She knocked slightly and on prompt a lady swung open the door.
* * *
The tension in the room engulfed all three of them. Not as much as a word was exchanged ever since Ramya had entered the house. The lady was busy staring at her, trying to make judgments on perhaps Ramya’s looks and trying to correlate with things she had guessed.
The man on the other hand didn’t even do that. He looked to be busy on the phone and purposefully tried to avoid Ramya in all ways.
“Why had she left the package to me?” Ultimately Ramya found her voice and attempted to break the silence.
The two of them exchanged a look. She wondered if it meant they knew certain things.
“We have no idea. We didn’t even know there was something like that. But yes the will was with me. She had come only a week back and given it to us. When we asked her as to why she had done so, she replied, “I found the last bit I wanted to write in it,” the man spoke in a rush.
“I found the last bit I wanted to write in it”, it was Ramya’s name she had found. It was around that time she had met Ramya for the first time. Ramya wondered what must have made her write the name.
“Is there something else she said besides this?” Ramya asked softly.
“No she didn’t. We didn’t hear from her after that and then after a week the news of the accident reached us,” the lady replied this time.
“Was she close to you?” Ramya this time directed the question to the man. She somehow could sense him being the relative in this case. It was the way he spoke, with a hint of discomfort each time. She knew he was the one who was related to Mallika.
He didn’t reply instantly. He paused to perhaps collect his thoughts.
“She was my cousin. My mother had practically brought her up. Until she moved out to live with her boyfriend,” he again stopped speaking.
I lived with relatives, sometimes friends and for a few days with a boyfriend too.
Ramya remembered reading this in one of her letters.
“When did she come to Mumbai?” Ramya asked slowly.
“About five years back. I had stopped talking to her after she left home. There had been too many things gone awry between us. And then one day I found her walking aimlessly on the road. She was alone, looked helpless and yet carried herself with the same old gait she had. Exuding a sense of confidence at all times,” he spoke again, this time modulating his tone to the moment he was recalling.
Ramya could relate to it. On both occasions she had the same opinion about Mallika. Alone, helpless but confident. A strange mix of words to speak in a string. One got a similar feeling from her letters too.
“I spoke to her for a good fifteen minutes. She didn’t tell me but she was happy to see me. And I have practically grown up with her, I couldn’t help but feel relieved to find her alive as well. She had come here to be a writer. She had moved out of the boyfriend’s house within a few days. After that she had not held any permanent home. She had started saving for a house in the last two years. She kept saying she needed her own space,” he said, keeping his hands free off the phone this time.
Ramya had heard enough for one day. She wanted to breathe in fresh air to clear her thoughts. This was Mallika’s story, not in written words but in memories. They made her uncomfortable.
She suddenly rose and started to say, “I will leave then,” in a meek voice.
It was right at the door that the man said, “Will you come back again sometime?”
The question sounded more like a request.
“I think I would love to come again,” she replied with a hint of smile.
* * *
So much about you I need to know. So much about you I need to understand. Because today I realised knowing you does not mean understanding you.
I met Abhimanyu today. He seemed to be reluctant to meet me in first go but after some persuasion he finally agreed. There were so many emotions etched on his face. My heart went out to him. I don’t know if you know this but I do believe he loves you a lot. His wife didn’t seem to bother but he on the other hand looked to be affected by your demise.
Demise. I hate writing that word for you. You have not departed for me at all, in fact you are now getting alive every day. Each day I know you better. I attempt to understand you further but so many things I am yet to conclude.
Why did you write my name in the will? And that too in only one meeting? What was it that made you do this? I wonder if I can ever find the answer to this. But I know I will make all efforts to know this. I somehow feel it holds another meaning to your life. It will open the final bolt to your head and soul.
to be contd. at Are you close to becoming one too?-Part 21
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Connecting it with Ultimate Blogging Challenge.