The moistness on the cheeks coming from his own tears zapped Sayed back from the nostalgia. His heart tore apart to see the present condition of Gayatri, the same Gayatri who was full of life not a very long time ago.
Soon Gayatri fell asleep in Sayed’s arms. She felt the most comfortable and safest there. Sayed was everything to Gayatri – friend, lover, husband, family and more importantly the savior! He was the only reason Gayatri still wanted to live. He was the only reason Gayatri had courage to face the hallucinations ever since that fateful day.
Sayed lifted Gayatri’s head from his lap and rested it carefully on the floor. He quickly cleaned the room; put everything back in its place. He lifted Gayatri and placed her on the bed tenderly. He sat by her side to check that she is indeed sleeping tranquilly. When he was assured, he kissed her forehead, switched off the lights and left the room. By now Sayed knew that Gayatri would not wake up before couple of hours after such an episode.
“Kamla.. Can you tell me what exactly happened to Gayatri?” Sayed inquired with the maid while she was serving him dinner.
“Sabji, I was in the kitchen busy preparing dinner. Memsab was watching TV in her room. I went upstairs to give her soup and her usual dose of medicine. The door didn’t open when I tried to go in and suddenly I started hearing lot of screams. I could hear things crashing down. I knocked on the door a lot of times but no use. I called out memsab but I could only hear more screams in return. I got scared and I rushed down to call you..” Kamla described the whole episode with teary eyes.
Kamla was a good lady, very honest and hardworking. She wasn’t a medical nurse by profession but she took very good care of Gayatri. Sayed’s mother had sent Kamla here to help Sayed look after Gayatri. Kamla was a needy acquaintance of Sayed’s mother from the native. Sayed was lucky to have found her. He felt Gayatri was in safe hands when he went to work.
“Hmmm…. Do you know what she was watching on TV?” asked Sayed somberly.
“No Sabji, but she had said she wanted to watch a film that was going to come on TV.”
“Yaad nahi aa raha sabji” (I don’t recollect, sir)
“Kamla, yaad karo!!!” (Think Kamla)
“hmmm…. Haa…. Surya!!!” exclaimed Kamla
“Naaa…hmmm… haaan…. Yaad aya.. Neerja!” Kamla was ecstatic to remember the name of the movie.
“What??? Neerja?? How dare did you allow her to watch that… Don’t you know we need to stop Gayatri from watching such stuff? Don’t you know we need to protect her from all the triggers? You see what happened because you allowed watching her that film?? For God’s sake, be attentive Kamla!” yelled Sayed while fuming with anger.
“Sabji, mujhe nahi pata wo film kya hai, usme kya dikhaya. Mai kaha picture dekhti hu saab, mujhe kaise pata hoga…. (Sir, I don’t know what that film is about, how am I supposed to know when I don’t watch movies) Kamla broke into tears, half because of the Sayed’s wrath and half because of the guilt that she didn’t check what Gayatri was up to.
Kamla gathered plates and other utensils from the dining table and left to wash them.
Sayed realized that he unnecessarily scolded Kamla. Poor thing, she indeed was simple and there was no way she could know what the film is about because she did not have exposure to the modern world. She was happy in her own cocoon of taking care of Gayatri and the house. But what could Sayed do? He would get very emotional and over protective in case of Gayatri, and rightly so!
Sayed followed Kamla to the kitchen and called out,
“Kamla, Sorry. Mujhe tumpe gussa nahi hona chahiye tha. Par tum to janti ho na Gayatri ko leke me kitna pareshan rehta hun…” (Kamla I am sorry. I shouldn’t have scolded you but you do understand that I get very worried for Gayatri, don’t you?) Sayed said while holding back the lump in his throat.
“Sabji, Me samajh sakti hu. Mujhe bura nahi laga.” (I understand Sir. I didn’t feel bad that you scolded me.)
“Kamla, you are a pillar of strength to me. And I want you to know that I am very grateful to you that you look after my Gayatri so well. Please, never leave us and go. There is no one for us. My Ammi jaan cannot come here leaving my bed ridden Abbu and old nani jaan there in the native. I feel lost all alone and I get tired of being so strong and happy in front of Gayatri……” Sayed could no longer hold himself back. He couldn’t finish what he wanted to say because the lump had over powered him and he had broken down completely. It was one of those rare days when otherwise calm and composed Sayed would feel frightened to lose Gayatri.
“You don’t worry sab ji, I am here for you both. I feel happy to look after memsab. God has been kind to allow me to offer him service. Any help to memsab is my service to God!” said Kamla feeling grateful and handed a glass of water to Sayed.
“Sabji, ek baat puchu?” (Sir, may I ask you something?) asked Kamla, unsure of whether she should or shouldn’t really strike that chord.
“Memsab ki ye halat kaise hui?” (What is the reason of this condition of Memsab?)
“Bohot raat ho gayi Kamla, tum thak gayi hogi. So jao.” (Its very late Kamla, you must be tired. Go off to sleep)
“Par Saab….” (But Sir…)
Sayed stopped Kamla in between and said firmly “Please call the scrap dealer tomorrow morning and give away the broken mirror from our room. And, please throw away Gayatri’s lipsticks, especially the red one.”
Kamla kept watching Sayed when he left from the kitchen. It wasn’t the first time that Sayed avoided answering that question. What a man! His love towards his wife was indeed commendable, after all who really keeps a psychosomatic wife these days, thought Kamla.
To be continued…..