My Muse - Kangana wants Closure

Subhash Mathur

Subhash Mathur was born and brought up in small towns in Rajasthan. During his school and college education at Jaipur, he was keenly involved in sports, journalism and public speaking. His civil services career has given him a platform for spreading his ideas about modernising tax administration to benefit the common man. Post retirement he is devoting his energies, along with his wife Tilak, to public and humane causes.

The soft insistent purring of a phone somewhere in the distance woke up Kangana from her sleep. Always a light sleeper, persistent sounds troubled her. Her mind didn’t like such sounds. She could never be sure what they brought in store with them. Any day she preferred alarm jingling. Loud and clear. Kangana flipped open her Nokia. It wasn’t showing any missed calls. She decided to ignore the messages till she was ready to face the world. Wide awake.

Kangana had come back to Jaipur after a hiatus of two years. Two years from the explosive meeting with Saritha in Raman’s house. The meeting had left her frustrated, confused and vulnerable. Too many questions and no answer what so ever. She became anxious and paranoid about everything.

She had reflected hard about that meeting which she had practically so contrived in her quest to enter the Raman household. Kangana was convinced that she was Raman’s wife in her last ‘human’ innings. But the meeting left her emotionally wrecked. She was sure that she had recognised Raman as her former husband. The initial reaction of Saritha had confirmed that.
Thus she was truly a reincarnation. She was no Masquerade. Kananga was convinced that Karamic cycle was reality. Her Sanchit Karma was obviously strong enough to give her rebirth as a ‘human’. But no one else seemed to believe her.

After the disastrous Saritha encounter Kangana moved to another park for her evening constitutionals. But that didn’t work. There was no respite from the constant questions popping up in her mind. Being away from West End Park in fact her turned her mind more neurotic and very paranoid.

The questions that troubled Kangana were:

  • Was she a victim of a mere split personality? And was the reincarnation really a prank played by her mind?
  • Why she was able to recall so much about the Raman household?
  • Why had Raman failed to recognise her when she could identify him so easily?
  • And why did Saritha change her attitude after welcoming her so warmly? Surely she could ‘feel’ the resemblancet to Ratna?
  • Did Raman poison Saritha’s mind in any way? By a quiet signal?

Troubling questions. No answers.

She decided to move out of Jaipur as a panacea. She put in a request with her employer, Foxtrot, who accepted it with alacrity. She was a top rated worker and fortunately they had an opening at Mumbai.

But to no avail. Time refused to heal the wounds. Her doubts persisted. Confusion and chaos ruled her mind.

Soon she became a shadow of herself. Lost weight as well. Her face lost its innocence and became gaunt and haggard. Her performance in office also went down a notch but a good colleague saved her from disaster that she was headed for.

On persistent urging from friends, she saw a top-notch counsellor, Aarti, twice a week for three months. But Arti provided no succour or relief. Perhaps got confused herself as well.

Kangana's sister, Arushi, who lived in San Jose, was pressurising Kangana to migrate and put these issues behind her. Once and for all. She labelled them as ‘Indian’ issues. But Kangana was keen to bring closure before calling it quits.

Just to get her sister off her back, Kangana told Arushi that she could hand over her CV to her recruiting agent for a possible position on the West Coast. Kangana had excellent credentials for a job in a software outfit anywhere in the world. But she wanted to live around the Bay Area. Having done that, Kangana promptly put the matter out of her mind. These agents simply never came back with anything exciting.

Just as greater normalcy was returning in her psyche, Kangana had a nightmare of a dream. Exactly two years to the day of her meeting with Saritha. Kangana woke up sweating profusely. Parched too. In fact, she found herself sobbing as well. For once, she felt fearful and scared. The images in the dream were very distributing. Why did she seem to be doing those evil things? The dream apparently involved Kangana in grotesque evil acts.

Stabbing and killing? She wasn’t like that! Why were such things in her sub-conscience? It was bizarre and surreal.

In desperation Kangana called up her good colleague, irrespective of the hour. Sobbing and crying. And talked incessantly till her jaws ached from jabbering. That soothed her nerves somewhat. He offered to come over but she declined. She desperately wanted to be alone. She did not attend office for three straight days, surviving on tea, coffee and biscuits. Largely.

The good colleague advised her to take a complete break from work. He suggested a holiday and rest. Kangana accepted the advice but flew to Jaipur instead. To put her demons to sleep. She was now more than determined. Escape from reality was proving to be elusive.

Kangana wanted closure.

That’s how Kangana found herself waking up to the insistent ringing of a phone.

Once in Jaipur, Kangana jogged at West End Park in search for Raman. Three evenings she used the same route much preferred by Raman. But no sighting.

The next three days Kangana did the rounds in the morning. Again, no sighting.

Obviously something had changed. But what? She changed tactics.

One early morning Kangana drove past building ‘Paritosh’ several times but to no avail. Again, no sighting. Next morning she parked her car near ‘Paritosh’. Wait and watch. With tea in a thermos and biscuits. Again, no sighting.

She was afraid to enter the building. The guard may ask some uncomfortable questions. Or somebody may recognise her and report her to Raman. She thought of disguise but abandoned the idea quickly. She would never be able to carry it off. Such stuff happened in movies only.

Then on Sunday morning she took courage and sneaked in, slinking behind two maids for cover. Quickly, she climbed the stairs to the third floor. Raman’s name plate was still hanging on the door. But there was pin drop silence on the floor. Probably everyone was lazying on a Sunday morning. Almost immediately Kangana retraced her steps and sought the safety of her car.

What next? She had no clue. She then decided to take a break from her worries. She marched into Niros, a niche food joint for a drink and quality food. Kangana ordered Sula white wine, chicken manchurian with rice. She added grilled fish with tartar sauce at the last moment.

Just as the waiter was setting up the table, a sudden movement caught her eye. Not far away, a girl with a companion had just entered the restaurant. She resembled Saritha to a T. Same build. Similar height. The same perfect figure. Similar hair. Even similar outfit. Kananga’s hopes went soaring.

But Kangana could not see her face. She was consumed by the good fortune. Imagine running into Saritha in a public place with no Raman around! It was the perfect opportunity.

But Kangana needed to be certain. She had to see the face. To be sure. But how? Unless, the girl used the loo. That way it may mean to be face-to-face.

After a bit of dilly-dallying, Kangana decided to brazen it out. She loosened her hair, letting it fall around her nape and face. She put on her outsized shades and walked over to the restroom.

She was dreading the return. Is she? Is she not? Is she? Is she...?

She took a deep breath and walked out of the restroom, trying to behave as normally as possible, although her stomach was in tied up in knots. She could even hear her heart palpitating.

In the end, it was simple enough. The two friends were engrossed in themselves. They weren’t looking around. Chatting and laughing and smiling. But it was not Saritha.

Disappointed, Kangana resumed her meal and quickly left Niros.

Her disappointment had taken her frustrations to a higher level. She then decided it was time to abandon this futile venture and return to the safety of her job. She had to pull herself out of this morass and start living again. But how? She quickly organised her return trip to Mumbai.

Just as she was brewing some black coffee in her hotel room, a ping on her phone alerted her about arrival of a new mail. It was from Arushi. Arushi was informing Kangana that the agent had located an appropriate opening for Kangana in an American firm ‘The Grand Canyon’. The job profile matched her skill set. They were starting her at $72k per year at San Jose. Bonus not included. She was needed for a set of interviews within 3 weeks. Arushi encouraged her to come early to get used to the American milieu.

This good news pleased Kangana a lot. She became excited about spending time with Arushi and niece Apoorvi. Good riddance to Mumbai and Jaipur. And Raman and Saritha and Ratna. Whatever. Enough, after all, is enough.

Kangana took a Etihad nonstop from Mumbai to San Jose via Dallas. Executive Class. The Grand Canyon was footing the bill.

After exiting Boeing 777 XD Kangana joined the Immigration queue No 2. The line moved up quickly and now she was number two from approaching the Immigration Agent. To while away the time, Kangana began screening the other queues. Just then she spotted the duo in queue no 4. Raman and Saritha were talking animatedly to the Agent with their documents. All smiles and cheerful.

She was shocked and horrified. She felt faint. Her efforts to lead a new life had collapsed within nano seconds. Raman and Saritha would dominate her mind once more. Her flight to San Jose suddenly became a wasted effort. Just then the Agent handed back their stamped passports. Raman and Saritha moved out of the Immigration Hall. By the time Kangana left the Immigration counter it was all too late. The duo was nowhere to be seen.

It was a miserable ride home. Kangana was perhaps, destined to live in bondage. Forever. Or would a fortune cookie revive her?

Que Sera Sera?


Waiting for the next installment!

Yes, Kangna wants closure, but it's all mystery , once again ! There is no closure to such stories. They remain in the realm of mystery.
But one thing is sure, it's intriguing. The narration by Mr Subhash Mathur is Lucca charming, with a grand story telling Art. He makes you glued to the printed words. Power if story telling at it most mysterious !
Is the next part coming soon.. ?
Waiting ......!

Thanks Kamlesh . Mysteries in stories are never resolved . Fiction keeps the mind young and fresh . Yes the next one is in the works . Thanks for the appreciation .

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