Sunday, August 26, 2012

Spirited performance...part 2

Read part 1 here

Shalini had arrived a little before 5, and fidgeted around nervously, before she spotted Sriram.

"Oh there you are" he waved his hand.

"Hi..." she waved back, but realized he wasn't acknowledging her presence. He was looking at the empty bench next to where she was standing and smiling. Was di sitting here?

"Hi Shalini. Let's get some coffee?"

"Sriram, Cut the niceties... All I want to know is, how do you know that di is here. Why is she back? Why has she chosen to talk to me through you.. and not to me directly? If you can see her, why can't I?'

"Slow down, my dear, one question at a time. Let’s sit down’ll have to move a little….," he moved her further across the bench,"... unless you want to sit on your sister's lap." he smiled at the empty space again.

 More smiles...and nodding...

"Malu says you always sat on her lap when you were young."

Shalini looked at the empty space and tried to smile.

"Tell me please, it's killing me, I need to know my answers.Why didn’t she talk to me directly?"

“She says she had tried to talk to you but you didn't seem to respond to her”

“Why you then?”

“I was sitting alone on toad's rock…the one near the blue lily pond. That must be three days after she had passed away. That was “our” spot. We often spent time looking at the blue lilies and chatting to our heart's content. That day I was mourning her death crying my heart out, when I heard her whisper my name softly. I thought I was hallucinating, but when I turned around, it was her!

 I was so happy; I couldn't believe she was back! But when I tried to give her a hug, I couldn't touch her. I was scared at first, but she calmed me down." Sriram had a faraway look in his eyes as if the events of that day were unfolding themselves before him.

“But why has she come back?” Shalini interrupted.

"Malu has some unfinished business. She died before her time was up. Wonder who could have the heart to kill such a pretty young lady who could herself never harm an ant? But she wanted to tell you something important.”

"What unfinished business are you talking about?

Sriram looked at the empty space again as if listening to Malu and then at Shalini,

"She says she has some deposits in various banks, some jewellery and land documents in the bank lockers. She wants you to have all that“.

Then he looked at ‘Malu' again.

“She says, you are the nominee for all her accounts, so you won't have a problem accessing those. You didn't know about the whereabouts of these accounts so she wants me to help you with it."

"Sorry and thank you, Sriram."

"What's that for?"

"I didn't trust you at first. But thanks for your help and concern. You must be very special to di, for her to have chosen you over anyone else for this."

"We had planned to marry." he said as a matter-of-fact all the while looking lovingly at the space next to him.

"Oh, I didn't know that Sriram, I am sorry, you must be feeling so devastated."

"You bet I am.” he said looking downcast. "I must leave now, I'll meet you at Srilakshmi bank tomorrow at 10. We have 4 banks to visit. Don't forget to bring Malu's original death certificate and your id card for easy identification. Rest of the formalities, we'll complete at the bank."

"Sriram, I want to talk to di, can you tell her to sit here for some more time."

"Sure" then he looked at the empty space again and nodded.

"She will be here. See you both tomorrow."

Shalini spoke alone for a very long time, speaking about their good times together, the bad times, the loss of their parents, the moments of fun and some secrets that only the two of them shared. She spoke, smiled, and cried, all the while begging her sister to make herself visible to her.

"Di do you remember, Alok chachaji had an ancestral home in Kanpur? He wants to transfer that to my name, since he has no children of his own. He told me he wanted it to be a wedding gift to you, but...." she choked again.

It was almost 8 when she realized she was all alone in the park. Slowly she got up to leave.


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