The bittersweet symphony of life

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic

Join Vishaka and her friends as they find out the truths about life.

The bittersweet symphony of life.. Chapter one

She woke up to the sound of thunder. It was 3:00 a.m.She had been sleeping alone that day. Her flat mates weren’t there. She woke up, and went to the kitchen to have a glass of water. She had had a nightmare. It consisted of people who she had lost touch with along the course of her life. The faded faces all drifting away into oblivion.

Her ex –boyfriend  who had hurt her by pushing her down the stairs, and her maths teacher in her previous school. She had to wake up for college the next day, however  she lay awake throughout  entire night thinking about all the people who had crossed her life. There was an armchair in the room  that she slept. As she tried to sleep the armchair kept rocking gently, scaring her a little. Her best friends Radhika and Anushka had gone home for the holidays, while Vishaka had to stay behind in Kolkata because of her approaching exams. The next day, she had an English exam, thankfully  ,it would not take much preparation, therefore she could rely on her sleep deprived self. In the pg, there were two beds allotted to each room. Vishaka had a wash and then put on a pair of low waist jeans and a green embroidered top. As she walked out, she got strange vibes, there were people who kept giving her weird looks. She checked whether her jeans were zipped , or whether she had put on her tshirt in or out.

Vishaka’s parents had passed away when she was about  four years old. She had been brought up by her uncle and aunt. Shashi uncle and Rimi aunty lived in Dehradun, all of Vishaka’s funds were taken care  of by the bank account that her parents had left for her. It was Friday, the thirteenth. Radhika and Anushka were coming back today and they had made a  plan, today was going to be a spooky night of plan chette.

As Vishaka walked to college, there was a stray dog that followed her. It kept on whining . There was a beggar on the road who stretched  out his bowl. Vishaka dropped a re 1 coin into the bowl. She was five minutes late to class, but her exams went well. As she walked in, Mrs. Arora made her sit at the back of the class. Her day was hectic, she got about two periods free. During this time, her best friend in class, Arjun, along with her other friend Natasha caught up with all the gossip. Mr. Mishra the hindi teacher,  was hitting on Miss Renuka , the head of the art department. Archana broke up with Shiv. Although Vishaka enjoyed the gossip ,she often lost herself in a philosophical debate with herself, she wondered in this vast universe consisting of so many people, how did it matter, who broke up with whom, and who hooked up with whom. Arjun and Natasha could not come for the plan-chette as they had to  attend their respective family events. Arjun and  Natasha were a sort of couple, initially they were just friends but soon a relationship  evolved among them. However they never let Vishaka feel left out. The three of them had bonded on the first day  of college over their cold coffees.  Vishaka took an auto to her flat after her classes got over. There was something extremely strange about the day , Natasha found a dead cat lying on the road  as she walked home. The universe was trying to tell her, that something ominous was going to happen. It had been a long day, Radhika and Anushka were going to come back a little later. Natasha was so exhausted by the day’s events, that as soon as she lay on the bed, she went into a dreamless sleep. She thought, once of the black cat that was lying on the road, but soon she started giving gentle snores.

 

Chapter 2

Vishaka woke up with a start. Radhika and Anushka were having beers and a table full of assorted kebabs lay in front of them.

‘’Vishy, ready for spooky night ? Or are you going to be a sissy’’

Vishaka always freaked out while watching horror movies, “The Conjuring” being the latest.

 Anushka was hesitant about this plan, because according to her,she believed in everything scientific. Radhika was the most enthusiastic about this plan because she had tried it at her cousin’s house.

The equipment was in place, the candle was lit and all the mysterious symbols and signs were in place . There was a knock on the door ,Anushka went to open the door as the other two were a little freaked out. It was Parminder Aunty, she had made some parathas which she tried to impose on the girls .Anushka knew the paranthas Parminder gave were leftovers , yet she accepted the food because she did not want to offend Parminder Aunty. After Aunty went away, a very drunk Arjun called Vishaka and told her that he was kidnapped. Vishaka was used to Arjun’s drunk calls, therefore she chose not to take any notice. There was a heated discussion about which spirit to call during their first round. Vishaka wanted to call her dad, while Anushka and Radhika wanted to speak to one of the Stephen Court victims who died in the fire. Radhika suggested a coin flip. Heads meant Anushka and Radhika would get her way, and tails meant Vishaka would get to call her father. The coin flipped and it landed in a tails.

The three held hands and chanted in the manner,  that had been advised in the book. They thought of Vishaka’s  father, a picture of him had been placed on the table among the three of them. Initially, for the first fifteen minutes, there was nothing and then suddenly the table started shaking violently. Vishaka started trembling and soon her whole demeanor changed, her irises became more prominent ..,She began to speak. Radhika asked her’’ What is your name?’’

Vishaka in her horrendous state of mind replied’’ My name is Kartik Desai.”

The girls watched awe-struck, they had never really thought , the results would appear so fast.

Soon, Kartik Desai began to speak-‘’How dare you? I have left so many of my friends behind to come and visit you. As it is, I have gone through such a lot of difficulties; coming to this sphere of the world always brings pain. Amidst all this, Vishaka’s phone started ringing. It was Shankar,  her ex boyfriend. The tune rang. It was Katy Perry’s “Firework” .  Radhika sneered and  Anushka made a face. They were so captivated by the whole situation, that they could not bother picking up calls from an ex boyfriend ,especially, one who had treated their friend so horribly. By now, Vishaka was screaming ”My daughter! how dare someone ill treat her badly. She threw the whole plan-chette board on the ground. She  stomped along the room screaming “All because of my stupid wife! That bitch was having  an affair with my best friend . I could have shot her there and then. “

The girls watched stupefied, they were too scared to utter a word. However, soon Mr.Desai, through Vishaka started screaming again.”That Karan was a big bastard too .After everything I did for him.’

Chapter 3

Anushka  ,being the braver one posed the question. ’’What exactly happened Mr.Desai?’’

‘’When Vishaka was born,  we had a very beautiful relationship .However, over the years I suspected that Ridhima was having an affair with Karan, my best friend. When I tried to confront Ridhima about it, she just said. I remember her dialogue exactly  ”Oh! Stop being so possessive Kartik. We are just good friends. You and your small minded  mentality!’’ One night, I saw Ridhima being dropped of infront of our house, with Karan. That night I slept in a state of turmoil. I got strange dreams of Kartik’s and Ridhima’s intimacy. I realized the hypocrisy that these two had put up infront of me. I was in a fit of rage, I ensured that Ridhima was sleeping, and then I drove my Santro to Karan’s house. As soon as I rang the doorbell, Karan opened the door very groggy eyed. He asked ”What ‘s up ? Kartik. Anything important?’’  Kartik caught hold of Karan ‘s night shirt, and started his outpour of insults ”You  stupid piece of shit. Throughout my school life, I helped you in every aspect of your life. I lent you money when you did not have any, I was there for you when your mother past away. I spoke to your boss regarding your promotion, and this is how you pay me . You could not find any other girl, apart from my wife. Did you sleep with her? Tell me  the truth or else I shall finish you off over here.’’

Karan gave a very evil sardonic smile and invited Kartik in for a beer. The smile was shameless and wicked. Karan said ”Chill Kartik, its high time you learn how to enjoy life. We can always share your wife. After all, three of us are best friends. We can share her on every alternate day.”

Kartik was so mad with rage, that he took a beer bottle and struck it against Karan’s head .It left a deep gash on Karan’s head .Blood started dripping .Karan  tried to defend himself,  he managed to take out a revolver out of his almirah, constantly trying to avoid Kartik’s blows. Karan managed to pull the trigger, and the bullet hit Kartik’s stomach. Blood started oozing out of Kartik’s stomach, he seemed to be writhing in pain. After a period of excruciating pain, he dropped dead.

‘’This was my story, now I am going to go back to the other realm, with spirits who understand my pain. Vishaka, I have cared for you, since you were a child. You deserve all the happiness and blessings that life has in store for you. Good bye!’’

Vishaka started choking, and then fainted. Her friends were horrified; they were too scared to touch her. They just stared at Vishaka with blank expressions. After a minute or so passed, Radhika went and gently touched Vishaka’s face. Vishaka got up with a start; she slowly opened her groggy eyes.

“What happened? Did I do something wrong. I am feeling quite dizzy”. Radhika and Anushka were so relieved to see her alive, that, before bothering with a glass of water, they engaged in a group hug. Radhika and Anushkahad guilty expressions on their faces, as if they wanted to conceal something. Vishaka  caught on , fast enough.” What are you guys trying to hide from me? What exactly happened?”

‘’NOTHING! ‘’ Radhika and Anushka both screamed in unison.” We got to meet Desai Uncle. He was very nice.”  Anushka was a  bad liar, there was a very guilty expression on her face, her cheeks grew crimson red. Vishaka  said ”Just look at Anu, every time she has a crush on someone and lies about it, she has this exact expression on her face.’’

“Okay, fine! But don’t freak out or break down. We are all here for you. Please don’t cry !”  Radhika shrieked. ‘’Okay, so your dad was murdered by the guy who was having an affair with your mom” Radhika blurted out bluntly.

Vishaka had always known that her parents had died in a car crash, when she was four. That is what her uncle and aunt had drilled into her head. She had very few memories of her parents, as four was a very young age. She remembered her mother cooking khichdi for her on Sunday mornings, she remembered her father taking her out for evening walks. She had always known her parents to be a happy couple, and they had always brought her up with love.

“That is a sick joke, Radhika! How dare you talk like that about my parents?” Vishaka yelled.

‘’See, I told you, she would not believe us.’’ Radhika whispered to Anushka.

‘’Stop acting like bitches! What’s wrong with you both? I  am not that gullible. My parents were very respectable people”

Anushka brought a chilled bottle of water from the refrigerator.”Here have this, and take a deep breath. Calm down.” Vishaka gulped down the water somehow, while choking on it .She took several deep breaths .”Okay, what exactly happened?”

Anushka explained everything that had happened. Vishaka just looked at Anushka with a disbelieving stare. A tear trickled down Vishaka’s cheek, then she just stared helplessly at Anushka. Soon Vishaka started trembling, her body shuddered with all the pain. Soon the sobs turned into a torrent of tears, she began crying uncontrollably.

 Vishaka thought of all the people who had come and gone from her life. Her parents, her dog, Timothy ,her abusive boyfriend Kevin, who had pushed her down the stairs. She had to spend a few months in the hospital because of that, however, there were still scars and bruises on her back. Kevin had gone to jail  ,but the wounds inflicted on Vishaka’s heart could never be healed. That was her reason for staying away from men. However she had always imagined her parents to be happy people, but she had always looked back upon them with fond memories. She could not even imagine her parents to be part of this disastrous turn of events. The fact, that her adorable set of parents could play such a vicious trick on her seemed beyond her understanding capabilities.  She thought of her favourite quote, which she had read somewhere and memorized by heart. She could not remember where she had read this, however it read,

“The realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own-populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness- an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed. In which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk. “

Chp 4

Half an hour went by, everyone sat still.  Vishaka sat  staring at the t.v aimlessly, still trying to deal with the supernatural reality. Anushka and Radhika gave each other knowing looks, wondering if the whole plan had been a mistake. Vishaka looked at her friends with awe, as if still expecting them to scream”April Fool’’. And then suddenly, “  I want to see my mother now.’’

Anushka and Radhika looked at Vishaka with horrified expressions on their faces.

”Are you okay? We have just had a very traumatic night. I think we should all just get a good night’s rest. This plan did not work out the way it was supposed to. In fact, I am still trying to comprehend, whether what we saw was an illusion.” Radhika blurted out, in a very confused manner.

Anushka agreed with her.”You have us. Let by gones be by gones. We still love you. You don’t know how disgusting  you looked throughout the ordeal. We almost thought we lost you.”

 ”My mother could do no such thing. I do not believe you at all. However I want to know the truth. Throughout my life I always thought, my parents were blessings from God. I always remembered them with a lot of respect. However, I need to  know the truth, so that I can still live in peace. If you two  want to back out, you can .I will still try my best to find out the truth, no matter how bitter it might be.

“Okay, I am in.” said Radhika a little hesitantly.

Anushka said, “Have you lost your head? What’s wrong with the both of you? I can’t deal with this shit anymore.”

Finally they got Anushka to agree, after coaxing her to a bottle of beer. The three of them arranged the board again, and began chanting repeatedly. It was half past one. After chanting for half an hour, when nothing happened, they gave up. However none of them agreed to sleep, as they were quite shocked by whatever had happened. They decided to watch television. A ‘’Big Boss” episode was going on. As soon as Vishaka went to get some water from the refrigerator, she felt eerie, as if someone was watching her. She went back to her bedroom to get  a stole from her cupboard. Soon she heard a gentle murmur, as if someone was trying to call her. She turned around and saw a vision in pink  sitting on the arm chair. She was dressed in a pink sari, but she looked elegant as ever. Suddenly, Vishaka had a déjà vu moment. She had seen this pink sari before, in her childhood album.

Chp 5

“Come here, Vishaka my child . Why do you look so disturbed? “ asked  Mrs. Desai in a very caring manner. Vishaka stared at Mrs.Desai in a very lackadaisical manner, as if  Mrs.Desai  was a false apparition. Vishaka looked at her and started howling.

“Why? Why on earth did you do that? My father loved you dearly. All I had were happy memories of the two of you. I always remembered you both with a lot of love. You are the reason, my dad died! No one ever told me about anything. I HATE YOU! YOU KILLED MY DAD! “

“ I was in love, my child. Do you know what that feels like? Karan and I lived in this enchanting world where only both of us just existed. We were so caught up in each other,  that everything else just faded away into oblivion. Marrying your father was one of the biggest mistakes of my life. However, I realized it too late.”

“How can you just sit there so calmly and tell me this? Don’t you have any shame? “screamed  Vishaka.

At this point of time, Radhika knocked on the door. “Vishaka, Are you okay?”

“Yep..Just give me some time. I shall be back.” gasped Vishaka.

Suddenly a thought struck Vishaka, ”How did you die? Did someone murder you too?”

“The morning after Kartik died, I was waiting  for him to return home. At around three in the morning, I got a call from Karan.” Leave your house, immediately.  I shall pick you up.”

“What the hell, Karan! I was sleeping. Now is not the time for booty calls !”

“Just leave your house, Ridhima. Do as I say. Our lives are in danger.”

“What happened to Kartik? Where are we going?”

“Your husband is dead. For now, just pack your bags and leave. Right now!” Karan bellowed.

“ In a sense of hysterical panic, I packed my bag somehow. I was so tense, that soon, everything was lost in a blur of events. I tried to pack in a cautious manner, but everything just seemed so crazy. I wondered how on earth my husband died. My worst fears were confirmed when, I heard the door bell ring .There stood Karan perspiring, and looking extremely hassled. The first question, I asked was, “How did my husband die?”

“ I did not do it on purpose. I swear…It just happened..He hit me  in the head with a beer bottle…and somehow I could not control myself..And the revolver was just lying there in my drawer..plus…he had found out about our affair..so I just pulled the trigger.” said a panting Karan.

“WHAT?  YOU KILLED MY HUSBAND? ARE YOU FREAKING OUT OF YOUR MIND?”

“Calm down, speak softly, everyone will hear us.”

“Where is the body?” I asked

“Karan kept staring at me, dumbly. He seemed stupefied. I shook Karan by the shoulders.”WHERE THE HELL IS THE BODY?”

“In the booty of the car.” Karan murmured and then asked “What should we do now?”

“How  on Earth will I know? You told me to pack  my bag. You crazy piece of shit! How could you? What will we do? I have a child, Karan.  Who will look after her?’’

“Suddenly, there was the sound of police sirens blaring. My heart was in my mouth. It was thudding against my chest. The police had a search warrant. They checked Karan’s car. The body was found in the booty. Karan broke down; he told the police the truth. The police arrested Karan. I knew, I could not bring you up because of the circumstances. Therefore, I left you in Rimi Aunty’s place.”

Chp 6

Vishaka heaved a sigh, after the initial anger that she had felt, she  had calmed down.

“So, what did you do after that?”

‘’Well ,I left Dehradun that night. I took the night train to Delhi. I changed my identity, however I died in a hit and run accident. It was all karma, I guess. What goes around comes around. “

“Did you even bother to find out what happened to me? Did you even try to look for me? “

“Beta, I truly cared for you. I did not want to influence your life in any manner. I wanted to protect you. Your father was a very good man. Whatever happened between me and Karan was none of his fault. I made Rimi Aunty promise me, that she would never let you know the truth.“

“You mean that my life all along has been a lie.I always remembered you both with a lot of affection. When, I tried to call you both with the help of the plan chette, I thought I would get to reconcile with you all. However, you have managed to ruin my life completely; whatever remains of my distorted life is also destroyed.”

“ As Shakespeare said “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.” You can’t change the past, Vishaka, but you can only live in the present moment. I know you had an abusive boy friend. I know, throughout your life, you have suffered, but you can’t let the past catch up to you. We have all had pasts. Don’t make the mistakes I made. Every moment is precious. You have my blessings, whether you want it or not. If you could forgive me, please do. I must take my leave now. At least, now my spirit can rest in peace.”

As Vishaka watched, the apparition slowly faded away. Vishaka had this dream like expression on her face. She sat in silence staring at the arm chair for about half an hour. She had this intense expression on her face; slowly she got up with a lot of effort. She walked out of the room, Radhika and Anushka had fallen asleep. The clock read 3 a.m. Vishaka was so tired, she sat on the sofa  and fell into a deep slumber which consisted of many hallucinatory images. The images merged into one another to create an illusion. Tomorrow would be another day.

Chp 7

 

The alarm clock which rang at 9:00 a.m  was ignored; the shrill sound did not wake up anyone .At around twelve, Anushka was the first one to get up, she woke up the other two.

A groggy Radhika murmered,”What happened to you, Vishy?....Last night..you were in your room for so long? What the hell happened?”

Vishaka explained the whole story to the other two. Three of them, had had such an exhilarating night, that they  decided to skip college that day. However, they had found a blue piece of paper on the table, which read ”In order to find the answer to your life, you must conduct another plan chette , in which you will call upon a victim of the Stephen Court fire. His name is Sanjay.”

Again, there was a very heated debate, about whether they should conduct the plan chette or not.

“We shall all go crazy, if we keep on doing this.” Radhika screamed.

“ But I want to know the truth .I want to know why I have been blessed with such a traumatic life. What did I do to deserve this?” Vishaka yelled .

They both looked at Anushka, waiting for her to make the decision regarding the plan chette.  Anushka nodded her head in agreement.”These spirits don’t harm us, anyway. Let’s do it, guys..we only live once.”

“We only die once.” said Radhika in a very sarcastic manner.

“Come on Radhika, don’t be a spoilt sport!” Vishaka said.

The three joined hands together in agreement. “Okay, Let’s do this.”

Chp 8

The clock struck twelve, the three of them were sitting in a circle around the table. Soon they began to chant.”Sanjay…Sanjay. Heal us all.”

Soon, after around half an hour, an apparition appeared. Sanjay was a hefty man, his face was half burnt, his clothes were in a state of disarray. He had a moustache, and there were faint hints of  a stubble. “ Why did you call me?”

“I want the answer to my question.” replied Vishaka.

“What question?” replied Sanjay.

“What is the purpose of our lives?” replied the three in unison.

“How would I know that?” Sanjay said.

“But…But…you are  the man who is supposed to answer my questions. That is what the blue chit said” Vishaka replied.

“I am just a common man, who died in the Stephen Court fire. How can I tell you what life is all about? You have to figure out what life is all about yourself. It is your perspective that matters. I was just a man who worked in the elevator, a simple man doing my job. There was a short circuit in the elevator, which is why I lost my life. I had a wife and two kids at home; my purpose in life was to keep them happy. WHAT'S YOURS?


Submitted: November 22, 2014

© Copyright 2021 Deepshikha17. All rights reserved.

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Deepshikha17

Guys..please comment...Even if you did not like the story,I would not mind some criticism in order to improve my writing.

Sun, November 23rd, 2014 9:03am

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