Camouflage- Chapter-3

They took him…….

The first night in an asylum, where everyone thought that you were crazy, a bed smelled like shit, a caretaker who was scary as ghost and the only face of similar age, made me scared like hell.  I tried to convince myself that he was crazy, as all of them were there. My fingers were wrapped with bandages and stitches on my head.  I could feel the thrust of blood at the finger edges and threads pierced through my skin. The white-green capsule and blue pill, given to me for pain and sleep, was proven useless. I was trying to sleep but exasperation of hunger and the things that happened a day ago were still alive in my subconscious. The ceiling of the room had several patches of repairs. Paint over patches was making shapes of my fears   animals, clouds, dragons or devils amid flashes of screaming and scratching. I fell asleep lately, but flashes continued  even with closed eyes. I was half awake and half asleep, like I could feel everything around. Moreover, the fabric of the bed sheet made my skin itchy. With a jinxy head, I was shrinking and compacting to be as tiny as possible to get disappeared from everything. Part of me believed in miracles and hoped a superhero was on the way to save me, but life beyond comics and fiction is bitter, isn’t it?

I heard some voices far away, the gate opened and closed, something with wheels probably a ward bed or wheel chairs, I was not sure, but it was a sound when one tried to turn the wheel forcefully. Suddenly, I felt a gust of wind that perturbed me. I felt like someone was staring at me, as I am next, and the next moment, a jerk in my bed, woke me up in shock. I don’t know if I was just scared or what I felt and heard was real. I looked around and swallowed the saliva I had in my mouth to relax me a bit. I sighed, finding everything normal, I tried to sleep back.

The next morning, Rajesh rang the alarm, waking us up. Rahul was already awake and was gazing at me, standing beside the bed.

“If you want breakfast, you have to wake up… now ,” Rahul said. I saw him with my half-opened eye.

“Yeah,” I replied.

It smelled like bread and tea, they probably kept it outside. I looked around, there were two nurses, helping kids to do their stuff.

“The tall one is Ramya di,” said Rahul, “she is really nice, you should tell her if you need something,” he added, by licking his lower lip.

“Washroom is at the end,” Ramya walked towards me and pointed a finger towards the washroom.” How do you feel? How was the sleep?” She fondled my hair and moved her hand down to my cheek.

I was pretty upset to answer that. I turned my head to the other side and tried to look the way to the washroom. Her soft touch relaxed me a bit.

“Aww baby is angry, I understand, but I am a friend, sweetie.” I gave her a gaze, like “sweetie”, really.  “I am a boy,” I said angrily.

She grabbed me and helped me get down from the bed, “sorry” she smiled, her bright colour and cute smile evaporated my useless attempts of hatred. “Come, I will explain everything” while moving towards the washroom, she said.

She explained to me how to follow the daily routines. Later on, she walked me around the big hall and showed me ‘what is where’ she introduced me to other children, Ankit, Rachit, Shobhit, Dileep, Suyash and Pradeep. There were around 15 children, except the mentioned boys rest were sitting very quietly.

I will give you breakfast, then we should talk more about things and don’t worry, I will be around the whole day if you need anything….. OK.” She said and handed me a bread butter and a cup of tea.

Standing in a corner, Rahul was observing all this.

I took my breakfast and sat at a table nearby. Rahul walked slowly towards me, as he was figuring out something in his head.

“Be careful with bread, it’s hard to chew,” he said. Where is yours? I enquired.

“I ate already.” he replied.

“What were you saying last night?” I asked.

“Me? Nothing, I get scared at night usually” he replied.

“But you were fully awake.” I stressed my accent and bent towards him.

“Don’t worry, you will know everything, this is a mental asylum, not your house.” He looked back towards the door, and around to confirm no body is watching him. “Just be careful at night,” he added.

“What do you mean? From ghost?” I asked. A little loud.

“Not exactly but, aaaah…. Leave it, don’t worry”, his fading expression did not match his red face.

With morsels of bread, I was observing the activities of others in the room. Another nurse, Savita, was fat, wearing a similar dress like Ramya di, but her black face and big eyes, was perfectly matched with her horrible voice. Right after that moment, we saw each other, and I confirmed with my look that I didn’t want her around me.

The most intriguing thing that I felt was “absoluteness in everything”. They probably planned everything, every moment, how things should go there. Or perhaps they were trying to hide something.

“Only 5 or 6 of us looking active, the rest of the boys are so quiet, why?” I asked Rahul.

” I don’t know, them all, since I reached here, they are like this, they are mad, I think, ha ha ha ha ha..” Rahul laughed, flaunting his overgrown teeth in the front.

My whole day spent in keen observations and analysis of surroundings and being Sherlock I made conclusions based on the tiny experiences in my small,, miserable life.

Usually Ramya di was around me, taking care of everything. At night I ate my food and pills and tried to settle down. I was still adjusting with the smell of naphthalene.

Around two ‘o’ clock at night, I heard some voices yet again, I was sure this time, they were real. When someone opened the room, I moved my blanket slowly, managing a sight. Two ward boys entered the room. A tall man, wearing a mask and gloves, standing behind them, was instructing them. He pointed a finger towards Ankit’s bed. Ward boys injected him with something and then took him and moved out. My eyes were stretched, and my heart beat was at max, my breath was fast,  my whole body was in shock. It all became dark as they left the hall and I felt everything had stopped, I didn’t know what to do. The moment of loneliness was at its peak and I was freaked out, from head to toe. I felt like crying and go and hide behind mom. Being coerced, I  was mute and crying. This time it was very intense, I wanted answers, “why was i facing all this? Why my parents left me? Will they take me back one day? Or they left me here for dying? Why why why why?????”

I don’t know what exactly happened to me at that moment, but I started scratching myself, and I was trembling, and I lost my senses and became unconscious or slept. The next morning, as I woke up, I looked around for Ankit, but couldn’t find him.

I asked Ramya, about him, and she lied to me that he was away for special treatment. One boy was missing, but still everything was absolute like always.

Five days later he was back, quiet, senseless, paralyzed or something, over a wheelchair.  I wanted to go and see him properly, but Savita was with him, and she didn’t allow me to be around him.

Something shitty was going on, and they tried to cover everything. I didn’t know who to trust.  My doctor, Dr. Neelesh Singh, Ramya, Savita and Rajesh,  all were very nice to me, but I was confused, were they really good? Meanwhile, me and Rahul were getting along good, almost like buddies. Dialogues with him were relaxing, and he understood my pain. I shared my story with him, he felt my pain, he had tears for me. I really liked him. I was not sure which mental issue he had and I didn’t think much about that either.

Treatment, medicine, gossip and care, a lot was happening. It had been 6 months in the asylum. My parents never visited me, but I  also stopped missing them, adaptation-greatest virtue of life. Ramya di loved me, and that ugly guy Rajesh was not that bad, and eventually I started liking him too.

Then one night, the devil came back. This time he pointed towards my bed. That jolted me and I froze with fear. Every forwarding step of the ward boy was making me numb, and my heart was bursting out. But they surpassed me and took Rahul. I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to stop them, say to them “please don’t do it, he is my only friend, please don’t do it with me”. Nothing happened, I remained frozen, and they took him.

They took him………….. They just took him……………

to be continued………

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