Mom is a journalist and she told me grandpa’s story in a very eloquent way. I am trying to narrate it as lucidly as possible by an AI. Anyway, I need time off from Neel’s girls. Let us get back to grandpa Mohit.
//———Recollecting where we left——–Mohit had a nightmare, with the grumpy girl sitting on his chest and throttling him————//
All through the next day, Mohit tried to forget the nightmare but it kept coming back. He thought maybe talking to Sheena could help, but he didn’t know how to start; fortunately, it was Sheena herself who came to his rescue. Mohit saw her private message on the chat window; she was generally asking if he was fine if the food went well if he needed any help. She also mentioned that she goes for a walk after office around 8pm to freshen up.
Mohit saw his prospect and answered positively. He planned to catch her at her walks and talk. It soon became a routine and though for a couple of days they spoke mostly about work and colleagues it slowly started turning personal. Sheena started opening up; she spoke about herself at length.
She had never been happy; Sheena was hardly 7 years old when she went to live with her maternal uncles at their estate after her father’s demise. As to her father’s family, her paternal grandmother had passed away before she was born and her grandfather was living in the US with his elder son who had permanently settled there.
They used to visit India and would stay with Sheena’s family once a year. After she lost her father in an untimely accident Sheena’s mother had to decide whom she would live with; her in laws invited her to stay with them abroad and so did her brothers in India.
Parvati, Sheena’s mother, had been married off very early, as her grandmother was in her death bed and her last wishes were to witness the wedding of her only granddaughter. She could hardly finish grade 11 when she was hurriedly married off to a guy doing his masters.
Though Vinod went on to acquire higher degrees and bagged a high paying job, Parvati never got back to studies and rather mastered the household, though she started living with Vinod only after she turned 21. Her parents insisted that she continued her studies but she didn’t; might have been a way to show her agony of having been victimized by the reprehensible act of child marriage to satiate the whims of an old lady.
At Vinod’s place, there was no other lady in the house to guide Parvati, only helping hands; but she soon managed to cope up with her responsibilities. She might not have possessed higher educational degrees but she was smart and intelligent. She could have stayed on her own but she wanted the kids to be in a family with both men and women around rather than just a single parent, she felt it was imperative for a healthy upbringing. She also preferred to be in her own country than going off to an unknown land which she had never visited ever in her life.
It is that day, with that decision, that Sheena went against her mother Parvati and grieved the loss of her father Vinod more and more with each passing day. Ritul, two years older than Sheena on the other hand was very happy. Sheena felt like an alien with all the love growing between the other siblings; she could never love them for some unexplained reason which she herself was not very clear about. The hatred kept growing so much so that she planned out her exit from the family. She chose to do her graduation in a city far away from the family estate and then secured a job.
She loved the isolation, though her family would visit her once in a while and she too had to pay them a visit occasionally, she had plans to move further away; she had written to her paternal uncle and he had readily agreed to host her anytime. But she had promised not to be a burden on anyone ever again, she told her uncle that she’ll try to get a job and then go or else go there and get a job but after she had built up relevant experience.
Mohit heard her story empathetically but all the while hoping that ‘grumpy’ would prop up somewhere. It had been days, weeks in fact, the second phase of the lockdown was in progress; finally, he could not contain himself anymore and told Sheena if he could ask her something, but she should promise that she won’t mind. Sheena sensed a hidden excitement and readily said, “Sure, how about tomorrow, same time, same place!”
Sheena spoke to Mariam that night and told her about the latest development that Mohit wanted to ask her something. Mariam was a long time friend and Sheena shared every bit of her life with her and vice versa. The girls were apprehensive about a romantic proposal and yet they felt it was too early for that, but then they decided that boys were always in a hurry.
Sheena was slightly on the plump side, though nowhere near fat, moderately build but her structural proportions made her look a tad shorter than her actual height, a visual glitch, which she always took care of with appropriate dressing; she put on a two-piece dress, the top a shade of mauve with a slightly plunging neckline and the hem going past her midriff, matched it with dark blue tights, giving her a rather attractive appearance. Sheena also dabbed on a little makeup even though she knew there wasn’t much light, well just in case.
She went down around 8.15pm and found a man pacing at the far side of the swimming pool. The dim lights around the pool and the light breeze made Sheena a little uncomfortable as she saw Mohit treading excitedly, ‘What if he is too aggressive; will she be able to hold herself?’ She thought.
All these years Sheena has never indulged in any affair, not even passing flirting, in college or office, though there have been advances. But with Mohit she felt different, he seemed within the grip and yet afar. He was someone Sheena would like to know, know more.
Mohit suddenly saw her coming and dashed towards her, stopping short of almost colliding then pounced on her, howbeit with questions.“Who is she?” “Why was she so grumpy?” “What is her name?” “Why didn’t she have dinner with us?” “Sheena I am so disturbed!” “Please tell me about her,” Mohit pleaded as if his life depended on it.
Sheena was grossly taken aback, at first she felt like falling through an abyss, she was not in love, no, but this most unexpected, unimaginable! It took about a half-second to get a hold, and yes she could keep a hold on herself and laugh out loud. “So this is what you wanted to ask?” she said still laughing but in a tone that felt hurt.
Mohit didn’t notice it; he didn’t even notice her dress, nor the thin mauve eyeliner edging on the bolder black one, he didn’t notice the hint of a pearl that the shapely eye was trying to desperately hold back, he was too preoccupied with his own feelings. “Don’t worry about her, she is a ghost but she won’t trouble you again. She can’t go back in this lockdown or else… anyway,” Sheena said with a smirk.
Mohit was standing dumbfounded. Sheena felt pathetic having rushed to conclusions about Mohit’s intentions and quickly excused herself under the pretext of an urgent call; at that moment she was not in a condition to continue any sort of conversation with him.
She went back to her flat, locked herself in her room, and sat on the edge of the bed feeling numb. Silent tears trickled down her cheeks. It was not that she had fallen for Mohit, she didn’t even feel betrayed. She was just annoyed at her naive conclusions. After about an hour a resolute Sheena emerged from her room, she will never let herself get carried away with such trivialities.
The clock is saying its 11pm and I must switch off for a complete recharge. So long my human readers, goodnight.