I know it has been almost a month since I wrote Aisha and brought her story to you, and there was talk of writing part 2 then. But I never got down to revisiting Aisha again until today she decided to occupy my mind again. Here is the second part of her story. I don’t know if there will be anymore, but I do have a larger plan for Aisha.
It had been a few weeks since she moved in with Aarav and Kavya. She was grateful when she heard the “Yes” from Kavya. Aarav had said nothing at all. Aisha suspected Aarav did not like the idea much. Aisha knew this would complicate things, but these were the only two people she felt comfortable with right now. She felt betrayed by her parents and she did not want to live with them until she could get a handle on herself. And living alone was out of the question because of the night terrors. She would scream her heart out at nights; she felt she was back in her dark little room, hidden neatly behind the bookcase.
The guest room at Kavya’s house was nice and breezy. Aisha knew this house well. She had seen it being built brick up, it was after all Aarav’s house too. The initial awkwardness had now given way to ease between the two friends. They were almost as comfortable as they were six years back when they would have their famous girls night outs ending in sleepovers. Aisha was grateful for Kavya, comfortable presence. The first night without medication had been a torture. No one had expected the night terrors to be so bad.
When Aisha woke up screaming in the dark, she felt like she always had ever since the day Mitul had abducted her. Alone, Angry and terrified. But unlike those nights, this time Kavya had rushed to her side, hugged her and stayed up with her all night. They spoke about a lot of things. Aisha was glad that she could speak whatever she wanted. She caught up on a lot of things that went on around them.
She asked Kavya about the wedding. Aisha was surprised when Kavya said they had a court wedding. There was no cards, no celebration. Both Aarav and Kavya were against celebrating when because of what had happened. Aisha remembered the day she was shown the wedding card by Mitul and realised what a grand show he put up for her benefit. Printing a wedding card to ensure that Aisha believes that she was forgotten by the people she was expecting to remember her.
That night started a familiar routine in the house hold. Every night both the girls would spend time talking and catching up. Aarav was still distant thought. Aisha assumed he did not know how to react given the situation. Their relationship had never really ended and neither of them had any closure.
“Maybe that is what was making things hard”, thought Aisha now as she got ready for her mandatory counselling session, “Mandatory because there was talk of her suffering from a severe case of Stockholm’s Syndrome, like she could ever sympathise with Mitul”, she scoffed.
It was the counsellor who had suggested that she live in a space that feels comfortable to Aisha, and it may not necessarily be her parent’s house. She decided that she will talk to her counsellor about this problem today.
Aisha decided to make the first move. It was the right thing to do, even her counsellor had agreed. So when she got back home, Aisha decided to make a thank you dinner for Aarav and Kavya for letting her stay there and supporting her. An elaborate plan ready, Aisha started working putting it into action. She already knew what they liked to eat she just had to put dinner on the table.
She ensured that she tasted everything before putting it on the table. A simple task like cooking a meal was giving her so much joy. She remembered how her mother tried so hard to get her into the kitchen to learn to cook and how she hated to cook. As suddenly as that memory came, another more recent one came up where she was begging Mitul to cook something edible for her to eat. She even offered to go out into the kitchen and cook for the both of them. But Mitul would not let her go.
He was worried that people would see her. And so six years she ate indigestible food of bread sometimes stale, and whatever else was available. Sometimes when she was good and listened to him, he would get her something hot like instant noodles to eat. And on days Mitul would not eat at home, she would go hungry. The first time she looked at her shriveled self in the mirror, Aisha had not recognised herself. But today she was doing much better on that front.
When the door bell rang everything was ready and perfect. Aisha opened the door with a big smile on her face. The smile immediately fell when she saw her parents standing in front of her. They seemed to have a plan as they walked in with purpose.
“Pack your bags, enough of this you are coming home”, her father said.
“Yes, you know how it looks when you stay two streets away from your own house Aisha. People are talking about you and we are worried.”
“So the only reason that drove you here is not my well being but people talking?”
“Aisha how can you say that, we worry about you and hence we do not want people to talk about you, come home. This is not you home you will be more comfortable in your own bed.”
“The only reason we stayed away so long is because your mother asked me to, else I would have pulled you and taken you home a long time back.”
“So that is your solution to this, you don’t want to listen or understand me; you just want me to follow orders. Why did you not do the same when I was locked in that dingy room behind the cupboard, hungry and tortured? Why did you not come and rescue me then Dad, why? Why don’t you just give up now, like you did then? It is not that different?”
“But actually it is”, Aarav’s voice was loud and clear. “You need to sort this out with your parents, you need to go home”.
Aisha stood still as she heard those words. “Was he right? Do none of them actually care?” The thought that she was just a problem to all of them, was the only thing on her mind as she was being led away by her mother. She did not notice Kavya’s tears, or the fact that Aarav would not look her in the eye. Nor could she see the concern on her parents face. The only thing she wanted to do right now was to see Mitul and hear his reassuring voice. She wanted to know that she mattered to someone, even if it was Mitul.
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Find part 3 here