A woman of eighty found herself standing in front of a mirror in her living room but the reflection on the mirror was odd. The woman looked like her, the plain saree was the same, so were the lines and wrinkles on the face, the loose skin, the messy thin greying hair but her posture was different, the lady in the mirror was erect, she had an unusual glint in her grey eyes and she smirked at the lady standing in front of the mirror who was lost in deep thought, she looked worried and sad. She didn’t seem to be aware of her surroundings. Suddenly, the reflection in the large ancient mirror spoke, “My dear” she said with a peculiar smile “trying to solve a problem, are we?” The woman was startled, “What on earth… What is…? Where am… Who are…” she gasped.
“Try again, we have all the time in the world” she said with a giggle, “God knows, I am going nowhere unless you are going somewhere.”
The lady caught her breathe and with a lot of effort managed to whisper the words, “Am I dead?”
“Dead?” said the reflection. “Sarita, use your imagination, your reflection is talking to you. Does this look like heaven or hell?” She continued not expecting an answer. “This is nothing but a reality check, my lady.”
“So is this all in my head? Am I hallucinating?” Sarita asked, now finding the strength to talk. “Have I gone mad?”
“No, you’ve not gone mad?”
“So, is this real?”
“So what the hell is going on?”
“You ask way too many questions!”
“Final question. Why am I here?”
“You have put yourself in this position.”
“What do you mean? I didn’t mean for me to be hallucinating or dreaming or whatever you want to call this. I was fine till a while ago. I was in Ahmedabad in my beautiful house reading…” suddenly she looked worried. “No that’s not it. A while ago I was…”
“You were crying at your daughter’s house in Mumbai” her reflection finished the sentence for her. “You were regretting every single decision you made since she had left the house. You were cursing your son and were willing to kill him, you were screaming your lungs out, telling everyone who would hear about your problems and yesterday while you were having a pity party you fell on the sofa and slipped into a comma. So yes, you did this to yourself, a series of your decisions have brought you here!”
“But how is it my fault that a son I trusted and raised turned out to be an ungrateful piece of shit! I didn’t raise him to be this mean, conniving, selfish man.”
“Oh! Don’t lie to yourself! You knew he was a cheat and would always be one when he lied to you about giving Tina her share of the property. And that wasn’t even the first sign. You never confronted him when he stole money from your closet or when drugs were found in his drawers. You let it pass and now here you are in a mess you have fashioned for yourself waiting to die.”
“Don’t shout at me, I thought he will know better once he is older!”
“And wasn’t it worth the wait.”
“And yes, I do want to die! I have lost everything I ever cared about. My house, my books, my son, my grandchildren and my husband. I miss him the most, I haven’t made love since twenty years! Twenty long years! Even my wrists are numb with all the fingering! So, yes I think it’s time.”
“Oh! That is not why you want to die! Admit it, you are running because of the mess you have created for yourself. The will. And woman seriously get a dildo!”
“He made me sign the papers when I had my first heart attack. I was scared.”
“You are always scared. That is the problem don’t you realise it. You were scared to die then and you are scared to live now without all the money.”
“It is not about the…”
Suddenly, Sarita could feel electricity running through her body, her chest started burning and she felt like her body is going to crumble down to the floor. She screamed with eyes tightly shut and when she opened them she saw a fan but only for a moment.
“So you were saying” said a familiar voice. And she was back in front of the mirror.
“They shocked you but you didn’t wake up and let us not get sucked in a long conversation about how you feel.”
“Fine!” She said glaring at the mirror. “I was saying I should die! I deserve to die! Have I not suffered enough?”
“Your son was a monster you created for yourself and you will have to deal with it. You were his creator and now he is your master.”
“Anyway, I don’t want to deal with the monster. I lived with the monster remember and all I want to do is die in peace. Mostly, because I can’t take the peer pressure of going to the bloody temple again. It’s hot and noisy! Poor God!”
“Stop trying to change the topic! You will die. You are old, you are going to die eventually. But this is a chance for you to finally stand up for yourself. Get him arrested and make sure he suffers. Don’t let the beast have all the power.”
“Fine. I suppose you are right. I suppose I could teach that arse of a man a lesson and die comfortably in Ahmedabad. But as soon as the police get him I die!”
“It’s a deal! So are you ready to wake up?”
“Yes. Okay just wait.”
Five minutes pass.
“Anytime now” said the reflection.
“I suppose we could sit and chat because I really wanted to know why I don’t like Dhokla because I am a Gujarati and since you are me with clarity you could tell me.”