“How long hasn’t she slept?” the psychologist queried Ashima’s father after the counseling session, as she stared on the clinic’s wall and into nothingness. The confused father had perhaps lost count of the days since she last slept.
What could a father probably do for his girl to cheer her up! One year ago, she was an aspirant for the medical college preparing hard for the entrance exams, and today….she’s lost somewhere in the vast ocean of her sorrows and grief. The loss was unbearable for both of them; but he had sidelined his own emotions, hiding his tears behind his smiles…the smiles that often left him halfway in the lonely corners of his heart. He had done all he could; taking her along on his official tours, visiting people he felt might help, trying not to leave her alone with her sadness. But the monster had been gripping her in its clutches faster than he could imagine as she exhibited symptoms of losing control over her own actions. Nothing else mattered for him at this point….neither her future nor her dreams…but the need to bring her back to being herself.
The transformation of a bubbly charming cheerful lad to the one….lost in thoughts, losing count of days and nights, popping eyes staring into vacuum, confused perplexed, angry with every being around….that’s what was left of her! The day that changed her forever….the day she lost her mother…..
Her smiles melted away as the dew in the sunshine….the smiles that her father wished to bring back at any cost.
Her college life came to a halt and so did her studies. Once the most brilliant student of the class, words started failing her; they suddenly looked like some aliens bombarding into her heavy head; her retention seemed to fade away. Unable to grasp and retain the words- spoken or written- she dropped out of college- trying again the next year- only to drop out again…adding only to the list of her failures, she felt. But was it her failure? No! Certainly not! So her father thought….she had managed to keep herself alive, surviving the most horrible and unexpectedly disturbing incident of her life that many fail to survive. She was a winner!
The loss of her mother wasn’t a single loss…it attracted many more such losses- she lost all the people in a flash whom she had relied upon for the emotional support- her relatives and most of her friends- who almost forgot the address of her home- disappeared completely- as if abandoning her on a storm struck ship in the midst of the high rising waves.
Her mother had been teaching her all the goodness all these years, never taught her the hidden faces of people and the realities of life that one faces in situations as these!
Her life, it seemed had come to a standstill the moment she heard her father’s voice on the phone that day….the sobs were clearly audible though he had covered the mouthpiece with his hand, announcing her demise. The moment flashed and re-flashed every single minute of her life thereafter, making it impossible for her to pull herself out of that one moment. The tired eyes refused to shut….
“How long hasn’t she slept?” the doctor asked again.
“Days, many days….can’t say exactly.”
“She will now. Don’t worry.”
The hopeful father humbly thanked the psychologist as Ashima slowly and quietly leaned on his shoulder, shutting her exhausted eyes, dazing into a trance…..