“Bhaiya, auto rakho, I can purport I am drawn towards the wrong way.” cried out Bindu.
‘Madamji’ responded the auto driver, we will reach your place in no time’.
” Oh Krishna, save me. The man is with false intensions and I know this route can in no way get me to the mandap (banquet hall). He seems to be rogue in the skin of an auto-rickshaw driver “, prayed Bindu to Lord Krishna, of whom she is a firm believer.
Paras Singh, the auto-driver, as detailed in his driving ID, stood reluctant to hang on the words of Bindu.
Bindu clutched her purse right away. Fifteen minutes later, the auto ran it’s course.
“Madam ji, it seems like the auto needs to be fuelled immediately. Else, it won’t kick-off” said Paras.
A pole of hush went great guns.
Paras effected no response from Bindu….
He gyrated back to look alike her.
“Madam ji, where are you? “,shouted out Paras in choked tone.
He could not find Bindu at her seat. Frisked her around, nevertheless she had dropped out of his sight.
Rendered uncertain of what to do, he nonchalantly pumped up gasoline in to the auto.
Paras, now rebooted the vehicle and kicked towards the route he was earlier heading to.
Winter had already arrived ; casting down thermal reading to just 10 degrees ; Bindu backslided against a slope leading to a dark yet reticent backwoods ; her hooded zip through torn ; stuck to the slope.
“Mummmmyyyyyy…………” hollered out Bindu.
“What all is becoming known today? Krishna, help me. Where am I stuck together? Give me courage to scrap this status quo.” she beseeched.
Lying on the slope, she held it to be a bushy berth. She felt – disposed to couch is the alike pose.
Few minutes later….
Flashing on how she made the bolt from the agile running auto-rikshaw ; how her head hit a stone on the edge and she elapsed down against the steepness.
She languidly made an effort to ascend, holding her hands to the adventitious roots of the firm old Redwood tree. Her legs shook as she stepped into her favorite new sandals complimenting the write feet had worn out completely. Bindu was now cognizant of the fact that they are no more cool to be stepped on.
” Ouch! It hurts a lot “, yelled Bindu.
She could not stand erect, rather stooped.
The only way I can get rid of this mess is to mount slope and catch up to the pathway. ” determined Bindu.
An unresolved planning moulded it’s firm to a deliberated attempt for a newer easy path. Silently it flattened at a midway to the top, when suddenly she realised her few more footsteps is what is the most difficult of all her moves….. She could hardly pursue….. Nevertheless she crawled, if not walk and in the point of fact she welcomed a rolling flow of energy that ushered her to the main passage.
” Thank you, Krishna “! exclaimed Bindu as she now stood in the mid of the road though in fragile form.
It was 9 o’ clock in the night. The passage was ill-lighted with moon as the only sole lighthouse.
She walked across the road with her maximum possible stamina.
” What is that lustrous object there? ” asked Bindu to herself as she ascertain a matter shining in the other edge of the road.
She stepped clumsily towards the object driven by her very nature of curiosity to know things and their whereabout.
Bindu grew inconclusive ; her suspicion controlled by the increasingly closer approach to the bag. She untied the bag and was thrown apart to fall again at the helm of the road.
Bindu was shaken by the sight. She stood to see if the baby’s alive. But her courage could not last longer. Tears rolled down her cheeks on being apprised of child.
She could not feel it’s breathe from the distance she was. She tossed around it to be dead.
A few hours old new born child had been demoniacally strangulated on its neck; the cut on the wrist conveyed the impression that, it has been split open by a safety pin or alike ; the smearing of blood camouflaged the angelic cute semblance of the child poly bag lying bereft of life wrapped in a thin membrane of a poly bag had hit Bindu like ton of bricks.
” Ohhh Bachhaaa….,” Bindu turned on waterworks.
She perched next to the child dissolving in tears making an effort of caress the infant.
Bindu at once distanced herself from the child ; held in grief ; called Lala but in vain. She switched off her phone as she no Mere wish to be further disgusted by the company’s auto generated response.
Gathering courage; controlling emotion she stood up and started walking this time with large steps. The pain of the child overshadowed the injuries she had sustained to due to her great escape from the moving auto-rikshaw. Bindu cried at every instance, the sight of the child came to her mind and even louder realising her inability to save the child.
A moment later…..
A local bus was approaching from the crossroad. Bindu ran to the bus halt boarded inside found a place at the back row corner. The ticket conductor blew the whistle for the bus to start. However, Bindu was unaffected. She sat still like a statue after paying for the ticket.
No sooner than later, she reached home. She rushed to her room when her mother shouted her to join dinner. She immediately draped her injured body and her torn hooded zip through in a shawl to conceal the marks. She pretended to be normal just like any other day. Still in the habit if having a glass of milk after meals, the event that night marked no difference. Mother exclaimed, good girl.!
Bindu hugged her and whispered in a sweet soft voice ‘ I love you maa’.
Bindu had realised how difficult it into be away from one mother and staying aloof hleplessly, especially after the twin occurrence of her evasion and the fatality of the child. That night stretching on her bed; she grew restless as the guiltless face of the child was intermittently buzzing in her consciousness. On the contrary, she could not even turn about her posture due to her stiff pain. Eventually she got sleep in no time.
Next morning Bindu woke up to see yet another morning unusual in terms of serenity and human mobility.
A cool morning breeze ; lazy yarning ; the tensed shoulders ; severing body ache and sundry agents ; Bindu bumped into alibis to herself for not having a bath.
She cruised to the dining for breakfast. Snacking bread with butter, she held the newspaper, today with a loose hand unlike other days.
” Kalani marg women absconds from hospital with her new born child ; missing from ‘Kalani Kalyan Hospital’, read the front page of the newspaper.
Bindu, shook by the picture of the women besides what the news was. The women with a leaf mark on her right cheek, a tiny black mole beneath that ; the oval face ; resembled closely to Bindu’s childhood friend Diki.
Bindu recalled Diki both of whom as teens used to play with clay utensils, chor- police, tune to local modern songs.
She further reminisced how Diki’s mother would not allow Bindu into her home as Bindu belongs to a low caste community. Diki’s was not an affluent family ; her parents ran the house working as manual scavengers, cleaning homes. They did not let Diki to even complete her elementary education.
Bindu dialed Lala and asked him to come home. She illustrated the entire incident to him when he clocked into Bindu’s home.
” The girl in the picture seems to be Diki”; affirmed Bindu.
” I should go and see if it is true “, acknowledged Lala.
Lala set out in the wild-goose chase of Diki. Locality of Diki’s home was crammed with people having many irons in the fire. Lala asked a betel- shop vendor about where is Diki’s hat is. The man at the shop told him Diki’s family leaving the town after Diki’s marriage a couple of years back.
Bindu and Lala tried to find her in every possible contrivance, nevertheless, there was no manifestation of Diki’s presence.
Time passed by and the efforts continued but faintly with their growing busy life.
6 months later…..
” Bhaiya, come tomorrow too in the meanwhile. “
“Haan ji saab” answered Paras, the auto-rikshaw driver.
Lala got down to give Paras his fare. In a flash he caught a glimpse of the identity card of Paras where the ID number OD 26188 paired the ID number of the auto-driver that Bindu had given him.
Lala opted to remain silent about it. He rushed to a department where he works as an employee. He did not mention it to even Bindu while on phone with her.
“Lala sir, you came so early today “.
” Haan bhaiya, because I have to take the long route to reach my office today. The short one is being overhauled since yesterday “.
“As you say, sir ” replied Paras
” Bhaiya, how is bhabiji? How are your kids doing?”
“Saab ji, I have only one little baby. My wife is keeping well.”
“Oh! Sounds cool! But it has been 10 years since you married, right? “
“Sir, you are right. But the baby we have is not our own. My wife could not impregnate. “
“Oh! Does it mean you have adopted the baby? “
“No Saab, I got ‘Diksha’, our girl child from a roadside six months back, while returning home.”
Paras further added, ” The child was wrapped in a polythene bag on the brink of the route. I desisted and ran to ascertain if it was alive. To God’s grace, it was conscious sir. I couldn’t control the emotion.”
” I could not steer my perturbation, sir. I took it immediately to the hospital nearby. My wife later joined me there. Together, we decreed to parent the child, sir.”
Lala was shaken.
“What? Really? ” He broke down.
Lala asked Paras, “Does it also equate with the day when you had tried to pick up a female passenger through the astray stretch of road?”
“Sir, I am sorry sir”. Cried out Paras.
“I was made to do so….to take that lady to my elder brother’s home. He had been stalking that girl since long. But, sir later I realised after having lost her on the midway.”
“I had revisited to find that lady when suddenly this child in the poly bag drove my attention.”
“I was extremely hurt for my misbehavior. How do you know about it?”
“She is my spouse, Paras ji. She jumped off your running auto-rikshaw, later found herself in the surrounding dark forest. She narrated me the entire incident “.
Lala ringed up Bindu, now working in an NGO for cause of rights of children.
Paras apologised to her.
Bindu was more happy to listen of the child’s liveliness. Tears fell onto her cheeks; making the cellphone almost wet; her happiness knew no bounds. She forgave Paras and asked him to take care of Diksha.