Written for a competition by Times of India.
This is the continuation of the earlier part which I posted yesterday.
Ten years had passed since our first kiss, we had many fights like any other couple but we did love each other more than any other couple we knew. But we dared to say it in public that we loved each other like lovers because we knew that our parents will never accept and our society will never permit. It was always a closed affair, there were many rumours about us but we never cared, we never did. She was my pillar of strength, she was the reason for my hard work which eventually paid off as I got selected for Junior Nationals in 100m and 200m sprint. Those were happy days, I thought to myself.
Finally we decided to tell our parents about our uncanny love for each other, we wanted to live together somewhere but with their permission. It was she who broke the news first, she did expect her parent’s reaction but what shocked her was their action. They disbanded her out of their sight, locked her up in a room and then found the earliest match for her to get married to. They forced her to a point where she couldn’t refuse, and the only options left with her were to elope or to forget me forever.
There we were, seeing our worlds shatter in a single day; I was sobbing in her arms but she comparatively was more strong and determined to get us out of this mess. I told her that my mother had thrown me out of her house; she felt I was a disgrace to her and she even said that she would have been happier if I wasn’t even born to her in first place. As Sakshi heard my side of the story, she came close and hugged me while I held her tightly as I felt that this might be our last. She tried to console me, by telling me about the times worse than this and how we had emerged victorious then. But I knew it in my heart then that this would be it; this would be the one which would break us into pieces and I knew she felt the same.
Suddenly out of nowhere, a black colour Innova appeared and her parents walked out. She knew her time was up, so she hugged me tight for one last time and she left. I never saw her again after that.
I never knew what happened with her later. Whenever I tried to find something out about her, I was always met with a deep silence. She just disappeared leaving a number of rumours which I started to believe in with passing of time; some said she married and left, some said she went abroad and some even went to the extent by saying she committed suicide. I knew she would never do that, I only hoped she would be happy wherever she was.
I felt like a broken glass, a dying soul who was searching for a new meaning in her life. There were always murmurs of me being a lesbian but it fell into deaf ears when she was there with me but now, I had started to take them seriously. I tried hiding behind an invisible veil; I tried becoming someone who I wasn’t, may be it was to escape the humiliation by the society or maybe I didn’t have the strength anymore to fight them all alone. I only missed her more in all this and that made me miserable. So with the passage of time I tried keeping myself occupied ,24×7, and the only option for me was to run.
I had qualified for the senior nationals in 100 m and 200 m race, and as the procedure went by, I had to undergo many medical tests which I cleared by flying colours, except one thing. The very thing which my mom never told, the thing which said I had two hearts connected in one me. Initially I felt this was some kind of a joke, but when I really understood its meaning, I didn’t really know whether to be happy or sad. I just remained numb. The news had become public, and suddenly the Kolhapur express was the main headline of every news channel, making me an instant public celebrity.
Days passed by, and a strange request knocked my door. It was from a major celebrity who had been hospitalised for several days because of his weak heart. He was pretty famous around the globe, they said he was the man who knew infinity; some said he was better than Ramanujan. The doctors had found that I was among the few who could save me. They said my heart would fit perfect for him and it would be wonderful if I could help. They even went ahead to say, that the operation would carry no danger to me.
My mother rejected it on the face, but she knew that I took my decisions on my own. So she left it for me to decide.
I turned aside, trying to pull myself back from the memory spiral which I had fallen into a while ago. I tried focussing but I felt only pain and anger which I had stored for years now. I didn’t want to help the society who had taken Sakshi away from me and left me discarded for their whims and fancies. I just didn’t want to; but somewhere inside my heart I knew that this wasn’t the ending I deserved. I knew that deep down, I was still that sweet girl who had so much love left for this world, who treated every day as a special, the same sweet girl who I had locked inside after Sakshi left and disappeared into thin air.
Next day, I passed on a message to my mother that I was ready for the donation. She was shell shocked, she tried to convince me but I was adamant. I was holding a piece of paper which Sakshi had given it to me before she left. Tears filled up my eyes, as my mother read the message to me while I lost myself in her memories, smiling faintly with a satisfaction of finally achieving peace with myself.
I want you to remember this thing that it’s not the world which we have to make peace with, it’s with oneself that matters. It’s not what others do for you which matters but what you do for them which matters more. Don’t curse others for our present; they might never understand our purity of love, but that doesn’t mean we have to spread hatred like them. It’s up to us to spread the message of love, the one which we understood when we were together, and the very one which made us come together. I won’t budge a day to do that, you don’t either. Let’s celebrate and make people aware, that love is free and could be between anyone irrespective of their gender, caste or race.
I love you Rhea, always forever.