“Didi”, he said “On her birthday, Ruhi took me to a place in old Delhi. She said it was a surprise. It was a really old building we went to. A man opened the door. Ruhi went in and came out after a couple of minutes. Then we went to her place. Later that night, she offered me to try that stuff she bought. It was coke!” and burst out in tears”

“Ruhi?”

“His girlfriend. He told me he was addicted to it and in the last few months he spent all his money to get coke. He was in a huge debt with that guy and asked me to leave Delhi at once, for he feared the man was serious about what he just said. But how could I leave my brother at time like this? Whatever he did, we were the only family to each other. Had the situation been other way round, I’m sure he would have found a way to help me.

So I went to Ruhi but she simply refused even talk about the matter.

“He ditched me months ago. If he could not handle it, he shouldn’t have done it. I cannot do anything about it”, was all she’d got to say. Isn’t it amazing doctor, how quick people forget others? But it was nothing new for me.

We were really scared. We didn’t have the money and certainly could not afford to leave Delhi. Each moment seemed like forever till I reached home.”

“Tanya…”

“Dr Verma!” Tanya interrupted him, ” I honestly don’t need any advice. I just want to tell this to someone because it is killing me from inside to live in constant terror. I want someone to know what happened to me, why I did the things that I did. Frankly this is the only reason I’m paying you such an amount for this session.”

“So be it.”

“A couple of days ago, when I came back from school the door wasn’t locked from inside, which was odd. I found Neel lying on the floor, blood gushing out of his mouth. Black coloured blood. He seemed to be choking on it. I dropped my stuffs and rushed to help him. Just when I reached him and moved his face, someone grabbed me from behind. I was being manhandled and couldn’t get off the grip of the massive person holding me. He turned me and slapped me several times. I was out of energy when he took me to the kitchen and threw me to the floor while he took out ropes. I knew I had to do something or Neel will die. Right in front of my eye. I grabbed the brick we used to keep the door opened and hid it behind my back. As he came to tie me up I hit him on his head. He grabbed his head and yelled fiercely, I hit him again and again and again till he passed out. I quickly tied him up, stuffed a cloth in his mouth, locked the kitchen and rushed to Neel. A few neighbours came after hearing the yelling and saw Neel lying on the floor.

CALL AMBULANCE!!!

I along with a neighbour took Neel to the hospital in an auto for waiting for an ambulance would have cost me Neel’s life. Doctors told me it was a drug overdose and I would have to face a police interrogation. I asked the neighbour to leave and went on with investigation. I told them everything but the fact that the man who sold him the drugs was in my home. Neel was fighting death there, and I was helpless. I could not do anything to help him, to save him, to release him from pain. About an hour passed when the doctor came out and informed me he will be safe. I, however, was not allowed to meet him. At midnight, I went back home. First thing I did, I unlocked the kitchen.

There he was sitting in the corner. I pulled out the cloth from his mouth.

“I don’t know who you are. Not even your name. All I know is that you have ruined my life.”

“Untie me you bitch!”

“Shut up” I don’t know how I was so calm at that moment.

“I’LL KILL YOU!!!” His eyes were red with rage.

“You don’t know what he means to me. I can kill a thousand like you for what you have done to him.” I said as I took the knife from the shelf. I could see rage dying in his eyes and fear creeping in as I stepped towards him. My hands didn’t tremble as I put the knife on his neck.

“I wish to torture you to the limit till you solemnly beg for merciful release of death. But I don’t have the time.”

I shoved the cloth into his mouth and ran the knife around his neck. His struggle ended within minutes, and all that remained was a puddle of blood and a body on the floor. I spent all night cutting him into small pieces, filled it in 11 polybags and dumped it in 11 different dustbins in the city. This is the knife that I used.”

Dr Verma sat flabbergasted as Tanya took out the knife from her handbag.

“You… you think you did the right thing?”

“No doctor, but what I did, I did it for my family. I didn’t even try to save Neel from police for what he did. But I could not see the person responsible for it roaming free in the city. I was about to end my life that day, but I thought of life without Neel. I didn’t want him to live his life alone, without me.”

“What about Neel?”

 “As much as that man needed to be punished, Neel deserves it too. I am leaving this to the law, because I can’t do it. He is still unconscious, all because of one bad day.”

“Bad day?”

“It takes one bad day to reduce the sanest man alive to lunacy. One bad day and everything changes, Neel had it with Ruhi. I had it with Neel.”

“And how do you feel about it, killing someone?”

“I have lost my parents when I was a kid, Doctor. I know how death affects lives. I feel terrible about it every moment. I have not slept for three days. It is true that this man I killed was responsible for destroying a lot of person’s lives. But I’m no vigilante. Whatever I did, I did for my family. Because family is all everyone has got to live for, and Neel is the only family I have. Doctor I want you to keep this knife. If police finds out about me, please tell them why I did it and what you think about it.”

“Tanya…”

“Thank you, Doctor. My family is waiting for me.”