Kaavya was having her customary afternoon nap when she was disturbed by the sound of a dumpster truck passing the street. She cursed the driver and got up. Recollecting that she had not yet checked if the postman had delivered the day’s mail, she opened the door and walked towards the main gate where the mailbox was.
She suddenly saw a woman whose face was hideously disfigured. A victim of vitriol attack, Kaavya thought. The way she walked reminded her of someone but she could not pin it on who it was. But what really caught her gaze was the pendant which hung on her neck. It was custom-made and its end formed the letter K. As the woman walked away, Kaavya realized that only two people she knew had such a pendant – one was her sister Chhaya and the other was her best friend in college Kanchana.
With a start, Kaavya realized why she thought the woman’s walk looked familiar. That was exactly the way Kanchana walked. Kaavya was petrified – was she Kanchana? By the time she opened the gate, the woman had reached the far end of the street.
“Kanchana………Kanchana,” she called out as loudly as she could. The woman stopped on hearing her name. But instead of turning around, she walked away faster.
“Kanchana……..,” Kaavya called out again but to no avail. She leaned against the gate and sobbed.
As Kanchana walked, she could not help thinking about the incident which had happened a couple of months back, which had turned her world upside down. The big fight with her husband and her in-laws over the dowry, the acid that her husband had thrown mercilessly at her, the way they had thrown her out of the house, the kind woman who had taken her to the hospital, the endless nights recuperating at the hospital, the trauma of the attack, the counselling sessions – everything flared through her mind like lightning searing the night sky. She could not go back to her own home – she had found a low profile job for a local NGO and had been walking to her office that morning.
She was terrified when she had heard Kaavya’s voice. She just did not want Kaavya to see her in that state.
Kanchana recalled the days she, Kaavya and Chhaya had spent together several years back. It was Chhaya’s idea to have three custom-made pendants for each of them with their initials. That was just before Chhaya had landed a dream job in a dream company.
“This looks great on you, Kanchana. The way it hangs on your neck makes you look like an angel!” Chhaya had remarked the day Kanchana had worn the pendant for the first time.
As her eyes welled up, she felt the world before her blurring. And then she let the tears flow down.
Written as part of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge – http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/