I remember Amin Sayani’s mesmerising voice- “Andhere mein saaya bhi apna saath nahi deta.” (Even shadow doesn’t accompany us in the dark), the Eveready batteries ad in Vividh Barathi.
The batteries dispelled darkness!
That appealed to my senses.
But I missed the focal point- SHADOW.
As I grew, I was taught about light and shadow. A shadow is cast when an opaque body obstructs the light from passing through it. I was excited to know about substances that are opaque, translucent or transparent. Then followed a sequence of scientific phenomena- Eclipse, sun, moon, earth alignment…. the mysteries of the sky kept me hooked. That phenomenon lingered on!
I started observing my shadow as it looked elongated in the mornings and evenings and dwarfed at noon! The unique connection was between the position of the source of light and the opaque substance!
SHADOW! There seemed to be a world hidden beyond it.
My thoughts were interrupted by a knock on the door. I looked around; the room was engulfed in darkness. Another, louder knock made me pull myself out from the sofa and drag my numb feet towards the door.
Sneha was standing at the door with a glass of hot milk.
“Mom, you are again lost to the world. And why are you drrraaagging yyoooorse….”
I could feel myself crumbling down, like a pack of cards, and then it was all blank.
Faint voices, some worried, a few assuring, made me turn my head.
And it hurt. I winced.
“Mom, you are fighter, we know you will come out unscathed….”
I slipped into deep sleep.
Somewhere in the recesses of my mind, the word SHADOW kept echoing. It had crept secretly into my present.
A silhouette at the door made me gape at it.
It sauntered towards me, leisurely, menacingly! That wicked laughter so characteristic of him echoed in my ears. I clutched the blanket close to my heart, which was thumping against the rib cage.
“Stop, don’t you dare come near me, I have all evidence against you…….”
I wished I could knock out that intimidating laughter from his face. It had robbed my peace of mind. And I lived with the unpleasant feeling of being touched by all the male hands. I was ripped apart and my soul lay bare for hours before the watchman found me in an unconscious state.
The wounds healed, but not the scars.
Sneha, once the unwanted child, now the reason to live, walked into the room with the doctor.
“Ms. Meera, don’t get entangled in the shadows that are a thing of the past. Live this moment. Break free from those haunting memories that dwarf your present. You don’t need me anymore; you need yourself and your Sneha. She has been a pillar of strength to you all these years, give her the love that is due to her.”
I walked through the shadows with Sneha, hand in hand.
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