“Our boss, Mohan-ji, would rather chop his tongue off than saying “yes” for a leave-request. So I put it in a way which made him feel that my ‘research’ (sic) would help us in treating R better. I didn’t get a leave. I got a better deal – do my ‘research’ as an official duty for six days a week and report here on every Sunday. I have a hunch that the names ‘R’ and ‘Radhika’ have influenced his decision (didn’t his eyes widen hearing those names?!). But I am not sure.
It took me some time to contact all of them. The one who was kissed by R for a 10-rupee bet, and still loves him; the one who had to be just brought to the bedroom for another bet (a cassette), and hates him like no tomorrow; the one who has seen him closely for seven years, and seemed the most worried after hearing ‘bout him; the one who had supposedly cried the most for him, and leads a happy family now; Mrs Gupta; and some others who got to know him for one night or for a few days. And I met one guy – the one who was supposedly ‘betrayed’ by R and was in next cell to R’s till very recently. Without meeting them I’d conclude that Radhika has ruined R’s life, and has no right to be happy!
Shall have to compile all those conversations. Being a love-struck investigative psychiatrist is not an easy job!!
The conversation took its toll on French Vanilla. Wonder how someone can take so much coffee!!
During the entire conversation, my contributions generally were a few “I see”, “then?”, “ok” and “but, R, ………..” (which he blissfully ignored).
Finally she looked to settle down with the one she truly loved, or so it seemed. After sixteen trivial and largely experimental chapters, the endless chapter seventeen had begun. She would tell her love — “tere waade pe jiye hum, toh yeh jaan jhooth jaana; ke khushi se mar na jaate, agar aetbaar hota.” I don’t know whether she would finally believe him or not, but when she officially got the last name ‘Gupta’, she didn’t die. R did. Not literally though – but that would have been better for him!
I wiped his tears. This was the moment! This was the opportunity I was waiting for. I asked him, “R, what about the one related to the empty apartment and pink mattress – do you want to know her name? Somehow I think you can be happy with her.”
“I did never love you. SHE is still my only love.”
I didn’t want him to wipe my tears. I left the room praying to someone I don’t know – “if there is something called re-birth, make him love her in every birth, and then make him suffer like this each time!”“