Friday, December 4, 2015

Out of Print-CLF 2015 Stories: Rakshita Gupta

Born Good

Rakshita Gupta

‘Didi, I am not well ... call asap,’ texted Gaurav with a crying emoji. It was his usual message, his usual trick to trap Sania into his emotional crises. He knew how to use social media more than most time-eaters. As usual, the trick worked. Sania was on leave today; she needed the one-day break. Partly because of her hectic job schedule, but mostly because of the torture her younger brother, Gaurav subjected her to. She switched on her phone in the evening just to see it hang because of the many messages she had received, including Gaurav’s.

‘Eh! Now you want to destroy my meditating self! You better not’, said she to her phone. To her luck, the phone started working and she managed to read Gaurav’s message.

She immediately dialed his number. It rang once. Twice ... thrice…. For how long could she remain patient? She had been patient defending Gaurav all his life. She had pampered him. She was so possessive of him that she would sometimes forget that her parents were there too.

Finally, before she was completely stressed, he took her call.

‘Hello Gur, What happened? I just saw your message.’

‘Didi, I am sorry. I did not pass, I got detained, again! I do not know how. Please do not tell Papa, he will kill me. Didi, are you listening … Didi, please, I said I am sorry. Hello ... Hello Didi…’

The call was dropped. She did not cry. She had been dreaming of a bright future for him. Now he had appeared for his 6th semester exams twice. She had thought she would be able to tell her parents and the entire world that her hopeless brother had passed. She was searching for colleges for his Masters degree ... Masters in Biochemistry ... and then a scientist ... and ... and … leave it! Her hopes for him shrank into a tiny particle of dust.

‘Oh Gur, what have you done!’ she cried but there was no one to hear. She gathered courage to call him again. This time he picked up her call at once. ‘Sorry Didi,’ he said, breaking the silence. ‘I’ll die if you will not talk to me. I swear I will!’

‘Dying would not make the difference, the difference which I want you to make from being a liar, thief, drunkard and a scoundrel, Gur, to a changed being.’

‘Please don’t worry, Didi, please. I will try to fill the retest form and reevaluation form. I will do every possible thing to pass this time. Some hard cash would do it, you know I have made contacts.’

‘What!’ shouted Sania.

Whom are you talking to? Have you again started taking drugs?’

‘No Didi, don’t get me wrong.’ But before he could continue she started off with her usual cribbing, scratching each wound till it bled.

She said, ‘Gur, you are a severe pain in my life, a brain hemorrhage that bursts my brain.’ She went on and on and on, evoking the time he stole the diamond ring from tayiji’s closet, when they caught him smoking as a child … till she seemed to be living those bitter memories again and dragging him back to the abyss of his past life.

Has the mind ever been in anyone’s control in anger and anxiety. They say ‘to speak less and thoughtfully when you are angry.’ She did completely opposite and continued, ‘And your infinite lies, my God! It was all my fault, all mine, I repent now. I should have never let you hold my fingers when you were born. I kept on defending your every mistake, but I should have known you would stab me. Why do you have to be such a failure, oh God! I am done with you. You are a scoundrel, a drug addict and whatever else everyone in the family has been calling you. And you can never change. How I wish you were never born!’

Something changed and both felt it.

She could not do anything about it. Words once spoken, could not be taken back. She tried to compose herself and went to do her household chores. She was unsure of what to say to her father about Gaurav’s result. And she did not have any idea what Gaurav was doing.

Not unexpectedly, she was not able to sleep. After twisting and turning for about an hour in bed, she got up and checked her Whatsapp. There was no message from Gaurav. But she had hectic days ahead because a fieldwork project had come up.

She dropped Gaurav a message saying, ‘You better handle this yourself this time!’

After three days it was time to face her parents. But before talking to them, she had to talk to Gaurav. Tangled in the mixed feelings of anger and love she did not know if she should talk to him in a tender voice or in a hard tone. She did not even know if she should talk to him or not.

Gaurav had not replied yet. In her anxiety she kept checking her phone. It had been about three days now. She hated that she was checking on him the way she never had done before. Yet she couldn't stop herself; no communication from him was becoming unbearable, almost tortuous. And then, just as she breathed heavily trying to compose herself, her phone vibrated. But when she opened it and read it, she nearly stopped breathing.

‘I am sorry Didi, I will never be a hemorrhage in your brain again. I will tell God you were never at fault to spoil me. I wish I had born Good so that you never had to say that…’

‘No!’, she screamed in panic and called him. Someone else answered.

He had overdosed. After staying clean for one year. He had overdosed

‘Sania you killed him. You killed your own brother.’

Rakshita Gupta is an inquisitive person who resides in the utopia of literature. Nevertheless she nourishes her soul with all forms of art and aesthetics. The 20 year old is a native of Jammu, J&K currently living in Chandigarh. She is a budding writer and a poet pursuing masters in English. She is a theatre artist by choice and a poet by passion but enjoys dipping her pen into the ink of fiction writing as well.

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