She closed her eyes and took a deep breath and looked at Nibha. Nibha was filled with hope. Her face shone like the rays her face absorbed in the morning.
“Is this what it means to be alive?” thought Nibha as she looked at the rising sun and felt the warmth of its rays on her face. She tried to think of the moment she’d last felt this peaceful.
The last few weeks of her life hadn’t given her any glimpse of such moments. But looking at the rising sun gave her a feeling of oneness with the sun, as if she were rising after having fought a long battle with the wintery night.
She reminisced about the time, when she had left her hometown to settle in Delhi with all the hope and aspirations to be successful. It was her first time of living separately from her family. Initially, she was scared of the city but her ambitious heart soon learnt to survive alone and be confident.
She believed that soon she would be able to bring her parents to live with her. Soon after her graduation, she snatched a job in a good company. It was all like a dream for Nibha. Sometimes, while talking to her mother on phone, she would say that soon her mother would be there with her.
Nibha was lost in her own world when Savitri her cook, rang the bell. Opening the door and asking her to make paranthas for lunch, Nibha called her therapist and scheduled an appointment.
“Why are you wasting so much of your money?” asked Savitri. “Didi, when are you getting married? You should start saving money for your marriage.”
Nibha smiled at Savitri and said, “You don’t understand.”
“Haan, haan. Why would I? You think I am an illiterate but let me tell you I know more of the world than you! And I am telling you that you’re just wasting your money on those yellow-blue pills.”
Savitri continued, “Ram!Ram! Didi! Is there a boy? You don’t seem so happy for the past few days. In fact you haven’t even scolded me when I didn’t cook properly. It is indeed about a boy, right? You are a fool to be sad over a boy! I am telling you your mummy-papa will find a better groom for you. These love marriages, they don’t work!”
Getting the notion that she would never win an argument with Savitri, Nibha started reading the newspaper. She was never the person to read news but to escape the conversation, she found it to be the only option.
“Who am I to tell anyone to do anything in this house?” mumbled Savitri.
Nibha pretended to be lost in the newspaper and didn’t even raise her face to answer.
Nibha checked the list of lawyers in the city and wrote down few numbers on a paper. She texted Shalini, ” Hey! I know I was wrong, but would you like to have a conversation with me to sort this out? I really miss you.”
Nibha and Shalini had been friends for almost two years, but about a month ago, they had a brawl and after that, things only worsened. She remembered the time when she fell ill and her mother was unable to come. It was then that Shalini had taken care of her. Nibha felt a wave of affection in her heart towards best friend.
After lunch, Nibha called one of the numbers she noted down earlier. It was Mr. Avinash, a lawyer and he asked her to visit him in the office. She noted down the date and time for the scheduled visit.
For the last few weeks, Nibha had cut her off from her office and friends. When her senior called her for the reason of her absence, she faked some health condition and asked for a medical leave. The senior was generous and gave her one month’s leave. But it was on the condition that she will have to work extra hours for a month after she joins back.
She started reading a magazine, but found it full of stupid articles and cooking recipes, she put it down on the table. She has an appointment with Ms. Nidhi in two hours.
Nibha wore her favourite yellow dress, the one she hadn’t worn for a month. She looked at herself in the mirror, “You are here like you were a month ago. And you are the same Nibha, the ambitious and hopeful Nibha. Nothing has changed except the dark bags under your eyes.”
She stared at herself in the mirror and heaved a sigh, and smiled.
Nibha was waiting outside Dr. Nidhi’s room whi was busy with some other person and had asked her to wait for few minutes. Sitting outside the room, Nibha thought about the conversation of the previous days.
“Nibha, whatever has happened, it was not your fault and it has not changed you. You are still the same person. Stop degrading yourself. If anything’s changed about you, it’s only the fact that you are now stronger. And you should use your strength to climb this mountain, carve a path and make the peak a bit higher and broader for other girls to stand.”
She pondered how these words had made her question her stand in the whole situation. And she thought how she misbehaved with her best friend, when she was just trying to take care of her and how she rudely asked her to leave her alone.
“Ms. Nibha? Ms. Nibha?” a lady called her name and informed her that the therapist is now available and waiting for her.
“Hello Nibha! How have you been doing? This yellow dress looks pretty on you. You should wear this colour more often,”
Nibha smiled at Dr. Nidhi. “I will ma’am. Actually, I will wear clothes of all colours.”
“It makes me really happy that you are finally able to see the colours of the rainbow again. This is what you are. You have all the colours in you. No one can snatch that from you. Remember the sunlight is nothing but a mixture of these colours, and look at how it generates and nourishes all the lives on this earth,”said Dr. Nidhi looking into Nibha’s eyes. “So, did you think about what we had talked yesterday?”
“Yes, I have thought and I’ve decided that I am going to speak. I am going to take a stand for I am right and truth is with me. I am not a sinner and I don’t accept this suffering. And I have decided to make a complaint and file the case. I will not let those bastards snatch my colours, or anyone’s. These are my colours and will be mine always. Even if I lose the case, I will stand with my head high as the defeat would be not mine, but of the law, of the society.”
At this very moment, a message popped up in Nibha’s phone in her hand. “Stupid. It took this long to text me. I was never angry with you. Was about to visit you tomorrow. Akshay also wants to meet you. He is worried about you. We all are worried. You would not answer our calls. Let’s meet in the evening.” It was Shalini, her best friend, a wave of content and victory ran through her heart.
Dr. Nidhi was content seeing her patient overcoming the trauma and was optimistic for Nibha after reading the happiness on her face. She thought about how the girl was completely mute, when they met for the first time. And how she had sobbed while revealing her assault by three men, and how Nibha’s story took her down the memory lane of her own school and a peon, whom she would fear.
She closed her eyes and took a deep breath and looked at Nibha. Nibha was filled with hope. Her face shone like the rays absorbed by her face in the morning and were now scattered all around her. Nibha got up and thanked Dr. Nidhi for her counselling.
“My door is always open for you Nibha. You can come to me whenever crisis occurs. And remember, you are not alone in this fight. Share your story and you will find so many souls to accompany you and to fight with you.”
“I will ma’am. Thank you.” Nibha opened the door and left the room. Dr. Nidhi stared at Nibha leaving the room and felt as if it was her, who had won a battle and Nibha was the living mark of that victory.
Picture credits: Pexels
Shweta Verma is currently pursuing her masters in Mathematics from University of Delhi.
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