Though her phone rang thrice, Ragini did not want to answer anyone at that moment, not even she was worried that it could be her mother. She parked her car at the place allotted to her, took all the belongings as much possible in her hands, and headed to her quarter. Her quarter is towards the north west of the campus. So still there was a little day light in her small balcony at the fourth floor.
Without taking the lift she reached her flat and after unlocking the main door entered the small drawing cum dining room, again closed the door and just sat at what she had at her closest distance. She simply could not distinctly separate the sets of emotions that were flooding in the mind and hence though she wanted to cry heavily, she sat there motionless.
Again the phone rang. Fourteen missed calls already. Now it is her head of the department. The idea of getting busy in her job somehow came as a bunch of fresh flowers to her. Quickly she responded and was informed that she and her other two colleagues are chosen for the international conference in a distant city from day after tomorrow. The news came as a relief to her. Otherwise her mother would have surely joined her by tomorrow. Ragini just gave her phone a glance. Seven missed calls from her mother, two from her sister, and two from her colleague. Three missed call are from some unknown number. Even her true caller app could not provide her any idea about the unknown number. She did not want to answer any one of those calls, but could not resist calling back her sister and dialed her.
"Mona, I reached safe, please inform Ma and do tell her not to create any scene please. I will call her tomorrow, I am very tired now."
“Wait, wait, don’t put your phone on silence, Nina. Enough to your stories. Now you will have to do what we say. We listened to you all these years. Now it’s your turn, You will have to do what Ma decides”-her sister shouted to such a level that, even the phone was not in loudspeaker mode, Ragini feared someone outside the main door might have heard that. She quickly cut the call, got up and though unwillingly went to get refreshed.
Yes, she did not listen to anybody so far deciding her carrier, her job, her working place and lately to her matrimonial proposals. Her father a reputed business man, brothers and sisters all perusing carriers that ultimately helped her father and Uncles to take their family business to a new height, could not force her to study what he wanted, rather he was forced to accept her in teaching profession with salary which is less than the amount he monthly provides to the insurance agent as installments for his three year old granddaughter’s insurance policy. She was the first science graduate from her family, first to have post doctorate from abroad, and first to go for government job in her family. Ragini though said that it is her love for science, her mother always get bewildered on the thought from where she got that gene.
Her paternal cousin sister Twinkle only could smell something fishy in the matter as Ragini used to ask her about her class topper Pragyan, as he was Twinkle’s maternal cousin. Always jolly, easygoing, fun loving Ragini was considered as a pampered jerk, numskull by Pragyan as he could meet her in all functions held in Twinkle’s house. Probably that was her last year in school; Ragini very delicately planted a dream, nurtured it, protected it and day by day strengthened it without letting anyone to have any trace of it. Her dream was to convert herself to be worthy enough in some ones eye who did not have slightest hint about it.
Single thought about such happenings made herself a wonderer of a beautiful world that had only her and all her beautiful wishes that gradually converted her to a lady of elegance, having beauty with brain. Her gorgeous hair, glowing skin, beautiful makeup, a healthier body, more positive self-image, and a stronger fashion sense made a complete change in Ragini which had to be in school. But all these happened unnoticed to outsiders, only her family witnessed her growing to a strong lady who can strongly protect her ideology and beliefs.
Her mother though failed to convince her to choose a profession of their choice, but she left no stone unturned in deciding her son in law. After a gap of fifteen years Ragini again somehow opened up to Twinkle about her desires and it was immediately passed to Twinkle’s mother who happened to be Pragyan’s father’s elder sister. Ragini’s mother was not at all happy with this proposal, though Pragyan was also teaching in a reputed technical institution, but could not say no to her sister in law, who was in seventh heaven imagining her nephew as a son in law in her in laws family.
And after all these the rest is a matter of again a heart breaking depression as the proposal was at once rejected by Pragyan, citing the same causes that once described Ragini. There was not a single try to find out where in this world Ragini existed and how. For most bereaved individuals, the journey through grief will ultimately culminate in an acceptable level of adjustment to a life without their loved one. Ragini was prepared for this. But her mother was not. At once a message was sent to Pragyan’s house about how blessed her mother felt about things going the way she wished and also sent those words full of hatred and enmity. Depression — the thick black paste of it, the muck of bleakness — was nothing new to Ragini. She had done battle with it in some way or other since childhood. Ragini actually did not begin as a melancholy baby, if she is to go by photos of her, in which she seems impish, with sparkly eyes and a full smile. All the same, who knows but that she was already adopting the mask of all-rightness that every depressed person learns to wear in order to navigate the world?
Her phone rang again. The same unknown number. She suddenly felt uneasy as if she has no one to protect her. She is a self-made woman with her own liking and disliking. She is mature enough to safe guard her feelings and lead a life which she wants to live. Hardly there was any name or any physical entity relating to her honest love life that inspired her during these years, converting her to what she is today; instead of self-uplifting nothing in return she wanted. But now she is supposed to get disheartened as her mother now causing enough trouble.
After ringing for some time her phone stopped. Suddenly Ragini got up and dialed the unknown number.
“Is Ragini over there?”
A sweet but sounding stubborn voice was heard.
"Yes, it’s me, may I know with whom I am conversing?" Ragini’s voice appeared very soft.
“Its Pragyan here. Hope you are aware of the recent developments. I did not say earlier, but you happened to be my biggest nightmare at school. All the time I tried to avoid any situation where I had to meet you. Everyone has his or her own dreams. So far life partner is concerned, I would never ever would have to get connected to a girl who’s mother is so, is so, is………… You all seems to have gene from the philistine.”
"Are you listening, Ragini? Please you do something to stop these nonsenses and ask your mother to calm down”."
"Yes , I will . Where you got my number?"
"Why, from Twinkle."
"Ok, just forget all these, where are you posted now?"
"As if you don’t know."
"Really, I do not have any idea."
"But Twinkle said you were behind all these nonsenses, you have a good record about my journey till now."
The Short Story continued here...