The Bitter Truth
I was standing near a metro station for the last forty-five minutes. Lekha was late as usual. I have been calling her continuously, but have not been able to connect with her. Probably, she was in the metro. I was quite feeling tensed since this was not our usual romantic meeting. I could apprehend that something was coming my way. Lekha had been going through a very rough phase of her life for the last couple of months.
Things were rolling along nicely. Lekha had just taken up a job in a reputed multinational company. My parents had also visited their place, a few months back. Our marriage date was also finalized that day and we were finally feeling quite relieved since we realized that our five-year-old relationship has finally reached its destination. But suddenly, things went awry. Mr.Sen, Lekha’s father suddenly went missing. He had gone for his regular morning walks but did not return. He had even left his mobile phone in his room. It was a bolt from the blue. It was further learned from his office that he had applied for a two-month leave. He had been sanctioned the leave the day before he went missing. But neither Lekha nor her mother had any clue about this. They were flabbergasted and could not make out the reason behind his sudden disappearance. We had also informed the police.
But on hearing the details of the incident, they dismissed the matter since they were convinced that Mr.Sen had deliberately planned his disappearance. The police suggested, that Mr.Sen must be very fade up with his life and could not take it anymore. Hence he had taken this drastic step. But we were not at all convinced with thee speculations. I had heard from Lekha that her father was always a devoted family man. He often used to come early from work and spent most of his time with Lekha and her mother. Hence it was very difficult to understand the reason behind his sudden apathy towards his family.
Initially, we also apprehended that he could have been abducted also. But there were no ransom calls. So we had to bear the brunt of this long wait. We regularly visited the police station for some information, but always returned empty-handed. Lekha and her mother were completely distraught and I did my best to stand beside them. My parents were also quite supportive. And suddenly, three days back, I got a call from Lekha that her father has returned. I was elated and wanted to rush to her house, but she stopped me. I was quite stunned and could not discern the reason. The thing that surprised me more was the lack of any elation in her voice. She was speaking laconically, which was quite contrary to her vivacious nature. I could suspect something was seriously wrong with her. I kept on throwing many questions at her which she answered curtly. I gathered from her answer, that her father returned one fine morning and he was in the pink of his health. So why was she so pensive? Fortunately, last night, I convinced her to meet today.
I could now see Lekha coming near me. But she was looking for a shadow of her previous self. I could understand that she had gone through a lot of stress over these two days. We were now heading towards the sprawling green patches of the city. Lekha was looking quite pensive and chose to keep quiet through our stroll. We seated ourselves comfortably on a wooden chair and could catch a clear glimpse of the lofty historic monument that was looming at us.
‘‘Now, please do tell me, what is wrong now, why didn’t you allow me to visit your place. I could have met with Uncle, after such a long gap. And why are you behaving so indifferently?’’ Lekha now looked straight into my eyes and said, ‘‘The truth is always bitter, Rajib. But never felt so helpless in my life. I have lost my father, Rajiv, I have lost him forever..”I was taken aback by her words and asked her, ‘‘But uncle is back now. How can you lose him, now? I don’t understand a word you are uttering. Please do explain.”
Lekha replied, ‘‘I don’t have any explanation, Rajiv. I knew all along that my father was a bit effeminate. All the girly things about me and my mom always drew his attention. But both mom and I could not imagine even in our wildest dream that he would take such a drastic step. How could he do this to us? How could he be so selfish? How would we face the society now? My mom sobbed for the last two days and has not eaten anything till now. And coming to us, Rajiv, I know you will leave me after hearing the truth. I can’t blame you for that, as I can understand your situation. I have taken these couple of days to muster the courage for facing the reality.’’
Lekha now started weeping profusely. I waited for some time and asked, ‘I am still not getting it that clearer, Lekha. What has he done?” Lekha replied, ‘‘Rajiv, it is very shocking. But the truth is that my father has undergone a sex transformation operation. He is no more my father.”I was stupefied and could not believe my ears. This truth was too hard to digest. I could now discern everything. Lekha now composed herself and said, ‘‘I know you are quite shocked, Rajib. And I also know that you and your parents won’t be able to accept me now. I am now taking your leave. Bye, Rajiv.’’
Lekha stood up and started drifting away from me. But I failed to call her back. It seemed as if the bitter truth had completely gagged my voice.