Have you ever killed another human being?




Yes, I have killed a human being.


It was the evening of 21st November 2009. I was jumping with my trophy around

the house! I had won it for a young writer competition that day, held at

an interschool level. Although I had already started writing short stories and poems

at online sites under the pen name: Vani…this was still very special for

me…because this was going to earn me recognition!


I was super excited and was waiting for my father to return from work! He is a

heart specialist at a renowned hospital in Delhi.

As soon as I saw his car drive into the driveway...I rushed to greet him at the door.

He handed me his bag, loosened his necktie...and went to sit on the sofa.

My younger brother Akshay brought him water, and my mother brought tea with

biscuits. He had just sipped the tea when he saw me all jumpy and asked me, "why do you look so happy?"


To which my face lit up. I showed him the trophy and gave him my biggest smile!!

He examined the trophy…and asked, "what did you get it for?"


"For the young writer competition!!" I replied, beaming with joy.… "I secured the

first position papa and a small contract in which my next ten poems and short

stories would be published in a popular youth magazine! And tomorrow we have

to go to Rohini to make my registration. I mean, wow, Papa!! I am so excited!! I

have even decided the pen name...that I would use to write my stories: Vani!! And

dad..." but my dad cut me short.


"Malika, I will eat early today...ok...Akshay, get my bag in the room..." He started

taking off his shoes.


He got up from the sofa and started heading towards his room. I looked surprisingly towards my mom and then my brother Akshay...he shrugged.


I called after my father, holding my trophy in my hand, "papa ...did you like it?"

He replied with a "hmm" without even looking back.

My mom was setting the table, and my brother Akshay was busy reading the

medical thriller "SHOCK" by Robin Cook.


The table was set. The smell of chilly paneer had filled the room. My mom had

cooked it especially for me as a treat for my winning the contest.

My dad came out of the room in his white kurta pajama and sat down on the dining

table. We were all eating when my dad suddenly spoke up, "what are your plans

Ira…how is your preparation going for your tenth board examinations?"

I answered casually, "arrey papa..abhi toh bohot time hai boards mein..but padai chal rahi hai achhchi" ( oh dad..there is a lot of time in examinations ..but yeah..studies are going at a good pace)


He stopped eating and looked at me, "what is this casual attitude, Ira? I expect better from a student like you."

"Sorry, papa ...I didn't..." but I was cut short…

"I don't want your sorry... I want at least 97% in your board examinations...do you

get it? Because only then will you be able to get the science stream and become a doctor like me." my dad replied in his heavy voice.

I looked at my mother and blinked my nervousness at her. She looked at me and

gave me the, don't-look-at-me-I-told-you, looks.

I mustered all my courage and spoke up, "Papa...I don't want to become a doctor...

I want to be a writer and full-time blogger...I have already started writing at the online platform under the pen name Vani...and you know.." but again I was

cut short by my father.


"I think if you specialize in cardiology..it would be great. I would love to hear

'Heart specialist Vikrant Mehrotra's daughter Ira Mehrotra is a cardiologist'...it

indeed would be music to ears...What do you say, Malika?"

My mother simply nodded without looking up from eating.

But I couldn't take it anymore. "Papa, are you even listening to me...I want to be a

writer"


He went on with his eating without saying a word.

I was almost in tears when I said, "Papa, at least hear me out...Please"

To which he said, "I heard you alright, Ira, but I choose to ignore the

unimportant things."

Tears started rolling down my cheeks. "But, papa…"

"Ira, no more discussions … I want the best for you...I want to see you succeed."

He got up and went off to wash his hands.


I left my plate and went running inside my room. I fell asleep on my bed, crying.

The next morning I got up early and rushed out of my room. I sighed a breath of

relief when I saw my father sitting on the dining table with his morning newspaper.

I went up to him and said, "papa…today, we need to go and register at Rohini.."

He looked up at me and gave me a stern look…which meant "no means no."

He folded the newspaper, picked up his coat, gave my mom a goodbye peck on her cheek, and left.


That was it. I got a call from the Young writers' office, and they asked me if I was

coming to Rohini or not, and of course, I refused, saying that it would take a toll on my academics.

……

I kept crying inconsolably. My mother tried to console me by making my favorite

breakfast of coffee and homemade pancakes.


I was still crying when I opened my science book to study (I didn't go to the school that day). Just then, the photo frame above my desk caught my eye; it was a photo

of my dad holding me up in his arms when I won the first prize in a fancy dress

competition, in which I had dressed up as a … "doctor." I realized he looked so proud to see me dressed up as a doctor! I smiled, brushed off my tears, and

started studying.


That evening, I clearly remember I sat down on my laptop and deleted all my online writing portals accounts. I took out all my writing pads, took down my poems from my bulletin boards, put them in my grandma's trunk, locked it, and carried it to the attic. I kept the trunk in one corner and closed the attic door behind me.


That day I killed Vani…a writer.

I had to kill her to give birth to Dr. Ira Mehrotra.

Today I am a practicing 'heart' specialist.

I still laugh at the irony, though... my father is a heart specialist who failed to understand my heart.

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