1am is a rather unearthly hour for a call, but the phone rang.
‘hello… doctor…. help’
‘hello who is this?’ asked the doctors groggy and doused in sleep. the doctor was of course upset that she had forgotten to turn her phone off .
‘I’m Asahaya here’
Dr.Manasvi Pande cut the call, but the caller called over again. The girl has dialed from another number thought the doctor and was really annoyed but decided to get done with it. She just kept making acknowledging sounds at appropriate intervals without really listening what was being said. After a while the doctor went right back to sleep.
Anyone listening to the voice on the other side would have seen a girl emerging from the mist, in pink pyjamas and pista green hoodie. The hood drawn to cover her face. She was rushing out and looking back furtively. Asahaya her parents had named her. Maybe they knew the vulnerability that she was dealing with. Asahaya was getting annoyed with the doctor, suddenly another voice came in ‘what is it? at 1 am?’ this was the voice of an older women who seemed just annoyed or over all unhappy.
‘Dr.Mansvi this is Asahaya…can you hear me… there is a cross conversation happening”
“you have to help me doctor, ‘ the older woman was saying, ‘my son, his girlfriend has done vashikaran on him’
‘Doctor, you accept that there is Vashikaran’ asked Asahaya.
‘I’m telling you doctor, his girl friend is a Malayalee and they do all this black magic”
‘Doctor I’ve been telling the other psychiatrist the same thing, for three months and he said there is no such a thing as black magic” Asahaya suddenly felt that she had found the right person to confide her problem in.
‘doctor, you know my husband’s mother is dead, he was brought up by his step mother and she has him in her control. She is not allowing him be with me.”
‘his Malayalee girlfriend she only wants property. You see in Bongaigaon we have property and she has my son in her control and my husband. I live in Patna with my younger son who is studying engineering and he falls sick often he needs me to look after him. My husband works in Calcutta we have a flat there too, my older son is living with him. This Malayalee girl is so shameless that she is living with my son without being married. My husband also does not say anything!Do decent girls live without marriage?”
‘doctor, you see my husband is very good looking, and his step mother made him do modelling, and you know how the modelling industry is… full of homosexuality and God knows what. My husband is not gay, but other men are attracted to him. He is so nice he does not even flirt with other women. he is so nice and considerate until his stepmother comes.’
‘This Malayalee woman, she is not letting me into the house, you tell me what am I supposed to do, my husband has had an accident he is in the hospital and I’m not allowed into the ICU, because my son said that his father gets agitated if he sees me”
‘Doctor we have just got married, it now only 6mnths ago, and things were fine for first 3mnths, we stayed with my parents. He wanted to put up a vegan restaurant, so he went back to Kasargod to organize the funds, since then things have gone bad, he didn’t connect with me for two months. After which he came back” Asahaya paused the voice on the other seemed to take it as cue to carry on her rant…
‘This Malayalee girl, she has got my son, to tell the hospital authorities not to allow me, my son says I’m not his mother, he tells his younger brother, you stay with us you are family, but this woman Vipulata Bagodia… she is not even Bengali she is not our mother…saali …Marwari paisa key siva kuch dikhtanahi. Tell me who is interested in money me or him, he is not letting his father get the care he needs.Who does he think will clean his father’s butt?”
As if answering Vipulata, Asahaya took over, ‘ once he came back he is accusing me of not being able to rouse him sexually. He says I’m like a boy, I must be a lesbian. Doctor I promise you I’m not, I’m sports person. He says all sportswomen are lesbians. When I was younger my girl cousin and I used to play a game, I used to like it. but it was just for fun, I’m not that….I mean…lesbian… but his mother has filled his head with all this. you see when I was studying engineering one of the senior girls ragged me, and the picture has reached his stepmother, she is using this to tell him I’m lesbian so we cannot have, normal relation.” At this point Asahaya began sobbing.
Maybe it was the sobs, or maybe Vipulata ran out of her rant she paused and for the first time heard the voice…. it was not Dr.Mansvi, this was girl in distress – she was…saying, “I don’t want to live! but I want to live, I just want be loved and I know if someone really loves me, all my pain will go away. I tried to take the tablets to make the pain go away. But it won’t go away. My husband is hurting me again so I’ve come out.’
‘Christ!’ thought Vipulata, ‘ this was not her doctor it was someone totally different.”
‘you are not Dr.Manasvi, who are you?’ demanded Vipulata.
‘Asahaya’ Vipulata heard the girl stumble and say ‘oh!my God you are not Dr.Manasvi” and phone got disconnected.
Asahaya felt very silly. She also felt very tired and sleepy she sat on the bench. She was alone on the highway middle of the night though not exactly alone a stranger approached her, with not so good intentions.
Asahaya stared into his eye and asked him “Can you really see me?’
The man leered back at her, “ yes, it is interesting that you can see me.”
Asahaya heard the siren of the police van… She was wondering what she would tell the cops. Here she was alone on the highway, with no mask and with her was a strange man of questionable intent.
The police however seemed uninterested in her, they were talking about tracing some phone signal to this location. As far as she knew she was alone this leering blighter arrived. Asahaya saw the cops’ approach her, and the man next to her seem to enjoy the scene like he was a party.
The young police man touched her shoulder strangely she did not feel his touch. “ she is not responding call the ambulance”
Asahaya was fuming how dare they behave like she died not exist. She didn’t feel the touch because it was cold. The policeman picked the mobile that lying beside her.
“the phone number checks, the last number dialled says conference call participants Dr.Manasvi Pande and Vipulata Bagodia”
It was Asahaya’s turn to look at the stranger.
The leering man smiled at Asahaya, ‘ don’t be scared, think you are leaving early before the rush begins, you are trading one body for the other… for I’m called Death”