BONDS AND BARRIERS –Part 2

Life after Aradhana was difficult.  Anand started to miss her and this resulted in a lot of tantrums. Mohan found it very difficult to deal with them on his own. The new teacher was experienced enough but how do you replace someone in a child’s affection? And then there was that million dollar  question if it was only Anand who was missing her?

Mohan tried often to talk about Anand’s problems with Sheila. But to Sheila life was only about herself and how things affected her!! When she was so impervious to her own son and his problems then it became unrealistic to expect her to understand him… He felt sad that it was now “ him” and “her” and not “üs”!

When he thought back through the years of marriage he realized that with Sheila it was only “I , me and myself” !! A compulsive attention seeker she was unable to deal with anyone else’s need for attention. It was surprising that he had not realized it when he was courting her. Ten years ago getting her interested in him was like a dream come true. He had been so flattered that she had accepted his proposal. The only child of extremely privileged parents she was very beautiful and talented. An achiever like him she was very goal oriented going after what she wanted in life.  It was not surprising that Mohan himself being the proverbial “alpha male” had been attracted to her!!

The birth of Anand is a way had put the entire relationship to test- a test in which they had failed miserably as a couple. He had tried counselling but the counsellor wanted them to come together for sessions. Sheila had refused to cooperate and finally he decided that going alone would not really solve the problem…

Meanwhile Anand’s health problems had started worsening. His seizures were becoming more and more frequent. But it was the weakness of his lungs that finally became fatal. What started as his usual difficultly in breathing one evening became worse as the day progressed and he had to be rushed to the hospital. It only took four days for his story to come to an end!!!

He had stayed locked in the house for a week after that! Some of the other parents from the support group had tried to reach him but he had switched off his mobile and taken the phone off the hook!

He had tried alcohol to numb his pain. But the pain was too strong for a few bottles of a liquid to drown. He slept those days in Anand’s room surrounding himself with his clothes and toys. How he loved and hated those objects!! He loved them for the memories they held and hated them for the same reasons

Grief they say brings people together. But unfortunately for Mohan, that was not so. Anand’s death was the last nail on the coffin of their relationship. He had wanted to speak to his wife about the void in their life but he realized soon enough that the void was probably in His and not hers! Yes, “his”  and “hers” was now well and truly a reality as what was “ours” had slipped out of their lives..

So he was not really surprised when, Sheila    packed her bags and walked out. She had not even said “Good bye”. What saddened him was that it should have happened so soon after Anand’s death.

He resigned from his job, sold the house and moved to another town. He donated the money to the trust that ran the school that Anand had gone to.

The process of healing is very long winded. It took him over a year and a half to get back to normalcy- that is if one could call his present life “normal”. He lived alone and had no interactions besides his professional ones. Some of his friends from college sometimes dropped by when they were in town. They tried to get him out of his shell but he preferred carrying it on his back…it was his protection. He was afraid of anyone who might mention Anand !

He occasionally read about Sheila in the newspapers. She had become a successful designer and was opening stores in many towns. She was made for this kind of success he thought – interestingly he was no longer bitter about the divorce!

And now after these years – this voice from the past!

He wanted to “accept” her friend request! But he knew that if he clicked “ accept” there was no going back. He had to answer her question about Anand! He had to tell her what had happened and he was not sure he could handle it. Infact, he had never spoken to anyone about Anand’s “death”. He often wondered if he was denying it in his mind, whether speaking about it would lighten the load on his heart.

But what the hell… it was about time he found out.

So he extended his finger and clicked “Accept”!. He went back to her profile page and started looking at it. He looked at her albums and photographs- nothing personal only landscapes. There were some general status messages and inane responses from various people – nothing that gave him a clue as to what might be going on with her life.

He went back to the message he had received from her and typed his reply “Hi Aru. I am fine. Anand left this world last year.  We remembered you a lot after you left. Miss you- Mohan”!

There it was done!!

When that call came in the night  from an unidentified international number he knew it was her.

“Mohan? God.. I am so sorry” she said . He could feel the tears in her voice. He listened while she cried and then she listened when he poured out his feelings. He spoke like never before. He told her about how he felt when the news was delivered to him. How he spent those wretched nights on Anand’s bed- how he tried to numb himself with alcohol and most of all he spoke about how he JUST COULD NOT SPEAK UNTIL NOW!

They would have spoken for more than an hour. The mobile felt hot against his ears. They disconnected and then he called her on skype. He called her again the next day and the next. They spoke about Anand and the time spent together.

He asked her about herself. She did not volunteer much information besides the fact that she was now a registered special educator in the UK. She was obviously doing well professionally. But that was about all. There was no mention of any husband or boy friend and he frankly did not care if she was single or married or in a relationship! What mattered to him was the fact that through her he was able to re establish his connection with his son. He was able to bring back those memories without the pain and talk about them fondly.

She was that bond between his past and his present. For that he was grateful!

The rest .. well it did not matter-  at least not immediately!  He had come this far and that was indeed an achievement!

 

 

 

 

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7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. KP
    Apr 12, 2012 @ 11:25:45

    The end is understandable though one would have expected their coming together and may be the one wished too.But thanks to her entry again in his life she had been able to lift him from the pall of gloom and put him on a path of reconciliation.
    .Meera has very smartly left the story open ended making the readers want one more part.After all Aradhana and Mohan have reestablished contact and who knows what the denouement would be in course of time.
    Thank you Meera for giving us a wonderful story.

    Reply

  2. Jack
    Apr 12, 2012 @ 21:35:37

    Meera,

    A very touching story with a perfectly practical ending. Loved the way you built it up.

    Take care

    Reply

  3. shomoita
    Apr 12, 2012 @ 21:49:37

    I really liked the ending. I think happy ending is a myth as you can’t really define an end until it’s there. I think happiness is more like a glimpse of a moment. If a person can touch your life even for a small amount of time, if you feel connected, worthy and secure, it doesn’t necessarily demand those two people to be together. For now I’m assuming that they are living every moment that they are connected. If they feel the need of it, they’d be together, some day, may be. 🙂

    Reply

  4. Meera
    Apr 13, 2012 @ 22:32:22

    Thanks folks. Glad that you liked the ending. I was not sure though where it should go!

    Reply

  5. Sharmila
    Apr 19, 2012 @ 20:00:40

    i too agree with every one else … the end was good n parctical – if at the ending they had met n got together then it wouldn’t have sounded real … i guess it would have been too filmi. So it was great … n by the way i hate sad ending but u left it with a hope that was the best about it !!

    Write SOON 🙂

    Reply

  6. Gayu
    Apr 20, 2012 @ 16:12:27

    I expected them to meet again…and wished there was a happy ending..!!!! But again there are chances that they may meet…so there is some positivity there.

    I loved the title…!!!

    M falling in love with your stories now:)
    Gayu

    Reply

  7. Meera
    Apr 21, 2012 @ 17:36:43

    Feeling relieved folks that .. the ending was to your liking. Yes Gayu, they might meet again-Insha allah!

    Reply

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