“Here we have the winner of the Filmfare Best Actress award for an outstanding portrayal of a woman suffering domestic violence, Renuka Rav . . . Renuka.” the MC announces.
“Now, you may ask her whatever questions you have. Over to you Renuka Rav . . . ahem, Renuka” the MC continues, and shoots me a comforting smile.
The table mike is pushed towards me. I hold it in my hand. Lifeless. I look up. Throngs of press reporters and photographers surround me like vultures.
“Renuka, is it true that you are getting a divorce from Ravindran?”
“Do you confirm that Ravindran hit you?”
I feel the world closing in on me. Morbid emotions surround me like a deathly veil. Invisible hands choke my throat. I gasp for breath.
“Do you feel that Ravindran cheated since Pooja is more hotter than you?”
“How does it feel to be cheated? Are you sad, angry, irritated?”
“Will you still act after the failure of your personal life?”
The arc lights hit my face. It stings like fire, burning me up beyond death. I feel it burn my skin. Inside me, I feel empty. Vacant. Hollow. I feel a void beyond all that emptiness.
“I request silence . . . please. Sit down sir, she will answer all your questions. Yes, please. Maintain silence. You sir . . .yes you. Please sit down. Let her speak.” the MC pleads.
I look around the room through my lifeless eyes. I see blurs of colors, white, black, red, green . . . I hear voices. There is shouting. Clamor. Like a flea market. A constant buzz, a myriad din of voices. Noise. But, I can’t hear. There are voices in my head. Whispers. My baby’s cry. My mother’s soothing lullaby. My father’s comforting words. Ravindran’s whispers in my ear. These whispers are what I hear beyond the noise of the press room. It drowns the commotion. The ruckus. Everything is a blur. Everyone is a blot.
I blink away the tears from my eyes, and face the photographers clicking away, flashes of white blinding light searing my soul.
I pull the mike closer to me.
Death hangs like a noose around my neck. Words constrict my windpipe. I’m unable to swallow. Unable to breathe. Tuneless. Soulless. I clear my throat.
“My name is Renuka . . . ” I say, “Renuka Ravindran”.