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Was This Love Or Toxic Possessiveness?

“What you call love is actually possessiveness. You made all my decisions for me. I would probably be happier without you in my life,” Revant screamed!

Revati’s life had changed when, after ten years of being an only child, her parents brought in a stranger into the house. She had looked at the young boy who had wide, frightened eyes, and she had fallen in love with him on sight. He was small-made and a lone tear hung below his eye as he looked around at the huge house with its crystal chandeliers and eye-catching artefacts.

Ma had hugged him impulsively.

“Come here, little one! Meet your sister, Revati!”

Revati had also hugged him, even as he shrank away from them. He was painfully thin, and his shoulder blades stuck out in jagged points.

“Are you hungry?” Revati had asked. He had nodded, and when she saw him devouring the thin chicken sandwiches, her heart had skipped a beat. This was her little baby, she vowed under her breath fiercely. She would protect him always. And she did… when he began school. She was there, leading him to his new classroom. After every period, she would go and check on him. When his classmates bullied him, she berated them and since she had a strident air about her, they slunk away, unwilling to oppose her, or even face her for Revati in a rage was a great deal to handle.

Revant, for that was what he was renamed by his doting family, grew up to be a tall strapping lad. As he grew, his confidence also grew in leaps and bounds. His foster parents doted on him, and he blossomed under their care. Revati was the biggest influence on him, as she monitored his every move, right from choosing the clothes he wore to the friends he made.

It was when Revant was a teenager that the first signs of rebellion began to raise their head.

One Sunday they were all sitting around in the manicured lawn, enjoying the sunshine when Revant broke the silence.

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“My friend, Sushant, is throwing a party for his sixteenth birthday. He wants to have a sleepover after. Do you think I could stay over?”

His parents smiled at each other. Their son was growing up. Never before had he mentioned a sleepover!

“Sure, son!” said his father jocularly. “Just make sure that you don’t do anything I wouldn’t do!”

“No way! Sushant is a bad influence!” The retort resounded like a gunshot. Revati’s face was red as she tried to keep her temper under control. “I know his parents spend no time with him. I don’t want you to stay overnight.”

Revant’s face fell, as he faced his sister.

“Sis, I promise I will not do anything out of the way. Please let me go!”

The parents glanced at each other. They were aware that Revati had a wise head on her shoulders. Besides, she loved Revant too much to make wrong decisions for him.

The plan was dropped and Revant came home after the party. If there was a gleam of resentment in his eye, it was not overtly noticeable.

Was that when the first shadows began to be cast? When the resentment over the years began to raise its ugly head? Or had it started earlier when love started to feel more like a shackle?

Things came to a head one fateful day. Revati had made plans to celebrate Revant’s eighteenth birthday in style, starting with a grand party and ending with a shopping trip to a mall where she wanted to splurge on his gifts. Meticulous as she was, she created endless lists, ticking off various boxes. Nothing was too good for her beloved brother. When Revant walked into the room, his parents and Revati were huddled together.

“Come here, son! Look at the wonderful birthday celebration Revati has planned for you!” exclaimed Ma.

Revant looked at them. His face was expressionless. Revati waved the list of guests under his nose. Revant glanced at it and his expression changed.

“What is this list? Where are my friends?” His voice was steely.

“They are all there!” answered Revati, unaware of the storm that was gathering.

“Where is Sushant? What about Babloo and Ravi?”

“I haven’t invited them. They will not fit in with our friends,” Revati replied.

Revant looked at her in disbelief. He could not believe his ears. His parents too seemed fine with Revati’s statement. In a fit of pique, he turned around and strode out of the room. There was a strained silence after he left.

On the day of the birthday, Revati awoke, feeling apprehensive. She had no idea how Revant would react. He had not spoken to her except to nod curtly when she asked him if he was fine with the party arrangements.

“Should I invite Sushant and gang?” she had asked him.

“No, it’s fine. I will meet them earlier,” was his nonchalant reply.

The party went well, as far as the guests could tell. The drinks flowed, the food was delicious and the general mood buoyant. Revant was at his charming best and the hotel that Revati had booked had gone out of its way to make everyone comfortable. It was almost at the end of the evening that she realised that she had misplaced her purse with all her cards. Frantically, she looked around, but it was nowhere to be seen.

Her heart was heavy. Revant, who had been the light in her life all these years, had dropped a bombshell on her that morning.

‘Revati, today is the last time you and I will spend any time together. I have had it with you and your bossiness. From the day I came to this house, you have been a millstone around my neck.” He stopped, and she cowered at the hatred that suddenly blazed out of his eyes. “I love our parents. However, you have been the bane in my life. I do not want to spend any more of my life with you. I plan to leave tonight. I will take care of our parents, but I have no wish to see you.”

Revati was heartbroken. She had thrown away years of her life, nurturing Revant. How had it gone so wrong? How could he not see her love for him?

Revant read her thoughts.

“What you call love is actually possessiveness. You hated my friends. You smothered me, making sure that you made all my decisions for me. I hate you for the way you directed my entire life. I would probably have been happier had you not been in my life.”

Revati had reached the end of her tether.

“You selfish brat!” she said with gritted teeth. “You should be grateful that you had me, and my parents, to look out for you. Otherwise, you would have been on the streets.” Her anguish made her carry on. “Let me see how you will survive when my parents throw you out. After all, I am the daughter of the house. You are the interloper.”

Revant’s face darkened, and Revati felt that she was looking at a stranger. His eyes were expressionless, and she felt that she had never known him at all. He looked through her and walked out.

And now, she could not find her purse. She still needed to go through the plan and take her parents and Revant to the mall for the mandatory shopping spree.

“Ma, I will just sneak back home and get my purse. I think I left it at home. Be back in about twenty minutes!”

Ma nodded, as she continued talking to the last of the guests.

Revati’s thoughts were whirling as she manoeuvred her car out of the parking lot. It had been a difficult day, as she had had to keep up a front the whole evening in front of the guests. Revant had also been pretending for the sake of their parents. However, the acrimonious words they had exchanged had changed their relationship for ever. How would they carry on from now on?

“Perhaps there is an advantage in being alone,’ she remarked. ‘One is spared the worry. I need worry only about myself.” She shook her head. ‘And I have learnt not to worry overly about myself. What is the worst that can happen, after all?’ She looked up.

As the vehicles sped by, Revati suddenly realised that she had slowed down. The honking of the cars behind her startled her, and she picked up speed. As she cruised along, she forced herself to stop her chaotic thoughts. The highway lay ahead, and she increased her speed, aware that time was slipping by.

The party had got over and Revant and his parents were waiting for Revati when Revant’s phone rang. As he listened to the voice at the other end, his face blanched.

Revati’s car had gone out of control, and she had swerved, trying to avoid colliding with the car ahead of her. It was a case of brake failure and she had been killed on the spot.

Revati’s parents were in shock. How could they face life without their beloved daughter? Revati had been the one taking care of them right through. Revant’s face looked drawn. He sat by the older couple, trying to console them.

“I know this is an irrevocable loss!” he murmured, his eyes filling with tears. “I know how much she cared for you and for me.” He put his arm around Ma as she collapsed against him. “I am there for you both. I will take care of you the way she used to.” His father wept incessantly, as he tried to visualise a life without Revati.

The doctor administered sedatives to the older couple. Revant stayed with them till they fell into an exhausted sleep.

Back in his room, he prepared to take a shower. As he took off his clothes, he emptied his pockets of his wallet, his keys… and Revati’s purse.

Image source: Still from Sacred Games

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About the Author

Deepti Menon

Words have always played a vital role in my life. Short stories, poetry, humorous pieces or full-length novels... I love them all! Having been an Army brat and later wife, as well as a read more...

14 Posts | 36,547 Views

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