Midas- A Healing Touch

Chapter 29

The stage was set. I was supposed to give my best performance. Shah Rukh said something on acting which roughly translated to, if you are able to retain the honesty of your heart while performing a complete lie, then you have made it. I had to lie. But I had to live that lie with the best of my ability and the innocence of my heart.

Even if she was to hate me for pulling this on her, I was okay with it as long as she healed her deepest scars.

As Vinay and I entered the apartment, I talked about how it was so unexpected of him of all people to just leave despite being a gang member. And Sia overheard our talks and asked me what Gang I was talking about. “Kind of C Gang” I said..

“How would she know what Gang it was?” Vinay asked me.

“Because we haven’t only watched Shah Rukh’s movies but know other things about him, too.’ I started laughing. And so did Sia.

“I’m making coffee, you guys want some?” Sia asked.

“I’ll go and sleep,” Vinay said. It was the part of the plan.

“I’ll take one, please…” I told her and took a seat in the lobby. My voice cracked, I felt I won’t be able to talk. I had a very rough idea of what she went through and even that was giving me chills.

She came back from the kitchen with two coffee mugs in her hands and asking me, “What is this new poem you have posted on social media?”

“Which one?”

“Monsters one. Did you post another one, too?”

“I was about to.. Wanna be the first listener?” I asked.

“Sure” she said, taking a seat next to me on the very comfortable couch.

The room was rather warm with room heaters, a stark contrast to the outside breeze and also my shivering hands. I looked at her and said, “But first let me recite the Monster’s one.”

“No.. Please no, Shah.. That’s very dark and very scary.”

“That’s the whole fun! You anyways need pills for sleep…” I teased her.

“I am going.” She walked up to leave but I cluchted her wrist and told her to sit down.

I continued, “You will have to listen to this. Because I really want you, too. And then I will recite another of my piece to you. I feel like it’s been ages ever since Vinay came back, we haven’t had our intellectual kind of discussions. I need one today.”

“Okay.. Bring it on..” she said.

“It keeps telling me random stuff
There’s a monster under my bed..

“It tells me no one gives a damn”,
There’s a monster under my bed
“I don’t matter and I should accept
No one will miss me when I’m dead”

“It tells me I was the toxic one”,
There’s a monster under my bed
“Without me they will finally breathe
With my mess they lived in dread.”

“It tells me I don’t matter at all”,
There’s a monster under my bed
“My thoughts and emotions are a fail
In between the lines, I should have read”

“It tells me to just go and die”,
There’s a monster under my bed
“There will be peace without me
At least there will be happiness ahead.”

“It tells me many other things”,
There’s a monster under my bed
“It’s hard to put in words on paper
‘Coz those were felt, never actually said”

“It scares me with actions, too”
There’s a monster under my bed
“It makes an imaginary pain real
It makes me choke on my own breath”

“It tells me I won’t be missed”
There’s a monster under my bed
“So it doesn’t matter if I live and
That’s how it gives me life threat”

“Maybe what someone said is true,”
There’s a monster under my bed
“Maybe the monster is so threatening because
Maybe the monster is me myself
Maybe the monster is not under the bed
Maybe the monster lives in my head.”

After my recitation, there was silence. For longer than any one of us could bear. My fingers were trembling, and so was her body. I looked at her, I felt like her demons were outside of her body and became life threatening to her. She looked into a blank universe like all the other times. She abruptly started searching for something. A solace, her soothing metal, his Swiss Knife. She found it, but it didn’t seem to work for her. Vinay saw her from behind. He didn’t know what to do. But he wanted his presence to give her strength, even if it was just psychological. Her doctor was in one of the rooms and was connected with me through the Bluetooth. He wanted to talk to her on his own, but I volunteered. Because I was okay with her hating me for a lifetime for lying to her on her face. She hated liars. I only wanted her to step ahead on the path of healing.. I continued, “While the monsters scare us from all direction, what we are supposed to remember all the times is, the monster is not us. The monster is not you. What you say or do under its influence is not you. You are a separate entity altogether, and you are and will always be bigger than the monsters under your bed… And here’s the other thing I just wrote when you were making coffe. It’s delicious by the way. For the very first time.. haha.. Ok listen now…

Today we do not play the victim. Today we don’t take the blame, either. Today, we call out people and things responsible for our present, shamelessly.

Today we blame everyone who was hurtful, and everything that made us suffer…

Today we don’t accept the situations, today we rebel…

We will get back to who we are tomorrow, and be all calm and cute, but today we ignite the fire, and today we burn the bridge…

Today, we rise like the phoenix and today we start building Rome.

Today we start and may back out tomorrow. It would take more days than one.

We might never build the Rome, we might stick to being wholesome. But..
Today we choose.
Because,
Today we can.

Today you choose.
Because, today you can!!”

“Wow!” she started to clap. I gave her a half hearted smile. Something changed inside of her. She was smiling and nodding to a thought. A thought that had the power to change her life, perhaps.

“Why did you break up with him, Sia?” I asked her.

She looked away, as if someone has pierced through her heart and she would be killed if she makes a noise. “Can we not talk about this?”

“Until when?”

“I don’t know.”

“It’s time, Sia… It’s time.”

“You didn’t bring me anything from your trip. I’m not talking to you anymore.” She diverted the topic.

“I did bring you something.” I woke up and went towards the cupboard and picked out a wooden box. I saw her reflection in the mirror, she was shivering. I looked at Vinay and Trisha in the room and nodded to indicate it was the time..

“Have you seen the flowers I bought?” I asked her while continuing to pretend looking in the mirror.”

“No. There weren’t any. And I bet no one would have kept them in the cupboard at least,” she said.

“You didn’t see the mirror, today as well?” I told her, as romantically as I could.

“Aww.. You are comparing me to the roses?”

“No sweetheart. I don’t like Cauliflower. I was asking that because your dark circles have darkened.”

“Just shut up! I thought you were playing a DDLJ on me.”

“Have you seen your face? DDLJ!”

“Was it a joke?” She asked.

“It was.”

“I don’t like jokes.”

“I don’t like you,” I said as I turned and brought the box on the table.

“What have you got? This looks familiar.” Her eyes lit up.

“Ms. Sia Aherya. I got you your identity.” I opened the box and picked out every picture, every certificate out to read and show it to her. “This is your birth certificate. And these are your pictures. And then there are these certificates you earned in school and college. So, Ms. Sia Aherya participated in an English Play at her school’s annual day and then wrote a completely different explanation of the dialogues which was acredited to her and still does when she was just 10 years old!”

“Nine. I was nine back then,” she said probably gone back in that time.

“How did it feel?” I asked her.

“I was an actual princess, Shah. I was born and brought up in Aherya Family and we had an actual palace. They called me a gifted child who knew everything, but I learnt all of it. I always love to do things from scratch, instead of acquiring things. I learnt self defence when I was four. Be it dancing or singing, or studies or extra curricular, I was a pro. And I used to handle everything on my own.”

I looked at her as she explained and I smiled. Vinay and Trisha were a bit shocked.

“After that I was married to another Prince from a reputed family. He was the only heir of his family.”

I looked back and Vinay was about to say something, it came as a shocker for them because they never thought she was married. There was a tsunami of emotions running in their minds. I nodded to him indicating, I got it covered. The doctor in the other room was rather calm.

“And then..” Sia continued, “My fairy tale turned into a living nightmare. I came from a background where I had the freedom to do what I wanted to do. But my husband, he was no prince charming. He was an abuser. He used to beat me, abuse me, and then emotionally manipulate me into believing that it was my fault. And then I used to apologise. Because he was so good he loved me so much, he couldn’t have been wrong. Everyone loved him so much, I couldn’t even say he was abusing me.. and then… I conceived. I was on cloud nine. More so because the abuses stopped. He became so gentle with me. I thought maybe it was my love that changed him. Or that he was always a kind hearted person and rather I was a narcissist. It was my fifth month then, and I went with him for my doctor’s appointment. I wore a pink suit. It was the first time after wedding that we went outside. And I heard the heartbeats of my baby. And then I saw him on the screen. I said him because everyone wanted a boy. My husband was very happy. He showed so much care and concern for me.. And then, he asked me what I wanted? And I told him I wanted to eat Road Side Golgappe. And we were in Jaipur all this while… And he parked his car outside one of the stalls, and helped me step out of the car. I started eating, and suddenly there was this Auto Driver in a uniform and that Auto scratched our car. And I told my husband not to engage further and to just go back home.. but he started to fight with the Auto Driver. And I kept telling him not to. My baby started kicking me multiple times, probably he senses the panic as well. And then my husband hit me to get out of his way. I fell down and I lost my baby on the road. I was covered in blood. And there were more people who started to fight and they hit him and he died on the spot. People rushed me to the hospital and took his body too. And then they called his family. And they arrived. And they legit abandoned me. They called me a Dayan that had killed their son and the family heir. I was too depressed to even counter their arguments.. I couldn’t think straight. I couldn’t think anything at all..”

She became silent. I held her hand in my own.. I didn’t say anything. I signalled Trisha to walk in. And then told her, “Can you please make me another coffee? And bring in one Ice Cream for her.”

“Ice Cream?” Sia smiled.

Her mind had gone so numb, she didn’t feel anything while at all while narrating all of that. Like she didn’t care. Or it didn’t happen to her but to a random character in a book or a movie and she was just summarising the plot. As Trisha got me the coffee and an ice cream to her, I asked her for a blanket.

She asked why we were still awake? And I said we were just catching up on each other’s life.

I gave the Ice Cream to Sia. she seemed to enjoy it. I took just one sip of the coffee and hated it. I hated myself for playing with her mind like that. I asked her, “You know I was watching Veer Zaara and realised what would happen if someone from our past made a reappareance. I would be shocked. Haha”

Suddenly the room felt foggy. As if a magic was happening. She felt the presence of her Daai Maa in the room. And she went up and hugged her and cried. She turned back to me and asked me to look at her. But I pretended I didn’t see anything. She turned back and there was no one. Magic, eh? Or maybe there was no such thing as magic.

She came back, more confused. She didn’t want anyone else to mess up her comfort zone. And here was I! Playing with all the pieces.

“You wanna lie down in my lap!” I asked.

She nodded and obeyed.

“Want me to sing the lullaby too, eh?” I joked.

“Yes, please…”

“Just get up. I was joking..”

“Now I won’t…” she said as she adjusted the blanket.

“What really happened on Trisha’s wedding, Sia?” I asked.

Maybe she was ready this time… She said, “I… I was at the pheras and I asked Vinay to listen to the vows. Next thing I knew he was promising me seven of his personalised vows. And when he said he won’t trigger my traumas, I asked him how does he know about it. He narrated this incident of this burger shop lady and ho wI was uncomfortable and he didn’t realise whether it was about the son or the car accident that troubled her but he won’t talk about either. I went back to change and then you called. And I had this realisations that the next step of my relationship with Vinay would have to be marriage. And I didn’t want any. It was hard for me to not fall for him. So I decided to just leave. But when he called me, I thought maybe I can give a chance. So I wore Pink. But he fought with an Auto Driver, and then when I looked at him, he looked back at me deep in my eyes and said, He will beat me up if I don’t love him back. He said he will kill me. He said he is going to abuse me.. and then he hit me. And then I… I touched my tummy and my hands were full of blood. I lost my baby. I was a killer. I was a Dayan. He laughed on my face. People pelted stones at me. I told him not to kill the Auto Driver. I felt the kicks of my baby, and then there was none the next minute. I lost my baby… I lost a fucking child of mine. I.. I pleaded him not to beat the Auto Driver. I… I said I was sorry to him.. I apologised on behalf of everyone. He kept laughing on my face. He said he will make my life a living hell. He told me I was a killer. I killed my baby. I killed my husband. I will have to love him otherwise he will abuse me like earlier times. I felt the kicks of my baby, I heard his heartbeat, I was reciting the Lullaby I had made for me. I saw my baby waving me from the ultrasound monitor. I looked at my hands.. they were filled with blood… I killed my baby.. I killed my husband..”

“Was it your husband or was it Vinay?” I asked.

She paused for a very long time, probably trying to sort the mess in her mind. I looked back and saw Vinay crawled up on the floor trying not to scream but crying inconsolably. I saw Trisha consoling him. The doctor said it was still okay to me on the Bluetooth.

“Was it your husband or was it Vinay?” I asked her again.

“It wasn’t Vinay… It wasn’t him, Shah.. He never did it. But I got scared. I… I got scared. I thought my husband came back. I… It wasn’t Vinay…” she said as she shivered in my lap. I put my head over hers and hugged her. I didn’t say anything except it was okay to cry. What happened years ago, what happened with Vinay, and what was happening the present day, her mind has lost sense of time. She was living in different time zones all at once. And that’s why her mind was always a mess. Anything happened and she was back to square one. Her mind would take her back in the time and scare her with the reality that she had lived.

“I know they lost their son, and I know they lost their heir, but they all blamed me, Shah. It wasn’t my fault. I know their family heritage basically ended, but it was their son’s fault. I lost a baby, Shah and they blamed me. No one sympathised with me. Hell, no one even allowed me to grieve in silence. They didn’t let me take the tiny sweaters I made for my baby. They didn’t even let me have the ultrasound reports. They denied me the right to get anything related to the baby. They didn’t allow me back in their home. They abandoned me. People started stone pelting at me calling me a Dayan who is unfit for the society. Who is unfit for the families.. They blackened my face. They didn’t let me grieve. I was crying, I still have nightmares of what once was a reality but I still don’t know whether I was crying for my loss or because of the pain. I am too scared to go through that pain again. And I feel somehow what they said was right. Maybe I am unfit. Maybe I am Dayan. Maybe I am the toxic one. That’s why what I say or do under the influence of those demons and monsters, people think it’s me. They just leave. Vinay left. Without giving me a benefit of doubt. I don’t know.. I don’t know. I feel like if I do not have a project to work on, I won’t even survive. I feel like I need to keep myself busy all the times. And sometimes I’m just not emotionally available for people. I just can’t do that. I’m sorry for my behaviour, but when even my parents abandoned me, what else can I expect from people. I made an Empire on my own. I did not need a man to complete me. I didn’t even want to invite another person under my territory. I was a princess who married a prince.. but he was a womaniser in the disguise of a prince. After that, I decided to be the Queen. A self acclaimed Queen who has created an Empire and doesn’t need a King. In fact, when it came to taking care of my people, I was better than any other King. I walked out of Jaipur with not even a rupee in my pockets. For days I didn’t have a place to live. For days I didn’t want to live. I had lost a baby, Shah. I had lost a baby. And then somehow I landed at Banaras. I retracted my documents somehow and got a job. There I met Trisha. And then overtime I got a home. Then we started Amoksh Gift Shop, and then a lot of things happened in my life. You know that story. And today I feel I can at last breathe.”

“Do you want hot chocolate?” I asked her.

“I’m getting all emotional, and so you care about hot chocolate, hun? You already had 3 coffees and I’ve had an ice cream. I don’t want hot chocolate. We will fall ill,” she said.

“I’m going to get it. You want or not?” I said asking her to get off my lap so I could leave.

“If you are bringing brownie and chips with it, count me in,” she said and then laughed to see me struggling with my walk because of a sleeping foot.

I went to the kitchen, and texted Vinay to go sleep because she was ok. I also texted the doctor that he could also stay home and leave in the morning and I thanked everyone for staying. Vinay called me to say that he didn’t know she would be dealing with so much pain. I only said I’ve got it covered. And we will talk once she dozes off.

I came back with the hot chocolate. We talked about other random stuff and I finally saw her smiling whole heartedly. It was around 3 in the morning when I asked her to sleep and she agreed. I dropped her at her room and saw her sleeping with a huge smile on her face.

“Shah stop…” She said in her dreams, clenching on my arms…

“Hey.. Take a deep breath. I am here. Okay?” I said.

“What do you think of yourself, huh? Just because I call you Shah, you think of yourself as SRK? The original Shah Rukh Khan??” She was laughing in her dreams.

“I don’t understand.” I told her.

“Rritvikh Shah.. First, you have such a weird name.. Tell me you changed that spelling? Right? Kh kh from the epiglottis? You thought you will bring in Daai Maa from Jaipur and will play Om Shanti Om prank on me and I will play along? Huh?! And you will bring my identity from my birth place, again inspired from Veer Zaara climax, and I wouldn’t know? You thought you would suck away my depression by giving me hot chocolate and I would not make a co-relation with Shah Rukh? You thought you would say “Main Hu Na” and fight all of my demons for me, and I would not know? Just by having dimples and those brown eyes doesn’t make you the OG, okay?” She smiled.

I didn’t know what I was supposed to do in that moment.

“Thank you… For bringing me back to reality, Shah. For being here, with me. For making me accept a lot of things. For being the Shah Rukh Khan for me.. Thank you for being there in thick and thin. And thank you for never letting the spirit of love die inside of me. Thank you for staying together. Thank you for allowing me to pray for you. Thank you for existing! Your presence has made life livable. And your friendship has always been my guiding star. The only constant in my ever changing life has been YOU. Some conversations open us up to accept our own flaws, our own shortcomings. It was one such dreamy conversation with you. Thank you, Shah for being the best friend I never knew I needed. Had it not been for that you, I would have never realised that I needed to cry. I realised what was taking a toll on my emotional well-being. Thank you for being the bestest friend that I ever had the privilege of having. Thank you for existing. Thank you for not giving up on me, even when I was at my worst. Thank you for the gift of friendship when I was on the edge of hating you. Thank you for coming home. Thank you for being my home. Only you could have saved me from this nightmare.
You know I love the concept of Amoksh. Which is to continue being a good person in your life and not be scared of dying because you will meet that one person in one of your life and all the other lives will be worth it. That Swiss Knife that Vinay gave me was a Midas for me. But you know, Shah.. I feel in all of my past lives I was searching for my soulmate, maybe it’s Vinay in this life, but in all of my past lives the one I have derived the strength from is no one else but you. You are therapeutic. You are the therapy, Shah. Thank you for existing,” she said and fell asleep.

I walked outside the room, but turned back to have a look at her. I saw the mirror that reflected my dimpled smile and teary eyes. “Shah Rukh” I laughed at the thought. It was my first genuine laugh ever since I could imagine.

“What happened?” Vinay asked me.
“Why are you laughing?”

“Nothing..” I told him.

“What did she say? Does she know about our plan?”

“I don’t think so. I am a better actor.” I winked at Vinay. I looked inside the room again, and said to her in my mind, “You are the better actor, though. I will never say it to you on your face, that’s a different story altogether. Just like you wouldn’t tell me you are grateful for my existence. And just like Vinay will never be able to read in between the lines. But all of it is okay. All of it is beautiful.”

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