Resilient Love- PART 2

mental-wellness

Welcome back! 🙂 Thank you so much all of you for the love, encouragement and comments. Especially to Dad’s friends who take time out, read my blogs and encourage me to write more. The love for this story is really special! Truly means a lot. Thank you so much. 😀

Devika’s Point Of View

I sat still, knotting my fingers nervously. After a few silent minutes, I took a deep breath and all the agony stashed within plummeted out in a daze of haphazardly formed words.

“I was barely 2 years old when my parents met with an accident and passed away. That put an end to my childhood, which I did not realize then. Obviously I was too tiny to understand the graveness of the situation. I was then left to stay with one of our relatives. All I did was cry for my parents, especially my mother. I could somehow sense the lack of love around me. But I couldn’t find any outlet to explain myself as I grew up. It was at the age of 6 when things got worse for me.

They abused me physically and made me do odd chores at home.” I paused recalling all the horrors. “I took the beatings because I atleast had some food and shelter. I couldn’t escape until the time was right. The final straw was when..”

Anna squeezed my hand asking me to go on. “I was 8 then. Due to fatigue I hadn’t cleaned some utensils properly. I was taken to the kitchen where the lady placed a scalding hot steel spoon on my back. Later that evening I decided I had to escape. That night itself gathering all my courage, I ran from that house. I ran for my life. Soon I reached the doorstep of a large building and all strength deserted me. I fainted right there. The next thing I saw when I awoke was Nani’s kind curious eyes and a blanket covering my weak body. I saw other kids like me gathered around.”

“You are safe now dear.” Nani said gently.

“I knew was. I had been miraculously led by fate to this orphanage.They arranged for my treatment and I recovered physically. I pushed all the thoughts and pain I couldn’t understand deep inside. I was admitted to school. Some 5 months later you entered my life. And things began to look up. I learnt to be grateful, to be happy. God had blessed me with good shelter, with You.  Just when I thought all will be fine, all of a sudden the past 6 months have been horrendous. I only enjoy attending your programs. It is like,I have fallen into some deep dark pit.” I ended.

“I did not want to succumb to any kind of intoxicants, hence I took to writing. Combined with your presence and songs, it helped me remain afloat ” I added weakly.

ARUN’S POINT OF VIEW

I found myself facing a paradox of emotions as I held her in a consoling hug. On one hand was rage for those people who had trampled upon the growth of a budding flower, who had made Devika’s life a living hell. I vowed at that moment to hunt them down even if it took me years. With great difficulty I had controlled my tears when she spoke of the scalding steel incident. I wish I could scald their heads with the same steel.

On the other hand, I felt grateful. The Lord I so fervently believed in had been with her and led her to safety. I thanked him for being able to help her.

As all these thoughts ran through my mind, one stood out. I never understood why she loved or trusted me so. I knew the time had come to actually do something for her. Devika needed to heal.

DEVIKA’S POINT OF VIEW

Just when I was wondering as to what he was thinking, Anna let me break the embrace. He got up and knelt in front of me, cupped my cheeks and spoke, “Kanna, you have been immensely strong. You now need to heal yourself. And I would like to help you take the first step. Remember, I am always here with you.” he paused.

“I would like to take you to a psychologist who is a friend of mine.” He said haltingly.

“Psy..psychologist?” I stammered, scared.

“Don’t be afraid ma. There isn’t anything wrong about visiting one. They only help us. And I am here. Okay?” he re-assured me. “Take your time and think about it. Meanwhile I shall sing for you.” he smiled.

As his voice filled the room, I made my decision. I had come this far. Now, I had to save myself.

The very next day, Arun Anna took me to the psychologist’s clinic. It was a neat place decorated aesthetically, designed to give out positive vibes to people and brighten their moods. It calmed my nerves down.

When we met Dr Shaina who would be my psychologist I instantly took a liking to her warm smile and welcoming demeanor. She put me at ease by gifting me a book, which I happily accepted.

After some words around the bush, she said in a life changing conversation, “My dear, your concerned brother out here has told me everything. You know what? You are one strong girl. I admire, in fact respect your inner strength. I am not going to help you. You are going to heal yourself. I will only support you. Don’t worry about anything. You have taken the first step toward healing your mind and soul. Will you let me hold your hand and take you to safety?”

I closed my eyes. “Now that I have decided, let’s do it.” I told myself determined. “Yes. I am ready.” I replied, opening my eyes.

She then asked me to wait out, probably wanting to speak to Anna.

 Arun’s Point of View

I was happy that Devika had agreed for counseling and treatment. She seemed to have taken a liking to Shaina.

“Depression and trauma. Must salute her spiritual stamina.” Said Shaina making me look up.

“She buried all those tragic memories, negative emotions within her. They have worked their way through her mind. This explains her lack of interest in things, the screams at night and her nightmares, low performance and everything else that has been happening. You fortunately discovered her plight at the right time. Not everyone is this lucky.” She explained, sending shivers down my spine.

“She will be fine right?” I asked her.

“It may take a year or more, but she will surely be fine and whole with her kind of spiritual strength. Not everyone makes it this far. She has. And she will go far ahead. Don’t worry.” Shaina continued.

I heaved a deep sigh of relief.

“Anyways, I need you to keep a close eye on her poetry. Once her poems start showing a positive graph, we will know that we have succeeded.”

I nodded. Finally, Devika would be fine. She would surely find light again. And I had a huge surprise in store for her, once she would heal completely.

Devika’s Point Of View

It took two years of therapy and counseling sessions. With the combined care of Dr Shaina and Anna’s family, I was responding well, all the negative emotions leaving my system slowly. It was an arduous journey to recovery.

Anna shaking my shoulder brought me back to the present. We were now in his home which was surprisingly decorated as per my liking. His parents were present with Dr Shaina and Nani.

He fished around in his bag and out popped my diary. He opened a page and gave it to me. In his handwriting was a long poem. It seemed to outline my journey to healing. To think that he had written for the first time in his life, that too on me. I began reading it but three lines drew my attention.

“Proud of you, my Strong Devika. Know that I love you a lot. Welcome to our family!”

I looked up surprised. All the five were smiling hard. Nani handed Anna some papers who in turn said, “Take it. It is our present to you.” His voice sounded heavy with emotion.

I scanned the papers. Their contents shocked me. Tears of joy hugged my cheeks. Anna’s family had adopted me! These were my adoption papers.

“This family is now yours Devika. Are you happy child?” Nani cupped my chin.

I looked up at Arun Anna whose eyes glistened with unshed tears. “Happy Birthday Devika. It is your 17th birthday today. Welcome home kanna.”

I found myself at a loss of words, feeling delirious with joy. Every bit of my soul cried in gratitude. This indeed was a birthday it its literal sense for a new life had begun for me. I now had a family, a home to call my own. And above all of that, I had healed in all totality. While I held the adoption papers close to my chest, Anna gently stroked my hair and smiled.

Arun’s Point Of View

I settled on the sofa watching Devika prancing about, a bundle of energy. How I had longed to see this sight. Her happiness, her recovery was all that I had ever wanted.

Suddenly as I reached for my phone,I found her diary on the table, open on the first page. It read,

Dear Anna,

 “Your presence made me strong,

Your resilient love became my anchor.

I just want to tell you,

You will always remain my entire world.”

My eyes welled up as I finished reading. From the farther end of the hall, Devika smiled at me.

 THE END 🙂

P.S. As a society there is still some amount of shame and fear associated with visiting a psychologist or a psychiatrist. While we are slowly overcoming the same, we must realize that visiting a mental health professional doesn’t mean anything is wrong with us. It only means we have taken the step to heal ourselves, to rise above our problems.

Three Cheers to Mental Wellness! 😀

Resilient Love

Hello Everyone! 😀 The story below is an entry that was shortlisted recently for the finale of a Youth Mental Health Festival among hundreds of others.

It is immensely special to me because it celebrates both mental health and a unique bond close to my heart. And it celebrates love and hope.

It alternates between the thoughts of the two main characters. I will be dividing the story into 2 parts, otherwise it may prove to be too long a read. 🙂

Kindly give it a read and leave your valuable likes and reviews!:)

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When “I” becomes “We” even Illness turns into Wellness. ~Anon.

Before you proceed- ‘Anna’ is a term used to address elder brother in Tamil. ‘Kanna’ and ‘Ma’ are used to address younger ones affectionately. 🙂

Devika’s Point of View

Bright sunlight shone in from the windows of the car. I soaked it in, letting it touch my soul which now felt light and blessed. Three years ago, things were completely different. I sighed. It had been a long journey.

At the wheel, sat my elder brother Arun whom I affectionately called Arun Anna, my precious diary of poetries safe on his lap. He had apparently written something special in it and had decided much to my annoyance that he would give it only when we reached our destination. I gazed out the window as my story flashed past in my mind.

Three Years Ago,

I woke up sweating, hazy images dancing in front of my eyes. I could feel my cheeks soaked by droplets of sweat and tears. Taking a towel from my bedside, I wiped my face and got down from the bed, trying to push those images away from my mind. I glanced at the clock. It was 3 a.m. into midnight.

Suddenly, a realisation of how alone I was, washed over me. I took in the surroundings. The plain walls of my room in the orphanage. They seemed to close in on me. I ran to my bed and pulled the blanket over me trying to escape these strangling thoughts. Somehow, I fell asleep.

The next day at college I felt sapped of all energy. I didn’t find it odd though. Since the past three months I had been oscillating between extremely low or high levels of energy. Over this period, I had lost contact with the only 2 close friends I had from school.

Most of the times I preferred staying away from people, although a part of me craved for company. It was almost as if, I was losing capacity to understand myself.

I had even miserably failed to present my 1st project of Standard 11, going totally numb in front of the class. The moment I heard my classmates jeer at me, I began hating myself.

Nightmares continued to haunt me, gnawing away at my sanity. On the morning of the fifth day I woke up from a fitful sleep. It was a holiday. I dreaded the day, simply because I had begun to dread all days. Maybe I thought with a glimmer of hope, I could just read a good book. That was just what I did after finishing my morning rituals.

After a while Nani, our caretaker called me down to give me what would be the biggest surprise of my life.

As I reached the foyer, my eyes fixed themselves on Him. There he stood with his compassionate eyes and trademark mischievous smile, the person I loved and revered the most on this planet. My heart smiled after ages. I could sense tears of joy instead of the regular sad ones.

“Arun Anna!” I cried and ran. I hugged him tight without letting him say even a word. He silently stroked my head letting my emotions flow. I was meeting him after almost a year. I pulled away only to see traces of tears in his eyes. He quickly wiped them away, smiled and knelt down.

Arun Anna, whom I considered my elder brother was almost 2 decades elder to me. He wasn’t even related to me. Yet, he never made me feel so.

After I was left at the orphanage, he had visited the place one day with his friends. His kind heart and eyes full of life and mirth, had made me immediately comfortable with him. After all the hardships I had faced in the first 9 years of my life, I had found someone whom I could trust.

Someone who loved me, who felt like home. It almost felt like some ancient connection had been renewed. I was too young to understand all of that then. I only knew I loved him to no end and he did too.

“Kanna, I have been transferred to Mumbai!” he said excitedly interrupting my chain of thoughts. “I won’t go anywhere now.” His tone softened while I smiled as he wiped my tears. “And guess what? I have a bhajan tomorrow.” He winked teasingly.  Both of us broke into laughter.

He was a great singer who conducted ‘bhajans’ (songs in the name of God) regularly which I loved like no one else did. I had to attend every one of them and this fact remained a standing joke with his family. Truth was, they anchored my spirit during the darkest hours of my life.

The following night as I immersed myself in the melodious songs and his soulful voice, “Save me” a voice within me pleaded. Pain crashed my soul into pieces. But fear stayed at bay. What I didn’t know was that night had given me resilience. Strength which would save me in the coming days.

Hell clamped around me for the next 3 months but I still had some inner strength left which prevented me from turning intoxicants and suicide to get out of this unending darkness. Instead, I found a new way out. I began expressing myself in the form of poetry in my secret little diary.

One night at the end of six months, Arun Anna dropped me off after we had returned from a movie I had barely enjoyed. I rarely showed interest in anything these days.  At about midnight, I woke up screaming.

“No! Don’t hit me.” I yelled.

A strong pair of comforting strong arms embraced me. Even in my daze of fear, I knew it was Arun Anna.

“Don’t leave me Anna.” I kept repeating as he tried to calm a shivering me down.

Arun’s Point of View

Every inch of my soul ached at seeing Little Devika in this condition. I had always thought she was running away from something. There was something deep down her, which wasn’t allowing her to live. But I couldn’t do anything to save her then, apart from being there with her. I loved her much more than she probably thought.

By God’s grace, today I had decided to stay back after having found out about her falling grades and aloofness from Nani. Instinct told me that I would find something tonight. And I did.

I found her diary which contained poetries and random sad emoticons. The verses screaming suffering and torment, startled me out of my wits.

“Why do you do this God? Darkness engulfs my soul and you sit watching. I am being thrashed to splinters. Where is your light? Won’t you save me?”

We were sitting on the bed, her small palms clasped in my large ones. She was looking down, sobbing softly having realized I had read her diary.

“Tell me.” I whispered softly. “I am here ma. With you.” I squeezed her palm.

To be Continued.. 🙂