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Maya’s Letter by Geetanjali Dighe

Dear Geetanjali,

I’ve got to tell you the incidents of the last few days. I am not sure what you’ll make of them.

Two days ago, I learnt that Priya, Raj’s sister, had passed away some time back. She had set herself ablaze in a fit of depression. Priya was admitted in the same burn ward where Raj is a visiting doctor. The hospital staff told me that Raj was with Priya till she breathed her last. He hadn’t reported to work since that day. I guessed he must have relapsed into his manic depressive phases again, living like a recluse in his farmhouse.

I wanted to check if he was OK so I drove for hours and finally reached his bunglow. When Raj opened the door I was shocked – he had aged 10 years. His eyes seemed to have seen some ghastly pain.

We hugged like old friends and sat on the porch, like we had always done. He said something that startled me. “Do you believe in curses?” he asked.

You can imagine my surprise at his statement. This was the same Raj the reputed, atheist doctor, the last standing rational. He had never believed in anything super-natural, neither God nor prayers. Do you remember how we’d discuss that he had lost his faith seeing too many burn victims? ‘Nature is red in tooth and claw’ he’d say.

“Raj, you’ve never believed in such stuff!” I told him.

“Priya changed me.” he said. I sighed. Priya and Raj. Their depression was an incurable disease.

Raj said that he had given Priya morphine that night. She insisted on telling him something important so he held her badly peeling hand, and sat listening to her whispers. She spoke to him about strange curses.

She said something like ‘the countless prey writhing in the predators’ jaws, millions of may-flies caught in menacing mouths, frogs croaking under fangs and humans dying in wars and calamities – they all have cast a curse in their death throes.’

Raj then asked me, “Maya, imagine how many creatures have lived on this planet. Imagine how much agony they all have suffered while dying.”

Tears welled up in my eyes. Poor man. The therapists and I, we had failed to rid him of his gloom. I admit I had always felt guilty for abandoning him.

Raj asked me the question that’s always haunted him, “Don’t you wonder why Nature has to be so cruel? Why must there be suffering at all?”

I had nothing to say. “All dying creatures have cursed death to end. The weight of their curses is now heavier than the joy this world has known. If death ends, so does life. It ends now.” he told me.

“What ends?” I asked, crying.

“This world. It’ll end – soon.”he said.

I became very worried. I hoped he wasn’t going insane.

“You think I am crazy don’t you?”he said looking me in the eye. He was the sane, sensible man again –the man I had once loved.

“You always said that a true rational person admits doubt… possibilities, that someday we might learn things about our consciousness that we can’t comprehend now. Isn’t it?”

I nodded, sniffling.

“I am a rational man, Maya.” he said,  “There’s a reason why I believe these curses.”

He then told me that he was wide awake that night. He heard Priya whisper for hours in her morphine haze. And then suddenly she stopped speaking mid-sentence. She had passed away.

Geetanjali, Raj told me the strangest thing next. If it hadn’t been him, I wouldn’t have believed it.

Raj tried to close Priya’s eyelids and realized that her body was already in rigor-mortis. It takes hours for a body to stiffen like that. But she had been whispering to him up until that moment. Who had been speaking to him then? And how? He doesn’t know. What he does know is that Priya’s body had died hours ago yet someone or something had been speaking to him.

He believes that something behind the dead, steadily stiffening body, had been telling him that the world is going to end. He is convinced now that it will end.

You might think I am going crazy too, but I know him. He’s a doctor. He insists he hasn’t dreamt any of this. He wasn’t imagining or hallucinating. Trust me.

For better or worse, I am staying with Raj in our farmhouse. Who knows what tomorrow might bring?

We haven’t got Internet here, hence the hand written letter by post. As I said, I don’t know what you’ll make of it. Tell others if you wish. Do what you can. In the end it doesn’t matter.

Love, Maya

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This entry was posted on October 18, 2012 by in October Flash Fiction Contest.

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