As lightning flashed their eyes met.
She had seen him while waiting for a bus on a rainy evening. The roads were deserted and the bus stop empty. Heavy drops of rain started pouring and Jatin took shelter in the bus stop.
‘It’s pretty odd it s raining at this time of the year isn’t it? Jatin said as a matter of fact.
‘No I ve seen rain in December before’ she said without looking at him.
‘Really ? I haven’t – actually, I wasn’t here for so many years – so don’t quite remember myself’
There was silence.
It was with the next flash of lightning that Jatin took notice of Aparajita. It would not be until much later that Aparajita would see the true colors of the lightning.
She was the epitome of a matt finish .Mostly dressed in earthy colors, dark shades to complement her bright skin, Aparajita, was quite a misfit in the political community. Slim, petit and frail..a fact which would always go against her...except for 2 things – her angelic eyes and her rock solid resolve. Men would often fall in love just looking into her magnetic eyes..such was the magic.. Her eyes told a million stories of her dreams to come…
Becoming the Chief Minister was one such dream.
It was therefore ironic that her father taught all the values of life, which he had broken.
Marriage, alcohol and the final nail in the coffin – or political career, was tricking the local MLA Raja Babu – The plan had boomeranged. It turned out that Raja Babu was better connected than him. He did not live to regret his actions or decisions. He committed suicide and left behind a family full of woes and questions unanswered.
The shock took Aparajita into a bout of acute depression…whatever money her father had left, was used up for her treatment..It took many doctors and many hospitals to get her back to life. But nothing worked as good as Jatin.Jatin was her real booster. Jatin breathed a new life into her, ever since the chance encounter at the bus stop they had met often and she even dreamt of spending the rest of her life with him.
He would come every day and wait for her patiently, gently smiling, and slowly drifting close. But as time passed he realized the implications of such an association. While pursing their careers ,it had crossed Jatin’s mind, that one day he would have to take a decision whether to change his career path or hers. Turned out that both their resolves were strong. He knew that their careers would not allow a normal married life .They courted for almost 3 years until Jatin fell out of love one day..or so he told her.. They parted ways.
This time Aparajita did not let depression get the better of her. She suppressed it and focused her energies to make rapid strides in her political career. Get out of her father’s shame and shadow and make a name for herself. There were hurdles along the way but she had resolve to fall back upon.
The rise was quick as it coincided with the changing national sentiment regarding old politicians.
Most of them were corrupt or had criminal cases pending. Public resentment had reached a level of frenzy..and Aparajita took this opportunity to stake a claim for the Chief Minister spot.
The last stronghold of the opposition was the area near Ruby hospital.
The park was not too big – but the people were critical. This was to become an important landmark in her political career. If this rally was a success then the CM ‘s chair was almost within her grasp. As she prepared to go for the rally – the party president called her.
‘Aparajita – I have some disturbing news...our informers tell us that this rally will be disrupted by Raja Babu…and gangs..they are desperate’
‘which also means victory is near isn’t it Partho da?’ said Aparajita with her resolve kicking in.
‘yes it is – but what’s the use of the victory if you don’t live?’ said partho da.
‘ I am not scared Parthoda – let them bring it on ‘ I will see who will stop me.’
‘I will ‘ said Partho da flatly. ‘you are too important to be lost for a small rally?’
‘It is Raja Babu’s last strong hold - and I have a few things to settle with him’ Aparajita said lowering her voice…filled with emotion.
Partho da said after a thought - ‘Aparajita In politics – remember one thing – there are no permanent enemies and no permanent friends either’ and before she could contest that…he said..
‘ you stay put – I have assigned two of my best men to protect you – Balwinder and Shinde.’ Don’t get out of your office before I call you.’ Said Partho da and hung up the phone.
Aparajita was disappointed,fuming and pacing up and down her cabin when the intercom rang…
‘Madamji – the security guards are here – they want to meet you’ said Pinky the receptionist.
‘I don’t need security -ask them go away’ she yelled and disconnected the intercom.Still angry at Partho da.
As Pinky looked up , Balwinder got the message.
‘No problem Pinkyji we will do our duty..after all we are small people and our job is take care of them isn’t it even when they are not in the best of moods no ? asked a polite Balwinder.
Jatin knew a clinic his party had funded. He had to find Dr.Nivedita.She was the only one who could help him at this point.
A puzzled Dr.Nivedita said ‘What happened to you…you are shot...your shoulder is bleeding..?
Don’t worry about that – can you give some medication to keep me & the baby alive for the next 12 hours ?
I need a pain killer and some treatment to camouflage this ..’ Jatin said holding his breath…
‘but I have so many questions, I don’t even know her name ..and why don’t you want me to tell anyone about you ?’
‘Her name is Aparajita - please doctor right now I have no time to explain, please believe me when I say my life is in danger, I have a mission to accomplish , I will come back for her… unless I die ….’
Dr.Nivedita looked at the intensity - ‘Let me see what I can do’ said Dr.Nivedita and closed the door.…
Aparajita s cell phone rang again –this time it was an unidentified number –
‘Hello’? a cold voice spoke.
‘Aparajita here – who’s this,?’ she only heard heavy breathing on the other end of the line.
Aparajita’s face flushed with anger, for once those angelic eyes were bloodshot, her palms sweating she clutched on to the phone tightly.
‘what do you want now? You ve taken whatever I had or wished to have….what do you want from me now ? ’ she asked tersely.
‘you never really understood me Apo,It’s quite the other way round – I was your best friend, and you took away my life ,my love, and with it - my destiny..’ Damini’s voice cracked.
Regaining her composure Damini said…
‘ But now my destiny is about to change in a few minutes..and so will yours..
the irony is I know it and you don’t - I am going to be the next Chief Minister.
Nothing can stop me now legitimately – no one – not even you – my illegitimate sister.’!
Aparajita’s mouth went dry…
‘You all went on with your lives as if nothing happened…and forgot there was a little girl struggling to breathe every second of her life…and the same life taught me to fight, taught me to win..and at my own terms….i did.’ ‘You took away Jatin from me, the only support I had…and I made sure he is mine…forever..’
‘Jatin ?what did you do to Jatin ?’ screamed Aparajita..
‘He’s dead…… and now it s your turn’ and...the phone clicked.
Aparajita could not react ..her throat was choked she felt paralised.
Each word pierced her soul and ripped it apart.
For most, Moments define the time we are in or time defines the moment –but for Aparajita it was neither she was caught somewhere in between.
Slowly,Aparajita sat in her chair trying to digest what she’s just heard. Her stupor was disturbed with two gunshots outside her cabin..and the door slammed open…
Jatin’s silhouette touched her desk.
As Jatin entered her cabin… ‘how could it be you’ she stammered shocked, and speechless. She saw blood flowing on to the carpet - outside Balwinder and Shinde lay dead on the ground...and Pinky was slumped on the desk.
As sanity jerked back into her senses she said ‘Y-You shot the security guards..’ and began to franticall dial a number for help...In the scuffle that ensued for the mobile phone..Jatin’s shoulder gave in…it was bleeding again.. Aparajita’s hands got stained.That moment of distraction allowed Jatin to wrest control and disconnect the phone.
Jatin was quiet. Aparajita was shivering uncontrollably in anger and in shock.. She didn’t know what to do or say..she didn’t know even if this was real. A myriad of emotions went through her mind. She remembered Damini’s cold voice… the jigsaw was falling in place …Jatin had left her for Damini…
‘Apo – I can’t talk much, but your life is in danger…our lives are in danger. We have to get out of here’ Raja babu is out to kill us both.’ Jatin said holding his shoulder to stop the bleeding.
‘I know - and I am not going anywhere – I ll face my destiny right here Jatin…’
‘I have lost you once…not again’ … and before she could question further a familiar perfume –Polo green - filled her senses. Jatin removed the handkerchief from his nose and looked at her lying unconscious in his arms…so helplessly.
As Dr.Nivedita flipped through the pages of her patient’s case history – she explained to the students.
‘This little petit girl stabbed her father 73 times in the chest with a screw driver, tried to shoot her sister and poison her husband…and that’s not enough she tried to kill their baby as well…she has created characters in her mind which do not exist oreven if they do they are quite different in reality..like some one she kept referring as dangerous killer - Raja babu. – we checked with her family and came to know that Raja babu was the family cook. Such is complexity of her mind.’
‘A classic psychopath’.
Later during the visiting hours - Dr.Nivedita turned to Damini and said....'I am sorry Mrs. Banerji, still no change..I think we have to continue with her medication…She’s lost the last touch of reality in her...and is slipping into her make-believe world completely we are recording every word she says and have documented the file as Aparajita I, II III and IV. If ever you want to take a peek inside her world – read this.
With the intravenous drips dropping into the pipe…each drop reminded her of how her life was ending ....the angelic eyes looked around in despair...for some mercy some help…she did not remember how she got here...but the screams in her head had grown louder each passing year....But she was not about to give up yet…she gathered her strength and her voice and screamed again…
‘I am not mad’ they are trying to frame me, kill me…help me help me please ...’
Read previous Aparajita series - Undefeated ,Unfulfilled, Cozen
Gyanban thoughts - I hope you enjoy reading this post as much as I enjoyed writing it.Please be patient as it is a long post...but be sure to not miss lines..lest you miss the plot. This post was very difficult to write....there were lots of possible ending that came to my mind...interestingly each character could have said mea culpa.Jatin,Damini,or Raja Babu..but I chose Aparajita because she had the most compelling story to tell. It kind of wrote itself out...putting and end to the Aparajita chronicles..
image courtesy desktopnexus.com