She scrubbed frantically. Her life was an annoyance, she thought. The urge to clean was turning into a habit and this was not letting her go. Her soul was caged. The defeat inside was an entity itself which dominated her reflections outside.
She fought, incessantly talked, cried her heart out, shouted within the walls and her eyes couldn’t hide the depth of her sorrow. Her face revealed the scars of an invisible battle.
Cleaning her surroundings was a therapy or maybe, it was an illusion for the mind to stay calm. But the demonic creature that mind is, never let her evils go.
Sneha was done with her morning household chores. It was still a few hours before her daughter was back from school. She dreaded this moment. This was the time when she had nothing to keep her mind at bay; the solitude that she endeared at one time was obnoxiously dreadful at this present moment. With a heavy heart she settled at her usual place, the corner sofa seat and dazed out of the window. The barren land with bits of nature’s overwhelming beauty left looked to her as a reflection of her life. Her gaze was turning intent as moments were passing; her face which had signs of surrender and toil suddenly became stoned. Her eyes were gaining intense depth and face was expressionless.
She was an obedient child, a fun loving girl and an ‘A’ grader at school. Parents and family were proud of her achievements but what she couldn’t gather in long years at school was friendships. College also journeyed through her life sans friends. She never felt the need, her solitude, an ability to connect with varied thoughts and imaginary worlds in books kept her engaged. The only thing that she couldn’t comprehend was the world outside, what people called ‘real’. She did, what her mind felt at the moment was right, but she could never be a part of herd, her mind just couldn’t connect with the fact of being in a group and do nothing except follow the most favourite.
Sneha had a world built up from books all around her; a ‘ Moby Dick’ rushing through crazy waters, a ‘Heidi’ jumping in snow, a ‘David Copperfield’ poor and introvert but full of individual consciousness. A ‘Shiva’ or a ‘Krishna’, or a ‘Vaishnavi’ from Amar Chita Katha making mythology heroic. A ‘ Hamlet’ or a ‘Macbeth’ making sad and depressed , an art, a glorification of negativity , they, and many others in those unconquered corners of books, never inspired her to follow the group. But all of them motivated her to find herself, a thinking of her own, but what she didn’t learn here in these books was the mundane and the tact of handling average or to become average.
School and college left her untouched but her fictional world kept her alive. Marriage happened and as if the adventure was not over, a new world erupted. This world wanted her to be sparkling and fresh, full of love, not to think but to follow status quo and encounter questions and gazes which were alien, cold and unfathomable to her world. She felt so empty from inside. Stomach churned and brain moved speedily through the visuals outside.
“Sneha you cannot wear this, it’s so dull”, “You are married now, where is your bindi and sindoor”, “jewellery, the new bride is without jewellery, what’s happening!!!”,… “Shall we go inside”, “you can’t say whatever you feel”, “be silent-silence is gold, be beautiful that’s a trait, be sombre mentally but be loud in your appearances and always do what pleases others”.
Her mind drooled, shook hard, temples started burning and head was paining badly. And the intense pain jolted her back to reality. The tick -tick of clock made her realize she had travelled too much in the past. It was time to grasp the present. The bell rang and she got up and opened the door and a dazzling smile and a warm hug was waiting for her. This 10 years old bundle of joy was wobbling with lots to talk and grab her mother to the core.
As soon as Sneha realized her happiness was back, the face that looked so drawn out and tired and defeated sparkled with hope, love and laughter.
She got engaged again with the lunch formalities, and then the little girl, her motivation rolled herself up in the cosiness of her bed and animated world and left mommy to be on her own once again.
Sneha after finishing up the afternoon chores went back to her standard seat, the sofa near the window and stared outside once again into the hollowness outside and inside her soul…