Cobwebs Of The Mind...

She watched him silently from a distance as he continued smoking cigarettes one after the other using the finishing one to lit the next. He was obviously under some kind of stress. Was he meant to be her next patient? Even though there were many troubled men on the street and she was not the kind of doctor to search for patients on the road, when she saw this man she was inclined to take a peek in his mind. She was a well-known psychiatrist and was on one of her relaxing strolls though she was not aware that it would change her life forever. She was a contented person with caring parents and a lovable daughter but in the past few days stress was taking its toll. When she saw the man sitting there on the rock she immediately felt connected for reasons not known to her. She was tempted to go and talk to him but finally decided against it because knew herself that she would not like it if someone intruded her privacy. She walked away.

On reaching home, in spite of herself, her mind kept rushing to the man. She wanted to figure out what was wrong and wanted to help him! But ... why? The answer was perhaps hidden somewhere in her sub-conscious mind. The next day in her clinic, she saw the list of patients and sent them away asking them to take the repetition of the earlier course. She was not herself! She wanted to leave and so she collected her coat, walked out and went back to the sea-shore. Unknowingly she started searching for that man. She knew in her heart that he would be there, at the same place and yes … he was there. Today he seemed to be in worse condition. His hair was uncombed, he was wearing the same shirt that he wore yesterday and was smoking in similar manner! Her observation and experience told her that his mental illness was progressing. Someone had to talk to him! She prepared herself to do this. How would she introduce herself? Psychiatrist? Her qualification would make him feel biased. She preferred the more friendly approach she took in the case of most of her patients. She walked to him and said Hi. The man turned around and looked at her.

“I know it will sound weird but … Hi! I am Vishakha and I was just watching you the past few days and I realized that you are thinking deeply about something. I know it is none of my business but I would like to help you to share. Friends?”
“Hi! I saw you watching me yesterday and I am glad you came to talk to me. I am Vishaal. Friends!” saying so he extended his hand for a handshake. Vishakha had not expected the kind of response she got but at the same time was glad he was ready to talk to her.

As they walked together on the shore they properly introduced themselves, giving their family background etc. Vishakha told about her parents and daughter and when he questioned about her husband, the melancholy in her eyes was clearly seen when she said he died in a car crash. Vishaal was unmarried and his parents lived out of town. They were old and he was worried for them. There was something more than this, Vishakha was sure, but kept her thoughts to herself. She knew one day he would come out with his problem. Then perhaps she would try to help him. With either words or medicine!
When Vishakha returned home, to her surprise, she was feeling much at ease compared to the past few days. Since the death of her husband and sister in a car crash life had become miserable for her, she thought she had come out of it until a few days back when the memories struck again on their death anniversary. Vishakha walked to the bathroom, removed her clothes and stood under the shower and let the warm water soothe her body.

On the other hand Vishaal was smiling to himself as he reached his house and spread out on his couch. He was surprised that Vishakha had approached him like this but he had to admit, he liked it.

Days went by and the two kept meeting at the same place and talked as they walked along the shore. A stranger watching them would have mistaken them as couple but there was an invisible barrier in between the two. Perhaps it was Vishakha’s profession or maybe her late husband. Many a time Vishakha felt like a teenager in love for the first time. She could not believe her own heart, the way it beat when with Vishaal. Perhaps they were meant to meet and take away each other’s loneliness.
There was a change in Vishakha’s attitude towards life. She dealt with her patients with much concentration and made some changes in the course of medication for a few. Most of the evenings of her life were now spent at the sea-shore talking to Vishaal, as they walked together. The invisible barrier was slowly and steadily breaking down.
This time when they met they held hands.
A little more than a year to the death of her husband she had loved with all her heart and it was difficult for Vishakha to believe that she was falling in love again. But that was the irony of life, unexpected things always happened.

As far as Vishaal was concerned he still felt a little biased towards Vishakha. He had to admit that he wanted to hold her close more than anything else, but there was something about her that was bothersome. Something that was unspoken, something that was always between them! Perhaps the unspoken something was about her husband. He had never married because the right girl had never come in his life but after spending time with Vishakha he had to admit that the right girl had finally come though a little late for both of them. Was there any chance for them to come together? He fantasized about her as he lay on the couch. Her innocent eyes always fascinated him. Her figure perfectly veiled the fact that she had a 6 year old daughter. He did not want to hurry into the relationship because one wrong move could spoil everything. He did not want to lose a person like her. Her external appearance did affect him but more than that he liked the inner innocent and tender child in her. He got up from the couch and walked to his study. Took out his diary and wrote something.

As Vishakha changed into her nightgown she thought about Vishaal and a smiled crossed her face. Her reverie was broken by her daughter’s voice boomeranging in the room. Vishakha turned around as she buttoned her gown and almost immediately the 6 year old monster leaped on her. The mother and the daughter tightly hugged each other for some time and the little girl started talking. Sneha’s life was restricted to her mother and grandparents. She was an introvert and the death of her father had further enveloped her in her own world. But when she was with her mother she was energetic as ever! Vishakha put Sneha on the bed and stroked her hair. Love for her daughter shone brightly in Vishakha’s eyes. Vishakha made her sleep and kissed her goodnight. Almost immediately Sneha drifted into sweet slumber. After her husband’s death Sneha was the only joy left in Vishakha’s life. Vishakha’s parents cared for her but Ajay’s death had left a strange impact on their mind. She felt as if somehow they blamed her for their son-in-law’s death. Vishakha shook her head and walked out of the room. In spite of trying several times, Vishakha could never forget that accident, in which she was miraculously saved but Ajay and her sister Tanya had died.

The fresh air of the balcony helped to soothe the ache in her heart. Vishakha wanted to get out of the house and go for a night-walk but Sneha was alone at home as her parents had gone out of town for a few days. As she casually looked across the street she saw a man smiling at her. On looking closer she realized that the man was none other than Vishaal. She waved and asked him to come up. She turned around to open the door for him. He was already waiting for her when she opened the door. It meant he must have climbed two-three steps at a time to reach her flat. What was the hurry? Vishakha wondered. As he was seated and relaxed she asked him the reason for coming to see her at night. He simply answered that he could not sleep and wanted to talk to her. Vishakha sat next to him on the sofa and placed her hand on his.
“Tell me Vishaal, what is bothering you?” she said
Almost immediately Vishaal held her hand in his and said, “I don’t know what is wrong but I just needed to see you.”
Vishakha spotted a strange look in his eyes and before she knew what she was doing she moved closer to him and had almost placed her lips on his when she heard Sneha calling her from the bedroom. Vishakha got up and walked to the bedroom. As she put Sneha back to sleep Vishaal stood at the door and watched Vishakha.


... to be continued