Friday, September 13, 2013


           I kept clicking on link after link which yielded the same result. I dug deeper into the subject, subconciously drawing parallels. It was complex. Much more than I thought. When I found what I was looking for, I wasn't so sure if the hunt was better left at it. It did not matter that I had been right in raising doubts and turning to the internet for my answers. Did I feel guilty? No. It was more than that. I felt a loss. 
           We were awed by her right away just like anyone who hasn't known her up close. The shuffling of divisions had put us all at an awkward state. It was a heavy decision to take. To choose from Sanskrit entire and Sanskrit composite. Only a handful of students had volunteered to take up the entire course. The rest of the class was coerced by teachers with the promise that it was a "scoring" subject. No one bothered to underline "if you study from day one". It was a huge change to see our friends flung across the divisions and although we all promised to meet up during the break, we all knew that it was going to be rarer and rarer as we moved through the year.

           We entered the class on the first day in the new section, unsure of what to expect. Each one sat beside the person they knew from the previous class. It was by chance that we all sat together. It remained that way for the rest of the school. The numerous proxy classes gave us ample time to play truth or dare and it was this game that drew us close in the beginning.

           She was a people's person. There was no one in the class with whom she could not strike a conversation. She managed to get acquainted with even the lady who sat next to her in bus for the first time. People warmed up to her instantly. It was the way she seemed genuinely interested and honestly naive that made people feel protective towards her. When she was done with all her blabbering after coming to class and finally settled down with us, she would be full of stories.

          Her stories fascinated us. It was picture perfect. It amused me how her family always went out on weekends. She lived in a joint family and her father was a businessman. The conversations, the laughter, the togetherness was something we all envied being from nuclear families. On some days she went on and on about how they had been somewhere and she was gifted something or walked into someone famous.
         Her tiffin used to be dropped to school during lunch time and always had some or the other delicacies while we all frowned over our "nutritious" lunch pack.

        One day she came all disturbed to the class. We asked her what the matter was. She said she had lost her gold finger ring. We did not remember her wearing it to school. She said it was some ring having a particular gem stone which she had. After talking at length and trying to revive her memory as to where she last kept it, we gave up. The next day she told us she had found it. It had been in her rubber gloves. She described how she tended to the plants in her house and had used gloves and the ring probably came out while removing the gloves.
        Some other day it was the pencil box that she had forgotten in the classroom and searched the entire school the next day. We told her to let it go and there was hardly any chance of finding it. She told us it was important to search because it had the pen her deceased grandfather had given her as a last gift. It had sentimental values attached.

       Slowly it had started. It took us time to notice but notice we did.There was no ring and no sentimental pen. She went back on her words, sometimes drastically changing her statements. Altering, modifying statements until no more than a ghost of the previous one remained. We grew exasperated of challenging her. She was always ready with a defensive.
      "I will keep the phone. Reliance charges 4 rs" she said once.
      "It charges only 2." I argued
      "But if it goes to 2 mins then 4 rs na" she said bluntly.

       Still we stuck with her. Ignoring the faults and over looking the lies. She had started changing then. She started getting lost in the conversations. She slipped through gossips and suddenly realised she had missed it and asked us again. She kept quiet and became moody. Some days we saw her at the bus stop and waved but she kept staring at a distance, occupied in her thoughts.

       It took time. Time for her to begin to stop lying. Little by little I explored her world. Of the darkness that lay in it. She trusted me with the facts. It was nothing like what she talked of.
       Broken family, financial crisis, bickering relatives and one problem that lead into another. It was a cascade. I saw no hope but encouraged her to look at it. If it had been me, I would have drowned. She kept afloat, even swimming against the current. We had become close. With time things began to look up for her. Well deserved, I thought.

       Years later when I was staring in face of the new situation, I had no idea what I would find. 

      "This is the watch he gifted me last year" she announced excitedly to us as we started with our food. We were dining and she had bored us to death with every minute description of her date. She found it of immense importance to go over the most excruciatingly mundane details.
      "Isn't this the watch your friend gifted you?" I asked out of surprise.
      "That is what I told at home last year. I had told you that time also !"
      I stared disbelievingly. I.never.mess.up.such.details. NEVER.
       Why would she lie to me? What did she have to cover up? 
       Was my mind playing tricks? 

      I went over the the recent conversations in past when she had done something that confused me.

      She had blushed so much to show the dress that her guy had gifted and I had frankly felt a little envious of the same.
      A few days later she had told me of her shopping spree and described a dress that was exactly fitting that of her gift! I had brought out the fact and she had retracted on the design and color. I was perplexed but had let it pass.. This was a few months back.. How long had she been playing with me?

       My search on the internet had explained all the symptoms..
    -   Lying for no apparent reasons or to show a false image
    -  Retracting statements
    -   Marked change in stand
    -   Defensive
      and the list went on and on.. 

      I did not know how to deal with the situation. I decided to take a break from all thoughts. Confrontations bear  no fruit in some cases and silence is the best resort. 

     A couple of months later she came over to meet me. I was a little busy. She talked  about some problems. It was rather late in the night and I was worn out to think clearly. I knew she wanted no suggestions. Just someone to listen to.
     "Why does this happen to me? It is not that everything is perfect, then why?"
     It was then that I realised. She was trapped. She was trapped by her compulsive lying. She was a good person at heart but lying was something she cannot control. All I had to do was to give her the support to keep floating..


Anita Jeyan Sandeep said...

Nice piece again , Maithili ! Though as I read through the post, I was reminded of some friends from my school life...with the same symptoms.

Keirthana said...

Very nicely written. As I read it, some parts felt abstract but then again, in life there are abstract things that seem real and real things that seem abstract.

maithili said...

Yes lot of people have it I guess :)

maithili said...

Well said! Truly there are some things so abstract in life..

Wings of Harmony said...

I would have been so confused, like you are. I hope she is doing all right now.

Made me think, this one. :)

maithili said...