DARKNESS AND COLORS


Darkness and colors

He crushed the goblet. Shards of glass pierced his hand, drops of blood rolling down his fingers. But this pain was nothing compared to the amount of misery in his heart.

There was nothing but grief. The guilt of not reaching in time to save his mother. The agony after his wife backstabbed him. The pressure of handling the family business.

Outside, people were laughing, brightly colored from head to toe, enjoying this festival rapturously, whereas he couldn’t bear this festival without being attacked by flashbacks.

***

Karleen was drenched in colors and her skin was coated with powder. Still, she had never had so much fun before.

“We Kapoors have the best Holi celebrations,” Jolie Kapoor said.

“Where’s your brother?” Karleen asked. “I mean, where’s boss?”

She has been working for Mr. Rahul Kapoor, a strict, bossy man who hardly smiled. She wasn’t a big fan of him, but his siblings were the opposites. The Kapoors were a big family.

Jolie’s smile vanished.

Karleen frowned. Did she say something wrong? “If it’s family -”

“It’s fine,” Jolie sighed. “After all, you’re like my sister.”

Karleen tried to shrug it off. She was an orphan; the closest she could get was to talk to someone.  She was glad Jolie excepted her as a sister.

Jolie began, “Every year, whichever festival it was, he always locks himself up, because it gives him terrible memories. He’s in a deep trauma because he couldn’t save Mom. Holi… forget it.”

 She sniffed. “Four years, yet his past still haunts him. And no matter how many times he tries to move on with his life… we all tried to help… it doesn’t work out…”

Karleen’s mind went blank. She’d never been so shocked and wrong about a person before. She’d always referred to Mr. Rahul as a cold-hearted dude who loved his ego. She never knew he had a tragic past.

Plus, the same thing had happened to her. Her parents left her at the orphanage several years back, she found her true love but he deceived her for money. She felt Mr. Rahul’s pain.

***

He roared to get lost, but she refused.

Rahul blinked, little surprised. No one disobeyed to him like that. Curious, he opened the door.

Last time he’d seen Karleen, she was dressed professionally and talked formally.

But now… whoa.

Her loose hair was tangled and her whole body was splattered with colors. She smelt strongly of paint and hibiscus flowers. Her eyes twinkled with mischief.

Rahul had never met anyone who looked outstanding in business suits and formal clothes.

He turned, inserting bullets in his gun.

“Sir,” Karleen murmured. “I just want to help. I truly do.”

He glared at her face. “Huh. Help. You don’t-”

“I understand,” she interrupted, “because I lost my parents too, and I, too, have been betrayed by my true love. And no one understands another’s pain until they’ve gone through it.”

He looked on. Behind that innocent face was a ruined soul who once walked through glass to prove her love, just to get heartbroken, who made tons of cards for her parents, just to tear them in disbelief.

Whoa, Rahul shook himself. What was happening to him? Why was his heart beating so fast? He had never felt like this about anyone.

Rahul targeted his gun at her. He wanted to see her regret that she knew his past. But she didn’t.

“Hurting yourself won’t put your mother’s death at peace, boss.”

What’s her problem?

She lowered his gun. “Jolie told me that you and Mrs. Kapoor loved Holi.”

 Something snapped in him. “I hate it,” he growled. “It’s the day when my wife sold herself to my enemies in the name of blood.” He had a vision of his wife smiling cruelly, as she entered the lair of his rivalries. “Red… is the color of blood.”

Karleen stopped him from hurting himself. “It’s also the color of love.”

It seemed odd, talking to an employee about his problems. But he felt…okay.

“I know our loved ones can leave or betray us,” she said. “But the best you can do is … to let go and move on.”

She pointed at the Kapoors’ picture portrait. “You have your family, your mother’s blessings, who wanted her son to have a blissful life. Don’t let her sacrifice down in waste.”

Rahul was wordless. She was right. His mother never would’ve wanted him suffering like this. And his wife… it didn’t matter.

For the first time in years, he felt… peaceful?  

Karleen grinned, holding her multicolored hands. “So… can I be the first one to color you?”

Before, he would’ve refused. Now, he smiled.

Holi is the festival of colors, love; people forget their problems and enjoy being with their family.

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