Hippolytus: Do you see my plight, Queen, stricken as I am?

Artemis: I see, but my eyes are not permitted to shed tears.

I had been released from hospital. I have to visit PGI, Chandigarh once a week to consult Dr Pratap Sharan. He is one of the most learned men of his discipline; from Patna, he speaks so softly that you might imagine it is Agyeya you are sitting next to. A source of unlimited support. The carnivorous butterfly still visits my room but not every day. When she comes after a few days, she says:

– Good girls keep their promises.

She said: Aap bahut sharaarati ho gaye hain. (You’ve become very mischievous.)

I: If you’re going to call me mischievous, perhaps you should use “tum” instead of “aap”.

She would come to the hospital when my elder sister was dozing and the doctors were on lunch break. At those times the difference between darkness and death would be a single step. Now she would begin to feel regret, for her punishment had far exceeded my crime.

– I cannot stop.

– Why?

– Because I cannot.

That day she left, giving me no encouragement. I had become a mixed metaphor. I am still afraid of crying. When they release me from the…

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