The last letter….a short story

letter_writing

Letter to spouse

This story was written for my friend’s website www.socialpotpourri.com. They were doing a “spin a yarn” contest for their site, and the first para was given by them. I spun the entire story 🙂

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It weren’t the lines on her face that told her story, nor the depth in her eyes! The words that formed her life lay huddled deep within the confines of her ruthless heart. They had the power to change lives. And the time had come for her to reveal those words. As she looked at her family celebrating the birth of her great grand daughter, she knew she had to tell the truth. She could no longer hide it. 50 years was anycase a long time.

As she got up to leave, her husband Karan came upto her and said “where you going Biwi?” (he used to lovingly call her biwi, meaning wife in hindi). She stopped and said “I thought of writing a letter to the only man I have ever loved. Need some quiet time for that”. Karan smiled and said “Love letters at this age? I must be the luckiest man on earth”. She smiled and left for upstairs, knowing that only she knew the irony of the word Lucky.

As she sat down to write the letter, she knew that once she completed the letter, life would never be the same again. But she had to do what she had to. The burden of truth was too much to bear for 50 years. So she started writing.

Dear Genie (she called her husband genie),

The last 50 years have been the best years of my life.You have given me every happiness, a woman could ask for. But I have kept a secret from you, which I know will threaten the very existence of our relationship. But I know not telling it, would be far worse. 

I still remember the first day I saw you. You had come home to meet Baba, to hand over some office documents. I was sitting with my mother and sister on the couch. You were so handsome, that I fell in love with you instantly. I wanted to tell you, but then it was 1962 then and not 2013. I could never muster the courage. I remember my sister Prachi and me, rushing back from college, if Ma would say that you were coming home for lunch. I remember coyly looking at you, while Ma kept feeding you. (Much later I found out that Ma was already thinking of you as her son in law). I remember stealing those glances from you when you would look back at me. And those glances were enough to make my day. 

Imagine my happiness, when a few months later Baba told us at home, that you were planning to come home to formerly ask for his daughter’s hand in marriage. My joy had no bounds. Both me and my sister were all dressed and waiting for you to come. You came with you parents and walked straight into the library to meet my dad. We two sisters stood outside trying to overhear your conversation, when I heard Baba tell your mom “Mrs Bannerjee, it would be my honour to see Prachi marry your son. I don’t think I could have asked for a better son in law”. I looked at my sister and we both hugged each other, both our eyes filled with tears, but for different reasons.

The marriage was fixed in a month. And then 3 days before the marriage tragedy struck. My sister went missing. We looked and looked everywhere, but could not find her anywhere, and till date my family wonders, what happened to her. No one except me knew what had happened. No one except me knew that my sister was dead. Yes love, I did not even tell you, that I knew my sister was dead. On that fateful day, everyone had gone to shop for the wedding. I was to go too, but I fell sick and came home. That is when I heard a loud thud, and went out and saw my sister lying in our garden, her face towards the ground. I turned her and knew she was dead. I was stunned and did not know what to do. I sat there with her body on my lap for hours, too numb to react. And then I heard the doorbell ring.

I finally broke out of my numb spell, and got up to open the door. And there you were standing. I saw you and hugged you and started crying and I still remember you saying “Hey Prachi, what happened? Tell me, and I will solve your every problem. From now on I am your genie, and no matter what happens, I will solve it for you”. I looked at you, and knew you had already solved my biggest problem. You had called me Prachi, whereas I was actually Sanchi. I had forgotten that we were identical twins, and even our parents could not tell us apart, many a times. I knew at that moment, that I could become Prachi and marry you, and live the life I wanted to, with the man of my dreams.  I looked at you, and said “So do I call you Genie from now on?”. You said “Yes and I will call you Biwi”. I did not tell you then that my sister was lying dead, and you felt I was just stressed with marriage related things. We spoke for some time and you left.

By the time my parents had come, I had taken the body and disposed it off in the jungle behind my home (if you remember calcutta was not that developed then). My parents looked for her everywhere, but could not find any trace of her. We found a love letter she had written to some “Jaan” and assumed she had eloped with him, though no one knew why my sister needed to elope. After all we were a liberal family and would have got her married. I did not want to tell them, that you were “Jaan” and she had written the letter to you. Actually to be honest, I had written the letter, as she had pathetic handwriting, and she wanted her first love letter to you, to look beautiful. Since the handwriting matched mine, it all fell in place. They all assumed I was gone. Baba did not want to postpone the marriage, as he did not want another shame to fall on the family. So we got married. 

It’s been 50 glorious years now with you. You have made me the happiest woman on earth. We have had lovely kids, grandchildren, and now our great grand daughter is born. But in this 50 years, I have lived a life of guilt, which I cannot carry any further. Though I did not kill my sister, I hid her death and lived a life of impersonation. Today at the twilight of my life, I knew I had to come clean, as I could not live with it anymore. I am going, cause I know after this truth I cannot face you again. I will live in the ashram for the rest of my life. Just remember, that no matter what, I have always loved you and only you and am sorry for the lie I made you live for 50 years.

Love Biwi

Karan entered the room late in the night. He was busy with the entire family downstairs. He had thought his wife must have been tired and slept off and did not want to disturb her. When he came up, the bed was all neatly done and there was his wife’s letter lying on his pillow. He picked it up and read. He then went to the writing table and started writing a letter to his wife.

Dear Biwi,

You are right. The last 50 years have been glorious. We lived the most wonderful and contented life anyone could have wanted. And you made me the happiest husband in the whole wide world.

I do remember the day your sister disappeared. I remember coming home and you crying and falling in my arms and me telling you, I was your genie. And I also remember saying from that day onwards I would call you Biwi. You thought I said it cause I wanted to call you using an endearing term, which I did, but that was not the whole truth. You see when you fell in my arms, I knew you were not Prachi. I knew you were Sanchi, cause I knew Prachi was dead. Actually, that evening I knew none of you were home, and I had planned to meet Prachi in you home. I wanted to make a request to her. I went and told her, that I was in love with you and not her and I wanted to beg her to tell her father the truth. It was a horrible misunderstanding, cause I had gone home to ask for your hand in marriage. But your dad assumed it was Prachi’s as she was 2 minutes older than you, and I could not tell him no (he was my boss after all and my entire future depended on him). Prachi refused. We had a fight which was a scuffle, and in that scuffle she slipped and fell off the terrace. It was an accident but one, which should have never resulted in death. But it did. I did not know what to do and ran away. Few hours later, I came home to see the outcome of the accident, when you opened the door, and fell in my arms crying. I thought I will pretend I assumed you were Prachi, so that tomorrow you could be witness to the fact that I did not know your sister was dead. But you did not refute me calling you Prachi. It was then, that I knew that this was our destiny. Our destiny was to be with each other, binded not just by love, but by this chilling secret. I decided to call you Biwi, so that even by mistake I never call you Sanchi, and the secret remained buried.

Come back Biwi. Some love stories are bound by love. Ours was bound by love and a chilling secret. In this twilight hour, let us ensure that the rest of our lives, is bound just by love and no longer, by a secret.

I will wait for you to return.

Yours forever

Genie. 

 

 

 

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Comments

  • Sulekha  On September 20, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    My heart was in my mouth while reading the climax, what a super mystery infused story…loved it.

    • admin  On September 21, 2013 at 8:20 am

      now that is the effect I expected

  • Sushmita  On September 20, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    Very nice short story.

    • admin  On September 21, 2013 at 8:19 am

      thank you

  • ipshita  On September 21, 2013 at 5:47 am

    Wow! A ‘roald dahl’ kind of ending. Loved it. Great build up. Am impressed.

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