Saturday, January 16, 2010

Rigor Mortis -- A story in many parts

Part IV
(Go here for Parts I, II and III)

And in many ways, Maya over the years, exhibited such signs of environmental osmosis. She was a sensate child.

At the age of six, she came back home, stony-faced and grief stricken. Sandhya could get nothing out of her. She refused to eat and went to bed on a glass of milk. This continued for the week. Every day, Sandhy would try and coax her into speaking and ask her if something was wrong. Maya wouldn't tell, or rather, Maya couldn't tell. All she could say was that she couldn't eat, nothing would go down and that her body hurt.

Then one day, she came home ravenous and asked for cookies and cake and bread and cheese. Relieved, Sandhya gave in to all her unhealthy insistences. Maya gulped down her cookies and told her all about school. About the class and her mathematical tables and the new swings in the playground. "Was Ranjeeta m'aam happy with your homework?" Sandhya asked. Maya replied straight-faced, "She didn't come today, and we will have a new teacher next week". Sandhya said, "Why? What happened to her?". "I don't know," Maya replied, "she wasn't in class today and Mrs.Raman came in and announced that somebody else would take over from next week."

The next day at the parent teacher meeting, Sandhya discovered that Ranjeeta had committed suicide.