A sight, as blister and blazing as the fire in it, sloughed the afternoon of a lazy day. Every now and then flames woke up from the grounded ashes, wanting to touch the sky. The reeking wooden logs made everyone cover their noses with anything remotely convenient for usage.
A few minutes ago, Kaushalya immolated herself on her husband’s pyre. What an enticing sight it was, for the mind and soul of ravenous spectators, abetting for something they wouldn’t want for themselves, but gaily incite it for others. Sati was the “in thing” few centuries ago, especially in the early 8th and 9th century. Back then, dying wasn’t easy, it was an art. As you put yourself on display, piece by piece your roasted flesh would fall on the ground, forming a heap of ashes, belonging to no one.
Almost after 1000 years of its inception, Meera sat abyss, trying to revive a dying connection between her and Kaushalya in retrospect. A widow herself, ploughing the reminiscent, she drank her favourite chardonnay sitting on the couch. It was only yesterday when Abhi breathed his last breath. At her disposal, he left her a massive house, a loving family, lucrative job and some debts that she owed to Abhi.
As the clock struck 3 am, Meera began to rise from the couch, a little tipsy and morbid. As aimless as one could be, now she had nowhere to go, no one to meet, and no one to be. Tomorrow would be her first morning after almost a decade full of Abhi. Tomorrow would be her first day in a shimmering house full of Abhi’s memories, scent, photographs and she wasn’t ready for it.
As the twilight melted away, she lay still, although reducing herself in the basking sun.
The sun rose higher in the glistening blue sky, and Meera’s will to gather herself from the bed assuaged. She started to wail, the remorse now visible on her face and baggy eyes. It felt as if she aged 20 years in one night. Her face turned pale, droopy cheeks, shoulders slouched, legs shivered, and she sat still in the memory of her loss.
For a moment or so, Meera absolutely forgot about Abhi’s absence and thought for what devised ahead. She was now a husbandless woman and she conscientiously knew what that meant. The mere thought of living a life without her husband felt like constant whips on her back. The phone began to rang, constant knocks on her door and the sudden uproar every now and then echoed outside her bedroom.
Who were they? Who’d delve into Meera’s pain remotely to give a lament as loud as that? Who’d care enough to tear the deep red flower blossoms from the earth because Meera did not feel a thing? Her tears went dry but her mind was flooded with them?. She had a million panic attacks and only Abhi could calm that down, but he wasn’t there.
Meera looked down on her motionless sweating feet. She wanted to get the hell up and face the world. She wanted to bury the erected goose bumps on her forearm as they would bury Abhi. Frankly, she wanted to bury herself with him. It was all fatuous, clueless, and kaput. She took a quick whirl, gazing around the room, escorted by bewildering ideas.
What should I do now? Where should I go? I have no one. I have absolutely no one. Where the hell is Abhi? Does he even know that I had an important meeting today? Who gave him the bloody right to die like that? Does he even care about me? I knew that he would leave me. The other day he left me waiting for the clock to turn 5. Just how much I hate him. I hate you.
I hate you. Meera kept yelling, I hate you.
The little gathering in her house was slowly turning into a throng. Meera felt sick with apprehension. She didn’t want to face anyone of them; in fact, she didn’t want to be part of this day, a day without him. She wanted the night to hold on a bit. Long enough for her to gulp down the pain. Suddenly her eyes fell on the emerald green rock, blatantly adorned on her ring finger. Just about when her heart was growing fonder of the bitter-sweet memories, reality kicked in and she hastened to distress.
Her eyes rose to a particular elevation where she could see herself in the mirror. A turquoise kurta hung on an alive corpse. Abhi brought this kurta from Turkey. She starred gallantly, deep inside her body and digging up all that she had. She touched herself all over, feeling what Abhi would have felt. Running her hands over her arms, Meera spotted something on her neck. A hickey rested shamelessly. She touched it. What has he done to her? Despite her beauty, Meera stood miles away from her own approbation. She slowly perished in the hecatomb Abhi created for both of them, laying down all that guarded her against the world’s slow decay, for her knight had given up.
The strong-hearted Meera was falling to pieces. Meera who weaved a dream of painting the world red with Abhi was wiping vermilion off her head. The Meera who once caved into Abhi’s house was now wondering if she’d die in this exile, alone. Breaking in her own arms for the nth time since morning, she picked her phone that read “one unread message from Abhi”.
Bemused, her quivering hands reached for the phone. She drew an “A” on the lock screen and opened the inbox; reading his name on the screen after having him gone felt like a callous scribble on Meera’s heart.
The message read. “Hey, I’ll be a little late.”