Date : October 25 2019 12:00 PM
“Sir, this ID card was found among other things from the bag”. The constable handed over the artefact to the Sub Inspector. The Sub Inspector examined both the sides thoroughly.
“The woman’s name is Gargi. The address indicates, she is from the city. Her phone was also in the bag, but unfortunately a pass-code is needed to unlock it.” The constable placed the phone on the table along with the bag.
The Sub Inspector glanced at the jail cell. “What does he have to say?”
“Sir, he is repeating the same thing over and over.”
The Sub Inspector bit his lip in anger. “I know how to make him speak.”
The constable, having understood what the Sub Inspector meant stepped outside the station building. He knew things were going to get ugly as desperate cries of somebody in pain began to fill up the station premises. The constable closed his eyes, hoping the ringing cries would leave him, but it always stayed.
Tarun tried to shield the heavy blows from the Sub Inspector with his hands, but they were
too fast and powerful. Moreover he was exhausted.
“What did you do to her? Tell me.” The Sub Inspector landed more punches, this time on Tarun’s face. He felt as if someone was repeatedly hitting him with a boulder. Tarun wanted to speak, but he couldn’t feel his tongue. When the Sub Inspector stopped to take a rest, Tarun gathered whatever remaining strength he had in him.
“Sir, please don’t hit me again. Please believe me sir. I didn’t do anything.”
“Then where the hell is she? Both of you were last seen fighting at the scene of the crash.”
“Sir, I was trying to help her.” Tarun tried to get up, but fell back onto the ground.
“Do you think I am a fool?” The Sub Inspector took a couple of steps menacingly towards Tarun.
“Sir, Please believe me. I am telling the truth.” Tarun folded both his hands begging the Sub Inspector to believe what he was saying.
Date : October 24 2019 7:00 AM
“Tarun, get ready soon. I will be there in fifteen minutes to pick you up.”. An excited Gargi was at the other end of the phone.
“Where are we going? And No, I can’t be ready in 15 minutes”. Tarun sounded irritated.
“Please Tarun. I really look forward to this trip. You will love it. I promise.”
“What trip? Look Gargi, even if I can be ready in fifteen minutes, I don’t think I will be able to come with you.” Tarun knew he was treading hot waters. There was a brief moment of silence in the phone line. Tarun could literally hear her breathing.
“I don’t want to sound rude. But especially after what happened last time, I am worried about you…I am worried about us”. Tarun said.
“Don’t worry. Everything will just be fine. OK, I am going to start now. See you soon. Bye.”
Gargi disconnected the phone.
“Hello… Hello Gargi.” Tarun knew how adamant she could be at times. He had an important meeting with a client in two hours. Tarun looked at his phone and then decided that Gargi was more important.
Date : October 22 2019 8:00 AM
Tarun sat in the vacant waiting room of Doctor Sajan’s psychiatric clinic. He had been sitting there for 30 minutes. He looked towards the Doctor’s cabin. Gargi had walked into the cabin after telling him to wait outside. He tried to put the pieces together. Though he had a partial picture, some of the pieces were still missing to form the puzzle in its entirety. Suddenly the cabin door opened and a head popped out.
“Tarun? Please come inside.”
Tarun walked in to the room. The consulting room was pretty big with the doctor’s table in the middle and the patient’s divan/bed on one side of the table. Gargi was sleeping on the bed, her face the epitome of peace. The doctor pointed to the chair.
“Please take a seat. I know your mind might be filled with questions. Well, you have come to the right place.” Doctor Sajan smiled.
“Doctor, should we, maybe, talk outside”. Tarun looked at Gargi, hoping not to wake her up.
“Don’t worry. Her sleep state is so deep that even if we sing and dance here, she wouldn’t know.” The doctor assured him.
“So let us get straight to the topic. I assume you may partially know why you were brought here.” Tarun sat silently.
“Tell me Tarun, During the six months you guys have been together, have you ever felt anything unusual about Gargi in general?” Doctor Sajan leaned forward, his eyes sparkling.
Tarun looked surprised. He fidgeted in his chair.
“Gargi has been my patient for the last couple of years. I know everything about her.” Doctor Sajan said authoritatively.
“Well, I have noticed strange behavior at times. Is she sick Doctor?” Tarun was having second thoughts.
“I do not like the word ‘sick’. It sounds very negative. Her mind is not like yours and mine. It needs constant help to be set in the right direction.” Doctor Sajan looked at the sleeping Gargi with compassion.
“So, Tarun, you were saying, you noticed strange behaviour, correct? How frequently did
you witness such behavioral changes?”
Tarun straightened himself.
“I don’t know if they are changes in behaviour, more to do with sudden mood swings. Like, sometimes, out of the blue, she starts to behave like a child. At other times, she shows maturity beyond her age.”
“What do you mean by maturity beyond her age.” Doctor Sajan interrupted.
“She behaves like my mother sometimes, you know with a motherly affection towards me.” Tarun looked at the Doctor, hoping he understood what he was trying to imply.
“Ok.. Go on.”
“Well, there were a couple of instances when she showed a violent side to her.”
“Did she hurt you?”
“No. She tried to. But somehow she came back to her senses before something bad happened.”
Doctor Sajan eyed Tarun closely. Suddenly Gargi called out Tarun’s name, jolting him in his chair. He turned around and saw that Gargi was talking in her sleep. Tarun looked back at the Doctor and realized that he was waiting for him to continue.
“Though I find it odd, I personally don’t have any issues with them.”
“Is there anything that you have a problem with then?” Doctor Sajan said.
“During these instances, the strange thing was she answered to different names. Her child like character’s name is Mira. Her mother like character’s name is Mamata. Her violent character’s name is Manisha.” Tarun sat in the chair, feeling uncomfortable. He thought about what he just said.
“Was he losing his mind? Maybe he is the one who needs care.” Tarun thought to himself.
Doctor Sajan sat in silence. After a momentary pause, he got up, walked towards his book shelf and pulled out a thick book. Tarun watched him open the book to a particular page. The doctor placed the open book in front of Tarun and pointed to a bold headline on the page.
“Dissociative identity disorder.” Tarun read out loud.
“Previously known as Multiple Personality Disorder.” Doctor Sajan who was back in his chair said.
“The different names are the different personalities Gargi exhibits. All of them attributing to the dark and tragic childhood she had.”
Tarun struggled to make sense of what was unfurling before him.
“So these names that she has… Are they imaginary?” Tarun asked.
“No. They were real people, people who were part of her life. Mamata was Gargi’s mother.
Her father was very abusive, especially towards her mother. Though the mother and daughter were very close, she died when Gargi was five years old.That was a shock for the little one. Her father remarried Manisha, who already had a daughter Mira, a child from Manisha’s first marriage. Her first husband had deserted her after Mira was born.But the second marriage also did not last that long. One afternoon, when Gargi came back from
school, a bloody and horrific scene awaited her. She saw Manisha in tears, hugging the lifeless body of Mira and her father’s bloodied body lying a couple of feet away from them.
Manisha had hacked the father to death because of what he did to her daughter. Manisha was sent to jail and Gargi was placed in an orphanage.”
Tarun couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He was at a loss for words.
“I know all of this sounds incredibly unbelievable, like from a movie or something.” The doctor said.
“So, are you saying, Gargi is becoming these people and she doesn’t have any control over who she becomes.” Tarun asked curiously.
“Well, she was unable to control it before as these different personalities had been imprinted so deep inside her mind. But ever since I have started treating her, she has shown good progress. Gargi’s present identity is something both of us have been working together over the last two years. And her relationship with you has only helped in that regard.”
Tarun looked at the sleeping Gargi, thinking about the unspeakable suffering her mind must have gone through.
Date : October 25 2019 2:00 PM
Doctor Sajan walked into the police station.
“Sir I am Doctor Sajan. Gargi is my patient. And I have come here to talk to Tarun.”
“I am sorry Doctor. But he has been arrested on suspicion of murdering Gargi. We are still trying to locate her dead body.”
“I believe you may be mistaken. Tarun may not have done anything wrong. Look, I am a psychiatrist and Gargi is suffering from a serious mental illness. She may not be dead, but we will still have to find her before it is too late.”
“What do you mean before it is too late; too late for what?”.
“Let me first talk to Tarun. He may hold the key to finding her.”
Tarun limped into the Sub Inspector’s cabin. He felt as if his whole body was tearing apart and he was in intense pain. The doctor helped Tarun sit on the chair.
“Can I get some water please?” The doctor looked around.
Tarun drank the bottle of water as if his life depended on it.
“Tarun, do you remember what happened?” Doctor Sajan asked.
“We had stopped at a roadside shop for tea. One of the customers there behaved inappropriately and Gargi couldn’t control her anger. She reacted.”
“She reacted as Manisha.” The doctor completed the sentence.
“Yes Doctor. I have never seen her like this before. She continued to argue even after getting into the car. In the midst of trying to control her, I lost control and our car crashed. I thought she might have come to her senses, but she became even more violent and started attacking me. She kept saying that I was trying to kill her. She then hit me with a rock and ran into the forest. I ran after her but I was unable to find her. I looked for her everywhere.”
Tarun tried to fight back his tears.
“Well, that’s what he was trying to do. He just admitted to it. What else do you need, Doctor?.
Just give me a couple of hours and he will confess to everything.” The Sub Inspector stood up and flexed his muscles.
“No Sir, you don’t understand. Gargi is suffering from Multiple Personality disorder. I have documents in my car certifying this. We have to find Gargi fast. Earlier when she had episodes, she used to black out and when she regained her consciousness, she was back as Gargi. This mechanism somehow kept her different personalities from taking over her original identity.”
“What are you implying doctor?” The Sub Inspector showed signs of agitation.
“After my treatment began, she started having less of these blackouts, but at the same time her different personalities were also being kept in check. However, based on what Tarun told us, the most violent personality of Manisha has come back and since she is all alone, it will hardly take a few hours for Gargi to completely become Manisha. And once that transformation is complete, it may be next to impossible to get our Gargi back.”
Tarun’s heart was racing. He tried to think why Gargi would have brought him to this village.
“Doctor, do you know where Gargi lived before she was placed in the orphanage?” Tarun asked.
“I do not know. Wait, Are you suggesting, it may be somewhere around here?”
“Sir, are you a native of this place? The doctor and Tarun looked at the Sub Inspector eagerly.
“No. But my constable is. Wait, let me call him here.”
The constable came running into the cabin.
“Sir, I have lived here my whole life.” The constable told the doctor.
“Do you know of any murder or death that had happened here, say twenty – thirty years ago?” The doctor asked.
“I vaguely remember one, but that had happened in the neighboring village, about 10 kilometers away. I had not seen it myself, but what I heard is that the wife had hacked her husband to death. I also think a girl in the family died that same day.”
Tarun and the doctor looked at each other. At that exact moment, each of them knew where Gargi could have gone.
“Inspector sir, I think I know where we can find Gargi. But we need to head there right now. The constable should be able to show us the way.” The doctor looked at the Sub Inspector.
Though the Sub Inspector found it hard to believe what he had been hearing over the past thirty minutes, deep inside, he knew the doctor had a point.
Doctor Sajan and Tarun, along with the Sub Inspector joined the constable as the police jeep roared into life and headed onto the road. The sun had begun to set, giving out a yellowish hue. Tarun sat at the back of the vehicle hoping against hope that he would get back the Gargi he had come to like and love.