It was a bright sunny day. We set out at 8.30 am on a Monday to find her. Doreen, Chinju and me were friends but not the kind of friends with whom we shared all our secrets. Neither did we ever go on a spree. But we did have our share of fun in class rooms. We were classmates.
Always cracking jokes, Chinju had never been a killjoy. It might be the only reason, why we did share a camaraderie despite not being best friends. That was ten years ago. It was Doreen's idea that we should find her.
On our way, engrossed in nostalgia, Doreen asked “ Did you know she had a tubal pregnancy?” “ No,” I said.
Doreen is still living in Thrissur ( Thrissur is a district in Kerala) with her two sons. Since her husband is also from the same city, she did not leave the place. Now, for many of us who had to sever ties with many past relations due to our circumstances, she is the only link left. I left Thrissur around seven years ago to pursue my higher studies and then took up a job in the neighbouring district, Ernakulam. The schedules were too hectic that I could hardly find enough time to go to Thrissur, the only place I love the most.
Chinju, Doreen and me were in a convent college. Many said it lacked colour as it was a women's only college and some often sympathised with me for that. “ You will never know the real meaning of freedom unless you are in a mixed college,” they used to say. Even after ten years of my college, I seldom felt that. Maybe because my concept of freedom might be different from them.
Breaking my train of thoughts, Doreen said “ This was her second pregnancy. I was surprised to know that she could endure this much pain. Remember the kind of girl she was – lean and lanky,”. Chinju was too thin that we sometimes feared that she could not bear the burden of her long thick silky tresses. After a 20 minutes journey, we reached there where we are supposed to find her.
As the tropical sun is beating down on our heads, we opened our umbrella and started searching for her. Some times, Doreen would loudly say “ Stop your hide and seek. It is too hot here. Why don't you come out.”
With brewing suspicion I asked her “ Are you sure, she would be here ?” In the farthest corner of where we stood, there was a dilapidated building. Ivies were creeping all over. The gust of wind that came through the thick branches of trees gave the place, a sepulchral look. Except the place where we stood and its nearby areas, the place was thickly weeded. It seemed as if it has been months since somebody took any trouble to clear it. There is a narrow pathway leading to the weedy area. It might have been made my some who sometimes sought to wander into it, seeking solitude.
“ Of course, this is the place – Lourdes Cathedral and it was in 2010. How could I forget that,” she said.
We covered grave to grave, to be precise from 1800 to 2014. Some had only names engraved while some other had the photo of the deceased on it. But we could not find her.
“ It was just three years ago. I just can't think that her family did not construct a cemetry for her and it might have taken up for somebody else because of the lack of space,” Doreen said sadly. We were completely drained out as we went through almost all the graves. Doreen still did not want to give up.
“ Never mind, she might be here. There are innumerable graves that we might have missed some. We will find her, next time,” I told to cheer her up.