We are glad to have on our set the bestselling writer of ‘Life after him’ – Mrs Anjali Arora, whose novel has sold over a million copies nationally and abroad, is present among us to give a few tips to the amateur writers of the nation. Her book is soon to become a big box-office hit.
The interviewer announced my presence at the interview with sheer excitement.
So, Mrs Anjali How did the idea of penning down a book pop up in your head at the age of 52? The interviewer initiated the interview with her first question.
Well, Writing has always interested me and if I don’t write to empty my head I’ll go insane. Writing a book was never been my cup of tea because I always imagined myself as a homemaker residing in a countryside with my husband.
But your articulation of speech has made your readers (especially women) run head over heels after you and they’re expecting another masterpiece from you soon.
I laughed. Well, Yes! I write for women empowerment and if we take a glance at the current system of the country; my book is definitely a ray of hope for a few.
What is the story of your success? Your readers desperately want some fodder from your life and would like to know how you inspire them so much?
Ok. I haven’t spoken about it till now. There is a sad story behind my success. There have been a few incidents in my life which have shaped me into the person I am, today.
Please tell us the story Mrs Anjali, this time verbally, on air. She said pleasing me.
It happened two years ago.
“We need to perform a few more tests on the patient; there are no signs of recovery” said Dr. Mathur.
I nodded my head before him, giving a helpless consent to save my husband. I rushed downstairs towards the reception of the super specialty hospital where my husband was being diagnosed for Liver-failure. Fifteen long days in the medical I.C.U and no hope of recovery. He was not even in his senses from the past week.The ventilator on his body was constantly giving him life-support and never once in a week did he gain consciousness and blinked an eye before any doctor. His condition was critical; none of the doctors expressed the belief for his betterment. I was left with no option but to agree to the doctor’s decision of keeping him on the ventilator and the treatment by the lifesaving drugs. I stood fourth in the queue of the billing section. Within a few minutes, other attendants left the space and an old lady sat before me wearing spectacles; her eyes glued on the computer screen.
“Yes Please”. “Patient’s Name”? She asked in a low tone.
“Deepak Arora”, I replied. “I need to submit the money for the X-Ray, Hemoglobin test, Liver Function Test and RBC count test. I stammered before her the names of the tests trying to understand Dr. Mathur’s handwriting.
“Give me the prescription”. She said.
“Here, here it is.” My mind battled with the thoughts of my husband on the ventilator; how he must be feeling? Does he know that he is getting support from a machine to breathe? Has he been sleeping from the past seven days?
My disbeliefs were disturbed by her instructions…“Six-fifty rupees mam” She gave away the prescription with her signature to me. I completed the formalities and rushed back to the medical I.C.U. on the ninth floor. The security guard stood before the gates of the I.C.U. and I was just a door away from my husband. But, I didn’t want to see him in a precarious condition; I had never imagined him, fighting between life and death on a hospital bed. Never ever in my worst nightmares!
“Bhaiya, here is the receipt of the tests, please hand over it to Dr. Mathur, for patient ‘Deepak Arora’, bed no-3”. I said panting my breath.
“O.K. Madam” He replied and went inside the I.C.U., I saw my husband’s bed from the closing of the door and the machines which occupied him. He returned after a few minutes with tensed expression on his face.
“What happened Bhaiya”? “You didn’t give the receipt? It is still in your hands”. I asked him embarrassed.
“Madam, Dr. Mathur has called for you, there is something serious”. He said looking at my face in a weird manner.
“What happened?” I repeated my question.
“Please go inside Madam” He replied opening the door.
As soon as I stepped inside, my heart beat thumped; I felt as if I would faint the next moment. Each step near my husband’s bed made my mind thought of the worst, while my heart prayed for the best.
“Has Deepak left this world”? Shut up Anjali. He might have re-gained consciousness. Think Positive. Stay calm. He’s alright. He’s alright. Everything is alright. God is listening to you. He’s alright.
Dr. Mathur’s gaze made me uncomfortable; I would hear any bad news the next minute. I tried to divert my mind from his gaze and my eyes shifted on to the ventilator. It wasn’t running anymore! The lights were shut down and there were no beep sounds coming from it.
My hands went cold of the most horrible premonition.
“Wha-what Happened Doctor”? I asked. My eyes welled up with water, I was half aware of what he would speak next.
“We are really sorry Mrs. Arora. Your husband is no more, we couldn’t save him”.
My eyes became red in a minute, and I turned my neck towards my husband’s body. He didn’t breathe. It was a dead body. Has he left? For real? He’ll never come back? Never? For always? My Deepak. My baby.
The auspicious day of our marriage, flashed before my eyes on hearing the news of the demise of my love. How beautifully I dressed up as the bride and we were united by the Hindu rituals.
“Mrs. Arora? Mrs. Arora? Are you alright?”
I didn’t know what happened post that tragic news, everything appeared black and dim to me. Dr. Mathur’s face faded before my eyes and the least I remembered was; I fainted in the I.C.U.
I tried to open my eyes but the brightness killed me. My head ached as if somebody had blown a thousand hammers in it. I hadn’t slept for seven long days. My eyes didn’t open while my ears processed wails of some women in my house. I immediately expanded my eye lashes and the crowd at my place looked at me with mixed response. The lady in the green suit pushed me up and made me sit on the bed. I started remembering everything,
‘I am sorry Mrs. Arora; your husband is no more’.
The words replayed in my mind again and again. I became the center of attention in everyone’s eyes; women in my house came up to me and hugged me crying heavily, making depressing noises in my ears. I didn’t know how to react.
Deepak! Something has happened to Deepak… No!!!!! He had left me alone.
The memories of him breathing his last on the ventilator came back flooding and a tear rolled down my cheeks. I got used to the aroma of my house on my husband’s funeral. I was no more a married woman, but a widow. Lied ahead was a bumpy road of loneliness with nobody beside me, my daughter had settled abroad and I had nobody after her except Deepak.
“God needed your husband beta, more than you, and so…” Said my aunt in a monotone. I felt like slapping her. I didn’t want to hear anymore. I just longed for Deepak to come and shake me up, to comfort me by saying that all this is a lie!
My husband had died, died…
I was furious with God. He took away my husband. How could God do this to me? Taking away my life from me? I cried blindly, sobbing my heart out.
I went closer to his dead body. It was covered with a white sheet. I didn’t see his corpse; I just knew that this is a body. This is my husband’s body. I could not summon up the courage to touch him. My face went all sweaty and I breathed heavily, there was another panic attack rising up in me. My grief was so intense that I couldn’t bring myself to ask for a shoulder to bank on. Not even when my relatives and extended families offered solace.
After all the rituals were performed at my house, the place seemed to me like a cage with no exit points. One day, my mother came over to my place to check how I am coping up after the loss of my beloved. She decided to stay with me for a few days until I got over the shock. She got me books to read and made several attempts to distract my mind from Deepak’s memories.
I sat in my balcony for hours crying while turning the pages of our marriage album. I didn’t move and kept staring at one thing or the other for long hours. I became a walking corpse, the house was empty and quite, I felt scared and felt as though I’m going insane. Cooking alone pained me and eating alone killed me every night. I threw away the food with disgust. Relatives tried to comfort but unless they hadn’t experienced loss, they couldn’t fathom the sick, gut wrenching feeling that comes with losing someone you love so much. My husband was everything to me, he took good care of me in every way and made all the major decisions, and I felt so scared and alone to be doing all I need to do, things I’ve never done before and not having my greatest supporter by my side. I’ve often wished that it could have been me instead of him, but I don’t wish anyone to go through this nightmare. I just didn’t know if I would ever get any joy back in my life, I thought. He was truly my soul mate, someone I wanted to live my life with, all the plans we had, all of them made no sense now. I was a lonely widow.
I had a small part time job. When I came home at night I cried all alone. No one to say ‘Hello Anjy. My beautiful wife’.
The weekends were the worst, I felt isolated in a room full of people and watching other couples eat and drink together in parties and meetings made me cry all alone in my heart. My neighbors started getting fed up with me as I was so down and they did not know what to say to me. A few ladies made ugly faces while I walked passed them and pitied me. I wanted to run away from that society.
The lonely, lost foggy feeling was sometimes unbearable. There was never a day after his demise that I slept smiling, my mother who was most close to me after Deepak was worried about me. She wanted me to attend therapy sessions but I refuted. One day while cleaning my closet she found a pile of diaries between my clothes.
“Anjali, what is this”? She asked confused.
I was taken aback. They were Deepak’s diaries. We used to write together every night about our day from the morning to the night. I had kept them safe and now they were in my mom’s hands.
‘Mom, give them to me’, it’s Deepak’s diaries. I snatched away the diary and rushed towards my room.
One by one I started turning the pages of our love story and how had life taken an upside down turn after the birth of our daughter. There were moments I shed a tear reading our fights written by him whereas his handwriting and spelling mistakes bought a smile to my face. His diaries were more than enough to get me back to life. I put them close to my pillow as if Deepak was alive in them. I took care of the pages as if they were my small babies. I smiled reading our words whenever I felt lonely. A thought popped up in my mind while coming home in the metro one day.
‘Why not write again’? Life is indeed giving me a second opportunity to stand up and fight against all odds!
I desperately waited for my station to arrive. When the train stopped at the M.G. Road station, I DE boarded hurriedly and ran towards my house as if it had been set on fire.
I unlocked my house, the keys lied on the dining table and I searched for my laptop in my study room, there it was! I typed the first word on the Microsoft document.
I lost track of the words I typed in a day and without eating a bit I kept writing. It seemed as a refuge to me. I created a blog for myself – An online diary where I would pen down all my activities and thoughts. God had closed one door for me but I had the potential to open thousands on my own. I published my articles and stories online on Life and its true colors. I started to gain readership and within a span of three months my blog’s link went viral on the social media. I had a life to live. Writing became my life. I didn’t feel gloomy anymore thinking about my loss. Penning down incidents became an escape; I could escape into a world of my words. I used to come home exhausted and immediately after my dinner I sat down on my table to write and answer to my readers. Reading and writing became not only my hobbies, but passion!
One fine day a fellow reader commented on my blog “When are you planning to write a book”?
The question seemed rather odd to me, me- A Writer? But after signing out from the blog I gave the comment a thought. Without a second thought and with full zeal and enthusiasm I penned down my book ‘Life after him…’ in a month.
Writing was a passion to me and I just had to give that passion a push. I wrote non-stop in the day, in the metro, sitting on the balcony and even while cooking food! My literary work with emotions required hell lot of dedication. There was no time machine to bring back or visit Deepak but I could make him live again through my words.
Life started to make sense to me now. My laptop became my only friend and Deepak’s diaries my inspiration. What had begun as a journal of events, slowly turned into a book of feelings towards life…
I went for long walks in the park smiling at the trees and the birds. No worries about life at all. Those were the moments when I became close to being happy.
I sent my manuscript to the biggest publishers in town and it got accepted within a month. That was a blessing from Deepak. If he wouldn’t have been there, I wouldn’t have accomplished so much in so little time. Writing had become an abiding interest and I wrote about everything which I saw in my solitary walks.
Life of a widow made way to my poems. I filled my diary with funny anecdotes about the patriarchal system of the Hindu society. My books, articles and poems received greatest response and were enough to make me re-live. I got paid a hefty sum for my articles and I saved them for my NGO. I planned to open one just for the widows of the nation. Deepak lived again through my words because I didn’t let this second chance slip out of my hands… Sometimes, when life throws curve balls we should never surrender before it. Rather, we should breathe again, smile at ourselves, forget the past and begin again.
There was pin drop silence in the studio after my narration. I glanced at the crowd and each individual exhibited emotions of agony and enthusiasm.
The interviewer gazed at me with sympathy and she sighed…
That was quiet a motivating one Anjali. Well, Now that I respect you more Anjali! After hearing your story. I’ll end up the interview with one last question. Please leave a message for our viewers.
Loss of loved ones is sometimes for the better. We are never too old to fulfill our dreams and never too lost to find inspiration among ourselves. I found my inspiration in me and my husband’s words. People will try to drag you down but you just have to keep going. Time heals all wounds. You also find one in yours. Just take a glimpse at the positive side of life and give yourself a second chance.
– Mrs. Anjali Deepak Arora.
The audience at the studio clapped enthusiastically, some even cried asking for autographs and then I took a bow!
PS : THIS IS A FICTIONAL STORY.
AUTHOR : SAUMYA KAUSHIK.