Sunday, April 27, 2014

Rooma ( short story)

Nithya returned from office late that evening.  It was a hectic day.  Apart from attending a couple of internal meetings she also had to meet the deadline for sending a proposal to a prospective client.  A highly respected senior manager in her office, she had decided to remain single to pursue a career with single minded devotion.  As she was very tired, after a quick dinner, she retired to her bed and soon was fast asleep.

She opened her eyes to see who was shaking her shoulder.  She was surprised to see the smiling face of her dearest friend Rooma, staring at her.  She sat up on the bed and asked, “Rooma, when did you come?” 

“Nithya, I have come to say good bye to you.  I am leaving”.

“Leaving for where?  How did you come in?  I did not hear the door bell ringing”.

Before Rooma could reply, the mobile started ringing; Nithya woke up with a start.

Obviously Rooma had come in her dreams.  She picked up the mobile.  It was the voice of Suresh, Rooma’s live- in partner.

“Hi Nithya, this is Suresh. I am sorry to tell you that Rooma committed suicide an hour ago”

“Why?? What happened?  How did she die?”

“We came back from office around 7.00 pm.  She was looking very depressed.  I went out to buy some medicines for her.  I was delayed as I met an old friend at the Pharmacy and we got talking.  When I returned around 10.00 pm, I found her dead on the bed. 

“Oh my God! She just came in my dream, and she said she was leaving.  Obviously her spirit had come to say good bye to me”

 Nithya broke down on the phone, but managed to inform Suresh that she was on her way to his house.

Rooma and Nithya were classmates from school.  While Nithya came from a middle class family, Rooma’s father was a senior manager at a Multinational company who could afford to live a life of luxury because of the perquisites that came with his job.  Rooma’s mother was also employed with a Public Relations firm, which meant, Rooma, the only child of the couple was left in the hands of a live-in maid, an old woman, who took good care of her.  Yet that could not substitute for the time Rooma expected her parents to spend with her.  They were busy attending office during the day and parties in the evening, and most of the days she saw them only at the breakfast table.  She grew up as a lonely child, reclusive and prone to frequent outbursts of anger.

Her only dear friend in school was Nithya in whom she confided all her problems.  They continued their friendship through college and later kept in touch with each other while pursuing their respective careers.

While she was still in college, Rooma’s parents had a big fight over her father’s infidelity and decided to separate, leaving Rooma to decide who to stay with. It had been an emotionally trying time for her and she suffered the pains and heartaches that children from broken homes go through,  having decided to stay with her mother.

All her pent up emotions would later find an outlet through her poems which got published in a few magazines – indicating a flair for creativity in her.  So after doing a course in creative writing, she joined an advertising agency as a copy trainee.  It is in this advertising agency that she met Suresh, an Account Executive with a bright future.

Suresh took an instant liking for Rooma and they would go out on dates whenever they were free.  Rooma felt that she was experiencing the true meaning of love for the first time!  She was sure that Suresh was also reciprocating her love.

One evening, over a cozy dinner that they were having at a restaurant to celebrate Suresh’s promotion, Suresh proposed to her.

“Rooma will you marry me?”

Though she was expecting this from Suresh, she did not think it will happen so soon.  Instead of a positive response from her, when Suresh saw that she was hesitating to respond, he asked,

“What is the problem Rooma?  Won`t you marry me?”

Rooma was silent with a down cast eyes!  The flashback of her parents’ life passed through her mind.  She was not sure if she could face a turbulent marriage and dreaded that something would go wrong. Most certainly she was not interested in bringing a child into this world. She gathered the courage to tell Suresh what was going on in her mind!

Suresh who knew her background decided to drop the subject for the time being!

After several failed attempts at reopening the topic, Suresh one day asked her;

“How long will we go on like this Rooma?  I want to marry you and set up a home, where we can live together.  You know that as part of my recent promotion, I have got a company flat allotted to me.  So place is no problem.”

Rooma could not get out of her aversion towards marriage and children.  After some thought she responded;

“Suresh, I also want to live with you and set up a nice home, but…but, don’t insist on marriage and children.”

After some discussion, it was decided that Rooma would move into Suresh’s flat on an auspicious day.  Though her mother was against the idea, Rooma was adamant about her decision.  When everything seemed to be going well for Rooma and Suresh…it happened.


After separating from her mother, her father had re-married, to his ex-secretary.  Rooma was very upset with her father for what he had done to her mother and so she refused to respond to her father’s efforts to keep in touch with her.

Within two years into her live-in arrangement with Suresh, a serious health problem confronted her mother.  They found out that she was suffering from cervical cancer.  As metastasis had already set in, doctors told Rooma that her mother would not live long.  Rooma was shattered!  Apart from a job and managing a house she took on the additional responsibility of care-giving her mother.  The frequent visits to the hospital and taking care of her mother`s ever growing needs, put a tremendous stress on her.  Suresh helped to the best of his ability.  When she was trying hard to cope with all the stress, she was in for another shock.

In spite of the precautions she and Suresh had taken, Rooma realized that she had missed her period.  Her gynecologist told her that she was pregnant, which came as a bolt from the blue for Rooma.

Suresh felt it was god’s wish and he told Rooma that they should now get married to give legitimacy to the yet to be born child.  Her ailing mother was also happy for Rooma and advised her to go through the pregnancy. But Rooma was adamant about not bringing a child into this world.

The repeated arguments with Suresh only added to her stress.  In the meanwhile, her mother passed away leaving a big vacuum in Rooma’s life. Rooma went into a deep depression. She only needed an excuse to take her own life.


When Nithya reached Rooma’s house, she saw Suresh, sitting next to Rooma’s body, totally shattered.  He had one hand on his forehead while the other hand was holding a piece of paper.  When Suresh saw Nithya, he handed over the paper to her.  It was the suicide note…

“Dear Suresh,

I am guilty of prying on your mobile. When your mobile, which you had left behind by mistake rang, I picked it up to find Geetha from your office on the other end.  I know that she has been lending her shoulders to you to cry and you have been finding some solace in her company.  I could not resist the temptation to see some SMS messages that she had sent you too.

Obviously, she is deeply in love with you.  I have decided to take my life so that not only I am free from the hell that life has become for me but also give you a chance to marry Geetha and have children and lead a normal life. I am sorry that I have been a difficult companion in your life.

I take full responsibility for the decision to end my life!


Nithya stood transfixed.  When she turned to look at Suresh, she felt a wave of sympathy for him.

Suresh who was deeply in love with Rooma, who would not have done anything wrong to hurt Rooma, saw that understanding look, broke down and was inconsolable.

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