Days rolled by, Vani was on tenterhooks, without any kind of a solace. Smita’s situation needed her undivided attention; she was worried that she could not give attention to the other two children. Her fears were somewhat allayed when, Smriti ( the other twin) offered to help.
Days become months, there was no change for the better in the situation. On the advice of well-wishers, Smita was taken to Naturopathy, treated by Ayurvedic doctors. But her condition only worsened. One morning, Vani found to her shock that Smita could not move. She had perhaps suffered a paralytic stroke that took away her speech and mobility.
Imagine a beauty of 22 years being confined to the bed! in such a pathetic condition. The family was shattered. Vani was heartbroken. Many questions bombarded her mind – is this her fate? Will she ever recover? Will I be able to cope with the situation? What if something went wrong with me, what will happen to Smita? Will Smriti ever get married? Will people think, if one twin has a problem, the other one also may suffer similarly?.
Ravi and Smriti were her pillars of support. Vani’s in-laws offered all support despite their advanced years. Smita’s every need had to be taken care off, right from brushing her teeth, bathing her, feeding her et al. Vani did not want to employ any outside help as she feared that they may hurt Smita out of frustration. Both Vani and Smriti took turns to attend to Smita. They shared with Smita, day’s happenings, jokes and stories, which she did acknowledge. Immobility made Smita’s legs and hands stiff. Vani on her part tried to relax them by massaging , but to no avail. The situation was heart rending .with the future bleak..
A couple of years passed, with no improvement in Smita's condition.. Vani had left no stone unturned, taking recourse to all types of medicine, pujas and even superstitious beliefs
One day, Ravi while reading the papers read of a physician who cured people in similar predicament and about his Bangalore visit. With some hope rekindled, Vani & Ravi took Smita to him. He advised that Smita be treated to massage of her legs and hands and a round of exercises by his assistants for a period three months. He mentioned that depending on Smita’s response, he would be able to judge if she would recover or not. Thus started the treatment. Ninety days elapsed, there was some kind of an improvement, so the treatment was prolonged.
One day in the midst of the night, Smita screamed, It was petrifying, none had a clue as to what was the cause, she was perspiring heavily and had an evil smile on her face. Was she possessed?
On the following morning Smita was normal like on any other day, unaware of her weird behaviour in the previous night. The elders of the family were emphatic that she was possessed more so since it had happened on a full moon night. This became a routine happening on every full moon day. In came all sorts of tantrics. The humiliating and often cruel process of driving away the spirit started, Vani was totally devastated, when they manhandled her , beat up Smita and did all kinds of cruelty in the name of rituals.
When their efforts proved futile, they justified their failure alleging that it was a stubborn spirit. The family gave up, with this experiment unable to bear the torture. and the uncertainty.
The routine of taking care of the poor girl continued for Vani & Ravi. All that Vani could do was lament. With passage of time, Smita’s hands and leg became stiffer and they could not be moved. But surprisingly, she never had any bed sores. Years rolled by during which time Vani's in laws had passed away, Smriti luckily got married, and son landed on a good job. But for Vani miserable routine continued.
One September morning, Smita began to perspire profusely, her clothes were drenched as if they were just wrung. She began to cry uncontrollably perhaps because she was unable to express her predicament. The doctors were called in, but they could little with the patient being unable to communicate. Vani with a heavy heart continued to fan Smita, pacify and soothe her.
Three days later, Smita lost her long battle of 15 years when she passed away possibly to her great relief from the physical and mental pain.