The Heartache Cure
" I knew the envelope was from her. My hands trembled as I reached for it. – "
" Wait a minute- why were your hands trembling? You didn't expect her to do such a thing, did you? " butted in Old Colonel Chatterjee, sipping coffee and reclining on the sofa.
"Well- yes – I mean no, Of course I wasn't. It had happened to so many fellow soldiers since the insurgency in Kashmir broke out, but never in my wildest dreams did I think that my Rani would do it. Now, please don't interrupt me again –it spoils the dramatic effect, I tell you ", replied Colonel Raj with the fervent light he got in his old eyes whenever he spoke of his time in the army.
" As I was saying, I opened the letter, my hands trembling. It had been a while since I had received a letter from her- in fact I had not gone so long without receiving a letter since our engagement a year ago. You know, of course, that it was very difficult to obtain leave sanctions at that time, so our marriage had been postponed. "My dearest Raj", the letter started, but it went on to break my heart. She hoped I would understand, but she had no choice – apparently . She said that she was going to break off our engagement. She also had the nerve to ask me her photo back.
" And how did you react? " asked Colonel Chatterjee, frowning and sitting up a little.
"I was devastated. It was – it was unbelievable. I have never felt like that on any other occasion. My comrades comforted me. One of them even suggested that I should shoot her – but I couldn't. The problem was, Chatterjee, that I was still madly in love with her, although she wasn't, herself." said Colonel Raj vehemently.
" So what did you do ? "
" I went for a little walk. My officer was quite sympathetic – having suffered similarly- and let me go. As I walked I remembered our time together. For the life of me I couldn't imagine what had gone wrong. The moon was full on that day. I went and stood in the middle of a bridge pondering over the situation. "What is life without her? I thought ' I might as well end it'
"What on earth did you attempt? "
" Nothing- I thought of jumping in to the river, but as I was a good swimmer that would be no good. I walked along for a while. I put my hands in my pockets. Suddenly some thing cold and metallic touched my hand – as cold as my heart was at that moment- my revolver. I thought and resolved my self. At least the pain would end with my death. The revolver's mouth kissed my head – it would end my sorrows. The sound the gunshot made was deafening! "
"What! You don't expect me to believe that, do you?"
"Calm down –I didn't tell you that the gun shot was from my revolver, did I? . I heard screams of fright. Racing towards the sound, I saw a car on the roadside. Two masked men with guns were threatening a young couple, who they had forced out of the car.
I forgot totally about my recent mental turmoil. My gun was already loaded. Praying to God that my aim was true, I shot at one militants head. It hit! As the other militant turned around in surprise, I shot him too. I expected the couple to thank me first, but instead they set about comforting each other.
Later after that issue was sorted out, my thoughts turned back to my fiancée – ex-fiancée I should say. The young couple I saw made me realize that true love was everlasting and would only grow stronger in times of danger. Rani's love was not true – It was not my fault. " Why should I kill myself for someone else's fault?", I thought "
" True, True " said Chatterjee leaning back into his armchair.
" My Gun was loaded and I had proved my aim to be true. I knew what I had to do," said Raj decisively.
Chatterjee sat bolt upright, gripping the arms of his chair.
" My goodness, Raj, What are you saying? "
" I knew it would hurt her but I had to do it. I would never be at peace otherwise."
"Yes, Yes so What did you do? asked Chatterjee, his voice becoming shrill.
" I sent the bullet in her direction "
" And, and then ...? "
" I think it will suffice if I tell you that, one week from that incident, my utterly lovable young ex-fiancée opened her door to a box containing photos of forty women with a note pasted saying, " Sorry, can't remember which one was yours. Keep yours and send the others back.""
Hari Govind M