(NT: Recommended background music for the chapter: True Feelings- Ef A tale of memories)
Chapter 3 – Silent tears
Rudra was looking at the sketch but instead of being surprised, there was a strange look in his eyes while his gaze was fixated on the black aura enveloped around his body in that sketch. He continued to look at the sketch for a long time without blinking his eyes even once!
The old man looked at Rudra and said: “Brat, snap out of it.”
Rudra didn’t reply and continued to look at the sketch as if trying to figure out something. Suddenly, his gaze shifted towards the bottom of the page and saw ‘P.T.O’ written over there. He immediately turned over the page and saw a message, apparently left by the person who drew the sketch. Rudra was a skeptical person and he still had some doubts about who drew the sketch, though his heart wanted to believe that it was Soumya but his mind was constantly challenging his heart. However, when he started reading the message, a surprised look appeared on his face. The old man couldn’t control himself and immediately leaned over Rudra’s shoulder and started reading the message. (NT: P.T.O = Please turn over)
‘I hope you liked the sketch. I tried but couldn’t think of how to thank you, so I decided to give you something which is very close to my heart. As you already know, I cannot hear or talk, so I may not be able to verbally express my gratitude, but I am pretty confident of my sight, and using this sketch as a medium, I want to express my feelings of gratitude to you. Today, two scenes firmly imprinted themselves deep inside me and I was confused which one to use, because one of them is dark but soothing and the other one is bright but mysterious, so finally, I decided to use both. Yes, there’s one more sketch, it’s on the next page. I hope the next time we meet, tell me your name. I don’t know what else to write……’
Rudra immediately turned over the page and his gaze fell on the second sketch and a smile suddenly appeared on his face. The old man curiously looked at the sketch and said while laughing loudly: “So that’s how it is, ha ha”
The second sketch was actually a color sketch unlike the first sketch, and in this sketch, Rudra was sitting at the last window seat in a classroom, reading a book, while rays of orange sunlight were illuminating him and his background, and it seemed as if the orange colored light was radiating from his body. It was a very artistic color sketch!
Rudra closed the sketchbook and put it inside his school bag. Since there were students in the library and he couldn’t talk to the old man so he took out a pen from his pocket, wrote something on his left palm and showed it to the old man: ‘What do you think?’
The old man pondered for a moment then replied in a cheerful voice: “I think she has tried to use art to make a contrast between your dark and bright selves that she witnessed today. She is indeed a talented artist, look at how detailed her sketches are, I am especially surprised at how well she has sketched that beastly look of your eyes in the first sketch ha ha!”
Rudra still had a confused look on his face because looking at the first sketch, Soumya clearly saw something! Old man’s theory might be right but Rudra still had some unanswered doubts so he decided to look into this matter later, because for now, he had some other matter to take care of. A determined look appeared on his face and he immediately opened the book and started reading again.
The old man noticed a sudden change in Rudra’s demeanor and said, “So what are you planning to do tonight? Oh I forgot that you cannot talk right now, tell me later.”
Rudra didn’t say anything neither did old man wait for his reply, he directly flew over to the Library’s CCTV camera and started making funny faces in front of it. Rudra slightly turned his head to see what the old man was trying to do, but when he saw that the old man was fooling around, he decided to ignore him and focused on studying.
A limousine stopped in front of a big and posh villa and the slender figure of a girl came out of it. The villa belonged to the ‘Chauhan clan’ and Shia Chauhan was a member of this clan.
Shia limped towards the villa entrance and there was a plaster on her right ankle. The chauffeur hurriedly came out of the limousine, took out a crutch from the car, and approached to support her but she glared at him and he abruptly stopped.
“Shia Chauhan doesn’t need anyone’s support, she can take care of herself!” Shia said in a loud voice and chauffeur lowered his head, nodded once and withdrew a few steps.
Feelings of discomfort and pain were clearly visible on her face but she didn’t take the crutch and continued to limp towards the entrance. After reaching the main hall, she decided to go to her bedroom upstairs and rest, when the laughter of a female suddenly entered her ears.
“So, first day of school and you already broke your leg?” A middle aged beautiful woman, who just now came to the main hall, said in a mocking manner.
Shia glanced at her with a fierce look in her eyes but didn’t say anything and limped towards the staircase.
When Shia ignored the middle aged woman, a rotten look appeared on her face as she said in a loud voice: “Ignoring your mother? You have got some nerve!”
Shia immediately turned her head towards her and shouted: “Don’t even dare to call yourself my mother, you are nothing but dad’s whore!”
The middle aged woman immediately got furious and said in a loud voice: “How dare you!”
However before Shia could say anything, a firm and deep voice suddenly resounded in the hall: “Shia, mind your manners and go to your room.”
Shia looked towards the source of sound and saw a decently dressed elegant-looking middle aged man standing at the entrance. It was her dad Arun Chauhan, the head of Chauhan clan. She opened her mouth as if to say something, but restrained herself and slowly walked up the stairs. The middle aged man looked at his daughter limping but didn’t say anything and walked towards his bedroom.
There was a satisfied look on the woman’s face and she immediately followed after Arun.
Shia once glanced towards her dad’s leaving figure and a pained look appeared in her eyes then she limped towards her bedroom. After entering her bedroom, she was already so fatigued that she literally fell on her bed.
At this time, there were traces of tears in her eyes but these tears could never reach her cheeks, she bit her lip and restrained herself. She hated crying and had vowed a long time ago to never cry.
‘I am not some weak girl, I am strong, stronger than anyone, and I will never lose to anyone.’ Shia thought in her heart and closed her eyes, but just then, the scene of Rudra staring at her appeared in her mind and she abruptly opened her eyes. Her heart started to beat faster and she couldn’t understand why it was happening to her. Wasn’t he just an average nerdy guy of her class? How could he have so much impact on her?
‘Those eyes, I have never seen such dark eyes. No matter how hard I try, I just can’t seem to forget how he was looking at me with those deep eyes, as if his gaze was piercing right through me.’ Shia thought and put her hand on her chest to feel her fast pacing heart beats and a bewildered look appeared on her face. This was the first time she was facing such a thing, a girl who never cared about others, had been touched by an elusive mystery and she didn’t know how to face it.
‘What is wrong with me?’ Shia continued to think for a while, her heart was in total chaos, but slowly and gradually, she slipped into her dream world.
In the evening, the sun was setting in the western sky, and a beautiful figure, illuminated in elegant red rays of sunlight, was sitting on a bench in a children’s park. It was Soumya, and at moment, she was observing some kids playing in the park. The kids would occasionally bring her to play with them, and she seemed to be enjoying a lot!
Every evening, it was Soumya’s habit to come to this park and make sketches. But, she gradually became friends with the kids and enjoyed playing with them, though it seemed odd for a high school student to play with 5-6 year old kids but she didn’t mind, because she loved kids.
Today, she wasn’t sketching, just watching the kids play and there was a constant smile on her face. Though she couldn’t hear the laughs of these kids but the innocent smiles on their faces was enough to fill her heart with happiness.
After playing with them for some time, she went back and sat on the bench. Suddenly, she saw a kid hiding behind bushes and curiously looking at her. She immediately recognized that this kid recently moved to this neighborhood and was shy of other kids. She gestured with her hand in his direction and called him, when the kid saw her calling him, he immediately ran up to her. He was a 5-6 years old cute kid, and at the moment, there was sketchbook in his book.
“Big sis, I see you make sketches every day, will you make my sketch? Please!” The innocent looking kid said in a cute voice.
Soumya was an expert at lip reading, and although the lip movements of this cute kid were difficult to track, but she used to spend a lot of time with kids and immediately understood what he was trying to say. With a bright smile on her face, she gently rubbed his head and took the sketchbook and a pencil from him. The cute kid was extremely happy and immediately took up a ‘superhero pose’.
Soumya thought that it was a good opportunity to introduce him to other kids and help relieve him from his shyness around other kids. When the other kids saw that Soumya agreed to make the cute kid’s sketch, they also ran up to her and started requesting her to make their sketches as well. She was waiting for this to happen, then stood up from the bench, and arranged the other kids all around, with the cute kid in the center, and started to make the sketch.
After some time, she finished making the sketch and all of the kids were extremely happy to see themselves in this beautifully made sketch. Her plan also worked and the cute kid managed to make some friends, which especially made her happy, because she clearly knew the pain of not having any friends. She was happy that now he would not have to stay without friends like she had to live throughout her life.
The cute kid ran up to her and with a smile on his face, he stretched his hand to take the sketchbook from her and said: “Big sis, thank you very much, I will ask mom to frame it, then I will keep it with me forever.”
When Soumya heard his words and saw his stretched hand, immediately, the morning’s scene flashed in her mind, in which, Rudra’s stretched hands were holding her things, however unlike the cute kid’s smiling face, he had a serious face.
Soumya returned his things and he went to play with other kids.
‘He should have seen my sketches and message by now. I just hope he doesn’t think of me as a weirdo who drew his sketches without taking his permission.’ Soumya thought then took out the notes she took during classes and started compiling them. Though she was an expert at lip reading, but she still couldn’t read the lips of teachers when their faces were turned towards the blackboard. She only managed to obtain 90% of the information and needed to work hard and refer books to make complete notes.
The sun had already set and it was dark outside. Rudra left the library and walked in the direction of ‘Mountain of Deities’.
On the way, Rudra entered a phone booth and left a voice mail to his brother: “Hello, brother, there’s a change in plans, I plan to stay for two days on my friend’s house. Since you are an expert at making excuses, please make some excuse in front of mom and dad.”
After leaving the voice mail, he continued to walk in the direction of the mountain.
It was already dark outside and he was walking on the mountain road, and since no one was present in the surroundings, now he could directly talk to the old man.
The old man asked in a teasing manner: “Why don’t you buy a mobile phone? Your brother has a bunch of them, just take one.”
Rudra looked towards the old man and said in a calm voice: “For an unsocial guy like me who avoids human contact, what’s the use of mobile phone? Rather it will act as shackles on my freedom.”
The old man understood his point but quickly asked in a curious tone: “Hey brat, what are you scheming? Where do you plan to stay for these two days?”
“I initially thought that one day would be enough, but I think it may require more than one day. Since I don’t have a mobile phone, I thought it’s better to inform mom and dad now, otherwise they would mobilize the whole city’s police to search for me.” Rudra replied but noticed that the curious look still hadn’t disappeared from old man’s face, so he continued, “If you want to know why I was studying Quantum Physics, then you will find out about it tonight.”
The old man looked curiously at Rudra and asked again: “Where are we going?”
Rudra looked towards the far and wide stretch of dark forest located very far away from the ‘Mountain of Deities’ and said: “Forest of shadows.”
The old man’s complexion immediately paled when he heard the name of ‘Forest of shadows’.