Heaven

“Get out of the road!”

Sparsha winced at the tone of the passenger in the car behind her. She tried her best to give him way; to let him overtake her. He muttered some profanities at her as he passed by her.

“That much space enough for your big head? You pig!” she shouted loud enough that he heard it.

Sparsha had hardly passed her driving test, which didn’t make her a good driver. She was already late, and getting yelled by some angry stranger wasn’t really a good way to start the day. Ever since her mother died a year ago, she could hardly have a good start to her day.

She was only 19 years old when that unfortunate incident took place. Her mother was in a dreadful accident, and she lost her forever. Being a single child, Sparsha was very close to her mother. She was the sister Sparsha never had. When you suddenly lose someone dear so unexpectedly, it can be the worst thing to ever happen to you.  This wouldn’t have been so hard for her, if Sparsha had someone she could depend on. Her Father himself was shocked and too depressed to handle himself, let alone handle Sparsha; as he lost the love of his life. But Sparsha did have someone back then. Someone she was dating for the past two years. Someone she had sworn her entire life with.  Arjun was the only person she saw her future with. But the one time when she needed him the most, he left her alone by telling her that she had become too ‘needy’ for him. This left her devastated.

“Needy?” she cried in anger.

“Look, you’ve lost your Mother. You really need some time alone to grieve. Let’s take a break. When you’ll be back to normal, we can start working things out again.” He said hopefully. Because as much as he denied, he really liked her once upon a time. And why wouldn’t he? Sparsha was everything a guy wanted in a girl and she had everything girls envied. She was beautiful, confident, smart and really intelligent and she had ridiculously rich parents. She was from one of those girls you just can’t let go of.

“You know what?” she said as she wiped her tears “I don’t think this is ever going to work. So why don’t you just get the hell out of here. Don’t you ever show your face to me.” And with that ended their relationship.

Sparsha really needed him to be there for her. She needed him to hold her and tell her that everything was okay and that she’ll be fine. But after the one person she trusted the most left her, she couldn’t trust anyone ever to stay. Coping up with her loss was hard, and during that period, she made some wrong choices. Choices she knew were horrible, but didn’t know what else to do. She felt like a paralyzed person, senseless and empty. Every day was a battle, a struggle to not leave all that and go away.

It all started with a simple cigarette; which then lead to smoking pot, then alcohol and which at last lead to drugs. She was from high society, if she didn’t rebel and do the stuff all the rich kids did, who would? That’s what she thought when she took the first ever Cocaine injection of her life. It made her feel absolutely nothing at all; which is exactly what she wanted. She couldn’t handle the hole in her heart anymore and needed something that will ease the pain. When sleeping pills and tranquillizers didn’t work, Cocaine and heroin came to her rescue.  Sparsha was a law student; she wanted to take after her Father; who was a respectable attorney in Pune. Her dream was slowly fading away as drugs took a toll on her body. She started losing grades, her attendance decreased. You can say, everything went downhill from that one accident. Her Mother passed away, taking Sparsha’s soul with her. She was no more the girl she once was. The confident and smart girl was long gone and in her place was this new girl who barely spoke, barely ate and barely slept. She couldn’t even think straight sometimes. Sometimes she’ll just be sitting in her room staring at the blue wall that her mother had chosen for her room. Everything in the house reminded her of her. And everything that reminded her of her mother was a proof that she was gone.

Every Saturday morning Sparsha would go to the dealer who would sell her ‘Heaven’, a drug that worked exactly as its name suggests. This new drug which has been going crazy among the teens has various effects on the victim’s body. ‘Victim’ because the person consuming it fell prey to various hallucinations, vomiting, headaches and dizziness. Sparsha’s body couldn’t handle this tremendous side effect, yet Sparsha voluntarily took Heaven every time she had a breakdown.

The dealer had the storage in an abandoned factory near Bhosari. It was kind of like those factories you see in Bollywood movies, where the villains held the actress hostess until the hero came to her rescue. But in Sparsha’s case, there was no hero. But there were Villains. To get inside, you had to tell a secret password which only the buyers and sellers knew. Sparsha came to know about this place from one of her mutual friend. The first time she tried the place, she laughed on the irony of the password, ‘Jannat’. But once she was introduced to the drug, she understood exactly what it was that the password meant.

Just as every Saturday, she made her way inside the factory and met Robert, her regular seller. He grinned as he saw her. “It’s funny, as every time you come here, I think it’s going to be your last time. But yet, you come again and surprise me.” He smirked at her.

“You get your money, I get what I want. I don’t know how this surprises you” She said casually as it was no big deal.

“You are a smart one. Just not smart enough. You’ll take the regular?” he asked.

“Yes. Here” She said as she handed him the money.

Robert gave her the packet; she kept it in her purse with trembling hands. Robert noticed one different thing in Sparsha every time she came to buy from him. First it was the dark circles under her eyes, and then it was the dull lips, acne, and the fading color of her hair. But it was not Robert’s place to comment on it. He was just doing his job and doing a favor on Sparsha.
Just as Sparsha was about to thank Robert and leave, back in the distance came a cry of a man. Robert ran towards the source of the sound and Sparsha followed him. When she reached there, she wished she hadn’t. On the ground laid a man, with a knife inserted in his back. Robert was furious at the people who did it to the man, not because he thought it was wrong, but because it added the work of dumping the body. Sparsha froze in her spot; her breath was caught in her throat.

The poor girl was terrified. There was a man lying dead on the floor in front of them and all these people could talk about was where to dump him? She couldn’t process the whole situation. Robert noticed Sparsha behind him and his anger rose.

“What the hell are you doing? Didn’t you get what you wanted? Now leave!” he shouted.

Startled by him, Sparsha couldn’t even get the right words out. “I….I…the scream…he…died….” She stuttered.

“Get. Out. Of. Here.” He said each word clearly and slowly as if she didn’t leave, she’ll have the same fate as the man lying on the floor.

Sparsha turned to leave when he called her again. “Remember, you didn’t see a thing” He gave her a stern warning.

As Sparsha turned to leave again, she took a one last look at the man on the ground. One of the dealers working for Robert removed the knife from the man’s body and grinned at her. After what just happened, she knew she can never forget. She swallowed the lump in her throat and left.

Sparsha’s heart was beating a thousand miles per second and no matter what she thought of, it won’t slow down. Sparsha couldn’t get that blood stained knife out of her head. She stopped at Starbucks, as she didn’t trust herself driving safely to home. Before entering, she took one pill from the packet that Robert gave her. She needed Heaven right then. It made her feel worse, but it was a good kind of worse. Gulping down water from the bottle, she took a deep breath and made her to the entrance of the café.

She sat in the Starbucks cafe, sipping her coffee and staring out of the window. The blood stained knife lay next to her handbag, covered with her blue silk scarf. She blinked and saw again; it was gone. She even furiously checked her silk scarf for the knife, but couldn’t find it. Letting out a sigh of relief, she took another sip of her coffee; when she saw the face of the dead man in her mind. Startled, she spilled her coffee on the table. An employing came and cleaned it up; offering her a new cup of coffee. She quietly apologized to her.

Sparsha was hallucinating after the incident and it was making her go crazy. She stood up and went to the ladies room. After washing her face a few times, she saw her own reflection in the mirror. She noticed the small changes in her face. Her once beautiful face was replaced with dark circles, acne, aging lines, even though she was too young to have them. She stopped looking in the mirror after her mother. Even her face reminded her of her. Why did she have to leave her all alone?

Why?

Suddenly it all came crashing down to her.

Sparsha was devastated after her Mother died, a few minutes ago she just saw a man killed with a knife and now she was hallucinating about it all.
“Heaven.” She breathed out. The word felt funny as it rolled on her tongue.

The drug named ‘Heaven’ made her life a living hell. Ironic, isn’t it? A man just lost his life in front of her and she was giving away hers by getting addicted to this thing? She felt so disgusted by herself. She peeked inside her purse and saw the thing placed carefully in a packet which had caused her this fate. She left the ladies room, paid for her coffee and exited.

She reached home safely, but she had to stop three times as she still saw the dead man. Sparsha broke down once she was in the safety of her room. She looked at her Mother’s picture and cried even harder. That was the time she knew she was wrong. That was the time when she knew her mother didn’t leave willingly, she was forced to. Her mother never wanted to leave her. Ill fate came upon her and she had to. Sparsha has a life, a choice and she is throwing it all away just because she couldn’t handle the loss of her Mother. That night she threw away the pills, and vowed she would never look at them again.

Life can be hard sometimes. It can never be predicted. If you are lucky enough, it will turn out good. Other times it will turn out even better, but there are some times in our life when the worst thing that you can possibly imagine happens and you are not ready for it. You don’t know how to deal with it. But even in these situations, you should keep your head straight and not make any wrong choices. Sparsha had lost what she could have, and there is no going back. She wasted all this time on trying to cope up in a wrong way. It was about time she right her wrong.
She started by connecting with her dad. They had dinner that night. They talked about their day, the latest movies and her mother. Even though it was hard to talk about her, they did. Making her mother taboo in the house was only dishonoring her memory, not respecting or honoring her. As they talked about her, they felt her presence. It was as if she was looking after them from heaven. And after a long time, Sparsha felt genuinely okay. Even though it was going to take a long time for her to reach where she wanted to be, she was willing to give it a shot. And she knew this time for sure, that she and her Dad were in this together and they were going to be just fine. As she knew, this is what her Mother would have wanted for her to do a long time ago. She walked in the wrong heaven, when her mother was in a completely different one.

-Prajakta Dengale

Its a little late, but Happy Mother’s Day! I wrote this one month’s ago for a competition, but it just felt right to post it today.
It does sound like a Bollywood plot, but I hope you like it!

Keep smiling☺

Green

Out on a walk,

She loved the crunch of the dried leaves,

The yellow ones,

Reminded her of the sun,

She would pick one up,

And blow it into the wind,

Just to give it one last fall,

She always loved the fall,

For she believed,

A journey ends,

For a new one to begin,

The gentle fading away of the leaves,

Was a symbol that something new was to arrive,

Something green,

For green was the color of life.

-Prajakta Dengale

Keep smiling!😊