Written for a competition organised by Times of India
‘Are you sure, Rhea?’ asks my mother.
‘Of course I’m. Survival of the fittest, mother. I’m not going against Darwin. Also I don’t want unnecessary scars on my body.’
It’s a known fact that we are all born to die. And frankly, I don’t understand why it has to be made into such a big deal. If it were not for my mother I would have said that to the bunch of people outside my house, some of them with young kids, shouting slogans, waving placards, literally wanting me to cut one of my beating hearts out. “Save A Life. Donate!” they shout.
For someone who is one in billions, 7.125 billion to be exact, I expect to be treated better. Scientists are still befuddled regarding my condition that gave me two hearts in my mother’s womb. But years of research and sticking needles into me have led them nowhere, and they have labelled me as a freak mutation. It’s so rare – literally one in all humankind – that they didn’t even name the anomaly (as they call it, I will call it awesomeness). I wanted to name the condition myself, something on the lines of Rhea’s Heartsawesome but the doctors aren’t thrilled with the suggestion. Instead they want to cut one of them out and save a life. Huh?
An IQ of 180, increased concentration, exceptional athleticism and a phenomenal metabolism rate – are just the few boring benefits of an increased blood circulation. Why would I ever give that up?
Why would I, unless it was for her, the girl who I fell in love with. All of a sudden I found my time reverse as the old memories started to flood in one after the other.
Images started to flash out brightly as I tried to remember my miserable school days. Bad days they were, as I thought to myself, especially the day where someone had made their disgust on me public. With bold letters, they had written in a much derogatory fashion, that I was a boy who acted as a girl. The rumor had spread like a wild fire, I was typecast by everyone and the social boycott finally began. No one spoke to me or even sat next to me, even the teachers supported this, thus legitimizing the boycott. I felt that everyone carried with them a free right to insult me, while I was left with nothing but to suffer.
I tried telling my mother about this but to no avail. She was too busy running the house, especially after my father’s demise. There would be days where I would wait to catch a glimpse of her but even that occurred very rarely. The only person who I relied was my sister; she was my beacon of hope. It was she who suggested me to concentrate on sports than think about what others were whispering about me. She always dreamt high and even encouraged me to use my talents to win a medal for India in the Olympics.
My love for sprinting was always there, and I am still pretty good at it; those days, no one in the neighborhood had dared to challenge me for a race because they all knew that it was impossible to beat The Kolhapur Express, no matter what. It was through this passion in sports which brought me recognition and also an admission in one of the most reputed girls’ school in the city. The school atmosphere was new to me; the kids were from fairly rich background where I on the other hand was from a lower middle class family. As it happens everywhere, an introvert like me couldn’t secure a single friend amid the cluster of girls. So I followed my Dee’s advice and tried giving me those wings where I could literally fly through the race circuit. I trained hard which naturally gave me results as I ended up winning all the gold medals in 100m, 200m and 400m running events in the inter school competition. This gave me my very first detractors, the very ones who wrote those bold wording on the blackboard which left a big scar on me.
It was only a day after my sister’s marriage that the incident had occurred. I had no one to share it with, which made my situation even worse. A new girl by the name Sakshi had arrived a few days later, I still remember that day like it was only yesterday. She came and sat next to me, surprising all the other fellow students including me. There was a huge silence in the class as she began to speak to me; everyone started staring at her as if they have seen a Christmas ghost. I fumbled in my reply as I couldn’t believe it myself either, but corrected myself as I replied, “Hello, my name is Rhea.”
She kept smiling at me as we went over to the canteen for an early snack; she kept inquiring about me, my likes, my dislikes and many things more. Then we both came to a conclusion that our tastes were similar and our preferences always matched, which made us inseparable as the time passed and thus marked a destiny within us. We kept no secrets between us, except the one about the rumor which I wished she never asked.
One fine morning, a few days before our boards I think, we were both sitting near the race track and waiting for our coach to arrive. We were all alone, and there was a kind of silence in our eyes. We did speak a lot but the eyes were transfixed as if everything has come to a stop. There was some kind of a spark which I felt when I looked at her that day but couldn’t decipher what it was. Finally she broke the silence about the thing which was running in her head, “Rhea the first day when I saw you, I felt a spark in my heart which led me to you; I didn’t know what that feeling was, but every time I tried to speak to you, my heart started racing with every word you spoke. I just felt a massive emptiness when you weren’t around; it was surreal and was really new to me.”
Before I could speak a word more, she continued, “by the way I did knew about the rumor but I knew it was never true. You are special and people will always be jealous of you; so don’t worry no matter what happens I am not leaving your side.”
I couldn’t get a word out to say something in return, the only thing which I was able to do was to break down and pour my heart into her. I cried and cried, till she brought me close, close enough to hear her racing heart beats. We hugged each other in solace, with tears flowing down across each other cheeks. I even felt the sun shining in happiness as it looked upon two lost souls who have reunited finally. I tried to sway her tears down as we looked upon each other, lost in each other’s eyes, when she finally moved close and kissed me on my lips. The thought gives me goose bumps even today; it was the most beautiful thing that had happened to me, even true today.
To be continued in the next part.
The initial part of the story ( 1st 20 lines) was given in the competition, and was written by Durjoy Dutta, a famous Indian writer.