She covered her eyes to protect them from the piercing light. It was uncomfortably bright. Why was this place so well lit? Why couldn’t she spot a single source of the light? Was she dreaming? No, she had to tell the truth. There was no option except that. Never had she thought that she’d be answerable for everything she’s done. She was gripped by a sense of unreality.
A part of her was glad to unburden itself. The entire experience was surreal or was it something else? Each step felt strange. She stood in the witness box. She felt the truth pouring out of her. As if she was helpless, not in control and not herself. Her entire life replayed itself. She was overwhelmed and choked. They administered her a oath. She promised to stand by what was true. Why were they putting her through this when they seemed to have all the answers?
The tall man with a vacuous look stood up. The lack of emotion was mildly disturbing. He bombarded her with a string of questions.
“You lied to your mother? You did that for money? What about your siblings? The certificates you used were fake? You cheated him all the while or after he fell sick? Did you hit his old mother? Did you steal credit for that promotion? Was the plan to steal your sister in law’s jewellery premeditated or were you suddenly overcome by temptation? Did you cheat in all your exams? Did you abort your child and feign an accident in front of your family? Have you always been so jealous and vengeful? Have your thoughts always been so ugly? Did you…”
The two men and the strikingly beautiful woman discussed her answers. The truth has different flavors. They tried to reach a consensus. How immoral? How bad? How harmful? Both the action and the intent .The thoughts had to be taken into cognizance. As if that was quantitative. They communicated their decision to a man, fully clad in black. He was making something akin to tally marks or God knows what.
“I don’t remember having a dream as bizarre as this”, she thought to herself. Was she up or was the reigning confusion apart of her dream as well. This didn’t seem real at all. It seemed a lot like a court- was she actually in a court? She wouldn’t have been surprised if someone had filed a case against her. She had wronged so many people and was despised by many.
They wouldn’t ask her about cheating in exams or her thoughts, in court, or would they? This had to be a dream. Why couldn’t she end the dream? Something was eluding her or was she reluctant to see the reading on the wall? Her guilt haunted her, rendering her helpless. She had had such dreams before. Dreams in which she had a chance to confess… Yes confession was the key.
Was she hallucinating? This must be a figment of her imagination! Her therapist could be right. All this while she was sure she had felt, seen, heard and smelt everything her therapist claimed was just a product of her mind. There could be a chance that she was ‘queer’. This was what her relatives called her – queer. She must call up her therapist. “I should have taken my medicines”, she said aloud.
Suddenly she felt refreshed, startled, more alert than ever and in complete control. The feeling was akin to being douched in cold water.
The man in black put the last tally mark. Closed the huge book. “Hell”, he gave his verdict.