It Had to Be You

By: Anuj Tiwari

‘Have you packed everything?’ Mom asked. I knew she was suppressing tears but wasn’t showing them. Mothers are like that.

‘Yes,’ I replied.

‘Keep your medicines, take care of yourself and promise me this won’t happen again.’ She looked at me for an acknowledgment but it was hard to meet her expectations at times. I couldn’t make any false promises to her and uttered a non-committal ‘Hmm.’

‘Listen to me…I’m trying to say something.’ She pulled me in front of her and looked at me sternly.

‘Mom, you know that is difficult, at least for me.’ Just as I said this, dad entered the room—just the person I didn’t want to discuss these things with.

‘What’s difficult? You’re going away from home; you’ve just been released from the hospital. Wasn’t that more difficult—staying at the hospital for six months to treat depression? Anuj, this is the time to concentrate on your life and it’s up to you to utilize this opportunity or waste it away,’ Dad said.

His words hurt me deeply.

I’ve lost everything in the last few months—my friends, my happiness and my parents’ trust. I’ve caused my family so much pain. But even after all this, will she come back into my life? I thought. I didn’t say anything to dad, however, who understood, patted my shoulder and left the room.

‘She won’t come back into your life, you know that. Why are you wasting your life away for her?’ Mom asked, trying to reason with me.

‘Mom, I can’t promise you that, and you know that very well. We’ve discussed it several times now.’ I zipped up the bag.

The next day I was to leave for Mumbai to start a job with a prominent MNC. I didn’t really want to leave home but the time had come for me to take on more responsibilities. I knew that my loneliness was going to make my life hell, though. Suddenly, I couldn’t handle my frustration in any longer. I threw my small carry bag in the corner and sat on the bed. Mom understood. She was the one who trusted me most and had high hopes for me. She came and sat next to me.

‘Anuj, stop it now. That’s enough. Downloaded from gappaa dot org. I don’t want to repeat these things over and over. We both know that Pakhi isn’t with you—in fact, you don’t even know where she is. We’ve suffered a lot because of her. Why’re you still pining for someone who never cared about you? What’s happened to you? Don’t you love your mother? Don’t you care about your family?’ she cried as she reached out to hug me.

The purest love in the universe is the love of a mother. And that made me more emotional when I recalled that she had been softly crying the previous night when I had woken up to have water. The thought of my leaving was clearly painful for her.

With those unanswered questions, I left early next morning for Mumbai. Though I didn’t cry in front of them when she and dad came to drop me off at the railway station, we knew how we all felt for each other. Sometimes we love our family so much that we don’t have the courage to express it. I wanted to hug them but couldn’t gather the courage as everything was happening for the first time. I broke down on the train, though, and cried till I reached Mumbai the next morning.

There, I searched in vain for at least one person to share my pain with. I forgot how to treat people, how to talk to them and how to make friends. Time changed people, and my life had changed completely.

The video I had made for her was still in that hidden folder, and it still made me cry. I was still alive; I could breathe, I could eat, I could walk and talk, but when I breathed, there was no fragrance in the air; when I ate, I couldn’t taste anything; when I walked, my heart wasn’t in it. Days and nights seemed endless. All my smiles were temporary, superficial. I cursed my destiny.

Now there were no romantic messages on my phone; only a few songs of her choice remained. I stopped replying to any messages from my friends, stopped picking up calls. I started keeping my cell phone on silent; eventually, I stopped carrying it altogether. After all, there was no one left to call me. For several days, I forgot to wash my clothes, polish my shoes, and comb my hair. I started skipping dinner as I lost my appetite, and if my friends forced me to eat with them, I vomited in the middle of the night. I lost kilos of weight in six months. All I ate were the tablets prescribed to keep my blood pressure normal and cure my depression.

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