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Sunday, 30 November 2014
The Night Queen
THE NIGHT QUEEN
She starts hunting when her preys
are in deep slumber……..
BY Birister Sharma
There is no
There is no
only darkness and darkness…..
It is a door
of ditch, once anyone got trap in its jaws, fall in its deep darkness forever.
There is no
There is no
Rani is a simple and naive girl, living in
her own beautiful and imaginary world. She is unknown to the external world.
She is like a butterfly, hovering hither and thither. She is like a bird,
flattering her wings to sour in the open sky.
However, one day, her beautiful world came to
the abrupt halt; her own uncle, Raghu cajoled her to accompany with him to see
her ailing elder sister. But Raghu betrayed her, and trapped her like a prey
and hurled her in the midst of hungry human beast to quench the appetites of
Helpless and hapless Rani, tried to free
herself from the shackles of that dark world, but in vain, she is all alone,
nobody is there to rescue her, the more she tried to unknot herself, the more
she is trapping herself into the deep ditch of darkness.
Poor Rani is mentally and physically
tortured, humiliated, and treated as a beast of burden. Her mind, body and soul
is killed. She is dragged into the dark world of prostitution. She is forced to
transform into a sex symbol. She is renamed as ‘Dolly’ and tagged her ‘the Night Queen.’
Rani free herself from that dark world and wear out her tagged ‘the Night
happen to her elder sister?
she ever find her?
she take her avenge against Raghu?
‘The Night Queen,’ is
a realistic story of dark world of prostitution, unseen crimes, humiliations, sins,
Read the first five chapters from the novel
THE NIGHT QUEEN
She starts hunting when her preys
are in deep slumber……..
Smile and Laughter
was born in a small village in Dholpur. My father was a small farmer. Our
family was very happy and prosperous. I had three elder sisters and one younger
brother. I enjoyed all the happiest moment of my childhood days along with my
elder sisters and along with my younger brother. Our father and mother loved us
more than their lives.
life was full of fun, fairs and feasts.
enjoyed every moment of my life with jest and thrilled. Father and mother
brought us happiness and joys. They fulfilled our every desires and wishes. They
nurtured us like we were their soft blooming flowers and upbringing us like we
were their prince and princess.
life was on the bed of roses.
world was like heaven.
only joy and happiness,
were no worries and sorrows.
our sisters, there was not much age difference; it might be merely a year
difference amongst us. We loved each other very much.
loved music and dance.
rehearsed continued for many days and many nights with the tape recorder and
sometime with the songs played in radios before any competitions or any
cultural events. There was no electricity in our village so we had to play the
music and songs with the help of batteries.
every festival of Holi, Desahera and Dipawali we took part in song and dance
competitions in our village and in other villages. We had won many prizes. We
danced group dance and solo dance. We sung folk songs and songs of Hindi movies.
Mesmerized all the audience of our village and invited guests in our village
programmes. People praised us and encouraged us to perform better and best.
invite your group for our cultural events this year. Please perform for us.”
people of distant villages offered us cordially to take part in their cultural
fairs and feast.
enjoyed a lot while performing there. We got not only prizes but also money for
our good performance.
played games and sports in our village. In games and sports we always stood first.
In kabaddi matches we played for our village. We had played many kabaddi
matches in our village and in distant villages and won many trophies and medals
for our village. We were pride of our village.
every activity in our village we took part very seriously and actively.
names were on everybody’s mouth.
Radha, Radhika and Rani
were very naughty and mischievous, pulling everybody’s legs whenever we got
opportunity, even though everybody in our village loves us very much.
we had new and new mischievous plans, masterminded by us. Sometime we had very
scary and terrified experienced and sometime we had very exciting and thrilling
experienced. We had our own expeditions and explorations.
were many countless numbers of incidents and events happened with us.
we never gave up our mischievous acts. We enjoyed a lot in our every
were clever in our every mischievous act. We played our every role very
cunningly and smartly. We never left any clue or hint after our mischievous
complains had reached in our home about our mischievous acts.
never caught red handed accept in few minor occasions.
one occasion we went to steal sugarcane from the village sugarcane field in the
wee hour of morning.
had already made a plan that we would wake up at three in the morning. And I
got responsibility to awake them.
“Didi-didi get up, get up, it’s morning” I awaken my elder sisters, continuously.
woke up with sudden jerks as the earth was displaced from my legs.
happened? What happened? Why you awaked me?” I asked in sleepy tones.
have to go…” Radha didi replied.
I had forgotten everything.
dumb we’ve to go……” Radhika didi said.
I said, getting my senses.
we ran to the sugarcane field.
was chilly morning of December. The fogs were covered everywhere. We couldn’t
see the roads properly. We were shivering in cold.
were afraid to steal but we were determined, committed in our mission.
cut the sugarcane as much as we could and relished the taste of juicy
sugarcane. Even we tried to uproot the sugarcane sticks which were impossible
task for us.
gathered sugarcane as many as we could. Even we couldn’t carry all the
sugarcanes along with us.
I can’t carry this much….please help me.” I said.
we’ve gathered so much how could we carry at home?” Radha asked.
and mother will kill us if they know our stealing. We can’t carry at home.”
Radhika said worrying.
didi thought very seriously. She didn’t get any idea.
don’t we keep somewhere, hiding in some secret place so that nobody can find it?”
when we come back from our school then we would have……”
It is a best idea….” Radhima didi said.
we hid all the stealing sugarcane sticks in the bushes and planned that after
school we would have our juicy sugarcane.
school at noon we came back very happily to relish the sugarcane.
we didn’t find.
searched everywhere where we had kept our sugarcane sticks.
what we saw that the village kids and the herds of cattle were having the juicy sugarcane happily.
were very disappointed.
another occasion, it was very hot summer noon when the people usually have
their naps. We chose the perfect timing for our mission. We went to steal
mangoes from the mango orchard of our village. The mango orchard was surrounded
by walls in all sides. There was only one main gate where the gatekeeper kept
his vigil eyes day and night. We went very cautiously, tiptoed, climbed over
the wall of the orchard. We fell down with loud thuds, injured our legs and
knees even we didn’t give up and we entered inside the mango orchard finally.
Then we started plucking mangoes as many as we could. We were very delighted.
Even we had tasted the juicy mangoes. The moment was very exciting and
thrilling. But our sweet moment of relishing the taste of mangoes didn’t last
long. When I was on the top most branch of the mango tree, plucking ripe mangoes,
the six hungry dogs came there and started barking me violently. I was very
terrified. My happiness and enjoyment subdued instantly. I thought if these six
hungry dogs would get me then they would tear away my flesh, and if they bite
me I must have sixteen injections in my stomach. When I scanned to find out my
elder sisters; they were nowhere. They left me alone before the danger approach
near. I was very angry with them. I was dangling with the branch of the mango
tree, and before I could think any plan, the branch broke and I fell down very
badly. I could see the whole universe in front of my eyes. Somehow I got up and
ran for my life and before I could reach out from the danger zone, somebody
held my hands tightly. When I looked up I saw my father stood in front of me.
my father took permission from the watchman on that day to have some fresh
mangoes from the orchard.
were caught red handed.
father didn’t tell about our stealing episode to mother, otherwise we would get
hard trashes. Father just warned us not to steal anything from anywhere in near
that day onwards we stopped stealing anything from anywhere. When I thought
about the terrified scene at that very moment where in one side the six hungry
dogs chasing me and on the other hand some unknown person caught me red handed.
mischievous acts were countless.
every season we had our new games and new plans.
summer season we bathed in our village ponds and lakes for long hour along with
village girls, even we didn’t heed who was calling us and who was yelling us.
We lost in our world of enjoyments and excitements, swimming and jumping, laughing
and screaming were our games and sports. So we were always late while pouring
water in our pots from the river water and at home we got hard trashes by
mother. But we didn’t mind.
rainy season we wetted under the showers of rain drops until we felt the flowing
of mucus from our nostrils and we didn’t stop our playing until mother chased us
with a big stick.
autumn season when the dry breezes started blowing we didn’t hide ourselves
inside the rooms but we came out to hang out in the village.
were like the free blowing winds.
were like the free flying birds.
the season became sweet and awesome we made swing on the branches of trees and we
enjoyed swinging and singing romantic songs of some of the super hit Hindi
spring season our lives turned more and more colorful with the blooming of flowers;
more and more beautiful with the sprouting of new leaves. The whole environment
of our village looked green and colourful.
sung and danced.
the melodies of songs,
swung our arms.
the rhythms of steps,
moved our feet.
made garlands with the beautiful flowers and played a game of bride and groom,
and arranged our marriages.
felt new jest and enthusiasms in our lives.
in our home inside and outside our mischievous acts never stop.
quarreled for little-little things. We chased like cats and dogs. We fought
like cocks and bulls. We quarreled like enemies. We hugged like fast friends.
We loved like lovers. Now friends. Now enemies. Fighting and arguments were our
regular routines, without it life was impossible.
a moment we were friends. For a moment we were enemies. Laughter and cries
continued. No limits of pranks, teasing and taunting. Life was full of jokes; cursing
and accusing were its integral parts.
Whenever father bought us anything the high
dramas were begun……….
is for me……this not for you……I like this……..I like that…….” the tittles and tattles
went on and on.
was quite difficult to handle the matter sometimes. The problems were only
sorted out when mother interfered between us.
this!No more quarrels!” mother silenced
anymore quarrel then right from today no more any stuff for you. Is it clear to
you all?” We remained silent.
We stood silent and accepted whatever we
you have got, try to be happy, otherwise I will ask your father to take away all
mother harshly warned us then only our tittles and tattles subsided and we all
entered in our rooms; bowing down our heads, like the defeated soldiers.
But sometimes our tittles and tattles began
inside our rooms in silent mode continued for two to three days, it seemed
there was never ending……………
eldest of you all……. you must follow me whatever I ask you to do,
right?..............No-No we can’t follow you……Eldest doesn’t mean that you’re
the queen of this house, ok? ……………” Our tittles and tattles were going on and
on inside the four walls of our room.
return me my frock……first you return me my skirt……return me my handkerchief……first
you return me my slipper……return me my ribbon……first you return me my
bangles……return me my earrings…..”
countless number of accuses and curses was on and on till we tired of our
arguments and quarrels.
bitch……mind your language!.........You witch……mind your language!.........”
and so on and so fort.
we sisters loved each other very much. We couldn’t live without each others'
slept together. We woke up together. We stayed together. We dined together. We
played together. We enjoyed together. We did everything together.
Every day we had the same routines of laughter
accompanied with my three elder sisters to the village school when I was in
I went along with my elder sisters Raju our younger brother also followed me.
Raju was just like my tail every time he attached with me like a dog and its wagging
tail. He was only three years old but his growth was so fast that he looked
like a six years old kid.
I’m coming with you……..I’m coming with you. Please wait for me! Please wait for
me!” Raju called me every day whenever I got ready for my school.
cajoling Raju I got too late for my school sometime and got harsh punishment in
the class. And sometime I had to stay with Raju at home and played with him the
whole day, even I couldn’t live without him. Whenever he was around with me I
one day I decided to take him with me in my class.
the classroom when the roll call was started and Raju’s name was not called, he
was very upset.
“Didi why mastarji didn’t call my
name?.......” Raju asked me in low toned.
speak anything, masterji will punish you and me.” I silenced Raju.
He remained silence when I mention about punishment.
was scared of punishment. I hid him under my bench so that nobody would find
gave him one note book and a pencil to write.
“Write this…..Write that……write
properly…..” I instructed him like his teacher.
silently followed my instructions whatever I asked him to do.
were hundred of students in the class so there was very less chances to find
was not aware of anything what was happening inside the classroom. He was
either concentrated in his teaching or in deep slumber after scrabbling some
sums on the blackboard.
this sums and bring it to me quickly” he instructed, yawning, and resumed in his
deep slumber; snoring aloud as he was not sleep for many days and many months.
stroke his long cane on the table when the noises rose up and defeated the
clamours of any crowded fish market.
time was going on very smoothly but one day masterji found Raju hiding under my
“Who is this? Who is this hiding under the
bench?” Masterji asked me very angrily.
I was very scared. I was unable to reply
anything. I was shivering in scare.
“Yes, hey you boy come out….Come out.”
I’m scared….I’m scared.” Raju was very scared. He held my frock very tight.
was helpless. I knew masterji would give me very harsh punishment.
hoo….so he is your brother Rani, right?” masterji frowned as he felt proud that
he had caught the most wanted criminal red handed.
“S-Sorry masterji….S-Sorry masterji…..” I
sorry, haa?.....What sorry, haa? Get out-Get out…..Get out from my class” masterji
shouted us very rudely.
without speculation anything and any further delaying I took my bag and held
Raju’s hand tight and we ran out from the classroom. The moment was very scary
for Raju and me.
didn’t punish us nah?” Raju was happy and he was running faster than me.
but not from the next day…..so stop coming with me, okay?” I said, feeling some
“Then when do I join in the school, didi?”
Raju queried me, very sadly.
have to grow little more, okay?” I said and convinced him, and caring his
didi I’m grown up, naa.” Raju said.
“Hmm……” He replied sadly.
reached home in one single breathe hafting and puffing; dying for breathing.
And from that day onwards Raju stopped following me to the school.
the whole episode of Raju and me in the classroom was narrated to father and
mother, they had a hearty laugh and we both became the center of laughing
was very cool customer but mother was quite different from father. But they
loved each other. They were made for each other. Our father and mother got
married when they were just merely fourteen and thirteen years old.
family was happy and prosperous.
had no scarcity of anything in our home. Whatever we had, was enough for our
livelihood. We never asked for anything from anybody. We always played the
helping hands in other’s need. Our family was an ideal family for our village.
Even in any urgent needs, father helped his near and dear relatives and friends
time was going sweet and pleasant without any hurdles and upheavals. We got
whatever we want in life. Our life spent in funs and fairs. We celebrated Holi,
Dasehera, Dipawali, Baishakhi, Rakhi and all the holy festivals with grand celebrations
and with great pomp.
we were simple village folks we were far and far away from the world of towns
and cities. We didn’t know what was going on around the country and around the
world. Our country and our world were our own village and our land.
always believed in the mantra of work is worship. Even we had no big
agriculture land but whatever we had was enough for our family.
as the needle of time was swinging continuously, we were growing day by day.
Our needs were also rising continuously.
pressures of our needs started mounting dramatically.
we need this and sometime we need that.
small agriculture land was not enough for our big family.
and mother toiled very hard day and night to fulfill our needs, but not enough
for us. When we were merely a small kid everything was manageable for us, but
as we were growing younger and older nothing was manageable for us.
felt the heat of scarcities in our lives.
this was short
that was short
found short of this
found short of that
found shortest of everything
had to spend our lives in scarcities.
everything was manageable and adjustable for us, then gradually nothing was
suitable for us and whatever father tried to manage there was always some
had a habit to get everything in full satisfactions in our lives since our
childhood days and our father and mother always fulfilled all our desires and
thereafter things were completely changed.
we got new dresses and new stuffs of our own choices then we had to share our
dresses and other stuffs of our house amongst us. We had bound to share
and tattles continued amongst us……….but no solutions……..and at the end of the
day we had to accept…………
if we had any tittles and tattles for any stuffs, then father immediately fulfilled
our desires and wishes, but then the time had totally different for us. We had
no option rather than accept whatever we had.
order to solve the poor condition of our family father tried to find out some
alternatives. So father rented some more agriculture land for more cultivation
from the village landlords and from the other people.
took advice from his closed friends to take loan from the bank.
Father applied for bank loan.
father visited in the bank for loan. But the bank officials didn’t heed my
father. Father was illiterate, didn’t know anything. Then father took help from
our village headman who knows everything about bank loan. He accompanied with
my father. Father spent all the expenditures for his bus fares, his cost of
food, tea, his chewing tobacco, and his smoking bidis to his paan. Everything.
morning father visited in the bank along with the village headman and in the
evening returned home empty handed.
the situation turned so grim that my father became penniless, empty handed,
crying for every single penny. In urgency father had to mortgage some portion
of our small land.
was depressed and tensed.
dhoti turned pale colour and torn after washing repeatedly, his slipper tear
away it’s sole, but the bank officials didn’t sanction loan. They always gave
new datelines. And when father visited they gave another dateline.
today turned tomorrow;
month turned year.
there was no loan for father.
visiting more than hundred times, at last, father got agriculture loan of Rs.
50,000 when father bribed them. The amount of Rs. 50,000 was divided into three
parts, one part for bank officials, another part for bank agent, third part was
for village headman, and finally father got Rs.25, 000 only.
was happy that at least he got some portion of bank loan after so many
upheavals and troubles.
started farming in our small agriculture land and the land rented from other
people. Our whole family engaged in agriculture works whole heartily.
worked day and night. We made day and night similar. Our family was happy. We
were working very hard without caring heat and cold in our agriculture land.
in the hard soil; furrowing in the dry soil; and sowing of seeds.
toiled day and night,
shed sweats of our brows,
didn’t cared hot and cold,
forgot tiredness and rest,
lost our thirst and hunger,
worked with heart and soul,
ultimately we finished our agriculture works.
some days we saw the small seedlings growing greener and greener in our
agriculture fields, and then after some months we saw the green seedlings
turned into green plants.
were happy and excited.
eagerly waited for the seeds of our hard works………..
weeding and spreading manure fertilizes were our regular works. The growing
plants were our life. We cared as our children.
made scarecrows with his old pant and shirt. Put it in the middle of the crop
fields. Day and night the scarecrow scared away the wild birds and small
animals, worked as care taker of our crop fields. When the wind blows it
appeared as a man standing and swinging his hands in the middle of the crop
fields and scared away birds and animals.
a few months, the green plants turned into yellowish golden color plants, ripen
slowly and slowly.
visited in our agriculture lands everyday.
after months and months of heart throbbing waiting, our hard works paid us with
Monsoon also played very crucial role in our good cultivation.
the harvest time arrived.
all family members harvested our hard toiling crops delightfully.
production was beyond our expectation. We got surplus productions.
was contented. He sold in the market in good price. And one-fourth of the
interest rate of the bank loan was returned in the very first year.
was so delighted. He gifted us with new clothes and other stuffs. I was dreaming
for new dresses for so long. At one time it was became distant dream for me. I
was very happy. Mother was happy. And everybody in our family was happy. At
last the moment of happiness was returned in our lives with a big smile.
first year of good cultivation was ended with happiness and joy in our lives.
was expecting the same good cultivation for the next coming years.
took some more loans from the village Mahajans and money lenders of Rs.10, 000.
the same way we worked day in and night out in our agriculture land.
were working with new zest and enthusiasms.
were waiting eagerly for good Monsoon, because our cultivation was dependent on
Monsoon. Good Monsoon means good harvesting. And bad Monsoon means no
waited and waited eagerly for good Monsoon for many days and many months.
the Monsoon was delayed.
played the game of hide and seek.
Monsoon was not as good as we were expecting. We reaped only our yearly needs.
There were no surplus production; not enough to pay the interest rate of Bank, village
Mahajans and money lenders.
sold half of our agriculture production that we stored for yearly needs. We had
to sell our two cattle. There was no other way in order to pay the bank rate.
The bank officials started visiting everyday
in our house for money.
was irritating and embarrassing moments for us to face them everyday.
somehow paid the second quarter of interest rate.
on the other hand the village Mahajans and the money lenders started asking for
their interest. Father was helpless. He gave them word that in the coming year
their interest would be paid before paying to anybody.
were not ready to agree. At last father mortgaged mother’s jewelries in order
to pay their interest rate, the only asset of mother, mother got when she was
married with father.
situation was becoming so grim that in the lean year we had to work in other
places for money. Somehow we had managed for the yearly needs and adjusted.
we had to stop our schooling.
the time of cultivation had arrived.
started working before the knocking of the Monsoon season.
year was very crucial for us. We had to pay our outstanding interest rate of
bank; the interest of Mahajans and the interest of money lenders. And at the
same time we had to fulfill our yearly needs also.
prayed a lot and worked in our agriculture land and rented lands with the same zest
and enthusiasms as before. We worked day in and day out.
in our crucial moment, the Monsoon cursed on our poor lives. The Monsoon played
its ugly game and hit us gravely. We were in the edge of dying situation.
were no rainy clouds
were only flying clouds
the souring heat of sun
hot like the erupting lavas
were no croaking sounds of frogs
mother earth cried out in disgrace
cracking soils and the blowing sands
streams and brooks dried up
leafless tress were stood still raising their trunks in the above sky
there was no answer from the above
was not a single drop of rainfall throughout the year.
shocked and cried out in disgrace and desperation.
were helpless. We were hapless. We were ruined. We had not a single grain to
feed us. There were dryness and drought everywhere, only souring hot torrid
sunshine everywhere, chasing to gulped everybody.
situation was so pathetic and grim that every creature was in the grip of
rivers dried up………..
ponds dried up…………..
the bones of starvation and scarcities were spreading everywhere.
helpless farmers committed suicide. During the same year more than one thousand
farmers took their lives in the whole regions, because of the failure of
Monsoon and the rising bank loans and debts of the mahajans and the money lenders.
and other farmers of our village and the farmers of neighbouring villages went
to the government offices and to the ministers for immediate assistance. They
only promise that the government would take necessary steps very soon to curb
the on going drought and the bad Monsoon. But there was no help from the
government. All the people were dying in hunger and thirst.
the drying season our hopes and dreams also dried up. We were dying in the
scarcities of food and water.
situation grew grimmer and grimmer as the days and weeks progressed. The bank
officials, the village Mahajans and the money lenders started visiting us
frequently for their money.
its weight; we can’t sit
its weight; we can’t stand
its weight; we can’t sleep
were laden in heavy debt
life in debt
world in debt
baap please try to understand our problem. Right now I’m helpless. I’m not
going to betray you. I’ll definitely return your money and your interest rate.
But now I’m in deep trouble. You know that there is no Monsoon in this season.
Cultivation is very difficult. Please wait for some time.” Father begged them
to wait till the situation of drought would end, but in vein.
were not ready to hear anything. They were hungry like the wild beast, ready to
They even threaten father.
Hariya, pay back our money as soon as possible otherwise we’ll forcefully take
all your possessions.”
was helpless how could he pay back the pending interest rates of banks, Mahajans and money lenders.
we managed our livelihood even in scarcities.
was penniless. He was unable to pay any money neither to the Bank nor to the
village Mahajans nor to the money lenders.
the bank officials, mahajans and money lenders failed to collect money from
father, then they sent their money collectors who were accompanied with goons.
They threaten us.
some days they gave their ultimatum to return their money and their interest
we gave you the last date to pay back our money. We’ll come again on next week.
Be ready with our money.”
baap how could I manage money for you? I’ve nothing with me. Even I couldn’t
manage two times meal for my family” father begged helplessly.
don’t know anything! We just want our money back, that’s it. It’s not our
problem from where you could manage our money. We have given you ultimatum for
recovering our money.” They said very harshly and sarcastically.
Baap try to understand my problem. Nothing is unknown to you. You all knew that
this year there is no Monsoon and no rain. There is drought everywhere and
scarcity of everything. There is no possibility to grow anything in the agriculture
land” father bowed down and tried hard to convince them.
“No, No Hariya we don’t know anything. We
just want our money back” they retorted.
Father was very upset and helpless. He
cried and begged in front of them but in vein.
the doors of hopes of father was ended, there was no one to help him in the
crucial juncture of time. There was no one who was not suffered from the on
going drought and bad Monsoon.
days and nights went on and on in our dismays and upheavals, father tried hard
to find out any solution to solve the ongoing crisis.
one day early in the morning father went to his relatives and his closed
friends for some help, but they too suffered with the same conditions. Nobody
was escaped from the ongoing drought and the bad Monsoon.
returned home empty handed with sullen and crest fallen heart.
at that night father was looking very relaxed and carefree. There was not a
slightest furrow of any sorrow on his forehead.
was talking very freely with us after a gape of more than a year. He shared
everything with us and we were listened him delightfully.
cracked jokes of his younger days, anecdotes of his life and how he met my
mother before wedding. There was no sign of any kind of anxieties and tensions
on his face. We had our lunch together happily and then we gone to sleep
together in our terrace.
the next morning we woke up very late.
father was nowhere.
thought he was out in the field as usual for loo or to see the land. We had
waited him for long to have our tea together. But he didn’t return. It was
already seven in the morning.
“Ai Raju- Ai Raju, come here” mother
Raju was busy with his studies at that
“Yes, maa…..” Raju replied.
“Call your Bapu immediately” mother said
sweeping the threshold and the verandahs of our house.
“Where is Bapu?” Raju asked.
the field I guess. Go and look around and call him immediately. It’s too late
to have tea” mother said.
“Okay, maa” Raju ran to the field to call
father, making a sound of motor cycle with his mouth.
Raju returned home within a minute running and hafting; he was out of his
Raju didn’t clear his words, gasping.
didn’t speak. He was sweating and in terrifying state. His eyes full of rolling
“What happened, Raju? Where is your Bapu?”
mother asked, perplexed.
is…..He is……” Raju’s words broke and unfinished. He fell down. He was out of his
breathe. He was crying and crying.
Without any speculation I was running with Raju
to know the exact scene.
When I reached I was dumbfound and shocked,
my body shivered with cold. I was frozen.
saw father’s lifeless body; hanging in the free air with a branch of a tree.
fell down, I sobbed and sobbed.
was no bound of dismays and traumas in our family.
all the thunderbolts of the sky were striking upon us in one single stroke very
Typhoons, Hurricanes and Tsunamis all came in our life at once.
broke down, fainted and fell down on the ground unconsciously. My three elder sisters
held each other and fell down on the ground as the fallen dried leaves and
and fears engulfed in our life.
and anxieties overwhelmed in our life.
and disturbances swallowed up in our life.
whole family drowned into the ocean of sorrow.
Helpless and Hapless
We lost the loving shadow of our father. We
lost his love and affection. We lost his cares. We missed our beloved father
saw the broken pieces of bangles of mother;
saw the erasing vermilion of mother’s head;
saw mother wearing white sari;
saw mother taken off her jewelries.
saw mother loosening her long hairs on the floor.
saw the emotional weeping of mother.
saw mother beating her bosom for father.
cried with mother holding her tight to console her.
funeral was solemnized with a lot of hurdles. We were penniless, crying and
dying for every single coin of money, to complete the last rite of father. It
was our near and dear relatives and friends who helped us to complete father’s
the very next day of father’s funeral………..
problems raised more and more.
the bank official visited. Sometime the village Mahajans visited. And sometime the
money lenders visited. Some of them we know and some of them we didn’t know.
From how many people father had lent money we didn’t know, everyday one after
another came in our house to recover their money.
was very embarrassing moment for us to handle them. Mother tried her best to
deal with them. But it was very tough to deal with them.
stood silently and watched their abuses and curses. We had no other option
rather than hear helplessly and shyly.
bank officials stopped visiting when they came to know about the incident of
the village Mahajans and the money lenders didn’t stopped, they regularly
visited and harassing us day after day for their money.
Maya your husband has taken five thousand rupees from us. We felt sorry for you
but it’s a question of our business. We want our money back.” The money lender
said; giving their reasons.
thousand rupees was a million dollar worth for us.
give me some time to arrange money” mother requested them to give some more
time to arrange money even though she knew that she couldn’t manage anything.
How could she manage so much of money, it was a big question and an impossible
told them everything about our lands and whatever we had. Even they didn’t believe,
and asked more money from us. But how my poor mother would arrange anything to
return the pending interest to them? We had nothing in our hands.
from all sides,
divided our agriculture lands amongst themselves. Even they were not satisfied
and tried different tactics to recover their money from us.
were thrown out from our house and from our village.
we had our own house;
we had our own village;
we had our own friends and neighbors;
we had our own people.
within a day we became homeless.
were all alone.
left our beloved house. We left our beloved village.
shed tears. We left everything. We just carried our old memories along with us.
recalled all my sweet memories and exciting moments of my life.
we got shelter in our relative’s house in distant village. It was our sheer
most serious thing that stroked us at the moment was how to earn our living.
Where we would get and who would provide us.
For few days we were dependent on our
they arranged some work for us.
work was road constructions and repairing work under the Rural development
programmed under the government of India. Mother, my three sisters and
I worked there for our survival. The wages were very nominal, less than men
workers. The payments were also delayed. We had to wait for weeks and months
and sometimes for years. The contractor didn’t pay our wages in time. But we
had no other option rather than work there. So sometime we had to work as a
domestic maid in the village.
chacha our distant relative arranged one old house for us in rent.
chacha’s family was big, so it was not convenient for us to stay in his house
for long. So we shifted in our rented house. The house was only one living room
and one small kitchen room. Very small. Very congested. Suffocated. But enough
to put our heads. The rent was Rs.500 per month.
it was quite difficult for us to afford Rs.500 per month.
had to manage somehow.
year later Raghu our distant relative visited us. He was uncle in our relation.
But at the time of our father’s dead he didn’t visit us.
appeared suddenly like a flashing light in our dark life.
so sorry bhavi. I’m very sorry for bhaiya. I didn’t get leave at the time of
bhaiya’s dead.” He said in very sad tone.
cried a lot and felt sorry for father’s dead.
the first time I came to know that we had also very loving and caring relative
who cared us very much. I felt very glad. I thanked almighty a hundred times for
His timely help for us.
He chatted with us a lot of things. He shared
us many things about his life. His ups and downs. His successes and failures.
We were very impressed with him.
“Bhavi I got married in town where I set up
my own business. I have two children, elder is a girl and younger is a boy” he
Mother only listen him silently.
I have earned good money there and now none it to worry about your survival.”
Raghu said, showing his intimacy for us.
“I’ll take all your responsibilities in my
hands.” Raghu assured.
“Really?” mother frown her eyebrows; doubted
“Believe me bhavi. Don’t worry for
anything. I’ll solve your problem” Raghu said.
“Okay if you say so.” mother replied.
somewhere in mother’s inner heart she didn’t believe Raghu whatever he had
given his accounts of life and assurance to take care of us.
“Bhavi take this sum of five hundred
rupees.” Raghu offered.
“No, No Raghu I can’t take your money” mother
are you saying bhavi? Why don’t you take money from me? I’m not anything for
you?” Raghu said in sad tone.
Raghu not like this. Actually I can’t take anything from anybody because I’m
not capable to return anything” mother gave reason.
you’re my own. How could you think like this? You’ve nothing to return me. It’s
my love for you all, that’s all.” Raghu said and shed his tears.
Raghu was really shedding his tears or just a crocodile’s tears we didn’t know.
At last mother accepted five hundred rupees
Raghu handed ten rupees each in our hands
We were very happy and delighted.
“I’ll visit again.” He said.
“Bhavi, if you want anything don’t hesitate
to ask me. Ask me freely without hesitation. Don’t worry for anything, ok?”
Then he left with a promise to visit us
After that Raghu started visiting us
He took care of us like his own family.
why don’t you all join with me in town and stay with me? How long you work like
a labourer here and there; begging for meagre wages from these crook contractors.
I’ve my own business. You can work there comfortable and you too get good salaries.”
insisted us to go with him.
I’m very grateful to you for your kindness. But I can’t leave my place” mother
said, giving her ultimate decision.
Raghu won our heart. But he failed to win mother’s heart.
had many doubts about his intentions and motives .We liked Raghu very much, he
had won our hearts already.
mother tried to speak anything against Raghu, we sisters took the side of
knew why Raghu did come here regularly. I know his evil motives. There is
something fishy in his mind” mother had strong doubts about Raghu.
are you saying like this Maa? After father’s dead who cared about us only Raghu
chacha takes care of us. After all he is our own relative.” We took the side of
careful with Raghu! I know better than you all about him. Don’t believe him. Don’t
go with his sweet behaviors!” mother warned us. Her voice was firmed.
Even we had arguments with mother for
He was ideal for us after father’s dead. We
didn’t want to hear anything against him.
One day Raghu came as usual in our rented
“Radhima where is bhavi?” Raghu asked my
“Chacha, maa went for work early in the
morning.” Radhima didi replied.
bhavi will return from work?” Raghu asked.
maa will return home in the evening,” Radhima didi said.
Get ready to go with me, your chachi is seriously ill, she is in the hospital;
she needs someone to look after her. And I have some urgent work in Delhi. I have to go there
tonight. So I came here to take any one of you along with me. Radhima you come
with me.” Raghu said in very dejected manner.
“Chacha wait for maa. First I’ve to take
permission from her.” Radhima didi said.
get very late.” Raghu said, tensely.
no time to wait for bhavi. I’ll tell everything to bhavi later on when I come
back from Delhi.
It’s only a matter of two or three days. You get ready now!” Raghu was very
“Rani, give these five hundred rupees to
bhavi.” Raghu handed me.
Raghu took Radhima didi along with him in
his Maruti van. For the first time he came with Maruti van.
mother returned from work in the evening she was shocked and angry with Radhima
didi and all of us.
warned you all many times that don’t go closer to Raghu, don’t go closer to
Raghu, but you all didn’t heed my words. Now look he has taken Radhima with
him. What he will do with my poor child? Only god knows” mother cried a lot.
are you talking like this maa? Why you always doubted about chacha? He told
that chachi was very serious and she needs someone to look after her. And
chacha has very urgent work in Delhi.
So he came here to take us. That’s all. Why are you taking so serious?” Radhika
Mother slapped Radhika so hard that the sound of slap echoed in every corner of
our small room.
didn’t you go with him you bitch? You talk about SERIOUS!!” Mother was very
angry. Her eyes filled with fire.
loved Radhima didi very much.
was so scared that I didn’t gather dare to give five hundred rupees to mother
that was given by Raghu.
night we had not taken our food and gone to sleep empty stomach.
After one month Raghu visited us again.
Raghu disclosed everything to mother. He
Radhima is working in good business. Don’t worry about her. I’ll take care of
her.” Raghu assured.
business? I don’t know anything! Bring back my daughter as it is as you’ve took
her” mother asked firmly with a lot of doubts and angered.
good business, bhavi. N-Nothing… to worry about her” Raghu answered, fumbling.
is her first salary a thousand rupees.” Raghu handed Radhima didi’s first
salary on mother’s hands.
Raghu I don’t believe you, if you engage my daughter in any bad things then
I’ll never forgive you…..remember it!” mother warned him firmly.
no bhavi. W-What are you talking about? Radhima is like my own daughter. H-How
could I? B-Believe me bhavi .” Raghu replied very cautiously.
coaxed mother with his own tactics while giving a lot of impressive accounts.
calmed down her anger.
We all were very happy for Radhima didi.
The following three months also Raghu
visited with the same amount of rupees.
six months passed no news of Radhima didi. No money and no news. Even Raghu
stopped visiting us.
were very worried about Radhima didi. Mother cried day and night. We too missed
her very much.
Raghu visited with the news that Radhima didi was seriously ill and she wanted
to see me. We were worried about her.
was crying. She was very tensed and worried. She loved Radhima didi very much.
go with you to see my daughter.” Mother said.
wanted to go with Raghu to see Radhima didi.
bhavi, you none it go. She’ll be all right. And I’ll bring her back very soon.”
sent me along with Raghu to see Radhima didi without any speculations.
went with Raghu happily.
handed Rs.1000 on my mother’s hand.
accompanied with Raghu to see Radhima didi.
was very happy and excited, and at the same time I was worried about her. I was
eagerly waiting to meet Radhima didi after more than six months. I had missed
her a lot. I had a lot of things to share with her. She was not only my elder sister
but also my mentor. I loved her very much. She was my favorite.
traveled by bus and train for the first time in my life. I had seen a sea of
people, so much of people in the town like a big fairs was going on. The big
buildings, the big shops, and the big restaurants were very busy and crowded
with people. The buses, the big trucks, the cars, the auto rickshaws, the motor
byes, the scooters, the auto rickshaws, the rickshaw pullers and all the varieties
of vehicles on the roads zooming every moment. I had not seen anything in my
life outside our village. I was spellbound and confused to see all these things
in the town. I enjoyed the moment very much.
took me in a good restaurant for food. I dined with my heart content. Then
Raghu took me in an auto rickshaw outskirt the town.
was very happy and excited that I would meet Radhima didi very soon.
was evening when I reached with Raghu in his place. I was shocked and scared to
see his place. His place was very odd and scary place, a place like old crumbling
and abandoned building.
you stay here haa. I’ll just going and coming, ok? Don’t afraid, haa? Don’t go
anywhere.” Raghu said me very lovingly.
I agreed without any word.
I replied and nodded.
was very excited to meet Radhima didi. I didn’t mind to stay anywhere whether
it would be a strange place or any other place. It was my intense love for
Radhima didi. I was only thinking about Radhima didi; how I would meet her;
what things I would tell her first and what things I would tell her last; what
things I would complain about her. I had so many things to share with her.
I stayed outside the odd and strange place
without any speculation.
much time had elapsed I didn’t have any idea. I was waiting and waiting for
Raghu and Radhima didi.
darkness of night quickly wore the dark attire and engulfed everything under
her bosom and nothing was visible around. I could only hear the howling of dogs
and the sounds of zooming heavy trucks and other vehicles on the nearby road.
waited Raghu for long time but he didn’t return.
tried to scan around the place. But I didn’t find any human soul there. I was
very terrified. I didn’t know any one. I was unknown to the place. Everything
seemed to be hunted. In darkness everything appeared as the figures of witches,
devils, demons, monsters, ogress, ghosts and beasts around me and approaching
to attack me. Everything appeared eerie, lonely and ghostly.
didi, Radhima didi where are you? Are you hear me?” I cried out my elder sister’s
name here and there helplessly.
there was no one to hear my voice.
chacha-Raghu chacha where are you? Come soon! I’m very scared.” I called out,
I cried and folded my arms and sat down on
didn’t find Radhima didi.
didn’t know anyone in that strange place. I didn’t know how to return my home.
I cried out for mother. I cried out for my sisters. I cried out for my brother,
Raju. But no one was there to rescue me from that strange place. I was all alone
Just then someone’s warm fingers touched my
“W-Who?.....Raghu chacha?” I said in
I stood up with shocked.
I saw was a female figure standing in front me. She was looked like an ogress.
She was chewing paan. Her lips and mouth was red with the spits of paan. She
was old as my mother.
girl what’s your name?” The lady asked me.
I replied, terrified.
smiled at me. Her smiled was like a smile of ghost.
“Come with me!” She called me to go with
patted on my back.
“No-No I can’t go with you. Who are you?” I
denied her. I didn’t want to go with her.
waiting for my chacha. He’ll come. He’ll take me with him.” I said very
The ogress like lady smiled at me and held
my hands tight.
“Nobody will come here to take you girl.
Come with me!” The lady clamped my hands.
me! Leave me!............ I don’t want to go with you. Where are you taking
me?” I yelled aloud.
tried to set free from her hard clutches. But I didn’t over power her. Her men
held me and took me along with them.
took me in a Maruti van. After an hour long zig-zag and narrow streets journey
the Maruti van stopped at the old building outskirt the town.
was introduced with other girls. I was shocked to see them in the miserable
condition. I was very perplexed to see them.
“Who are these girls?” I thought,
were lying on the dirty and old carpets on the floor. The floor was covered
with the pieces of torn newspapers, polythenes, plastics and the rappers of
biscuits. Some were crying. Some were carefree, smiling and laughing without
any reasons. Some were dead silent, silent as graveyard. Some were unknown to
this world. Some were sleeping on their bags, covering their veils, holding their
bags tightly that somebody would snatch their belongings. Some were lean and
thin. Some were bulky. Some were white as milky. Some were as black as ashes.
There were varieties of girls from different places.
room was full of different foul smells. Smells of sweats, smells of tears,
smells of oils, smells of moisten soil or mud, smells of rotten stuffs and
felt sick and about to vomit.
entire floor was complete messed, looked like stocks of bundle laden in any
warehouse. The ceiling was knitted with the hanging spider webs and the huge
blades of rusted ceiling fan was moving like a bullock cart in cracking sound,
even it would awake the dead soul. The houseflies and the mosquitoes were
hovering up and down here and there to attack their preys and to relish with
human bloods. The soldiers of ants were marching together in search of their
food. And the small rats and big rats were emerging out from their holes and
running from one corner to another corner and make scare.
they saw me, they were not welcoming me. I was scared to see their worried
faces and ill conditions. For the first time I saw such a bad human conditions
in my life.
didn’t take me much time to understand that my condition would be the same as
these poor girls.
sinner Raghu. You’re sinner Raghu. You betrayed me! You betrayed us! You’ll go
to hell. You’re a bastard! Maa was right, you’re bastard!” I cursed Raghu.
I accused Raghu. I cried aloud and dejected.
I remembered every word warn by mother. She
warned us time and again. But we fools never heed her words.
“Don’t believe Raghu!…...Don’t believe
sobbed and sobbed. But it was too late for me to retake anything. Nobody was
there to rescue me.
has brought you here has sold you to this bitch, do you know that?” One girl
said. Her voice was full of fury and perching my heart and soul in one instant.
I cried. I cried. I felt dizziness and fell
I woke up it was morning already. I was feeling hungry. I was not in my senses.
I sobbed again and again.
cry-Don’t cry……” The eldest girl patted on my back.
was black in her complexion but she was beautiful like a black beauty. She
cared me. She rubbed my tears. I felt her warm and loving touch for me.
“Take this. Have some food.” She handed me
the plate of roti. She solaced me.
She lovingly torn a piece of roti and put
in my mouth. I slowly ate and swallowed. I hugged her tight as my rescuer.
“Thank you!” I said, wailing.
“Who are you?” I asked her.
“I’m Sushila. What is your name, sister?”
she said with her soft voice.
“Rani.” I replied.
“Rani. Good name. My sister’s name is also
Rani.” Sushila said and consoled me.
“Don’t cry!” she said warmly.
cared me and loved me. I felt her touching love. I hugged her and slept on her
whole day I spent with her. And at night I slept with her.
But the next morning I didn’t find Sushila.
She had gone.
is Sushila? Where is Sushila?........” I asked and looking for her, but I
didn’t find her.
“She is gone. She has been taken away last
night.” I got answer from one girl.
was very upset. I cried a lot. I missed her a lot. She was only my solace in my
loneliness and dismay.
night five to six girls were taken away from there. Two strong and black men
came along with the ogress and they choose girls one by one.
she is fine. Take her.” They selected the best looking girl from there.
I was very scared. I hid myself with my
bag. The night was very scary for me.
Every other night the same scene was
girls were returned the same night those who were rejected and in their place
some other girls were selected and taken away. The new girls were also brought
after every third or fourth day.
was kept for six days.
I didn’t know why they kept me for so long. Later I came to know that I was too
young for them and good looking, comparison to other girls. Till that moment
they didn’t find good customer for me.
and every girl had their own stories to tell. But who would listen them and who
would rescue them from there. Their stories were quite similar with me. Some
were being sold by their own parents because they had no means of livelihood. Some
were sold by their beloved lovers for money. Some were came themselves for good
jobs in towns and cities and fell in the traps of sex agents, who were running
sex rackets in big towns and big cities.
were crying for their ill fated lives. Some were cursing their parents for
their poor upbringings. Some were prepared to run away from there. Some were crest
fallen. And some were accepted whatever be the outcome in their lives.
silently waiting and wailing for their turns.
was crying, covering my face with my fingers.
bastard Raghu! You’re betrayer! You’ll go to hell!” I sobbed and cursed Raghu.