Reena was completely drenched in sweat. She looked around. Held the baby closer to herself. Deepak was sleeping unaware of what she just went through.
It has been the same for years now. Even at the Bal Shiksha Niketan where she spent her life from eleven to twenty two years of age. She would wake up in the middle of the night almost every single night ever since she got in there.
Reena had not disclosed anything about her nightmares to anyone including Deepak. During the first two years of their marriage, Deepak had tried his best to convince her to speak out about her fears. After a lot of persuasion he too lost interest and hope of any outcome.
If it was not for her habit of drinking water at night, Reena’s life would have been quite different.
She only remembered the shadow of the woman with the hammer.
The next morning, the street woke up to the sirens of police jeeps. As they entered the house smelling of fresh blood that had spilled over on the walls and the floor, they saw a little girl shivering underneath a coffee table.
As the four dead bodies were being taken out of the house, Reena stood there hidden behind one of the policemen. The journey from there to the Bal Shiksha Niketan was horrendous. She was the sole witness to the gruesome crime that had taken place at her house that night. Even after multiple counselling sessions Reena did not utter a single word. After years of failed attempts the case was closed.
She woke up. With sleepy eyes she managed to reach the kitchen. In the dim light of the zero watt bulb in the corridor she reached the fridge door. As soon as she opened it, she heard a splash sound as if something heavy has fallen into a bucket of water. Scared she turned around to see the shadow of a woman with a hammer in her hand. She wanted to scream but her voice failed her. In an attempt to wake up her parents she slowly reached their bedroom to find her father lying in a pool of blood. She ran out of the room and she saw her mother hitting her Maasi again and again with the hammer. Her mother then sat next to the body cried and laughed together. Reena stood frozen behind the curtain. Shocked, scared and helpless.
After a while her mother reached her room and without a second thought started hitting her little brother.
THUD!!! THUD!!! THUD!!!
Innocence dead and lost.
It indeed is an unpardonable sin if your own blood and the love of your life start having an affair right under your nose. Reena’s Maasi (a distant relative of her mother) was a nursing intern. Her mother worked as a senior nurse at a famous hospital in Delhi. Her father was a job hopper and was currently jobless. Many a times Reena herself had seen them in compromising positions. They continued the affair even after repeated warnings from her mother. That night she had fed them all with chapattis that had ground sleeping pills mixed in them. Reena had escaped as she didn’t have dinner with the others to complete her exam preparation. She fell asleep on the study table itself.
Her mother’s hand-written note revealed the motive for the brutal plan. The only mystery was how did Reena manage to survive.
Reena managed to lift the rolling stone from the wet grinder and hit her mother from behind. She sensed that she was next. Survival instincts took over her in a jiffy. An act of self defense. A reflex reaction. Something that changed her world upside down forever. Something she had buried within herself for years.
Reena threw the blood stained rolling stone out of the window. It landed on the garbage truck that went by. The evidence was gone.
Now that she had a loving family and a cute little bundle to nurture, Reena had to let it all go. Forever!
Deepak just could not believe what Reena told him. Shocked and dazed he hugged her tightly as she cried inconsolably.