A lady is stabbed by a stranger at home. A story depicting turmoil and strength.
|It feels strange to know what thoughts can occur in a persons mind when facing death. Sayali gripped the knife that was embedded deep in her, and dropped to the floor. In that moment of being stabbed she remembered how she had let go of her cat one rainy morning, the toothless smile of her son, her daughters giggling, and the day she was drenched in the rain. A collage of pictures flashed in front of her.
Stunned, her mind grappled to understand what had just happened. While cooking in the kitchen, a sound from the hall had alerted her.
"As usual my maid is late. I must surely give her an earful this time, otherwise she will continue to be tardy", she thought. Coming out of the kitchen, she suddenly recoiled in fear when she saw herself staring into the dark eyes of a stranger. He was in his early twenties, his slate grey jacket was cut in places and its hood was pulled over his head. There was a rough stubble on his chin and he reeked of alcohol. A dark scar on his cheek gave him a menacing look. Alarmed to see a stranger come out of nowhere, and break her solitude, she managed to ask, "Who are you? How did you get in?". Giving her a contemptuous look, he pulled out a knife. She noticed its fearsome handle that had the head of a snake about to devour its prey.
"You super rich people living in stately homes and driving fancy cars! What did you do to earn all this?". His eyes narrowed as he vented his anger. She thought it best to be silent and not reply.
"I have come here to take away something. Let me see", he leered at her, "Looks like I have a lot of choices".
"Your husband saw it fit to fire me from my job and I have wandered the streets begging. I want revenge for the wrong done to me". He came dangerously close to intimidate her. She turned her face to avoid his alcohol ridden breath. Her husband Arav, was a Manager in a reputed multinational company.
"What's the problem if I pilfered some money? A youngster like me has needs you know. I swore never to do it again. But he was adamant and said he did not trust me", he gestured wildly. "No one wants to give me a job without proper references. I am ruined!".
She remembered Arav mentioning this incident to her. He had justified the firing, as the stranger had flouted many other rules. Arav always shared with her the on goings of his company and she never got bored listening. He found release, when, at the end of a long hard day, he recounted the day's events in her loving arms.
Her mind racked with confusion as the nightmare unfolded in front of her.
"What does he want? Why did he come to my house?", she thought, clearly in a panic.
Beads of sweat lined her brow as realization dawned that he had come to harm her, as a way to get back at her husband.
She stood nervously, trying hard to think what to do. She was a happy housewife, who spent life in the loving arms of her hubby and her three adoring children. Her dilemma increased when she contemplated whether to make a dash for the door or stay put.
She could see the stranger was distraught and gesticulated wildly. Swinging his gait, he drew closer and placed the knife on her cheek. "Beautiful aren't we?", he said with a knowing look. He caressed her face with the open mouthed snake. Her fear turned into desperation as she imagined the snake come to life. She felt revolted by its cold slimy skin crawling on her cheek and felt the sudden urge to take control of the situation. Sensing her fear, he threw back his head and laughed, in the process his feet swayed. Seizing the chance, she dashed to the door and tried to unlock it. Her hands were trembling from the effort and she fumbled at the knob. With an angry cry, he pounced on her and in the scuffle, the knife dug deeply into her side. Her painful cry rent the room, which he muffled by the palm of his hand. Living in a metropolitan city has its down sides. The neighbors didn't bother knowing who lives next door. Even if they heard her screams, no one would knock her door to find out.
Shaken at first, the stranger recovered quickly and dragged her to the middle of the hall and left her to bleed. "Sheesh! What a lady! Guess you had to do that. I wanted a little fun and have a party of my own. But you had to go spoil it all". He drifted to the kitchen to find something to drink as if to dismiss the situation.
Her eyes glazed, the coldness of the floor made her body numb, as she realized what had happened. A trickle of blood oozed from the wound. The sharp knife slowly sapped all the energy and life from her body.
"I am dying", she rued, "I am fading from this world and soon will be a sad memory. Why did this happen? Such a mindless death it would be. A death without reason". A range of emotions assaulted her senses, as the memories came flooding in.
The morning had begun merrily. It was her youngest daughter Jiya's 6th Birthday. She jumped for joy and clapped her hands, seeing the gifts they had brought her. Her older son Shiya, 8 and daughter Tanya, 11 crowded around her. This was her world, she had slaved and fought for. A world built after years of torment. Sayali was orphaned from the tender age of four and she never knew what love was, or what a kind gesture meant. She was looked after by a slew of relatives who shunted her from home to home. But being a brave girl, she always nurtured a small glow of hope, faith, that one day everything would change for the better. She studied under extreme conditions losing many years of education. Abuses were hurled at her and she was constantly called an orphan. She often thought that God had taken away her parents but had gifted her with endurance and a fighting spirit. After many adversities, the day had dawned when she met her man. Just like a princess in a fairy tale her life had transformed. The Gods rewarded her for her tenacity and determination. "My cup runneth over!", she whispered, serenely gazing at her daughter, when she was born. Her life's long and hard battle was finally won. She was a winner.
"Yet, now I lie shattered before my time, and the world I created so lovingly is ending", she thought regretfully, a solitary tear rolling down her eyes.
Tanya's school play came up next week. She would not be able to attend it. Jiya, her youngest would be devastated by the memory of her mother's death on her birthday. It would trouble her, her entire life and not be erased. The family would come apart. Arav would try putting on a brave face but she knew that deep inside it would be a torturous hell. Shiya was a silent kid, not used to express emotions freely. This would further numb him.
The stranger came over and felt her with his foot to check whether she was dead. She gazed at him with a stark resentment and felt her anger rising.
"How can this worthless guy come along and wreck my world?" her eyes darkened with hatred.
Her whole life she had worked for this, was it going to be destroyed by the selfish and ruthless act of this uncouth man. How could such a low lying creature snatch the happiness of her family? His ruthless actions would drive a family to ruin. The lives of her children would never be the same. They would forever miss their mother. Her anger was seething. She could taste her desperation in the blood that flowed in her mouth; desperate to help her husband realize his dream of owning a house, desperate to see her daughter's act at school. She wanted to be there for her children as they went through life's rigors, to hold her grandchildren in her arms when her children had them. She wanted so much more from life!
From the next room, she could hear the stranger whistling blithely, and it sickened her to hear him.
"How dare you, with your crass attitude deal me such a cruel blow?" she vented her frustration.
Her emotions started building. She no longer felt the pain of the knife as she visualized her husband calling her name. The beaming faces of her children were beckoning her. Images of happiness swam in front of her eyes.
"No! I cannot go this way. No! Not in this manner. My time is not yet up".
Gritting her teeth and craving thoughts of life, she pulled out the knife. From childhood she had weathered pain, and so she successfully managed to suppress her moans.
Her body reeled from the wound and she slowly rose to her feet.
"Maybe God gave me endurance to suffer pain for this day. He trained me to be strong all along for my family, for this day!" Her intentions were fuelled by her stark anger and hatred. They became her lethal weapons. She saw the back of the stranger and it churned up acid in her blood. The loathsome man had decided to alter her destiny, she wanted to prove to him that life was not easy. He wouldn't get what he wanted by the way he had chosen. Life was built brick by brick through sheer strength of ones efforts and beliefs. Nothing came easy. Nothing ever was. Gripping the knife she lurched ahead. She had him in full view now. The stranger was rummaging through Tanya's possessions.
"How dare you touch them with your wretched hands?" Her anger peaked and her rage flew, when she saw him standing with his shoes, crushing her daughter's favorite sequined pink dress. She came up from behind him, summoned all her strength and pushed it with all might on the small of his back. With infuriating strength, she bored the knife deeper.
The stranger felt shocked by the element of surprise and he turned slowly clutching his back. For a moment he stood gaping, unable to comprehend how she had hit back. He saw the steely determination and resolve in her eyes. Unable to look any further, he shielded his eyes and shrank away. Clutching her stomach with one hand, she pushed him with the other and he landed in a heap. He lay stunned and ashamed to be quelled by the fury of a woman. A severe blow was struck to his false ego and had exposed his shallowness by the intensity of her actions.
She looked at him for a moment and then keeled over to the telephone near her daughter's bed. She called her husband and told him briefly what had happened. Then, from sheer exhaustion she laid down on the floor. Before she lost consciousness she couldn't help, but give a faint smile that she had triumphed once again in life.