to live so happily? You left him by just ruining his career? Did he deserve only that much, not more than that?” Nidhi responded posing these questions.

Reeta smiled looking at her, she could understand the cause of Nidhi’s anger for Jay, for all those monsters. And it was her responsibility to make the young mind understand how to deal with those emotions…

ERUPT – XII

“Wh . . . What are you doing here and at this time?,” blurted out Rex with a bewildered voice as he opened the door for Reeta to step in. He hadn’t imagined in his wildest dreams to see her again in his cottage. As she stepped in, he peeped out behind her to make sure she hadn’t got any reporters with her.

“I came to thank you,” said Reeta with a crisp voice, devoid of any emotion. “I can see that just like everyone else, you have watched it too,” she continued to say glancing towards the television which was still ON.

“I’ll fix you some coffee. Please have a seat and make yourself comfortable,” said Rex showing his hand towards the same chairs where she had sat watching the waves and sipping ginger tea, the day he had brought her to his cottage first.

As Rex proceeded to his coffee maker, he couldn’t make much sense of Reeta’s visit.

‘After all that she has told the public, she probably can’t ever go back to her house. Does she want shelter here? I have to be careful. These high profile people can change colours any time. Or is she here to make me fall for her? She has an emotional vaccuum within her now and after all that she has told about feeling safe here, she may be looking to win my sympathy. Help me God! What do I do? How can I be of help to her without inviting trouble for myself?,’ Rex muttered to himself as he fixed two cups of coffee.

The sea was calm that night, symbolizing the uncanny calmness that Reeta felt within her. She sat in the same chair. But, there was no view of the sea as it was a dark moonless night. Two days before, she had been in the same place. The sea was rough and noisy then, and so was her heart within. Her life had seemed to be crashing again and again as were the waves on the shore that day. Today however, everything was different. The sea was calm and so was her heart within. Probably, the sea was acknowledging her feelings and reflecting them.

“Here you go, Reeta, if I may call you so, now that I know your name,” said Rex with a wink placing a tall mug of coffee before her. “By the way, you said some good things about me while answering to that reporter. I appreciate your kind words. Umm…mmm…let me share a slice of my life with you,” he continued without giving her any opportunity to speak. He was determined not to give any space for her to leap into his life.

“You know why I picked you up from the sandy beach that night? Well, of course, you know! I had told you,” said Rex with a laugh and a wave of his hand as emotions visibly swelled within him. “But, there’s more to it. Fifteen years ago, my sister . . . my only sweet younger sister . . . was swept away by the waves into the bottomless sea. It was a winter afternoon and she was lying lazily on the sea beach when a huge sudden wave swept across and pulled her in, along with the flow of current. No one could save her. It happened so quickly. I was right here inside this cottage and ran out on hearing the cries of people only to find her scarf nestled on a nearby rock. There was no sight of her. Perhaps, the scarf was her good-bye gift to me!,” sighed Rex wiping off the tears that streamed down his cheeks.

“Her name was Riva. She was twenty, then. And when I saw you that morning lying unguarded and unconscious, I felt a compelling urge not to let some sudden wave sweep you off without your knowledge. Another brother should not lose a sister, was what occurred to my mind instantly,” said Rex raising his voice suddenly.

“Of course, I don’t know if you have a brother. But if you have, I’m sure he’ll be glad to see you alive,” said Rex blowing his nose into a tissue.

Reeta sat motionless letting every word of Rex sink in. She had finished her coffee and had placed the cup on the table, this time carefully. Rex’s words seemed like a fairy tale to her. She had never witnessed such love, an orphan that she was!

“Remember, the mug that crashed to pieces that day when you were here?,” asked Rex with a sudden tinkle in his voice. “That belonged to Mary, my late wife. A pretty petite cheerful woman she was! We were married for twelve wonderful years. Three years back she developed a rare skin infection. I never thought a skin infection could take life. But, it did. It has been two years since my Mary left me. I loved Mary and so it never occurred to me to look at you with lust when I held you in my arms and brought you in, even though you were unaware of yourself that day. I have sealed my loyalty to Mary before God and that holds true to me to this day, even with her being gone to a land of no-return,” said Rex with sadness in his voice.

“Mary and I used to sit by the window and sip hot chocolate every evening. That mug reminded me of Mary’s presence in my life. When that mug crashed, I felt that I had failed her. I could do nothing to save her from death. And, I could do nothing to prevent her memory from crashing. But, don’t be mistaken. I haven’t pushed her away from me,” Rex got up from the chair saying this and went to the kitchen. He pulled open a drawer and took out a clear bag from it. He went to Reeta and held it up for her to see.

There was that golden mug, broken, but neatly joined together with the cracks clearly visible!

 

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.

ERUPT -X

Rex is really disturbed. He is tossing and turning on the bed. All he could hear is Reeta screaming while in the car. As such, what ever was coming in the media did not sound true. Ever since Reeta left, he is unable to take his mid of her. He switched on the Television and there she is all over the news. He didn’t know how to get in touch with Reeta. “It was my fault. I shouldn’t have called the police”, he thought to himself. He got out of the bed, took his car keys and started driving towards the city.

Reeta is furious and cursed herself for grabbing all the attention of the media. She was angry on Jay and is not at all willing to succumb to the pressure Jay is creating. “Does he think he can do whatever he wants? Never I am going to let that happen. Enough is enough, he needs to learn a lesson”, she thought to herself. She came up with a plan and seemed confident about it. In the morning, she had her breakfast along with Jay and she waited for him to leave. Jay is going to attend a pre-scheduled live Q&A session in the afternoon with reporters today. Supposedly this is about his win in the election and the future agenda.  As she saw Jay’s car departing out of the gate, she slipped out of the back entry without the guards noticing her.

She dressed up in a saree and used a scarf to cover her face. She had no money in hand, so the only way now she is left with is to walk all the way to the destination. She saw a police van approaching at a distance and her heart raced at the highest possible rate. She tried to stay calm. Slowly and steadily she kept moving ahead without them noticing her. The sun was harsh and the sweat rolling on her skin is aggravating the pain from the bruises. She literally had tears in her eyes and suddenly she felt as if she has no strength. She rested for a while and continued her walk. After four hours she is where she is wanted to be.

There were a lot of reporters waiting outside and some common people awaiting the entry. She cross checked all the security around and realized there is an area designated for citizens who came to witness the session. She sneaked through the security and entered the event area. The session is going to start in an hour. Everyone are waiting for Jay to arrive. As the convoy was entering the exhibition ground, people started to yell, clap and scream for him. There he was, Jay, stepping out of his car. As he was walking towards the crowd, he approached the place where citizens were standing and is waving hand at them. He had brief conversations with few of them and moved towards the dais.

Once, Jay was on the dais, his followers honored him with a big garland. Reeta really could not understand how blindfolded his followers are. She is mentally prepared for consequences and is waiting for an opportunity. Reporters started firing questions on the political front. Jay was happy that people grew over what happened yesterday night and thanked God for not allowing what his stupid wife did alter his career. He felt a little relieved with how people are receiving him. While he was answering those questions, Jay noticed something unusual in the crowd.  He had an unsettling feeling about what he just saw. He was scared if she was really here, what could happen. He hurriedly called one of his assistants, and asked him to check if Reeta is at home. The assistant made a call and confirmed that she is at home. (Reeta informed the maid that she wants to rest and not disturb her. Clever..) 

Reeta was in the crowd unaware of all these. She is slowly moving ahead towards the dais. People were moving haphazardly shouting out slogans. She also started saying those slogans drifting in the crowd. As she was approaching one of the reporters, she saw Rex. He was talking to another reporter. Reeta was puzzled with what Rex must be upto. Several questions were lingering in her mind – Has Rex joined hands with Jay? Is he plotting against her? Were Jay and Rex working together. Is that why Rex handed over her to the police? and so on.. She was totally confused. She turned around, starting walking away from the crowd. She needed a minute to sync in and then proceed with her plan.

As she was walking, a hand landed on her shoulder…  

ERUPT -IX

Jay stormed into the room. He was mad with anger. 

Reeta looked at him calmly. Strangely enough she could not find any emotions in herself. She was like a dead body incapable of feeling anything. 

And her dead pan expression enraged Jay even further. He was used to seeing fear in her eyes. It was like he was seeing a new Reeta. 

Stupid woman! You wretched, good for nothing woman… What were you thinking? Trying to sabotage my career at this stage. Never given me an ounce of pleasure. Always brought misfortunes in my life. Where were you the whole night? Do you have no shame? If you were not worried about your reputation at least you should have remembered whom you were married to…”  He shouted at her.

That’s exactly what I was trying to forget…” Retorted Reeta.

Upon hearing this an irate Jay lifted his hand and slapped Reeta hard on her cheek. She fell over backwards but this did not stop her from speaking her mind. “Yes” she said “I wanted to forget all about you I wanted to run away from you. I feel suffocated here. I can’t breathe. I want to leave.”

Oh! so now this is a new drama you have started. You want to leave is it? And go where? Remember I am the only one you have.” Jay curled his lips derisively. “You are my property… remember I will not let you go anywhere… You are my wife and you will stay by my side and show the world how happy we are together.” He took a step towards her and caught hold of her wrist, pulled her towards him. With his face inches away from her face he hissed menacingly “Believe me I will make you do this even if I have to kill you for it“. He loved the look of terror in her eyes. This is what he wanted to see. 

With his ego placated a bit, he flung her wrist, turned and walked out of the room. 

Reeta was left behind nursing the bruises on her face and wrist. Even tears had dried up in her eyes now. But the frustration made her cry out loud. She wailed and screamed into her pillow. Punched the pillow, threw the bedside lamp on the floor. But that rage just did not subside. She just didn’t want to give in today. Like she had been doing for past so many years. Things were not always like this. She had come into Jay’s life as a starry eyed bride and he too behaved like a loving husband. Things started changing when he started rising in his political career. She came to know about a wholly different side of his character. One who was capable of taking bribes and following other corrupt practices. When she objected to any of it the domestic violence started  supposedly to put her in her place. The rift widened when they realised that they could not have any children. She went through a lot of treatment and many IVF cycles but they were not blessed with a child. After that she became totally worthless to him. She became only the good looking trophy wife which he could flaunt in his political circles and a great body to satisfy his physical needs. 

There was absolutely no emotional bond left between them still she was carrying the burden of this marriage because she knew no other way of living life. With no family to fall back on she didn’t know whom to go to for support or help. 

But the final nail in the coffin was when she heard about his affair with a much younger girl. She was shattered. She felt like a tissue paper which he used and threw away without much thought. 

She felt no bond with him anymore but still he had control over her emotions. He could still instill fear in her. She hated the fact that he could still manipulate her. 

I really need to get away from him before he completely destroys me.” This thought crossed her mind again. She started obsessively thinking about it. “Of course I can’t be as reckless as I was yesterday. I need to plan.”

I will need help.” She knew she couldn’t get help from her current set of friends or acquaintances. They were all too enamoured by Jay and his greatness. They wouldn’t understand. As such the newspapers are out to label her as a mental case. “Who else then?” She thought.  “What about that guy with the car?” “Naah… He was eyeing me throughout the night and was too young to help me out… Anyways I wouldn’t know how to contact him and after what I did to his car I am sure he would run far away from me.” She laughed at that memory and then winced when the bruise on her cheek pained. 

Rex!” The name popped in her mind. “He seemed like a good guy… But he called the police and helped me back to this hell… Will he help…?”