I am sitting in the balcony holding the mug of coffee in my hand. The morning is cold. The sun is trying to rise in the foggy sky giving it a shade of pink. I feel the warmth of the coffee mug in my hand and look at Chitra sitting on the cane chair besides me. Her face is blank but serene as always. I always find it hard to decipher her expressions because they are like codes. Her expressions are so subtle that you just can’t find out what she is thinking. I get an urge inside me, an urge to paint. I wanted to paint her with all her mystique and so I get up to fetch the canvass.
I am not a painter. I am just a boring programmer working in a software firm who paints to spend boring Sundays like today. I drag the canvass to the balcony and arrange my paint brushes. Chitra looks at me and smiles.
“Do you want to paint me Jay?”
“Yes,” I said.
I start making strokes on the canvass and strands of memories start appearing on the canvass of my mind. It has been an year since I am with Chitra. I would have become mad without Tanya. Tanya was the girl who was my world before Chitra came into my life. I really can’t blame Tanya for leaving me because everybody wants the best life. She got a better man and left me to rot in the pit of loneliness. I had almost lost my mind when I met Chitra in a fundraiser. She is a social worker and helps people in need. The days in past one year in the companionship of Chitra have been days of utmost bliss for me. My life with her is perfect, as perfect as never before.
I look at her eyes, my brush working to give the eyes on the canvass the exact shade. I love her eyes, and the contrast between her large shining black eyes and her coppery complexion. Her hairs are long and black like the darkest of nights and her lips brown like chocolate. Her brown saree draped in a very elegant manner and face radiating the intellect she has. She has many similarities to my mother and that only makes me love her more. I am feeling a sense of inadequacy trying to paint her image on canvas but then I ignore it and keep painting. I want to give it my best shot.
“See this,” I called Chitra after giving the final stroke on the canvass.
“Wow! She really looks like me,” she smiled looking at me, “just a little better”.
I wanted to tell her that nothing can be better than her.
I have not told anybody about Chitra. After Tanya I did not want to discuss my personal life with anybody. But now I want to let everybody know about her.
The first person I would be telling about her will be Ashwin. He is a doctor and my childhood buddy. He is the one who prescribes me anti-depressants for bad times. I really want him to meet Chitra. I would really like to know how the doctor and the social worker, the two most important people of my life would get along.
Ashwin was in the clinic when Jay had called him on his phone. On hearing that Jay wanted him to come over at his place he had got a little concerned. Jay was his best friend since childhood. clinic timing was over and locking the door of his chamber he was thinking about recent happenings in Jay’s life, suddenly someone patted on his shoulder.
‘Hey!” He found Jay standing behind him.
“Hi, Is everything okay Jay?”
“This is the problem with all you bloody doctors, always expecting something bad to happen to others”.
“Not everybody, just you”, he replied to Jay punching in his abdomen.
Jay laughed heartily and hugged him. “I found someone.”
“Really? That’s great! Who is she?”
“Her name is Chitra and today I have come to take you to meet her.”
They both walked out of the clinic and while sitting in the car Ashwin asked Jay,
“One year.” Jay spoke starting the car.
“Bastard, why didn’t you tell me?”
“You are the first person I am telling.”
Jay took out two cigarettes from the dashboard and lit them with his lighter. He gave one cigarette to Ashwin and accelerated the car.
“You know I don’t smoke much. My patients shouldn’t see me smoking.”
“Yes, and the guy who was caught smoking by the principal in school toilet is telling this. Wow!’
Ashwin could not counter this. He relaxed on the seat and both friends took a deep puff of smoke simultaneously.
After a drive of about half an hour they reached Jay’s apartment.
“So you sit and I will call her,” Jay told Ashwin pointing to the sofa.
Aswin settled himself on the sofa.
“Lookie lookie here she is,” Jay came back.
Ashwin looked, and was shocked. He couldn’t believe it. He somehow brought back his expression to normal and managed to give a weak smile.
They had a bit of chat over coffee and then Jay dropped Ashwin back to his clinic.
Ashwin opened the door of his car to go back home and he was still thinking about last one hour. He did not see any girl named Chitra with Jay. Jay was simply talking to air.
I drove back home from the clinic still thinking about the visit to Jay’s apartment. My childhood buddy has gone through a lot in his life. Since past one year I have been treating him. He was totally dependent on Tanya and when she left he couldn’t bear it and went into severe depression.
I reached home and directly went to the drawer where I keep the copies of files of my patients. I searched for the name Mrityunjay Mehta. I spotted the blue file of Jay and brought it to my study table.
I lit my cigarette and started reading the file again correlating with the life events of Jay I knew of. Within the smoke of cigarette the things started getting clear in my mind. Each incident flashed in my mind with a new significance to it.
Jay’s mother was renowned social worker who was shot in a rally when Jay was 13. His father married again and Jay was never able to connect to his new mother and family again. He completed school and then his B. Tech. degree in computer science to get a highly paid job in a reputed firm and that is where he met Tanya. Jay and Tanya were together for almost three years when Tanya decided for a better future and left him. Now six months ago Jay met Chitra and is extremely happy, happier than he ever was.
I crush the cigarette in the ash tray and light another one. There are similarities between Chitra and his mother. Chitra too is a social worker with lot of similar characteristics which he divulged to me during our talk at his apartment. The physical features of Chitra are just like Tanya.
Chitra is not real. It’s just a play Jay’s mind to save the self. It’s a delusion. I can give it a medical term called schizophrenia but it does not matter. I need to save my friend but till then I want him to be happy in his blissful world.
Photo by Anna Kolosyuk on Unsplash.