‘Didi, there’s a hakim I know of. He’s too good! Why don’t you take Anu to him?’
‘Tell you what, Anu is 28 now. How long will she stay at home? The hakim will give her a paste or something. He’s famous. It might work, you know.’
Maalti, aware of her sister in law’s insensitivity, signalled her to hush up by putting a finger to her lips as Anu entered the kitchen.
‘Want something, my child?’
Anu looked up and shook her head.
One couldn’t help staring at her or looking away in disgust. Acid had eaten up her entire face and an eye had been rendered useless forever. Her face was a piece of rotten flesh and her life one desperate and painful journey towards the end.
She hurriedly moved away from the refrigerator after taking out a bottle of water for the polished surface reminded her of the defaced existence.
She paused before leaving.
‘Bua, all of you are such hypocrites. You wouldn’t want to live a day of my life and here you are,with your dumb opinions, provoking me to kill myself.’
Maalti turned when she heard Anu say so and saw her standing at the threshold, holding one end of the door in her hand. Her face was full of a strange determination and Maalti had a hint of what was coming. She dashed towards Anu but she slammed the door on her face and bolted it.
Maati banged it wildly, calling out for help and trying to reason with Anu in turns.
Her breath began failing her while her sister just stood stupefied some distance away.
Soon enough, the smell of kerosene filled the air. In between wails and pleas, it turned into a repelling odour of burning, charring flesh.
And all was at peace.