It looked like my arrival was well planned. As soon as the car arrived at the so called officer’s mess, another police officer opened my door and asked me to follow. I looked around the corridor. I had no idea where I was and I was beginning to get afraid. How stupid was I to get in to the car? Why didn’t I tell the driver some lie and not go with him? Why didn’t I ask Amma to come and fetch me? Why am I so stupid?
As we walked we passed by a room with the sign board that said recreation room. I looked through the open door and I noticed a pool table in the middle and someone was playing billiards. I consoled myself, if anything happend to me, all I have to do is scream, at least someone would hear my screams and come to my aid.
Soon the police man stopped in front of a door and knocked. I looked around the corridor hoping there is someone else witnessing all this and will come to my aid, if I need it. There was nobody.
I thought may be I should just run. But I didn’t know the way out.
For years I have been suffering from this inability to find my way out of any building. I can’t read a map and even the simple things like drawing the arterial route for surface anatomy was difficult for me. Yet I can remember everything that I read. I knew there is something wrong with me.
Many a times I tried to explain to Amma that I am afraid to enter a new building, because I don’t know how to come out, she would laugh at me, telling me that is the strangest thing she ever heard. And now I realized the seriousness of the situation I was in. I didn’t know which way to run.
I heard someone opening the door and I was really glad to see my mother standing there. Amma was wearing a nighty.
“Thank you” Amma nodded to the police man
He just nodded his head and went off
“Get inside” Amma ordered
I walked inside and Amma slammed the door shut. In an instant I saw Amma’s hand swinging to strike me and I ducked quickly. She then held both my shoulders and pushed me back. My head hit the door
“Where did you go?” She was screaming
“Excuse me?” I asked her
“Don’t do your dumb charade now Nina, I know you heard me. Where did you go on Saturday?”
“I came to town”
“Why? With whom?”
“Who is Arjun? Your husband?”
“No, he isn’t my husband. He is my classmate”
“Why did you go with him”
“What is this all about?”
“You think I am raising a prostitute?”
“Are you?” I couldn’t help but be nasty
“You tell me” Amma started to hold my hair and shake me. She pushed me against the door again and my back hit the door knob and it was hurting. I pushed Amma away with all my strength.
“Stop hurting me Amma”
“I gave birth to you and I will do whatever I want. So you better tell me why you came to Bangalore?”
“Why should I Amma?”
“Why should I? You are asking me why should you? I raised you till now and you are asking me why should you” She charged towards me and I quickly moved away from the door.
“Well, if I remember correctly, telling you anything didn’t help me at all. I remember the last time I told you something your darling brother did to me, you slapped me, So why should I tell you anything”
” How could you sell yourself so cheap Nina? Have you thought about your sisters? How can you sleep with every Tom, Dick and Harry? Have you no self respect?”
What did my mother say just now? She thought I was sleeping with Arjun? What does she think of me? I felt so sick
“I came to Bangalore to see a doctor. I told you a thousand times in the last 6 years that my periods are irregular. You never bothered to take me to a doctor. So I decided to do it myself”
“Oh! you came to Bangalore to see a doctor ah! Are you not studying in a medical college? They don’t have doctors there? What kind of an idiot you think I am? Or is it something else?” Amma was mocking me
I wasn’t sure what Amma meant by is it something else? I ignored that remark
“Amma, I didn’t want the senior boys to examine me. That is why I didn’t go to my hospital clinic”
“Oh, Why ah? You have some special indinga‘s( imaginary stuff)?”
This conversation wasn’t going anywhere. I opened the latch
“Where are you going?”
“Did you not know that I turned 18 couple of months ago? I no longer have to answer to you” Before Amma could reach me, I was out of the door. I knew Amma won’t chase me, because she was wearing a nighty!
“Nina, come back. I said come back to the room”
“Go to hell Amma.”
“I will teach you a lesson. I promise you that”
I didn’t bother to reply. All my life Amma was promising to teach me a lesson. There was nothing more to learn. I have learned that!
I saw a man walking in the corridor and I asked
“Excuse me, can you tell me where the recreation room is?”
He gave me the direction and I got lost twice. By the time I came out of the officer’s mess, I promised myself that I will consult someone to find out why do I find it so difficult when it comes to direction*.
I took a bus back to my hostel. Shailaja was in the room when I came back
“Oh Nina, you just missed your sister”
“What Sister? Which one?”
“Your oldest sister. She came to see you. She waited for you for more than an hour”
I quickly opened my cupboard.I knew I should have locked the cupboard. But I didn’t have time to go out and buy a lock.
I checked my clothes. They have been moved. I checked my drawer. All the documents from Dr. DG’s clinic was missing. I was so mad. I walked to the phone room. It took me a while to find the officer’s mess phone number. I called the number and asked to speak to my mother.
I heard Amma picking up the phone and before I could say Hello she spoke
“Hello. Yeah Maria went to her room. She got a doctor’s note from some clinic in Bangalore”
“Mother, this is Nina speaking. I want the doctor’s notes back”
There was a moment of silence before Amma spoke
“What notes? What are you talking about”
“The one Maria took from my room, the same notes you were talking about just now. Also can you tell Maria to return all the negatives she took from my drawer?”
“I don’t know anything about any doctor’s notes or negatives. Stop wasting my time Nina” She put the phone down
I wanted to scream. I slammed the receiver down. But that action alone didn’t take my anger away. I started to box and kick and punch the walls. My knuckles were painful. Some part of my brain kept begging me to stop, but I just couldn’t. I wanted to kill Amma, Maria and my uncle. They have been playing with my life for so long.
When my uncle hurt me, my mother didn’t do anything. Instead she said I have a fertile imagination. And now, when I didn’t do anything She was coming after me, as though I did something terrible. What was Amma and Maria planning to do with me?
Why are they harassing me like this?
By the time I cooled down, my knuckles were bleeding. I felt a tremendous amount of satisfaction seeing the blood on my hand. I felt so stupid for feeling like that. It was my own blood for heaven sake.
*I was dignosed to be suffering from a visual spatial dyslexia( more spatial than visual). I still can’t read a map, still suffer from a phobia of entering a new building, still get lost all the times.