The slight morning breeze once again touched his face. Leaving a big sigh he closed the album and looked at his side. Yes! She is there- the same peaceful look, the same long hair, the silky smooth skin. “God why such a night mare has to occur in his life. It was soo nice and soo perfect.huuf! Amit got up and went near the window. Looking out today he didn’t feel the pain, the feeling of loss in his heart- there was a feeling of peace, comfort, and he knew he didn’t take a wrong decision. Walking back to the bed he took out the album again. Somehow he still cannot forget that day.
He vividly remembers the scintillating figure cladded in the maroon zardosi silk standing beside him with a proud smile on her face. Their friends used to call their match a perfect one – the one made in heaven. To him too it felt the same. There seem to be nothing uncommon between him and Vibha. It was their wedding day and Vibha was looking breathlessly beautiful. He at times wondered what did she see in him that she was practically crazy for him. Not that he wasn’t.
Amit was never a very handsome man. He had the simple look of a decent guy who seemed to have the next door neighbor look. On contrary Vibha came from an affluent business family with a beautifully curved face.
They met in college. In the beginning they were good friends of the same group, with time they became the best pals as their interests matched, they shared the same outlook of life. And slowly they fell in love with each other. Soon after college they got married. It has been a perfect fairy tale life for them. Amit got his break in a MNC company and they settled in the company’s flat. Vibha opened her own boutique. The smooth easy life brought nothing but success to them.
Somewhere in his mind Amit had a strong desire to become a father but Vibha’s absolute reluctance never made him force her into such commitment. She wanted to enjoy her work and her life for the next five years before she would settle down for such a big responsibility.
With time and hard work Amit got quick promotions and Vibha’s boutique became a symbol of fashion icon. They became a talked about couple among their friend circle and associates
But this fairy tale came to a sudden disastrous halt one fine summer. It was the winter fashion show for which Vibha was working day and night. Knowing the fact that this was a once in a life time opportunity for her Amit didn’t object to her total commitment towards her work. Every thing was moving according to plan, when suddenly one night while coming back from her workshop one of the female worker, Kajol, accidentally slipped from the stairs. Vibha being the only person present at that time took her to the nearby hospital. Though it was a dinghy and small hospital but it was sufficient for the first aid treatment that Kajol needed.
Kajol only had a younger brother as her family. The doctors wanted an immediate blood transfusion to save her life. Vibha failing to contact Kajol’s younger brother and finding no other means of arranging the required amount of blood for Kajol decided to volunteer herself. Fortunately her blood group matched with that of Kajol's.
Amit was already worried about the whole thing, but he was shocked beyond belief when he found under what situation and environment the whole treatment was being conducted. He arranged for an immediate transfer of Kajol to a better hospital and decided to take up the entire responsibility of her treatment.
Three months have passed after this incident and everything was going smooth and steady as before. Vibha’s winter show was an immense success and to add to Amit’s extreme happiness Vibha started taking more and more interest in fulfilling his innermost desire, his one and only dream.
But unfortunately Vibha contracted a bad and nagging fever that winter but that couldn’t suppress their inner excitement for the wonderful responsibility they were both planning so anxiously. Vibha was in her high spirits and even the nagging fever couldn’t restrict her in the bed. She planned a huge celebration on the New Year’s eve and started sending invitation to all their friends. But even though she tried to over look her fever as a mere cold but the sudden pain in her lower abdomen left her gasping for breath every time. First she neglected it as a normal indigestion and promised Amit to take care of her food habits but as its frequency and intensity increased both Amit and Vibha couldn’t help from worrying about it. With absolute reluctance Vibha had to take the bed when the fever and the pain became an all time companion of her.
It was the limit of both Amit and Vibha’s anxieties when they finally decided to visit their family doctor. After an ordinary round of check-up Dr. Rao couldn’t find any plausible reason for Vibha’s prolong illness and suggested her to go through an extensive test
The whole session with Dr. Rao didn’t leave quite a pleasant feeling in both their minds. For the next couple of days Vibha went through all kinds of tests, which was necessary to find out the reason for her illness.
It was a Saturday afternoon when Dr. Rao asked both Amit and Vibha to visit his chamber after the clinic closes. Amit was deeply disturbed with the whole conversation that he had with the doctor, but he decided to stay calm just to give support to Vibha who was by now loosing all her spirits and hopes towards recovering. The only thought that revolved in her mind was the New Year’s party for which she has already invited all their friends and family.
On their way to the clinic both Amit and Vibha were abnormally very silent. Even the weather outside was unnaturally clam and still. As if a sudden premonition of the forth coming danger, clouded both their minds. Vibha was looking pale and for the first time she was out of the house without putting on her kajal. Amit was more worried about her mental condition than the visit to the doctor.
It was five’ o clock in the evening and the dispensary was completely empty. Only Dr. Rao’s old secretary sat in the reception. She welcomed them in as soon as they arrived and showed them the doctor’s chamber.
Dr. Rao gave a slight smile and welcomed both of them inside. His attitude puzzled both of them. Without any further formalities and unable to keep her anxiety to herself Vibha asked him abruptly, “ Doctor uncle what’s the problem with me? Will I be able to conceive after I get well?” The question left Dr. Rao absolutely speechless and Amit noticed the sudden darkness of pain in his eyes. He held Vibha’s hands and asked her to calm down. Tears were already there in her eyes and Amit couldn’t bear with it. He turned toward Dr. Rao and asked him with the best possible composure he could accumulate at that time.
With an artificial attitude and skipping any further introductions Dr. Rao patted Vibha’s hands and said with a heavy voice, “ I am sorry to say my child your tests reveal that you are HIV positive.” Vibha shrieked aloud. Closing her ears with both hands she jumped up from the chair and rushed towards the window and closed her eyes. Amit was close behind her. He held her in his arms and she broke into a series of uncontrollable cry. Even Dr. Rao couldn’t find words to console her. Suddenly Vibha pushed Amit aside, rushed towards Dr. Rao, held his coat and pleaded him time and again to say that it was all a big mistake or a very poor joke. Getting no further response from him she ran towards Amit and demanded to take her to a better hospital where she will undergo all the tests again. She looked up at Amit and saw his tear drenched face. She abruptly let go of him, and for one last time looking back at Dr. Rao she regained her senses. Picking up her bag she asked Amit to take her back home. She apologized for the entire scene that she created that day and walked out of the chamber. Amit promising Dr. Rao that he is gonna bring her back for further treatment left the chamber too.
It has been two weeks since that day and Vibha has been taking regular treatment since then. Her condition was improving but all these things have made her into a completely different person. It was as if someone has by mistake put the wrong spice in their life. Life has seemed to fall apart all of a sudden.
The thing that shocked Amit the most was the indifference of Vibha towards him. She shifted to the next room and had started spending most of her time by herself. He failed to understand inspite of total understanding and support why Vibha always maintains an uncanny distance between them. His suffering gave way to absolute frustration. The person who used to be an occasional drinker started spending most of his time after office in the pubs. Vibha’s passive and indifferent attitude was driving him crazy. The thing that puzzled him the most was that she allowed no one except the maid to enter her room in the morning. It was the third week after that dreadful evening and Vibha wasn’t at home when out of total frustration and disgust Amit broke into her room. The moment he entered the room he realized his mistake. His jaws dropped and he was left gasping for air. The whole room was filled with their snaps, starting from their first day in college till the fashion show this winter. Suddenly he remembered that Vibha used to write a diary and he was never allowed to read it. Vehemently he started searching the room to look for the diary. After a hectic half an hour search he found it under the table in a secret chamber. He looked at the watch and realized that he still had an hour before Vibha came back. He took the diary into his room and started reading it from the date of the fretful visit to Dr. Rao. Reading the diary was like walking in a ghastly storm. He was left aghast by the time he finished reading it. Amit couldn’t believe the mistake he has done in judging Vibha. But for him it was like a different side of human psychology that he has never felt nor seen before. The mental agony of ones mind can be this excruciating was completely new for him. He replaced the diary to its original place and left the house. The last thirty minutes of his life has left him absolutely distrauted. On returning home the next day he found Vibha sleeping in the dinning room. The food lay in front of her and her tear drenched face showed the agony and pain she has suffered the previous night.
Amit sat beside her and softly kissed her forehead. It was after three weeks that he felt the same soft skin once again. With his very touch Vibha sprang up and pushing the chair back walked out of the room. But this time Amit didn’t miss the old pain and love in her eyes even though it was for just a mere fraction of second.
He smiled to himself and was amused to find himself humming his old favorite track in his mind.
He spent the rest of the day calling up friends and family to cancel the party and assuring them that there is nothing to worry about Vibha and she’ll be fine soon.
Only two days were left for the New Year’s eve and Vibha was getting worried more and more about Amit’s behavior. In the beginning she felt happy that Amit has gone back to his own self and was perhaps trying to live his own life. But her imaginations didn’t last long. The change in Amit’s eyes his humming her favorite tune and occasional mentioning of a surprise for her completely baffled Vibha. Some where in her mind, she had the premonition of a forth coming storm.
In the morning of the New Year’s eve Vibha was shocked to see Amit decorating the house just the way she had planned a month before. Vibha was more than worried now. She knew for sure that something was there in Amit’s mind, something childish but extremely dangerous. Now she was more than anxious to find out what was the surprise Amit has planned for her. It seemed as if her arrogance, indifference, rudeness had no effect on him. She locked herself in her room but was forced to come out when she found that Amit has invited their neighbor for dinner.
The whole evening went uneventful and Vibha started relaxing with the thought that may be it was just a mere mistake of her mind, that made her so restless.
The couple left after midnight wishing them the New Year’s greetings and Vibha went back to the room for cleaning the table. The restless feeling flooded back in her when she realized that Amit’s eyes were following her every move. As time moved she could hear her heart thumping harder and harder. She even felt a tinkle of sweat running down her spin. She was desperately trying to finish her work and run to her room. When abruptly she felt a warm breath on her neck. She turned around immediately and to her sheer shock found Amit standing behind her bare chested. Aggressively she tried to push him away abusing him to be a fool. But to her absolute horror she couldn’t move Amit eve an inch. By now Amit was holding her hands and was pulling her closer and closer to him. She desperately tried to release herself from his grip but her strength was no match to his new male power. She looked into his eyes and suddenly realized the reason behind his sudden change in behavior. Tears were flowing down her cheeks and she was trying to jerk him out of his insanity. But every effort of hers seem to go to vain. His eyes were hard and focused on her face; there wasn’t even an inch of reproach in them. With a jerk he pulled her closer to his body, holding her hands back in a tight grip.
Vibha started begging before him now, requesting him to stop his suicidal plan. But she couldn’t recognize the man in front of her. She has never seen this side of him, the side that reflected the unnatural male power. Amit slowly brought down his face and kissing her shivering lips said, “ I am not letting you go alone my love”. He picked her up and carried her to their room. Vibha could neither speak nor stop her tears. She gave up her futile effort to stop him and closing her eyes held him tightly close to her body sending silent prayers to GOD. She looked into his eyes and for one last time asked him “why?”. Wiping off her tears he just answered “love” and kissed her again. She didn’t stop him.