Thursday, February 26, 2009

Naina's homecoming

They could hear footsteps following them in the dark galley. The moment Shekhar stepped out of the cinema hall after the late show; he was repenting his decision to do so. Unable to find a cab, they started on foot and took the route via a dark and lonely road. And now someone was following them....Too scared, Shekhar didn't even look back. Calculating that the people following them must be two or three, he quickened his steps pulling his two companions, his wife Naina and his younger sister Shikha.

Naina was so scared that she could hardly breathe. It was dark, and she held Shekhar's hands very tightly. She knew Shikha had also done the same. Suddenly four men pounced on them. They had targeted Shikha. They were trying to pull her into their van. Shekhar tried to save Shikha and Naina was shouting for help…There were few houses in that galley but no body even bothered to look outside, let alone open their doors and help them.

Suddenly one of them hit Shekhar with a rod on the back of his head. He lost his balance and fell on ground...watching helplessly as his sister was being molested by attackers. Naina ran up to those guys to offer her jewellery instead. They hit Naina to push her aside. Exasperated she asked what they really of them said a woman. Hearing their words, Shikha started howling…she frantically tried to free herself and then she started calling Naina "Bhabhee, please help me…don’t let them take me away. I beg you, they will kill me. "

Naina was stunned. She begged them to leave Shikha, but they kept on pulling her into their van. Desperate Naina looked upto Shekhar for help, but he was too injured to help. She realized that she had to do something to save Shikha. She had to be saved, otherwise she would lead all her life scarred by this incident; and then who knows, whether she will ever get married. Naina drew a deep breath...glanced back at injured Shekhar, and told them to take her along instead of Shikha. Those guys gave quizzing look to each other. Shrugging they left Shikha, and took her along in their van.

For the next few hours, Naina was raped repeatedly. All the time she kept telling herself that they have her body, and not her heart and soul, and above all she is doing it for her love her Shekhar...and the honour of his family. Tired, beaten and battered she lost consciousness.

When she woke up, she found herself in a filthy room of a semi built building. Tears rolled from her eyes as she tried to get up, but she staggered every time she tried to do so. Gathering every bit of her courage and strength, she got up and dragged herself out the building. It was early morning now. Bleeding very badly, she managed to reach the main road. Cars swooshed by, but no one bothered to stop. She walked a little distance, and then fell down losing balance.

A car stopped by, and an elderly couple got down. Naina could see two blurred faces looking down to her and discussing whether she should be taken to the hospital. Eventually they called the Police and took her to the hospital. When Naina gained consciousness, the cops had come over for the enquiry. Naina reported the entire episode to them. She requested the Police inspector to inform her husband about her whereabouts. He promised to do the same and left.

Naina was in a bad shape. Her body was battered, and her soul was completely bruised. Tears would not stop, and every time she closed her eyes she would see the faces of the rapists... they had turned her life upside down. The elderly couple who brought her to hospital turned out to be real angels; they were always there by her side to take care of her. They took care of her as if she was their own daughter. But Naina was eagerly waiting for Shekhar. She knew he will rush to the hospital once he hears about her...but somehow there was no sign of Shekhar. She kept wondering "Why didn't he come over? He must have got hurt very badly."

She spent next few days in the hospital, recuperating from the physical and mental injuries that she sustained from the incident. The only solace she got was from the thought that she saved Shikha. Naina promised herself that she wouldn't ever let Shikha feel responsible for this mishap. All these years Naina had loved Shikha like her own daughter; and any mother would do the same for her daughter.

After much counseling from the doctors and the elderly couple she prepared herself to start her life anew. She knew she had Shekhar with her. They would soon leave the dark memories of that fateful day behind, and start a new phase of life.

When she was discharged from hospital, the elderly couple gave her the lift back home. The moment she saw her home, her spirits lifted but her eyes dampened. With tears rolling down her cheeks, she silently pressed the hands of her savior angels to thank them for their care and help, and entered the gate of her home.

She knocked the door. Shikha opened the door. With tears in her eyes Naina opened her arms out to her, but found Shikha turn her back at her. Without letting her in, Shikha called Shekhar. Naina was relieved to see Shekhar in a fine condition. When Shekhar came over, Naina rushed towards him. But he stretched out his hand, stopping her from entering the home. Naina was aghast. She realized that she was no longer welcome in Shekhar’s home and life.

Before she could apprehend anything...Shikha slammed the door at her face. Naina stood there still. She could feel the world spinning around her.

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