Returning Home. May 2016 Muse Of The Month Winning Entry by Anindita Roy

'Their daughter, who had always been the centre of their world ever since she had come into their lives, was now blinded by some filthy substances.' May 2016 Muse of the Month.


‘Their daughter, who had always been the centre of their world ever since she had come into their lives, was now blinded by some filthy substances.’ May 2016 Muse of the Month.

This year, we bring you the Muse of the Month contest every month. Congratulations to all the winners of the May 2016 contest.

The cue for May 2016 was:

“Doubling that peaceful sense of contentment was the beaming pride she saw shining in her parents’ eyes.” — Kavita Kane, Sita’s Sister

The fifth winning entry is by Anindita Roy.

Returning Home

‘Waiting’ is something no one has ever enjoyed in the history of humankind until there is some lovers’ business involved. Kavya, not being counted in the exception, hated it as well. Her endless playlist was about to end and even the most comfortable chairs could not comfort her. All she could do was to look restlessly here and there at the hundreds of people in sight, cursing her situation.

Her eyes caught hold of a rebellious teenager, arguing with a woman, probably her mother. Kavya didn’t know when within seconds had begun seeing herself in that young rebel. She unconsciously was transported to the time when the biggest revolution of her life had begun.

A very bright student, Kavya was never a geeky-girl. She rather was a fun-loving person, had many friends and being the only child, was closest to her parents. It was around 5 years ago, at the age of 18, that she had excelled both in her 12th board exams and the Engineering entrance examination. Her parents were both government officers and her choice of career was a consequence of the trend of the society; not that she had some other plans either and so was merrily going with the flow.

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With new college, came new friends and in turn an entirely new life. Slowly group studies turned into alcohol-parties, hangouts with friends turned into occasions to smoke and gradually weed had become an inseparable companion to her.

The hours-long conversations with her parents had reduced to just “Dad I need some money” or “Mom where is my wallet?” Her innocent parents thought she was busy coping up with her studies and was spending her leisure time with her friends. Little had they known that their little girl was now a completely different person with all sorts of habits that were eventually killing her from inside without her knowledge.

When her parents came to know about the situation, it had already worsened beyond easy-repair. They discovered she had not been attending classes since long and had all her pocket money drained on provocative substances. They seated her and tried to mend her ways, telling how she was ruining her life with such addiction.

“Are you sure you have given up on it?” Her mother had asked, a few days after the confrontation.

“Yes Mom. Trust me.” She had answered, smiling.

Her mother had then kissed her on her forehead and they had hopped into the car, chatting gleefully, on their way to her college. Her parents would now drop and pick her up each day, to and from her classes.

However, drug abuse is a strong term. Once you are under its influence, you cannot get rid of it so easily. You do not understand your parents’ anxiety nor do you care about your future. All you know at that stage is the immense pleasure it gives you. You feel high. You feel more euphoric than you have ever felt and you travel to your deepest thoughts and ideas without any disturbance.

Her mother had an off that day. Being home, she decided to clean up Kavya’s room. She arranged all her clothes in the cupboard and set up her bed. She then reached the study table. Books were all scattered and few were wide open.

She smiled and wondered if her daughter would ever grow up and learn to keep all her belongings in a decent manner.

Shutting down all the wide-open books and keeping each in an organized manner, she suddenly observed some brownish substances, which appeared like dried leaves, coming out of one of the books. She was stupefied. It took her only a few seconds to realize what was going on and some more investigation into the matter made her aware that Kavya had been carefully placing the marijuana leaves between two pages of a book and stapling them together and such books were quite a many.

She experienced sudden giddiness. She knew Kavya was into weed but the fact that she had continued even after their confrontation broke her heart; even on that very day, she had reassured her that she had quit. Her heartbeats were audibly loud and she could feel her ears turning warm and red. She somehow pulled herself together and called her husband.

Kavya’s father picked her up after college and drove back home. Her mother opened the door after they rang the doorbell. Her parents didn’t have their usual smile on.

“Kavya, sit down for a while. We need to talk.” Her father spoke.

Kavya’s face had immediately lost the vigour she was trying to put up. She sat down on the sofa and her parents followed, both facing her.

“You have always been a bright student, Kavya. These basic things have been taught to you in class since you were a kid. These are very harmful things, love. They will ruin your life.”

“What are you saying, Dad? I have given it up and you know it. I had just tried some things a few times but I don’t take them regularly. You are over-thinking.” Kavya said, still trying to put up a convincing smile.

“Stop lying, for God’s sake. I found these in your books.” Her mother said picking up a plastic packet full of weed from beside her, which Kavya hadn’t noticed earlier. “This is not a thing, a person merely trying weed, would do. You have to understand that you are in trouble and need help.”

“Okay, I admit I like smoking pot. So what? Its not as if I am addicted to it or something. Listen, Mom, Dad, it is cool okay? You people won’t understand.”

“We won’t understand? Don’t you understand what this thing is doing to you? Your grades have fallen beneath unlike ever, you don’t play tennis anymore and you don’t write anymore. You have lost all your focus, dear. Please open your eyes and see that you are ruining your life.” Her mother said, almost pleading.

Kavya was irritated. She wanted to answer back but was cut short by her father.

“Enough said. I have taken an appointment with the psychiatrist. We will be visiting him tomorrow 11am.”

Kavya was now furious and screamed at the top of her lungs, “Psychiatrist? You think I am crazy. What is wrong with you people? I am not going anywhere. Do you hear me?”

The girl was antagonized. She was at a loss of words at the thought that her parents didn’t understand her. She rushed to her room and locked herself. Her parents kept calling after her but in vain.

Evening turned into night and that night seemed longer than ever. It was a difficult one for both Kavya and her parents.

Kavya’s parents felt helpless. Their daughter, who had always been the centre of their world ever since she had come into their lives, was now blinded by some filthy substances. Her father sat in the living room in silence, probably wondering what went wrong that landed his family in such a dilemma. Her mother kept sobbing, lost in thoughts as she recalled each memory from the past 19 years of her life. In her mind, the moment remained afresh when Kavya was born and she could hardly believe another human had come out of her own body. She could clearly reminisce her own thought when she had held those tiny fingers for the first time, that if need be, she would fight against the entire world to protect that little creature. It was a weird trick of fate; she now had to fight that very soul to keep her from ruining her own life.

On the other hand, shut in her room, Kavya was getting more and more anxious. She still didn’t believe she was addicted to anything and her parents mistrusting her disgusted her. How could they even think of visiting a psychiatrist? She was getting restless and knew not what to do. Her hands went up to her untied hair messing it all up, then to her face cupping it and then ended up scratching her own arms furiously. Her mind kept revolving around that one thing.

She needed it. She had to smoke a joint at that very instant. She had a feeling of upset stomach, rushed to the bathroom, and threw up twice. She screamed like insane and begged to her parents for some weed. When she realized her parents would only be deaf to all her pleas, she thought of looking up in her cupboard. She threw all her clothes on the floor one by one, searching for dope, but could find none. She then went to her study table and began searching inside each book.

Kavya found no weed but got hold of a diary. The diary was her mother’s where she had scribbled down her feelings during her pregnancy and then had handed over to her when she was a few years old. Since then, Kavya had written numerous poems and incidents in it, mostly about her parents. She unconsciously went through the pages and found a poem she had written at the age of 10, when she was down with jaundice. She went through the poem and it reminded her how much her parents were worried and what not had they done to comfort her. Her mother had not eaten anything for straight two days until the doctors had declared that she was out of danger. At the age of 13 when she had fallen off her bike and injured herself, her mother didn’t move from the hospital room even for one second, with eyes full of tears the entire time.

Lastly, she came across the poem she had written for them on parents’ day at the age of 16. It stated how much they meant to her and all they had ever done for her. As she read until the end of it, she was unknowingly in tears. She could not understand how the desire for anything had landed her in a state that she began despising her own parents, whom she loved the most. She realized there was indeed something wrong with her. She rose to her feet and unlocked the door to find her Dad sitting on the sofa thoughtfully and her Mom at the dining table, still sobbing.

She went up to her mother, “Mom, I am sorry.”

Her mother was already in tears and was at a loss of words. Her father was now turning towards her, still wordless.

“Dad, what time you said is the appointment with the psychiatrist? I want to go see him. There is something seriously wrong with me.” She managed to speak through her tears.

Her father walked up to her and hugged her tight.

“You will be fine, dear. I will make sure you are fine. Don’t you worry, okay?”


1 year later, Kavya received an email from the Department of Social Welfare of the University of California, Berkeley. It stated that her application for admission had been accepted and her session was to start exactly after a month. It had been a year now, that she had not even touched weed or any intoxicating substance. Also, her choice of career was no longer a consequence of the trends of the society. She had discovered where her heart lied and achieved what she had worked for so hard. She indeed had come a long way. Doubling that peaceful sense of contentment was the beaming pride she saw shining in her parents’ eyes. She had never seen them happier.

‘The passengers of the Air Asia flight-AA078 to New Delhi, India please proceed towards Gate number 20B. The flight will take off within 30 minutes. Thank you.”

The announcement brought Kavya back to the present. Her wait was finally over. The teen-rebel was now chatting with her mother, merrily. Kavya smiled and proceeded towards her flight. She was to see her parents after three long years.

Anindita Roy wins a Rs 250 Flipkart voucher, as well as a chance to be picked one among the 10 top winners at the end of 2016. Congratulations!

Image source: teenage girl rolling weed by Shutterstock.


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