The Homecoming: Part 2

Second part of the story by Amiti. If you have missed the first part, here is the link: Part 1

“Ohhhh….” she said suddenly, “It makes no difference whatsoever. It’s just Mrs. Kapoor. Plain. Expressionless. Almost emotionless. Just Mrs. Kapoor in the background, just as always. As always, “Geeta, the non-speaka!” Always. Mrs. Kapoor. Just Mr.Harshad Kapoor’s simple wife….always…,” and Geeta looked away into the distance, lost in hopelessness and self-pity.

“Hello! Who do we have here?” the door opened and a cheery voice called out. Geeta, her thought process interrupted, looked up at the young and attractive woman above her. She quickly got up, as if in respect. “No, no…Keep sitting….Umm, well…from your bags I’m guessing you are our latest addition to the Home, Geeta? Am I right?”

Geeta shook her head violently. “Mrs Geeta Kapoor.” she replied.

The girl smiled and said “Oh, okay. Namaste Geetaji. We are pleased to welcome you to our Home. My name is Kavya and I’m the in….”

Geeta stopped her mid-sentence, desperate now, “Mrs. Harshad Kapoor, Wife of Late Mr. Kapoor.”

The girl, surprised, but still cheerful, continued, “I’m very sorry for your loss, Mrs. Kapoor. I hope living here will suit you and help you get over your unfortunate loss. As I was saying earlier, I’m Kavya, the incharge of newcomers here. I’m here to help you settle down and make this change as comfortable for you as possible. I’m sure we’d get along well together.”

Geeta managed a half-hearted smile and quickly looked down. Kavya, observant, continued quickly, “Well let’s get started Mrs. Kapoor. Hand me your bags and I’ll take you to your room.”

Geeta felt alien here. After living in large, well-furnished and heavily decorated mansions her whole life, she felt uneasy here. The Old-age Home, without looking like a hospital, though clean was plain and simple. She hobbled up a flight of stairs and they bumped into many people on the way who often said a couple of words to Kavya, and almost completely ignored Geeta. Her frustrations in life, her disappointments, her failures all began to emerge now. She couldn’t be treated like this, just dumped away in a corner.

They entered her room and Kavya put down the bags and announced, “Well! So here we are… Your room! I hope you like it…” and Kayva looked at Geeta expectantly. It was a room, that’s it. Two chairs and a table, a TV set in the corner, a single bed and a cupboard. Two doors, one to the toilet and the other to the balcony. It was all bare, the walls white, the curtains and the sheets plain.

Geeta stared back at Kavya, her pretty face, smiling mouth, bright eyes outlined with kajal, smart, bright clothes, trim figure. Full of energy and youth. Lively. Charming. And confident. Seeing that Geeta hadn’t responded, Kavya pressed on,”How do you like the room, Mrs. Kapoor? Geeta felt a sudden resentment, resentment against her whole life being like a movie, where she had no role to play. She had never felt like this before in her whole life. And now she felt these strong emotions all of a sudden, as though a repressed, tiny bubble of frustrations had been growing, and now, finally, after growing for 63 years, the bubble of explosive energy burst. Fighting back tears, Geeta replied, “I think even Mr. Harshad Kapoor’s servants lived in better quarters.”

Kavya stared at Geeta, and then coolly but firmly, said,”Mrs. Kapoor, we’re sorry you feel this way, but please understand we are a community, and we all live by the same standards. So I do hope you adjust to this soon enough. Also, the sooner you realize that Harshad Kapoor is gone, it’s all the better for you, because here we don’t know, nor do we care who Harshad Kapoor ever was. All we want is for our house-mates to live happily, and at ease here and not latch on to the past. If that is all, I’ll leave you here to settle down for a while and be back with your schedules in sometime.” Saying this Kavya walked calmly out of the room.

Geeta’s shock at this was enough to extinguish all other emotions. “They don’t know nor do they care who Harshad Kapoor was!” Geeta was unable to digest this. Harshad had been the centre of Geeta’s universe for years; she respected him, admired him, feared him and thought of him as the limit, no man could be greater. He was the most dominating presence in her life and Geeta was unable to connect to what Kavya had said. She couldn’t believe her; she didn’t know how to respond. Should she be angry? Or feel threatened, and be defensive?

“We don’t know, nor do we care who Harshad Kapoor is…” The lines continuously repeated in Geeta’s head, like a stuck record. Geeta couldn’t breathe, there was a suffocation climbing up within her, she felt sick.

Geeta pushed the balcony door open and walked out, she needed fresh air. “They don’t know…they don’t care…they don’t care..” Geeta felt weak at the knees, but light at the heart. A small smile appeared on her face. She looked out of the balcony and took deep breaths. A cool breeze hit her. She looked around, it was gorgeous. Such lovely tall trees, so dense, so green, so unlike the manicured lawns of the mansion she left behind. The air was fresh and pure, and everything so serene. She could hear a chorus of birds calling, shrilly, but from all over. And then, all of a sudden, she heard someone moaning, as if they were in great pain.

Geeta looked around, her heart thumping, mind racing. She couldn’t see any one around lying in pain. She was relieved, because if she had seen someone, she’d have had to help them and that was not what she wanted to do. Her thoughts droned on in the background; she wasn’t able to pay attention to the continuously meandering memories her brain was replaying. It was all a haze. Through this she heard the moans again, softer, but more urgent. Still, the haze : “They don’t know, nor do they care…” “…we want our house-mates to live at ease…and not latch onto the past..” “…the past..”, these phrases echoed, loud and clear. Geeta heard the moans again, low, deep and desperate now. She stopped everything and realized the urgency of the person screaming. “What does it all mean anyway? How can I bother with thinking about this nonsense while someone needs help..”, she thought to herself, and now in firm control, she was able to take action.

She ran out of her room as fast as her old, fragile body could take her and looked around. She saw a man, an old man, lying on the stairs right outside her room, moaning softly now, holding his foot. She moved towards him urgently, and sat on the stairs near him, completely involved, not aware of the emotional shocks she had been through over the past hour. She looked into the gentleman’s face, and he was looking at hers too. She smiled confidently; he was in great pain and needed support.

Geeta deftly removed his shoes and pressed his feet slowly, but firmly, massaging them in a way. He winced. She crooned to him, as to a very young child,”It’s’s okay. I’ve got you now, just relax. Relax…take  a deep breathe. You’ll be fine in no time. Breathe..breathe.”

The man shut his eyes and took deep breaths. Geeta kept at rubbing and pressing his feet and he was soon letting out slow sighs of relief. “Ahhh…” he finally spoke. “You’re an angel. A real angel. When nobody came to help me for so long, I thought I’d die with the pain. I really don’t know how to thank you, um, really! I don’t know how to thank you..Mrs….um..I’m sorry I don’t even know your name now…Oh no! This is too bad, I’m so sorry..really,..I,I,I….”

Geeta looked at this flustered old man, and a smile diffused across her face,”Oh please, don’t apologise! We’ve never even met before….Hi. I’m new here, just came this afternoon. Let me introduce myself. I’m Geeta.”

5 Responses to “The Homecoming: Part 2”
  1. Purba says:

    Loved the way you ended it, but felt the realization came a little too quickly.

    You style of writing is very evocative. Looking forward to reading more from you :))

  2. Good way of Writing.
    Nice of reading this.
    No doubt, you are an author.

  3. Jingle says:

    cool post.
    have a fun weekend.

  4. Amiti says:

    Again, thank all you very much. I’m surprised and flattered!
    But I agree with Purba that the realization was too abrupt..and as i was telling Prateek, too filmy! This is one of the reasons I’m not very happy with this piece.. 😛

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