The pollution of Delhi was killing my lungs. The roads of Delhi were full of potholes, and the weather was misty.
Meera knew Ruchika’s home location. She asked the auto driver to take us to a place called Ramesh Nagar.
I enquired if she knew the exact location of Ruchika’s home.
Meera: Come on Julie. I was born and bought up here. I know Delhi in and out like the back of my hand.
I started looking out of the window at the bromidic view. The dust was dancing in the air because of Metro work all over Delhi.
Meera was directing the tuk-tuk driver. She was telling him that we needed to visit Plot number 15 hence he should keep driving on the right side only.
I don’t know why my mind started adding the numbers of Ruchika’s house, 1+5= 6. I recalled that in numerology Number 6 house tends to have more happiness and the families keep multiplying. That gave a positive vibe to me and I thought it’s going to be easy as number 6 house never tends to be empty. There is always hustle bustle in such a home. People keep coming and going. Depression does not stay for long in this house number. The only demand that this number makes from the owner of the house is that cleanliness should be of utmost importance. I remembered Ruchika was nicely dressed when she had come to meet me. I thought to myself then her house should also be neat and tidy. Maybe somewhere in my mind, I was making things easy for myself and was looking for an early escape from Delhi because honestly, I was hating this city.
Tuktuk stopped after taking numerous turns. I thanked God for our safe arrival. With the potholes on the roads and rash driving my back had gone for a toss.
Meera paid the driver and started walking in haste towards Ruchika’s home. I had to brisk walk to catch up with her.
Finally, we reached Ruchika’s lane. Meera pointed towards a white house. I was left aghast when I looked at the house. The house desperately needed repairs and painting. The front door was full of Algae.It also had a blocked sewage which was now overflowing with dirt and muck!!
The Astrologer in me started making mental notes of what needed to be done immediately. I learned my first lesson, that no matter what the number of the house is if it is not clean it will not keep you happy. The algae outside the house stated ill health for the members of the family. The paint was coming out and the walls of the main entrance were broken that shows bad Saturn. How can happiness enter this door I wondered. I saw a car parked which had a number plate with number 1. It is the number of Mars and negative Mars gives instant negative effect for the person who has a negative Mars in his/ her chart.
Blockage in the sewage that too in front of the house gives rise to nodes that make you live your life in an illusion. Things that you see and feel right later turn out to be a disaster and you cannot come out of it easily. Phew!! where have I landed I asked myself silently.
The main gate was open. We stepped in and a whiff of a foul smell welcomed us from the house. We looked at each other. Ignoring the smell we knocked on the door. A woman opened the door. Before we could say anything we realized that the house was filled with vagrant women. It looked like a mini village of the lower class homo sapiens.
No wonder they were accustomed to the smell. There were sitting and gossiping. I already felt suffocated in their living room.
I could feel Meera giving me an apologetic look for bringing me to such a place. She asked the lady if we could meet Ruchika.
The lady asked us to wait and went in to call someone. My eyes were roving all around on the walls and the showcases behind me. I saw idols of so many gods wrapped in cellophane paper. Electronic items like VCR & VCP were lying there with lots of dust on them.
A lady patted on my shoulder and asked me to take a seat. It seemed as if I was called back from another world.
I had actually gone back in those days when we used to watch video cassettes instead of DVDs. I saw audio tape recorder of those days with audio tapes lying on its side.
For a while, it felt as if Meera had taken me into some kind of a time machine which had taken us to the time of our teenage. Everything about the house was old, rusty and dirty.
No wonder why depression rested so well in this house, I said to myself. After all, the house was not pampered by the members of the family at all. It was only surpassing negativity.
I saw another lady coming towards me holding a glass of water. I refused as I saw the lady was not only unhygienic but, her hands were full of dirt.
Soon a short looking man came out from the next room. He was nicely dressed up. He was wearing a heavy gold chain. He smiled at both of us and hugged Meera. His eyes were questioning Meera about me.
Meera introduced me as her close friend.
Meera: Uncle, Ruchika knows Julie very well and we both are here to meet her. Is she okay?
Old Man: Of course she is okay.
Meera: No yesterday, I received a depressing message from her and she was not picking up her phone too.
Old Man: Oh you know my daughter. He started boosting. She is very hard working. She is a senior manager at a big company earning 3 lakhs per month and with this, he shifted his attention from Meera to me saying that his younger daughter was married in America and last time when his younger daughter had come to meet them his elder daughter i.e Ruchika, she had gifted 5000 dollars to her niece.
I could not understand whether to laugh at his ancient wisdom or to keep quiet. I stared at Meera and asked this boosting man if we could meet Ruchika.
The old man got up instantly saying sure please come. We followed him to a room which was locked from inside. He knocked the door three-four times calling Ruchika’s name but she refused to open. Meera and I looked at each other wondering if she was okay. The old man turned around and reading our expressions said not to worry she is working right now. Sometimes she does not listen even if I call her 4 or 5 times.
Meera knocked the door and called for Ruchika. Ruchika it’s me and Julie. Can you please open the door.
After waiting there for 30 seconds the door opened. I was shocked to Ruchika. Is she the same girl I had met.
She had black circles around her eyes. Her hair was untidily tied in a ponytail and she was wearing a torn yellow Capri. Her weight had dropped almost to 40 kgs. My eyes widened in shock. I don’t know why I hugged her like my own but she did not hug me back in return. This made me feel that she was uncomfortable and I stepped back giving chance to Meera but she did not hug her too.
The old man left saying you all talk. I could see she was in severe depression.
I wonder why the old man could not see her depression.
We all sat on her bed which was pointing towards the north. It is wisely said in Astrology that those under depression or having ill health should not sleep or sit in the north direction.I was observing left right and center!!!!!
We all maintained silence for a minute or two and then I broke the ice by asking her what had she done to herself.
She stared at me and started cutting her parched lips with her teeth. It looked like she was possessed. She looked at Meera and suddenly she made a face as if she was in immense pain. She held her leg and started screaming Ma please help me.
The old man came running into the room and said please don’t worry. She is having pain in her leg. It will go away in a minute or so. Meera sought permission from her father to take Ruchika to the hospital. Her father laughed and said please don’t worry. We have already been to the hospital and got her tests done. All results are negative. We don’t know the cause of her pain.
I spoke to Ruchika and inquired if she was still going to the office. She nodded in a yes.
I asked her today is Sunday, why are you home. Why don’t you go out with some friends? Her father was standing and listening to our conversation. He intervened and said she is a senior manager. She is working from home and that is why she can not go out with anyone.
Meera asked her father if she could get a glass of water to which he went out asking one of the vagrant women to bring some water for her.
We were quiet again and I touched Ruchika’s shoulder. She looked at me and said you know where I am sitting right now?
This is the place where my mother took her last breath and now she is calling me.
Meera asked her to shut up and screamed, no one is calling you anywhere Ruchika.
I added, in fact, I am here to invite you to my house in Bangalore. Since it is a long Diwali weekend, take a break from your work and come with us.
I could tell from her behavior and looks that she was not only mentally sick, she gave a damn about what we were saying.
Her father once more entered the room with a tablet. Here take this tablet, you will find some relief. The girl bashed her father saying she knew which medicine to take and when. He should mind his own business. The old man quietly walked away from there.
I was observing her silently. Meera looked at me asking what should we do next.
I took a deep breath and asked Ruchika the reason for her rude behavior.
Don’t you get it? she shouted while looking at me with anger on her face. I have lost my mother. I, I who took care of her for months could not save her. She is dead.
I could not save her. I knew which medicine to give when and how. For one day that I flew to Banglore to get that stupid tarot reading done the nurse could not take care of her. By the time I reached home, she was no more. I should have stayed back and should not have trusted that stupid nurse. Suddenly she broke into tears like a little girl. The old man was standing outside and listening and crying along. He intervened and said, my child, if you have lost your mother I too have lost my wife, can’t you see that.
He looked at me and said tell me what should I do with her. I tried to pacify her but she refuses to listen to me. I doubt if she might be carrying the same cancer germs inside her, and that can be the reason for her unknown pain.
Meera asked her father if she could take Ruchika along with her for a change? Her father refused and said what will happen to her job. What if she loses her job because of this stupid mother-daughter drama that she keeps on thinking.
I had no words to explain to her father that she would be able to work and earn money only if she would be alive.
I stood up and firmly asked Ruchika to pack her things. We are leaving this place for five days.
Ruchika refused to come along. That is when I lied to her. I told her I could feel her mother’s presence right now. She also wished that Ruchika should go away for a while. Ruchika was confused but suddenly got up to pack her bags.
Meera was fumbling and the old man stood there quietly.
Meera started helping Ruchika to pack, while I took Ruchika’s father out telling him that his daughter was in deep depression. She needs his love and support, not money. The man did not bother to even bid me goodbye and went inside his home.
Meera came out running and asked me why I was forcing Ruchika to travel with them.
That was the time I really got mad at Meera.I asked her was she really blind to her friend’s health. She is dying Meera. Her depression is killing her. She is in desperate need of help.
No, I do understand that and honestly, I cannot keep her at my place for more than 2 days, said Meera
Keep her for two days. Take her out to various places in Bangalore. Please divert her mind and then we will see.
I didn’t know what I was doing but all I knew now was that I was trying to make Ruchika stay in this world until her real-time came.
But why was I doing this? I wasn’t aware. I decided to go with the flow for now.