I’m the daughter of darkness. My sins are darker than my own skin color and this darkness goes deep beyond the skin. I was the darkness, which people found ugly and went extreme extends to avoid, until I vanished into the obscurity and today I’m the darkness people fear and loath more than ever.
My name is Pari, which translates to angel in English. I was told that I was born on the most inauspicious time. When I was born, people were convinced that I’m the reincarnation of the devil himself. It was not just the darkness of the skin that they found repulsive, but the pure ugliness I embodied. My mother rejected all such allegations and named me Pari in retaliation. Needless to say, she was proved right. I became the angel. The angel of her own death. She died exactly two months after my birth. My father felt that a birth and a death, which almost coincided was no coincidence. He retired to obscurities. My mother’s maid took over and took care of me. Though she wasn’t particularly fond of me, she had promised my mother before her death that she would take care of me. My father provided me the money and resources. Otherwise he was mostly absent from my life. He thought I was responsible for his wife’s death and the misfortune that has fallen on his life. He didn’t quite believe that I’m the reincarnation of the devil. He was too rational a man to believe it. Nevertheless, he secretly feared that it might be true.
Most children fear the dark. Not me. I knew darkness was a part of me and I belonged to darkness. Where no one could see my tears, fears, and even me. It was the darkness that lulled me to sleep. When people feared darkness, I embraced it.
School days were painful but college days turned out to be a cruel nightmare I didn’t want to remember. I dropped out of college after one long excruciating year. I knew that I didn’t fit in this world. There were times when I wanted to end this life. But I didn’t know where else I would fit in. I worried that what if I found after life something similar to college. This thought always stopped me.
It was around the same time, my school teacher Helen (also my mother’s childhood friend) helped me find a job in a call center. She is the only human being from whom I have known real kindness. I didn’t make any friends in the call center. I was happy working there. I enjoyed helping people out with their problems. It was my first real interaction with human beings. I was exulted by the simple fact that I helped real people and they liked me, at least my voice. Then I started discovering the virtual world, the magnificent world of Internet. I started blogging. I made some friends through chat. And one night I met him in a chat room. As you know, it was him – Armaan. Armaan, the personification of desires. We discussed art, literature, philosophy. Our chat lasted until four in the morning. With a funny feeling, we both realized how long we were chatting and we have to go to work within another four hours time. Before saying goodbye I broke one rule, I agreed to meet him on chat the very same evening. Usually, I chat with a new person every day. This way, I don’t have to reveal much about myself.
I was nervous, but the feeling was different from the nervousness I had experienced before. I went to bed thinking, I will sleep at least for an hour or two. I couldn’t sleep. I was alert. We talked about everything with so ease and the fact is that we understood each other so well. The feeling was new and quite unsettling. Before I knew, it was time to get ready for office. I didn’t sleep a bit. I mentally went through the conversations we had yesterday. I wondered what he was thinking now.
In office, I got up couple of times from my seat, walked a bit from my seat, and then wondered why I got up from the seat. Did I want something? I was lost. While talking to clients, I realized I wasn’t my usual. My heart was pounding against my skin. I felt alive. At times, I felt short of breath. I went to the washroom many times and looked at myself in the mirror. I couldn’t find any difference expect that I looked dazed. It wasn’t love. We didn’t talk anything that hinted that it could be something like that. Moreover, if it were something like that I wouldn’t have agreed to talk to him the following evening. I found time moving at a snail’s pace. I bit my nails so many times. Though I was nervous, unsure, and confused, the feeling was something bitter-sweet. I found myself eagerly waiting for the evening. That day I did a lousy job at office and yet I was happy.
When I was leaving office, I wondered if he would turn up. What if he forgot about everything in the morning? What if he cursed me for ruining his sleep? With so many questions in my mind, I went home and logged on to chat. To my surprise, he was there. I didn’t ask him anything personal and neither did he. This arrangement suited me well. We continued our rendezvous for weeks and we talked about everything expect about personal details. I was happy. I was alive. For the first time in life, I was happy that I’m alive. I didn’t wish for my own death. I have a real friend in my life. I knew this friendship was growing into something more than friendship. I feared but I was in a stage, where I couldn’t have stopped myself had I even wished for it.
One evening, he told me about himself. He was working with an MNC as a Software Engineer and he was living in the same city. The trouble came when he wanted to know about me. I told him I was working for a call center but I lied to him about the name of the BPO for which I was working. I worried if he came to my office and found out what I looked like. I didn’t want to lose him. The following week, he sent me his picture. I was surprised to see a handsome face. As expected, he wanted my picture. I cringed, I knew I can’t give him. I made excuses for the next one week about the picture. He asked me whether it is because I didn’t trust him? That caught me. I told him the truth that I’m ugly. He said that I can’t be ugly, a person with such beautiful thoughts can’t be ugly. He firmly believed that it was because I didn’t trust him. I was in a dilemma. Finally, I took my cousin’s picture and sent it to him. He couldn’t stop telling me about how beautiful I was. I was burdened with guilt. I knew he didn’t love me. I cried deep inside. I asked myself – how can I fool myself into thinking that someone might actually love me? I knew this was leading nowhere. He couldn’t stop talking about my beauty and every time I felt sick deep down in my heart. I have never cheated anyone in life. I couldn’t handle it. I thought the best way was to break up. I slowly started keeping distance from him. That drove him to bouts of anger, depression, and aggressiveness. I got scared. I didn’t know how to handle this. I didn’t have anyone to ask about this.
One day I decided to tell him the truth. I knew he would walk out on his own. One day, we met. I told him the truth that the picture is not mine and I had taken someone’s picture because I didn’t want to scare him. He got aggressive and he told me that I was coached to say the story because his Pari cannot be an ugly creature like this. Pari had sent me in her place to get rid of him. Even after telling him so many times he wouldn’t listen to anything I had to say. Then, he asked me whether Pari had fallen in love with somebody else. To get out of the place and in my desperation , I told him yes. After that he didn’t say anything, he let me go. I left. I didn’t cry. I felt stupid. I felt foolish. Yet I was happy I didn’t feel guilty anymore.
One week later, I read in newspaper with horror. Armaan is killed. The news said that police is still investigating whether it was a suicide or a murder. I didn’t know what to do. I was scared. I prayed to the God I have never prayed before. Days passed by, but I was dying inch by inch. I couldn’t handle the pain or pressure. One day, I walked up to the police station and told the truth. It is said that an unpleasant truth kept under covers is sometimes for the best. People didn’t take it nicely. The next day’s newspaper carried my pictures. Not all of them but some of them. But all the news paper said the same thing. Mystery behind the Techie’s death solved. They portrayed me as a woman who trapped an innocent man in her love by showing the picture of a beautiful lady and when the man expressed his wish to take the relationship to next level by marrying her, she ditched him mercilessly and in the trauma he killed himself.
The news item varied from one news paper to another according to the figments of the reporters’ imagination. Some were spicy as in how I enslaved him in my vicious trap and threw him to death. Some newspapers even interviewed my neighbors and relatives and they all said that they were always convinced that I was capable of evil and told how I killed my own mother.
We live in a strange world. If a beautiful girl ditches a man and he commits suicide, she is not to be blamed. People would say that she wanted to move away from the relation and he killed himself to get even with her. I’m not surprised; why should a world which was so unkind to me be kind this time?