“Tara…Tara…where are you?” Teena called out to Tara in her room looking for her everywhere below the bed, behind the cupboard, behind the curtains but Tara was nowhere in sight. Now Teena was getting really anxious. A few minutes back Tara was right there playing with her, laughing and joking and suddenly she had disappeared. “She must have got upset” thought Teena. Tara had suggested that they both should sneak out into the jungle once Teena’s parents were asleep at night. She said that there was a bewitching garden in the middle of the jungle which was frequented by fairies. They were wish granting fairies. One could ask them to fulfil any wish.
Though Tara was Teena’s best friend, it was hard to believe this story. How could there be wish granting fairies? Fairies only existed in fairy tales. When she refused saying that mom would be really angry, Tara got so upset that she even broke Teena’s favourite pen stand. In fact Teena ought to have been angry but it was always the other way round. Even if it was Tara’s mistake, she never relented. Every time Teena only went to her to pacify her anger.
Since Tara was nowhere to be found, Teena went out of her room to have dinner. When Maya, her mom, saw her gloomy face, she asked her what was the matter. Teena replied sadly, “Mom Tara is angry with me again. She went away without telling me.” “Oh God! When will this Tara leave you? How many times have I told you Tara does not exist. She is just your imagination. She has to go forever,” Maya yelled at Teena. Teena looked at Maya shocked, “No mom its not so, Tara does exist. She is with me all the time.” Teena started sobbing having said this.
Maya felt really helpless. She was the one who had introduced Tara to Teena when Teena was three years old. Her husband had died in a car crash while on his way to Gurgaon. They had a poultry farm on the outskirts of the city and there was no other house in their neighbourhood. Maya had to look after the business after her husband’s death. She remained so busy that she hardly got any time for Teena. Teena moved around the farm like a lonely planet and had no one to talk to or play with. So Maya created an imaginary friend for Teena and named her Tara. Teena’s imagination had just begun to develop. She actually began imagining Tara and started talking to her endlessly and sharing all her toys with her and playing with her the whole day. This kept Teena busy and extremely happy and helped Maya to pursue her work without any problem.
What began as just a game, gradually started becoming an obsession. Her imaginary friend became a reality for her. Now Teena was entering her adolescence. She was old enough to understand the difference between reality and imagination. Maya had tried to counsel her several times but Teena simply refused to understand. She had also consulted a psychiatrist and her therapies went on for a few years but still no riddance. Maya was really worried and didn’t know what to do. Teena had spent so much time with Tara especially during the years she was not with Teena that now Tara had become an important part of her life. Tara had grown with her, played with her, bathed with her, studied with her and done all the creative and uncreative activities with her. Teena had become very happy, active, communicative and creative after Tara came into her life. Since the changes in her were so positive, Maya never minded her involvement. But now Tara had started troubling Teena. She had started throwing tantrums, pressing and pushing her for all the wrong things and breaking her favourite possessions. Teena had recently started complaining a lot about Tara. “Tara hits me mumma…doesn’t let me do my homework, breaks my things, gets angry with me, wants me to go into the dreary jungle at night” Teena would often complain. Maya thought now was the right time to get rid of Tara. She had a plan.
The next day she made Teena’s favourite apple pie. The aroma filled the whole house. Teena’s mouth watered for it but just before serving it to Teena, Maya threw it into the dustbin and told Teena that Tara came to the table as soon as the pie was ready and gobbled it all up. Teena was shocked. How could it be true? But she couldn’t do anything. Maya had recently bought a beautiful dress for Teena. She cut it into two halves and then ran screaming to Teena, “Look what Tara did to your dress”. Teena couldn’t believe her eyes. She scolded Tara in her imagination and vowed never to talk to her.
The next day Maya opened her hair and messed them up and then started screaming, “Teena come fast…Tara is pulling my hair”. When Teena rushed in, Maya pretended as if Tara was trying to strangulate her and acted as if she was getting choked and struggling to free herself. Teena too imagined the same and quickly came to her mother’s rescue.
After that her mother held Teena’s hands and said, “Teena let Tara go. She has become a wild child. She is trying to kill me. Tell her today that you no longer wish to see her and just get rid of her. She has become a bad girl. She must leave now. “Ok mom, I’ll ask her to leave. I love you mom and I will not let her harm you.” This gave Maya quite a relief and she thought that finally now she would be able to get rid of her problem.
The next morning, Maya went to Teena’s room thinking that finally Teena must have got rid of Tara. When she entered, she got the shock of her life. The whole room was in a mess. Teena’s wrist had a big cut and there was blood all around. “What happened?” She screamed. “Tara did this mom. She said she would never leave me and cut my wrist”. Maya fell to the floor helpless.