The morning was not just cloudy, it was gloomy too. It appeared as if the sun was still asleep, wrapped under a blanket of clouds. Anu, still in slumber suddenly woke up as she felt something warm on her back. She took a moment to come to senses and smiled as she guessed it was her hubby dear who's sleeping behind. Not to disturb his sleep, she got up from the bed slowly and got busy to get things ready for the day. As she was busy cooking, Rajiv came and hugged her from behind and whispered in her ears, "Hey! Where were you last night?", to which Anu gave a silent stare. Rajiv realised she was not expecting that question, "Anyway, I found you in the other room, thankfully", he said teasingly, placed a little peck on her cheek and went. Anu resumed her cooking, confused. As Rajiv was already late, he bid a quick good bye to Anu and left in a hurry.
Anu and Rajiv were married only a few days back, and she was still adjusting to the new changes in her life, but she was still confused thinking how and when she came to the other room. The day went normal with some chores, some TV time, and chatting. Rajiv came very late from work that day... stuffed his mouth with some food, which Anu devotedly cooked and sank into the cushiony bed. Late in the middle of the night, Rajiv got up suddenly not finding Anu beside. She again slept in the other room. Next day morning, he did not talk to Anu and left for work disturbed… She felt ignored, but she was aware why he behaved so... she herself was clueless how she kept switching rooms. Two more days passed with the same routine, which made Rajiv sense if she was sleep walking, as she claimed innocence when asked.
Rajiv then thought of staying awake in the night to see what exactly was happening without Anu‘s knowledge. In the middle of the night, Rajiv saw Anu getting up, not the usual way. He saw her walking into the living room and he followed to see her sitting on the couch in silence. She appeared as if she’s not her own self... she sat there like a lifeless doll for some time. Rajiv felt chills down his spine... he thought of disturbing her, but hesitated. He mustered some courage taking a step ahead, and just when Anu got up as if lifted by something, she frantically started shoving with her hand. She seemed like she was driving an imaginary vehicle with one hand and shoving someone in front, “Move away, move…” she screamed. Rajiv trembled seeing Anu react so wildly. He suddenly shouted calling her name to which Anu stopped moving and stood still for some time. Rajiv came closer to see if she was all right. She was staring into the dark with her eyes wide open. Though Rajiv was in front of her, she did not react and behaved as if she saw nothing. Rajiv froze for a moment when she took a step towards him, he hoped she doesn’t pass through him, just then she moved away from the couch and slowly walked into the other room. Rajiv was dumbstruck... he silently followed her and saw her sleeping on the bed. He sat in the living room in disbelief, thinking if it was real or a nightmare in sleep.
“So, do you also think she’s sleepwalking, Mr.Patil?”, enquired Rajiv.
“Hmm! You can say so. She must be sleep walking or she might be dream walking.”
“And, what’s the difference?”
“Nothing significantly... more or less the same, but she might be stuck with a past incident that’s bothering her… And did you say she has no experience driving?”
“Not once… She has no driving license in the first place.”
“Hmm! Look Rajiv, as your family doctor, having known you since your childhood, I’m certainly not suggesting any medication or therapy. Give it a try from your side, sit with her and let her open up about any such past incident that might relate to her behaviour, and get back to me if you need my help. Any time… ”
“Okay… I’ll do that. Thank you, Dr. Patil”.
Rajiv decided not to disclose anything to Anu as it would agitate her already disturbed mind and went back home. Anu was surprised to see him early. Rajiv, trying to be normal said, “Anu, let’s go for a drive. It’s such a boring day at office. Let’s make it interesting! I’ll teach you driving…”, after saying this, Rajiv waited for Anu’s reaction. As expected, she expressed her disinterest for that. When Rajiv insisted, she broke down to tears. Even before her husband tried consoling her, she broke her silence about the past incident.
“It was about a few months back, I and my friends went for an assignment to a nearby village, Mouli. We absolutely loved everything about the village… Our three day stay was fun filled, but the day when we were returning, it happened to be the worst day we ever had imagined. The only bus which was supposed to start by afternoon got delayed because of the driver who got drunk excessively. He had no control of his senses, and still he got ready to drive. We feared the worst, but having no choice, the passengers had no say. After a few minutes of drive, the bus started going haywire. I started panicking being seated in front. Just then, I suddenly spotted someone running in front of the bus… And seeing the driver go berserk, I jumped onto the steering with a faint hope to get control on it. I kept shouting to the driver to put a brake and desperately tried to stop the bus. As he suddenly did put the brake, the bus jerked ahead and I banged my head on the mirror in front. I was almost about to faint, but managed to get down the bus only to see a man trying to come out from a pool of blood from under the bus… I heard someone screaming, “Shyaaam”, and I fainted after that. The next day, I found myself in my home, opening my eyes to see my totally worried parents. I asked them about Shyam, but they did not know what I was talking about. I tried to find out from my friends who were equally in a shock after witnessing everything, but they were sure someone died, under the wheels. None of us had the courage to go back to the village after that, and every now and then I still keep getting nightmares about the whole incident. I never revealed anything to anyone, but I felt like opening up to you. That is the reason I’m scared of driving any vehicle.”
Rajiv mutely listened to Anu, as tears rolled down her cheeks. He did not react, nor consoled her…
Next day morning, Anu woke up hearing the door open… She got up and saw Rajiv cleaning the car.
“Get ready Anu… Let’s go on a long drive", he said.
Anu really wanted a change and she readily agreed. As they set out on the journey, Anu asked Rajiv where they were heading to, Rajiv smiled and didn’t respond.
After a very long drive, they reached a place, it was Mouli…
Anu suddenly froze and started panicking… Rajiv tried to settle her saying, “Anu, don’t you want to know what exactly happened that day?”
“But I killed someone, what if they catch hold of me and get me arrested?”, said Anu.
“That will not happen, no one outside knows that you were with the steering that fateful day, and as for the passengers inside, they were themselves panicking and would’ve seen you only trying to save them. So, in what way are you responsible for the accident?”
“Rajiv I’m scared, please”, said Anu in a trembled tone.
“Relax Anu, I just want you to come out of those nightmares… You be seated inside. I’ll enquire”
Anu saw Rajiv questioning some villagers, and he got back into the car.
“Now where are we going?”, she asked anxiously.
“To Shyam’s house”. And hearing that, she literally started crying.
“You got to open up to them, that will unburden you of the guilt”, Rajiv said in a composed voice.
By then, Anu made up her mind and thought, come what may she’s going to face it.
“I’m sorry, I’m the one who killed your son”, teary-eyed, Anu apologised to Shyam’s mother.
Shyam’s mother looked at her pale faced. Just then, a teenage boy came from inside.
“This is my beta Shyam, and if you are talking about who got killed that day...
It was our… goat… that came under the bus.” She paused and continued,
“That day, Shyam was chasing the goat, as it ran, and came under the bus… Shyam went under the bus to pull it out and he got himself drenched in its blood… That driver was arrested for neglected driving, but everyone told that a brave lady rescued them, from an otherwise dreadful accident.”
Anu couldn't believe what she just heard. Rajiv winked as she stole a quick glance at him, “It was a goat that died that day?”, she said with a quizzed expression.
“Yes, it has to die sooner or later, but the Biryani turned out delicious that day”, she said with a wide grin.
Anu felt she’s going to faint again. She felt bad thinking, a goat is a living being too…
There was utter silence inside the car… Anu sat there dumb not knowing what to say.
They started back and after a few metres of drive, Rajiv suddenly put a brake seeing someone cross the car. It was a villager who was trying to cross the road in a hurry. He furiously spoke, “Aye, Can’t you see? Are you sleeping and driving the car?”
Rajiv apologised and resumed the drive. Both glanced at each other and broke into laughter, for the villager’s response.
“Yeah, now I’m sleep- driving”, said Rajiv and Anu couldn’t control her laughter.
“But, weren’t you worried if I was proven guilty, before we went to their house?”, Anu asked him... and Rajiv responded, “You saw me speaking to those villagers? I introduced myself to them as Shyam’s friend and asked how he was… to which they said, as usual… jobless”, and both of them laughed.
“And I got confirmed that Shyam was not the one who died, so I went ahead”, he said.
Slowly the drive became enjoyable for Anu… a guilt-free ride back home, she felt bad about the goat though.
They stopped by a small tea stall and had a heartful sip of chai with some homemade cookies the chaiwallah offered, made by his wife. Just then, it slightly started to drizzle.
“Now the ride is going to get romantic”, Rajiv said and winked at Anu again. She smiled back.
Resuming their journey, Anu felt a fresh lease of life and opened up everything about her life, like there is no better day than that. Rajiv listened to her tirelessly.
They reached home late in the night. Anu slept like never before in so many months.
“Hey! What's up? it’s a Sunday today and you are already ready to go somewhere early in the morning?”
“Yes, come let’s go… teach me how to drive”, Anu confidently said.
Both of them exchanged glances and smiled at each other.
It’s a complete cooked up story. There might be some flaws or low points. But this is my first story, I ever had posted in any blog. Hope everyone liked it.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post are the personal views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of Pinkdesk.org . Any omissions or errors are the author's and PinkDesk does not assume any liability or responsibility for them.
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