life · stories

Magic Potion

She sat in the Starbucks cafe, sipping her coffee and staring out of the window. The blood stained knife lay next to her handbag covered with her blue silk scarf. She felt the tinge of the deep cut she had made yesterday and fiddled with the end of the bandage as if trying to ease the pain-of a failed suicide!
Few days back, Gauri decided to end her life. Even though suicide is a weakling’s refuge, she was done with all such maxims and affirmations preached by the self-help gurus worldwide.
She was thirty nine and was insanely successful in her career. Even though not married yet, she had substantial achievements in her kitty, be it her penthouse in Defence Colony area of New Delhi, her envious wardrobe collection, a beach-body to flaunt or her string of admirers willing to lie, steal and kill for her! She had whatever an ambitious girl could aspire, but she found all that way too shallow.
She was in a phase of her life where she had no love left for her younger brother Atul whose secret marriage with his childhood sweetheart was something only she knew of. She felt detached with her widowed mother who at one point of time acted as her motivation to get rid of their mediocre life. She knew that the string of lovers she had were not perfect to be her life partner. Apparently she felt that there were perfect people in the world! In short, everybody loved the fabulous Gauri Chawla, but no one bothered to care about Gauri-the girl who just needed someone to love her for being the clichéd girl next door!
She felt that never got unconditional love in her life post the death of her father when she was only ten. She had a revelation that the toil and grind her mother went through doing odd jobs post her father’s death was not only to ensure a comfortable childhood for her kids, it had a propaganda of ensuring a safer old age for herself. That feeling erupted when she was twenty-eight and her mother rejected all her prospective grooms for reasons she found baseless. Now she was thirty nine, unmarried and convinced that her mother was the most self-centered woman ever who never really cared about her. That was probably the reason her brother ended up marrying secretly, so that he didn’t develop the same state of mind in future.
In past, when she came home weeping about the fact that her friend did not let her play with her doll, her mom would console her that one day she would have everything her friend won’t have ever because she will end up getting married at twenty five and would look upon her husband for everything she wanted. Even though whatever her mother prophesied turned out to be true, but, Gauri was not happy. She now felt that she would have been more happier being married at twenty five, earning lesser and looking upon her husband for only a few things instead of having everything a girl would love to have and having no one she could call her soul-mate. That was the perfect life for Gauri, because apparently she felt that there is something called the perfect life!
Post her thirty ninth birthday, and after breaking up with her third imperfect lover, she decided to end her life. In any ways, she had earned enough for securing her mother’s old age, her brother’s future child’s complete education and for another penthouse in Defence Colony. So she felt that they won’t really miss her.
After thirty nine years of life’s experience, Gauri who never failed in getting the funding for even the shadiest of her clients had failed to find the magic potion for her perfect life. Somehow, she believes that there is a perfect life!
She didn’t want her suicide to be elaborate. She wanted her mother and her brother to think for the rest of their lives that why their headstrong pillar of life ended up her life so abruptly. So she decided not to write a suicide note. Now was the time to search for the most feasible method. Hence came Google- the ultimate problem solver.
For the first time in her life after typing ‘How to commit suicide’, she hit ‘I am feeling lucky’ button. This tab apparently saves you from the dilemma of killing or not killing yourself as for every search result propagating suicide methods, there are at least three search results which try to stop you from taking the path of the coward!
Google never disappoints. For her suicide shopping, the search engine had all the methods used by the homo-sapiens to pull the plug of their life abruptly. Every method though came with its own pros and cons. For instance, if she decided to die by consuming bleach, her death would be painful and slow. At first she would have intense abdominal pain, then her internal organs will start burning. Even though Seneca died consuming poison and Portia from the play Julius Caesar killed herself by swallowing burning coals, Gauri did not have that much of stoicism left in her. Moreover, if she escaped from this, she would have to bear with a disfigured face and permanent medical complications for the rest of her life. She would end up living an imperfect life after a failed attempt to end her life.
She was able to bear the pain, but not so much. She thought about strangling herself by hanging from the ceiling fan, but her centralized air conditioned luxury home never had one!
Finally she was done with all this. The problem solver added more to her confusion. So she took a decision to slit her wrists and die, no matter how painful it would end up to be. After all, you don’t think about how painful your death will be when you want to end your miserable life.
On one Friday, Gauri returned her home early. She ate dinner with her mother as usual and made sure she had her full dose of daily soap so that she got her peaceful sleep. It was the time to kill herself.
She went to the kitchen. Her hard work helped her getting the best of everything. For a moment she took a good look at the Italian marble flooring completed with the expensive crockery and the German modular kitchen cabinets. But she was leaving all this behind, what was the point to admire them now.
She reached for the sharpest of her cutlery knife. It was sharp enough to cut the sturdiest of the jackfruits and the pineapples, so it could easily penetrate her soft wrist. She looked at the cold piece of steel. It reflected her image like a mirror. It looked like an object of permanent release to her. She smiled, thinking of the bliss she might attain on the other side. It is interesting that how philosophical one can get during the last moment of her life.
“Alright, let’s get over with it”, she told herself.
Taking a deep breath, she pressed the knife to her wrist. The touch of the steel was cold, just like the world was towards her problem. The wrist felt the tinge of a cut, the kind of pain a minor razor knick would give. In order to make sure that she did not change her mind, she kept her eyes closed, not looking at her wrist. She could feel the thick crimson liquid oozing out of her wrist slowly. Yes, she has started her
journey towards the end of her life. The end was coming. The blood was moving from her wrist, starting to drip from her fingers.
She started palpitating, but she tried to hold the pressure onto the knife. Her eyes were closed, but she saw a bright white light shining in front of her. Was she hallucinating? Has she lost a lot a blood? Okay now she cannot stop herself.
“I can’t”, she said.
She opened her eyes and had a look at her wrist. She was expecting a pond of blood on the floor, but the Italian marble only showcased a crimson doodle! She was alive.
She rushed towards the tap, the blood dripping on the floor. After washing the cut she realized that it was not really as deep. She managed to clean it up and do the dressing all by herself. To make sure that her mother did not freak out in the morning, she cleaned up the blood from the floor, wiping the knife with the same cloth and taking it with her to her bedroom.
Her mother was not awake. She never woke up at night. To make sure that she had her uninterrupted sleep, she tiptoed to her bedroom. It has been a long night.
Lying on her bed, she stared blankly at the ceiling. She never realized when the tears started coming from her eyes. She started weeping like a kid, more towards her foolishness than on her failure to kill herself. How could she be so immature? All her life she thought that someone else was responsible for her happiness. She blamed her mother, her brother and her imperfect lovers for not taking the responsibility of her happiness. All the time, it was she who never cared about herself, looking for a magic potion which would solve all her problems. She thought that her happiness was like a mirage which could never be
reached. She was wrong. She could have been happy for every moment, if she only realized that her life was her responsibility. She did not need a magic potion if she could just be contented with what she had. The people whom she thought were happy from what their life offered and not because they attained something mystical.
She had happiness, right when her mother motivated her to aspire for a better life, right when her imperfect lover told her how beautiful she was and right when her brother loved her for being the way she was.
Nobody in the life owed her anything, neither her sorrows nor her happiness…
She cried until the tears washed away all her sorrows and gave her all the answers she needed. Then she fell asleep, after a long time, cuddling her pillow like a kid, not thinking about her past or her future, happy by being at peace with the now…
The next day she woke up refreshed, felt like the girl next door she always wanted to be. Gauri learnt her lesson, she had no more questions. She felt stupid and laughed over herself, over her foolishness of having everything she had to be adequate for her, yet brooding over not being happy. Who knew that a small cut on the wrist can bring in so many revelations?
She gave a warm hug to her mother before leaving her home, realizing that she has always been the same, was not exactly as evil as she thought and loved her unconditionally. While giving the hug, she hid her left wrist behind her back though!
She took an off from work and headed for Starbucks. Sipping her much loved java, she looked at a child of a laborer standing outside the window smiling at her. She smiled back at him, which somehow made
him run away from there, hiding behind his mother, clasping his broken toy firmly in his hand as if it was his only prized possession.
Then she noticed how a girl said yes to a marriage proposal of her imperfect bald boyfriend and the way they hugged each other as if that was the only moment they needed to make their whole life feel worthwhile.
A nice looking guy smiled at her. She giggled like a girl, blushed and felt beautiful all over again.
She got her message. Her loneliness was actually her perfect solitude and not a bane which she had always thought. Now she had no hurry, and for the time being-no regrets.
After finishing her coffee, she paid the bill and not caring for a single moment about her Atkins diet went for a nice bagel.
She left the café, humming her favorite song, chomping the bagel like a little girl, oblivious of the people around her, feeling blessed, feeling happy.
Maybe she found her magic potion!

The knife and the scarf were meanwhile somewhere in the sewers, covered with god knows what, after being thrown away into a random drain…

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