As I walk back home, two neighbors pass me. One looks at me and whispers something to the other. I overhear the words ‘poor parents’ and ‘mad’. If only words could explain the rage that passes through me. It always infuriates me – being a loner and seeing a psychiatrist doesn’t mean I am mad. And I am never able to control my anger in such a situation. I hardly ever get angry, but this makes me lose my cool. Sanchit should know about this all right. After all, he died because of this, didn’t he? My evil face, which remains hidden all the time, erupts again, and, with relish, I muse over how he died.
I have reached home. Ma looks up from her work, but something in my face stops her from saying anything. I walk up to the mirror, and I understand why. My eyes have a nasty glint; I look menacing, even to myself. I wonder if Ma could see the blood on my hands too. I rest my forehead on the cool mirror surface. I decide to end it once and for all. I plan. Somehow planning my own death gave me intense peace of mind these days. An overdose of sleeping pills, lots of sleep, and never waking up again. How tranquil would that be! But I don’t get the perfect chance. I wait on. I decide on this evening. My death is assigned to take me away this evening. And this time I am sure.
I sit and think. In this world of fake love and relationships, only our love was true. In fact, I loved him too much to let him live. He was perfect in all ways. I adored him. But he simply did not get it. I was not mad. Why would he say that to me? He said others called me that, and he said he sometimes agreed. Then why was he with me? Wasn’t he my friend? The first time he said that was when I told him about the snakes. I trusted him completely. I was ready to open my heart to him. “This is not right. I think you might have a problem. Do you want to see a doctor?” Problem! He called it a problem. The words still ring in my ears. And doctor? What did he mean by doctor? Why didn’t he have the guts to say he meant a shrink? Like that Asmit.
That day I was shattered. I didn’t want him to become like the others. But who was I to fight Fate? He said that he pointed out those things because he cared about me. How does hurting me account for care? Slowly the love was turning into rage, a violent rage. Every time he had something to say. “This is not real, you are imagining it again.”, “Why are you like this?”, “What is wrong with you?”, “Shruti, you are going mad.”
Nothing is wrong with me and I am not mad. I did not want to hate him. I had no other option. So one day, I killed him. It was very simple actually. He helped in fact. While I was contemplating how to go about it, he planned a trip to Matheran. And then it was a piece of cake, pushing him off the mountain.
Back to my room! I waited for five whole weeks for the police to come. I was his only friend. The police was bound to find me. They didn’t come. The only thing that came was guilt. I realized how much I loved him. I had killed my best friend. Was there any other act more despicable then this? I saw his face wherever I went. He watched my every move. I saw the accusations in my classmates’ eyes when he did not turn up for a month. I could not stand it. Was I finally going mad? The warden complained that I screamed in my sleep. How could I explain the scratching on the walls to her when I couldn’t explain it to myself? Were my nails actually capable of doing that? I was living my own death.
Then one day, I quit. Now, here I am, back in Jairampur, seeing a psychiatrist when I don’t need to. Sanchit got his wish. Hah! Everyone gets a dying wish. But why did he have to die? I realize I am crying. Just until evening, I think. I crawl into my bed again. Hushed voices from the adjacent room wake me up. I was always a light sleeper. My Ma and Papa, and I would recognize the third voice anywhere, Asmit. My ears perk up. Schizophrenic? Who is schizophrenic? I know what it is. I have read about it. People living in their own imaginary world or something of the sort. Who is he talking about? I concentrate.
“There is no Sanchit.” Of course, there is no Sanchit. I killed him, didn’t I? But how does he know?
“…He does not exist. She created him in her mind. Her subconscious mind knew what people were saying about her. Sanchit was her creation to tell her directly what she already guessed. I called up her college. There are no records of any Sanchit studying there during her college span. That is why her classmates eyed her curiously when she thought she was talking to Sanchit. Obviously they could not see anyone.”
Now I am starting to panic. What is he saying? I am sobbing relentlessly. What do they know? I slowly leave my body and float near the roof. I look down at myself. I am screaming and tearing my hair, hurting myself physically. The three of them rush into my room. Amit injects something in my veins as my parents hold me. I fight but soon I drift off to a zone unknown.