Friday, October 31, 2008

A short story about relationships - not far from reality...! contd


Shabana and I enjoyed at Mr & Mrs Quadri's sprawling house. Mrs Quadri was a great hostess and made us both feel very comfortable. She had a teenaged house maid, who became my best friend for that week. Mrs Quadri took us out for movies, hung out at malls with us, and bought us some fabulous sets of clothes. Best of all was our daily visit to the ice cream parlour. she bought me my favourite flavour every day. I think I became an addict of Baskin Robin's Butter Scotch ice cream. We were genuinely sad when the week long vacation came to an end. I could barely envisage reliving the usual life at the orphanage.

My first thoughts after reaching back home (orphanage) was to find ways of getting out even if it was for short visits. Soon I was friends with an auto rickshaw owner who would wait for me at the corner of our lane. At first he gave me short joy rides.....while all girls were on the play ground for evening games. I slipped out without any one's knowledge. Shabana was my ally. My joy rides got longer as we went out to eat ice cream, so Shabana had to cover up for me. Some times I would bring an ice cream for Shabana. My new friend's name was Raju. He was fat, burly and dark. He became the envy of his friends whenever I would be seen with him. One day as I alighted from his rickshaw and he drove away, one of his his friends came up to me with a box of chocolates. No one had ever given me a gift before. I was on cloud nine as he drove away saying ' I am off to Bombay tonight, tell me what you would like me to bring for you...?' I was touched by Sammy's warmth, but said nothing. 2 weeks later I was seeing Sammy regularly, Naani and some of my friends were aware of my wild flights to nowhere with Sammy. Then one day, just like that Sammy disappeared. Several months later I found out that he was picked up by the police for chain snatching. Raju was back in my life, but I had lost interest in him. Naani was secretly passing all information to Mrs Mallya. So one day when Raju was around, Mrs Mallya arrived from nowhere, and called Raju in the office. I think a long discussion followed for 2 hours. I found out later that Mrs Mallya was at first annoyed with Raju, but when he told her he wanted to marry me, she was fine. I am 15 and certainly not keen to marry Raju who is past 40 yrs, and has 4 teenage kids and a wife of 17 years. Mrs Mallya was beginning to worry about us, and wanted to send us to a rehab center......! I was not bothered....but my craving for Butter scotch ice cream, Bhel puri, pani puri, and kebaabs was unsatiated. I had been eyeing the food stuff cupboard regularly, so I could take away some of uncooked provisions, as I was sure that the corner shop grocer would happily give me cash for grains. But the chance did not present itself; besides Shabana was against anything of this sort. So one quiet afternoon while Naani was asleep, I pocketed (it fit in just fine) the spare gas burner regulator from the kitchen and exchanged it with the grocery man for Rs 50, as that would buy me a butter scotch ice cream....!

When they found out about the regulator, all hell broke loose. Shabana and I were shifted to a an isolated single occupancy room on the ground floor, away from all other inmates. Mrs Mallya was going to address us after a week along with another trustee. A week passed by without any punishment. I was suspicious that a more profound punishment was awaiting us. I was aware that Mrs Mallya had already called Chaacha over and requested him to take us back, but he had refused. I was contemplating on contacting Raju, but decided against it, as the idea of spending life with his wife and 4 children was far from appealing to me. During this period Shabana's high school exams were held, and when the results came she had flunked in almost all the subjects. Another week later Mrs Mallya arrived with 2 other trustees whom we had only seen on dais during eid functions etc. The 2 gentleman seemed in a hurry at first, but later spoke to me at length. I was told that this was my last warning, and if I continued in my ways I would be handed over to the Police. Mr Feroze was highly connected socially. He said ' The police chief is my friend. I have already discussed your case with his opinion you would be worse off in police lock up, and are sure to become a confirmed thief, as the inmates there who will be your companions, are all charge sheeted thieves. We want to give you another chance Hina, so make the best of it...!' He sat close to me and spoke with authority. His phone rang and he got busy answering it. I looked at Shabana who was engaged in a conversation with the other trustee, and Mrs Mallya was busy organising tea and biscuits for the guests. When he finished his phone call, Mrs Mallya placed a cup of tea in his hand and he placed his mobile phone on his side. I had not the slightest difficulty in picking up the phone when they all got up to leave. It looked like an expensive gadget , his phone, and I visualised getting a lot of money for it.

10 days later, A Police jeep pulled up the slope, and atleast 4 officers alighted. after half hour of paper work with office admin, Shabana and I were asked to accompany them. Mrs Mallya was not around. We were taken to a dilapidated structure - the police station, which had various police officers and a big lock up. Several men were in the lock up, but we were shown by a woman constable to another 10' x 10' enclosure. That was the female lock up and we were the only occupants in it. Shabana was crying continously, and I felt sad too. At night we were given bread and wada to eat. The lady constable was elderly and warned us not to allow any male police constables inside the enclosure. After a few hours it was very dark; some one knocked on the door but we did not answer....! The night passed without any incident. But the next evening was different. Shabana was shifted to another room, they said it was more comfortable. But soon after midnight she was back in the dingy enclosure. One look at her face broke my heart. Her clothes were torn and she was bruised all over. She was sobbing uncontrollably. That was the first time in my life that I felt remorse......I had no words to console her. In the darkness I cried with her...! We both cried together.
But my thoughts were far far away ..... to the nights/days when I was a very little girl. My mother would always shout at me for having thick black hair full of lice that would crawl all over my dirty pillow each night. she would scold me for dropping food parts around the little room which was our house. Father always told her not to be so hard on us. That would anger her more, and she would hit us with a stick. My father would be angry, but not enough to make her stop. He would go away each morning on his auto rickshaw and say to her ' I would rather stay out all day and night than to come home to this hell. Outside my friends laugh at me for keeping you here. The whole world knows what goes on between you and that labour supervisor at the construction site' and he would be gone. That day the labour supervisor spent the entire day at our house with my mother. And that night my father came home very late. Mother was sleeping in the kitchen and the supervisor was waiting in the room. As the sound of auto rickshaw stopped and my father's footsteps were heard, the supervisor hid behind the iron cupboard. Mother asked him if he would eat dinner. My father did not reply, and got ready to go to bed. Mother kept asking him many questions, but he would not reply. Suddenly the Supervisor came out from the hiding trying to strike at my father. Father was on his feet, and soon they were embroiled in a tussle. Shabana ran to the loo outside, and kept calling me while both the men were involved together. Mother rushed out from kitchen and shut the door on Shabana, while gesturing me also to go out. I was rooted to the ground. Many things were happening at that moment, but the one thing I remember most was that while the 2 men were at each other mother picked up the round sickle knife from kitchen and struck my father with it. He groaned aloud and slipped to the floor. I screamed and ran outside where Shabana was sitting in a corner in the dark......We never saw father after that. It was always the supervisor visiting our house. But a few months later the police van came and took them both away. That day Chacha took us to his house....!!!!

Now Shabana and I have been sent to remand home, where I have learnt to mingle with some smart friends. Shabana rarely talks to other inmates, and silently seeks my help whenever hardships befall her. I have made useful friends inside this remand home, who would do any thing to help me. Life was going on pretty well until one day, I saw who was cooking in the jail kitchen. My eyes almost fell out,but there was no mistaking the woman there. She was unmistably our mother, and her demeanour confirmed her identity. She wore a colourful 9 yrad sari, with a red border and she was chewing pan (as was her habit), while feeding special lunch to the Remand home supervisor. No that was not the man with she had killed my father. This was another man. I knew what favour I would ask of my friends in the jail. They would be willing to kill her if I wanted them to. But do I want to? I think so.


Roshni said...

It was such a touching story!It's the reality we are living in today.Why do you think chacha and chachi were not willing to take the responsibility of the two girls?was their behaviour justified?

introspection said...

Hi Roshni,
Thanks for stopping by and for your thoughtful comments. This is a true story of Hina. Both the sisters are currently in remand home, and I am sure they will be tough & hardened criminals by the time they are out of that place. Their lives have been wasted all because of a selfish and immoral woman - their mother. Hina is always smiling but she has no real emotions. Chacha and chachi were not able to meet their own living expenses, to bring 2 more children would mean sharing out of their own family's needs. They did their best by bringing them to this orphanage - Aashyana where I met Hina. (I usually go there to help with orphan girls). But Hina's behaviour was threatening to affect the other orphan girls. Hina is a bright and sprightly girl, but her intelligence has been wasted.

Thanks again Roshni. This is one of my first blogs, and I had no one to read it then. Now I have many blog friends like yourself.