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“Dedicated to My Best Friends”
Wherever I am today and whatever I am, it is the support of my friends and their unmatched love. I am not a professional writer, yet my heart’s emotions, tears of my eyes or smiles of my lips are scattered on my face, at that moment my friends are always with me and encouraged me to playpen on it. So I thank them wholeheartedly for making this work very beautiful.
After saying so much and writing, if I do not mention their names, then it will probably be the incomplete page of my book. Therefore, Dr. Rupesh Singh, Sanjay Jha, Kalpana Singh, Pushparaj Singh, Kritika Malhotra, and all those friends, once again thanks to them.
Drown all wherever there is no sorrow in the sea
Just a rudder in the river, for my lover.
It often happens when a storm of thoughts or feelings create some uproar over the brain panel, knowing that unknowingly giving them the form of words and sentences, it becomes a simple, never-ending story that eventually ends up being a book. When presenting in front of you the feeling of happiness, then it becomes difficult to get it into words.
From the point of view of the plot, ‘RAGINI – The School Girl’ attempts to highlight all the aspects related to the life of such a minor heroine which even the society of independent India of the 21st century is not able to accept. For example, making the most of male friends will go with them to an extent that is often not considered appropriate. In this novel, parallel to the main heroine, the path-breaking of a minor co-heroine who wants to do everything she can to reach her destination in an effort to beat every good evil act of the heroine.
Through this novel, I have tried to closely underline the youth’s restlessness, agony, thought, and attraction to the opposite sex. I have also tried to keep an eye on those aspects that they are basically criminals, in making the youth like this.
“Should sex and marriage really be taken as two sides of the coin even today, or should the youth be given freedom from this thought and custom?” I have prepared the reason for answering every such question related to the people.
Hey, my name is Nilam and I remember well, at that time my age was only eleven years, three months and twenty four days. Virginity slowly started playing with my body. I started feeling strange virginity in me. I could not understand that my eclipse is eclipsing or its disruption is intensifying. I was able to feel so sure that my eyes started getting drawn towards the boys like a magnet, especially after that incident.
Gradually, the cold began to spread its legs. My mind was starting to panic from now on. In the last winter’s wintry winter, if I do not wake up early in the morning then have to listen to my mother’s shout. I knew this is going to happen this year too.
That morning, it was cold, I was not wanting to leave the bed, but my mother followed me. How could she break away from her principle?
This year, I had become stubborn with a little aging. I nodded and said- “You can do anything, right now, I’ll not leave the bed. Oh GOD! How cold it is! I removed the quilt a little and took out my face as if my face was covered with snow. Where was my mother supposed to believe me?” She grabbed the quilt and threw it out of my body with a jerk. I still did not open my eyes. Yes, I had to twist my body.
“Hey, Ram! This girl too!” Mother began to try to cover the half-naked body by pulling my top and skirt from where it was.
“Shameless girl!” She said – “would you sleep like a corpse? It is good that I often come to wake you up. If your elder brother comes, then there is no place for him to hide his face.”
I still did not get up, in return I close my eyes with a smile on my face. As if I am feeling mad about the mother’s words. I wanted to turn back and say to her that while sleeping ‘Do I have the only work left to do to cover my chest and legs. Anyway, this is my room, I sleep naked or wrap myself in clothes and what to do to anyone.’ I did not let my lips move.
Mother walked out fast. Then before I could cover the quilt again, she returned and poured a glass of water on me. My body is suddenly buried under the Himalayas. I sprang out of bed.
Before I stopped and did some debate with my Mom, my eyes went to the watch as if my wings had grown. I could not understand when I went to the bathroom and came out ready. I did not eat that day, mother said even then. I pleaded with my mother that I did not like her morning behavior at all. My mother asked to take the tiffin, I denied to accept. I get ready within a few minutes and went straight to school.
“Hey Neelam!” As soon as entering the classroom, Kalpana hit her heavy arms on my back in her daily routine. I turned and looked at her, she was shocked. Today I did not have a smile on my face. I got angry.
“What’s the matter, something seems disgusting today.” She tried to entertain me. I did not respond.
I took my bag and went towards the seat. She did not give up the chase “Hey Neelam! You heard something?” Holding my arm, she pulled towards her.
“Are you talking about Ragini?” I asked furiously.
“Yes, but how do you know that?” She looked at me with surprise.
“You talk about the same thing every day. Remember?”
“Are you telling the truth?” She smiled softly “Well, Today I have the latest news, will you listen?”
“Kalpana” I looked at her with full vigor – “Why don’t you work for a news channel?”
To be fair, despite being Ragini’s best friend, I did not know how to read her eyes properly, but later she was able to guess the reaction of her eyes from the way she gave her opinion about Kalpana. She believed that there is a more vicious mind in the Kalpana than her innocence and fickleness.
“What do you say? Can I really work on a news channel?” Kalpana asked to me.
“Yes, a hundred percent! That too by being a top reporter.”
She laughed out loud, “You’re making me, isn’t it?”
“Why you think so?”
“I think people will get bored every day listening to Ragini’s news.” She spoke with innocence.
“No. It’s not like that. Nowadays people have changed a lot. They are beginning to show interest in the love affairs of the schoolgirl more than the Bollywood star’s love affairs.”
“I do not believe that.”
“Ragini is coming.” I said with a hand on her shoulder.
“Ragini!” She turned back in surprise. The wrinkles on his lips increased.
“Come early today?” Ragini smiled and said.
“I think you are late?” Kalpana said before I could say anything.
“Really?” There was no respect for Kalpana in Ragini’s eyes.
“Yes!” Kalpana’s smile did not diminish.
Ragini threw her bag on the seat, grabbed my hand and took me out.
By lunch, rats started running in my stomach. ‘If the mother had made a mistake, then anger should have been taken out on her too. What is the matter that the food herself should not be eaten? It is good that the decision was yours, so die now! I picked up my bag and set out for home.
Papa’s car was parked outside the house. I was shocked ‘Papa! In the house at this moment?’ I wanted to scream Papa…Papa… and run inside the house so he would love me with a hug, but do not know why I could not do it. I sneaked into the house.
Extreme silence inside the house at that time.
‘Where is Papa?’ I looked around with surprise. The movement of the clock in front was clearly heard. I opened the bathroom door to the drawing room. I also went to kitchen, peeped up the corridor of the roof but neither Papa nor Mummy were seen. After getting tired, I started descending the stairs and suddenly I heard a voice subdued by my father’s bedroom. Got up that I could run there but there was some reason that I stood there as a fetish. I concentrated myself more. The voice was much clearer now. My breath started to stop. There was a strange distraction on the whole body of mine. I slowly went down the stairs towards the window. I kept thinking for a few moments, then automatically woke up to look inside the room. I got the medium. I kept my eyes covered with that hole, as if suddenly another truth of the world has been revealed in front of me, which till now I was unaware – the whole eleven years, two months and twenty four days. My mother was naked with my father.
I stood motionless for about ten minutes, but then I had to withdraw. The secret of my theft can be naked so I do not stay at home at all. On the go, I kept telling the gate keeper of the house not to tell my parents that I had come home.
After that day that scene as if settled inside my eyes. I try a lot to forget but I can’t. When I think again today, I have doubts about my personality ‘Was I really not able to forget or did not want to forget?’ Well, whatever it was, but it was so important that every role related to that scene would come in front of me, as if not the memories, but the scene itself has come to my mind… If I see to my mother or I would have looked at my father and the extent was that even when I pass in front of Papa’s bedroom.
One day, I also reached the bedroom and kept searching for marks on the bed which should have been made after that incident.
It was very difficult for me to conclude with whom should I share such a reality of this duality filled world with me? With my friends? ‘No-no!’ suddenly, my body meditated, to tell them means ‘to dissolve ammo in a storm.’
“So with Ragini?” But how can I trust on her. If she breaks the terms of friendship? Although she was my best friend, I used to talk about things like flying straws to sinking a huge ship.
After all I could not stop myself and I told her the whole story but after telling, her reaction would be so smooth, I did not even imagine in fiction. Although later I was very upset that I was also a strange person, had gone to make a bracelet to mountain.
Ragini listened to things in a normal manner and looked at me more easily than that, and walked away. I was surprised I told her such a big thing and she react something nothing. Maybe she is not in the mood to think at the moment? Well, when she think in private then I will see her, how comfortable is she? She will come running near me like a horse and will insist on seeing to my parent again in that form, but what shall I do then? I started scratching my head. Who know that was the first and last coincidence?
The next day, she did not look so impatient in that matter, after all I had to start conversation with her.
“Oh Nilam!” She turned to me, almost tearfully and said “You are looking at your mother unnecessarily with strange way. You should know that not only your mother but every mother of the world goes through this phase.”
“What? What did you say?” I kept looking at her with torn eyes.
“Yes, every mother in the world lives these moments.” She repeated. “And one day maybe you too.”
“What do you talk about?” I almost shouted at her in a quarrelsome manner. I had no idea exactly why people would be doing this, but then I peeped out of the window for about ten minutes just because I could not remove my eyes from there even though the work was very boring and disgusting what my father did with my mother.
We sat silent for a long time and kept looking at straws lying away.
“Ragini!” I gave her a voice. She was about to throw the pebble which got stuck in her hand but she stopped listening to my voice.
“Did you already know all these things?” I asked.
She started looking at me in a stranger way. “Why are you asking all this?”
“Did you know already?” I repeated my question again.
“Have you ever seen your father and mother like this?”
“No! I do not have a mother.”
“Sorry!” I was silent for a moment but the rapture was at its peak, I speak again “Then you must have been told all these things by someone.”
“How do you know then?”
“Just like that.” She asked so but the blown color of her face and the silence of lips was telling me that she herself was confused as to where she got all this information from? While she knew that she had gone to school for years to learn such an important language in writing.
“Ragini!” I did not give up easily “Are you sure no one has told you all these things? You can take a little time if you want. Try to think. I think you have been told all these things by someone.”
She kept quiet for a while.
“No, No one told me all these things to me.” This time her confidence was more firmed.
“I think you still need some time.” I stood up “I will meet you tomorrow.”
“Nilam! Nilam!” She wanted to stop me. I didn’t stop.
“We won’t talk about it at all tomorrow, you understand.” She Shouted.
I did not hear or say anything to her.
The next day we chose again the broken ruins on the side of the school for our discussion.
Today I did not start my talk because I knew that Ragini was not such a girlish girl. If she knew anything, she knew it from the root.
“Ragini, do you know the depth of gravity?”
“Yes, I know a lot but not everything.”
“I couldn’t attend the last class. Will you be able to tell me anything about it?”
‘If you are left chasing the returning steps, then there is a lot of scope for them to turn around and start following you.’ Father often used to say.
When she listened me, she started looking at me, I knew that she would not be interested in these things at least today, yet I insisted – “Say, Ragini, can you tell me.”
“Nilam!” She laughed “Are you sure you want to talk about this?”
‘Oh Papa Love You’ my mind bounced inside, but the condition was big, so happiness had to be buried inside. Papa further said that ‘the steps to be taken should be abandoned in the true sense rather than pretending to leave’ and I tried to put his point 100 percent on that situation.
“Yes, but do you want to talk about something else?” I asked.
“No, no. Why would I want to talk about something else? Yes, that’s it. Let’s talk about it. Exams are very close anyway.” Her face was suddenly dry. I was watching her face carefully.
We sat silent for a while.
“Ragini.” I didn’t want to strangle her for any longer. I asked again “You thought?”
“About what?” He stared at me in a strange way.
“Yes.” She said. My smile reminded her for the point.
“Who told you?”
“Probably no one.” Ragini repeated.
“You said the same yesterday too.”
“Perhaps the truth was the same. Well I tried to think a lot at night but to no avail and eventually I was forced to believe that really nobody told me.”
I was shocked! Could not say anything. Just kept looking at her.
“Hey! You guys here?” Suddenly, Kalpana came on my head “I have been searching for you since long, man.”
“Are you going to give any news?” I smiled and looked at her.
“Oh Nilam! You keep making fun of me all the time. I have come to see you. Tell me if I can join your company?”
“Sure! But we have to go now.”
“Oh how!” His lips spread in a smile “you know, I was going to tell you one thing.”
“I’ll listen tomorrow.” I got up and about to left.
“Hey Ragini! At least you listen” She restrained Ragini with a hand – “I am sure if you will hear, you will feel fantastic.”
“Then speak quickly!” Ragini looked back towards her.
“Have you seen the movie Murder?”
“Why not yet?” She stared at her with big eyes. “Oh! You have missed a lot, man. I think you should have watch.”
“And why that?”
“How can I tell you man. I got mad after watching the film. What was the film? Why don’t all the filmy people make such a romantic film?”
“But what did you see on that?”
“In that? Ooops! What Imran Hashmi did KISS to Mallika. I have thought, my boyfriend will be, just like Imran. What a lips he has? Absolutely like a rose bud”
In Ragini, I did not see any interest in her talk but there was an uproar in me. I don’t know why I started showing more interest in these aspects now.
“What movie are you talking about?” I asked her restlessly.
“Oh leave her. Neelam, you too have come to terms with her.” Ragini grabbed my hand and pulled me from there.
My breasts started growing. Slope on the cheeks and strange attraction on the eyes was born. Believe me it was not my dream casserole at all. Standing in front of the full size mirror in my room, I loved to behold myself for hours. I was surprised – even mirror can be such a good friend. I used to move my hands on my chest. Sometimes I would lift one arm and then other. Sometimes it would be slanting, shove one leg and then smiled seeing my physique like this.
It was strange era of my age. This time I had my tenth standard exam. I started to understand a lot. But there was still something, I was unaware of. I could not understand, such a rapid changes can happen in humans. I have been looking at my mother for years, she looks the same as was before. But me? Oh! I could not guess when the flower grew from the bud.
I was returning from the school in that day. Someone is watching me, I did not know. Ragini was with me. I was engrossed in things, the heat was such that it felt like taking off all the clothes now but there was some reason that I could not do it. I wish! This place also got the idea of ’cap d’agde’ I swear, I never wear the clothes.
I lifted my skirt up a bit, the air was slightly taut with the legs, and I lifted it again, I lifted it a little more.
Suddenly there was a turn from where Ragini had to turn I called her ‘Bye’. Now I was alone. I could not see straight. Suddenly I looked back and saw as if my life had been lost ‘Oh God, how long has he been watching the open legs due to my actions?’ I turned and looked at him continuously for two or three times in panic, and each time his smiling lips made me water in shame. I did not stop looking back any more in this expectations that he may not be smiling anymore but the merciless did not pity me.
After all, I had to turn a lane from the street leading to my house, but look at my bad luck – that boy came out of the same street who was my class fellow in my school.
I could not sleep till late that night. Due to That action, which caused shame to me at that time. Laughter was coming at the same time.
The next day when I reached school, I was looking for more eyes than Ragini. It was difficult to say why? Perhaps I wanted to escape me from his eyes or come in his eyes.
“Hey Nilam!” Suddenly someone hit me from behind. I trembled with that touch. I looked back, but could not recognize the face for a long time. Even I did not have that feeling on my face like after meeting an acquaintance, it should be.
I kept staring at her for a long time.
“Hey! What are you looking like? This is me!” She hit my shoulder vigorously “From yesterday to till today you have changed so much. Will you believe? Even I can’t recognize it?”
I was constantly stressing my brain.
“Oh Nilam!” Look at me, here I am, where are you looking after me?” Suddenly she turned around and said “Oh! So this is it.” Her lips smiled, peeping into my eyes and said “If I am not wrong, this is the same boy who was following us yesterday.”
“What!” Suddenly the blood ran in my brain’s veins “Oh Ragini! You?”
“Yes I am, but do you know the class is about to begin?”
I was returning after lunch. Ragini was with me and suddenly my heartbeat increased. I was surprised – how can life open such a secret step by step to me. I was able to feel those feelings for the first time.
I have been confused. I feel debauched even he comes in front of me and even if does not. Suddenly, I quietly passed the sight in front of him.
Even that night I did not turn off the light of the room till late. Mirror was eager to see my naked body. I saw myself from every angle. The part below my waist was heavier than before. I lifted my hands and placed them on the head. Observed herself from bottom to top. I was shocked!
My knowledge was growing rapidly. I felt like someone was telling me something through me. I was experiencing many new experiences that were completely unknown to me.
“Ragini! Have you ever taken off your clothes in front of a mirror?” The next day she met me, I asked straight question to her. She looked at me with astonishment. Even to the extent of my shamelessness, her lips would not open and maybe if there was any advice, she give me like ‘Neelam! What has happened to you these days? Have you gone mad?’
“No.” After a long time, she answered very easily. I felt as if I had asked the question of physics or chemistry to her.
“Are you sure you are telling the truth?”
“Nilam!” She stared at me.
“Oh Neelam!” Suddenly a voice rang behind me “This question is not for the people like Ragini. If you should ask such questions to other girls like me.”
I quickly turned back. Kalpana was smiling standing at the door “We have removed clothes not once, a thousand times, but in the bathroom.” She said.
“Oh Kalpana!” I turned back to her “Who told you come here?”
“Oh come on Neelam! This is not good. We do not swallow your boredom anymore. One is that no boy likes me and when I want to entertain myself by talking to you, you always get upset. Where is justice here, man?”
“Few days ago Kalpana said to me that nowadays, there were three boy walking back and forth in front of her.” I looked to Ragini and said.
“That was not true man, whatever I said. All are impotent. Nothing happens to them, just get them talking.”
“She needs Imran Hashmi.” Ragini smiled while looking at me “Let’s go, class is going to begin.”
“Ragini!” Kalpana’s face faded “Our luck is not like you my friend? We are just like a thirsty earth which is craving for rain. No rain cloud has been found yet. Overall my story is still incomplete.”
“Incomplete story?” I looked shocked at her “So you have a story, Right? Can you tell me a bit about your so called incomplete story?”
“Don’t listen to my story sweetheart! Tears will be came in your eyes.”
“Oh! Seems interesting! Is that a sad story?” I smiled.
“No, Never.” The next moment, her face was blossomed “The story of our enemies should be sad, why mine? The only tragedy is that I am still thirsty like Earth without rain.” She laughed loudly.
“There were three boy in my life but all three failed to shower on me.”
“Got an idiot ‘Sudhakar, who dies in love with me.”
“Oh my what? The boy was good, I was not going to put handcuffs on my heart. He was desperate to meet me and I also wanted to meet him, but…” Suddenly, her lips are silent.
“But…?” I grew restless to hear the next line.
She was silent for a moment, alternately turning to me and Ragini.
“Kalpana, Will you speak anything further.” My patience was over.
“What can I tell you next, man? Till this uninteresting, heart was overturned and I died in love with someone else.
“Was a bastard man, ‘Raj’ Bloody ruthless? Who know what he think about himself?” He shrugged her nose, said “I open my heart and put it in front of him but he still could not understand my feelings and when he tried to flinch, it was too late.”
“Oops!?” I asked in an interesting way.
“Yes?” She blossomed loudly “There is no wall that will remain buried in one place on the life, how long shall I keep my heart entertained with his rubbish informative lectures? I was not his student, man. I wanted to talk to him romantic because I loved him a lot. Even I told him many times to meet him but he would refuse to meet every time with an excuse. In fact in our relationship period, we could never meet and that’s why I had to look for another option. Then I found Sandeep.”
“Wow Kalpana! You are amazing, man. In the end you just hit a hat-trick.”
“Don’t blow us like that in the sky. I wish! I could hit a hat-trick.”
“Darling, three means hat-trick. You know that?”
“Look Neelam, do not explain to me the meaning of hat-trick, I know it. Actually the third one is not my own achievement. He has been brought to me by my capable father.”
“Oops! So your father stopped your hat-trick. I tell you Kalpana, Never forgive your father.” The smile on my lips shattered.
“Okay you leave all this.” suddenly Ragini spoke in the middle “Have you ever did anything with them or have just passed away in dreams.”
“What?” Kalpana’s lips spread, as if she knew nothing.
“Kalpana, don’t be so ignorant. Tell me straight away.”
“So you are asking about? Oh! Nothing happened man. I told you that I am still thirsty like earth without rain.’
“I can’t believe it.” Ragini said.
“Ragini you know me.” Kalpana turned to her “I am not that type of girl who hide her relationship and in fact we all know, Sex in relationship is not a crime. Sudhakar, the poor, crossed the limit while dreaming of meeting me that at least he could show the heat what he has and about the second whom I called ‘Philosopher’ I really want to meet him but as I told you before I did not get chance to meet him and in mean time my father brought the third one so second was not able to realize my tenacity.”
“So sad! Ragini said.
“What is story of third one?” I asked.
“He is forcedness so I will have to feel his heat and show the same.”
“Oh! So how long will it take?”
“Tomorrow I will ask my father and tell you when he is marrying me.”
“Oops! So you are going to grow apple plant to eat the apple? By the way your age doesn’t seem to be married right now.” I said while pulling her.
“There is no an age of marriage Dear Nilam, when the heart does, do it, in the age of sixteen or thirty-six.”
“Well, let’s leave this. Class is about to begin.” Ragini said while turning.
What a day man! That day I did not concentrate on study in class. I kept listening to the teacher who continuously speak.
The next day Ragini meets me outside the school gate. The way she came running toward me, it was not difficult to understand that there is a storm inside her. The question which she had taken lightly yesterday, she must not only go through about it in the night but would have gone to the bottom of it. I wanted someone to pat me on the back. Actually I never guess wrong. She must have undressed not only once but many times, in front of the mirror.
“Nilam!” She leaned over my shoulder to my chest.
“You are looking so happy today?” I asked.
“You think so?”
“Yes, I can guess it.”
“Nilam!” She looked at me silently “What happened If we don’t go to school today?”
“Mean?” My torn eyes kept staring at her.
“If we don’t go to school today?” She did not change her question.
“I’ll take you somewhere else.” A strange smile spread on her lips.
I did not comment much, perhaps the reason was that she made her point before I could make another question.
“Nilam!” She said impatiently “Yesterday I took off my clothes for the first time… in front of the mirror.”
“What ..!” I turned to her “Are you telling the truth?”
“What did you feel? Isn’t it that you are changing? Tell me isn’t it? I am sure you must have seen a rapid change on your chest and under your waist. Say Ragini, I was telling the truth, right?” I woke up crazy to hear what she was going to say next.
“Probably to a large extent but not completely.” There was mischief in her voice.
“Why?” I was rash. I wanted to talk to Ragini more and more about this. I wanted to know about this strange mystery. Which, despite being an important part of our life, has been evicted from life.
“Because apart from the chest and waist the legs also looked changed.” She said with deadly smile.
“Legs!” Tearing my face, I looked at the legs.
“Yes, legs! You don’t think it is not as ugly now as it used to be in childhood.”
In my wish, I had to either take off my skirt or fold it up to the chest so that I could closely observe the changes in it, but I could not do it. There were several reasons for not doing so. At the moment I put cold water on my rapture.
We turned towards the street going behind the school. Although I would have refused to enter that street at any other time, or would have asked a lot of questions before entering, but the discussion was at such a point that I was ready to go to hell with Ragini.
“Nilam!” Suddenly Ragini stopped.
“What happened?” I asked.
“Nothing.” She smiled while looking at me “You hold my bag, I am coming in 2 minutes.” She ran into the phone booth before I ask to her any questions. About two minutes later she came out. I looked on her face, she was glowing. It was not difficult to guess that her wish was fulfilled.
“Who were you talking to?” Although I had no intention earlier to ask any question, but the way she came back with glowing face, it forced me to join her in her happiness.
“You know who I’m going to meet you with.”
“He is alone at home. He has told that his mother has gone out for work. She is not going to return by evening.”
“You didn’t say who he is?” I asked her shoulder shaking.
“You will know him soon my love. I will meet him to you directly. That is a very interesting thing. Especially for you.” Prank on her lips was shattered.
“Why for me?” I asked in curious style.
“Because He has become an old topic for me.” The inundation of mischief was scattered from lips to face “I’ve been going to him for a long time.”
“What!” My mouth was cracked – “You never told me about it.”
“It is good if some things remain a mystery, especially till the end of time.”
Although Ragini was my most trusted friend, I did not know these mysteries before today. I was also surprised, I always ignored Kalpana but she was right. Probably she knows to Ragini more than me.
“Turn around here.” Ragini said so I turned around.
That street was absolutely deserted. The silence on the street started bothering me, but there was something that was forcing me to obey her.
“Stop.” Suddenly she asked me to stop, I stopped. There was a small gate in front. The dirt is so much like the sand of Rajasthan and all the mud of Calcutta has been imposed on it.
“Whom are we going to meet?” My lips were drying up badly but she was smiling.
I am telling you truth, for the first time I could see the conspiracy behind her smile. The condition of the door was screaming that we have come to meet a person from a poor section. At that time Ragini looked very poor and fallen. I was wondering if girls like Ragini belongs to such a lousy people, but I could not say anything because I knew that Ragini was a ruined princess of a rich family.
About two minutes had passed by knocking the door but the door did not open and when opened it felt for a moment as if someone had thrown me in pits from a height. I stopped and took a deep breath and looked carefully at Ragini. I had understood in the whole matter. Ragini is such a vicious player that I was able to realize for the first time.
Age about eighteen years, dwarf in height, ugly face, but precious dresses on the body. I was in awe. What should I think about him? The ill-fated boy of the royal family or the lucky boy with an ugly face.
“Hey Ragini! How are you?” He sharply moved his hand towards Ragini and the next moment Ragini’s hand was in his hand. Then, with a shock, she tightly hugged him in her chest.
I took my eyes off.
“Sorry, it took a while to open the door.” He looked at me with smiling face “I thought you guys would come through the front door.” While speaking the last thing, he focused his eyes on my chest. I could not do anything.
“Hey Nilam! Why are you standing outside? Come in.” Ragini parted from her and said “Consider it your home.”
I went inside.
Then as soon as that door closed and we entered the light of the house, it felt as if we had reached some royal palace.
I kept looking around for a long time. Then the boy went inside for some work.
“Neelam!” Ragini elbowed me “How was?”
“Wonderful.” I replied.
“Oh thank you Nilam! I was afraid that don’t know what will be your opinion after coming here. To be honest, I was dam sure that you would definitely like it.”
“Everybody likes it if it’s a good thing, especially I like chandelier very much.”
“Chandelier?” Ragini looked at me with shocked eyes. “Are you talking about this house?”
“So what are you talking about?”
“Oh Ragini! Sorry.” I squeezed my nose “I don’t like him, especially his height and appearance.”
“He is rich and having lot of money.”
“I don’t care about his wealth. Frankly, he looks even uglier in those precious clothes.”
“Nilam.” Ragini said to see in my eyes “I respect your view but tell me one thing?”
“If you ever need water in the desert, would you like to avoid it by drinking the water of the pond? I don’t think you would like to die by being frightened by its filthiness.”
I kept staring at Ragini. I don’t think there were something special at the moment. After few minutes when Ragini closed herself in to the room with shekhar in my presence, another page of the book opened in front of me. I want to salute her.
I was a girl but for the first time a new form of this spirit of girls was revealed to me. I bowed my head and accepted this message too.
I was in a dilemma – is every girl who is a Ragini from outside is also a Ragini from inside?
Till late night I kept thinking about Ragini. Every moment spent with her, all the things were running around in my brain’s veins. What Ragini did that day? I was pushing into the nerves of my brain.
Oh God! Can’t remember,
Oh yes! Maybe this is? Yes absolutely the same. She said to me ‘Oh Nilam! You are looking at your mother unnecessarily from this point of view. You should know that not only your mother but every mother of the world goes through this phase and maybe one day you too.’
I felt so strange that day. Me and this? Disgusting! Nude with a boy! No, no never, I can never get naked in front of any man to that extent.
Time had changed its course. At least that night I was regretful. I had seen Ragini going inside the room as she was looking more independent and confident while returning. I had seen that smile on her lips very rarely in which she smiled while coming out.
Although she also asked me to walk in to the room together and I refused but now I think, I would have accepted Ragini’s request. I had so many realizations. I moved my feet closer to the wall by sliding down on the bed. Lights were scattered on the room.
Well, let’s go. I just comforted myself. That boy was also strange. Seeing him, very few girls would like to spend time with him. Especially not in a room alone.
I was neither suffocated nor was there any edge. Suddenly the phone rang. If there was some other time, I would not like to wake up from those moments, but it was night I had to pick up the phone.
“Hello!” I said.
“Oh… so you are still awake?” A voice came from there.
“Leave us, we are restless from the restlessness of others. Probably that’s why you are still awake. By the way Nilam! Today you must have visited heaven too?”
“Kalpana!” I fidgeted “Why do you become uncontrollable all the time?”
“Oh come on Nilam! Don’t show that much anger. We know that you like these things. Say the truth is not. Speak… Speak.”
I kept quiet for a while. Was not able to accept reality.
“Kalpana.” I smiled a little “You know what happened today?”
“Dear, we have known for months. It happens often. Yes, the new thing today was just that you were together.”
“Oh Kalpana! You really should work for a news channel.”
“Our intention is also to become something like this.” She blushed loudly.
“What happened to your lovers?” I turned the talk.
“Do not talk about them. Idiots are a number one coward. They talk on the phone as if the lightning is going to happen now but… Fucking guy just sets fire.”
“Oops! It’s very unfair!”
“Are you pitying me or making fun of me?”
“What do you think?”
“Makes no sense.”
“I think I need to sleep now, bye.” I hung up.
When you wait for someone, the needle of the clock stops. If you want to reach somewhere, then the path goes long and if you want to reach it lately, as if the wings have grown. I don’t know why this happens? I would have thought if I had time.
The college building started appearing, but there did not show heartless boy. I was waiting for Ankur. I slowed my steps and went as fast as I could, and finally landed.
Oh GOD! When I looked back this time, I wanted to blow my forehead. He came and passed, I kept looking with paused legs.
I had spent the whole night thinking that I would meet like this and that. I will say this, I will say that but nothing happened. The merciless boy came with the entire army. Four this corner and four that corner. I followed him to school. To this extent, he did not even look once to me.
After lunch, as soon as the water overturned ‘Ankur!’ Spontaneously sprang from my tongue. He was standing behind me. I had to run away before he could react to me.
Late in the day I wandered with Ragini. When I reached home, my mother said that I had received a call from a boy who claimed your class fellow. Have you brought a book to him?”
“I… and book?” I looked at my mother with astonishment “No, I did not take any book to anyone. What is the name of the boy?”
“I did not ask.”
“Okay.” I turned to my room.
“Listen!” Mother called. I stood up – “I has noted his phone number. He said that when you come call him.”
“Where is it?”
“There is a piece of paper lying near the phone. I did not find the diary, I had noted on paper.”
I got the paper in the room. I kept looking at that phone number for a long time. I didn’t want to dial that phone number. I twisted the piece of paper and threw it in one corner of the room. After that I quickly moved toward the cupboard, opened it and started fumbling for that book on it. May have brought someone’s book. When I could not be found, I started searching again the paper in which the phone was written. Finally I got it and dialed the number.
“Hello.” Someone said there.
“Look, Mr. I don’t have any book of yours. Understand? And don’t dare call me without further knowledge, like this. You know to my mother? How does she respond in trivial matters?”
“Nilam! Don’t be hyper. I know you don’t have any of my books.” Suddenly a familiar voice echoed on the phone, but the temperature in my mind was so high that I could not think of anything.
“Oops! You know this too, and my name too. May I know what date is today? As far as I think today is not first April at all.” I went on to say “What do you think? Am I not telling the truth?”
“I’m Ankur.” His next word was.
“I don’t care what you are. But you… Ankur.” Suddenly I stopped. I felt as if someone had hit my head with a hammer. I did not understand anything except his name. I quickly placed the receiver.
“Nilam, who was?” Mother’s voice came from far away, I did not answer. I ran straight towards the room. The lights lit the doors closed and started to change clothes, standing in front of the mirror.
Something had happened that aroused my body’s hair. I turned and looked at my bed. The mind was swept away in the imagination
When I reached school in the next day, the forehead got up. My eyes continued to run where there but Ankur did not come in my eyes. I was very upset – as far as I remember, I did not say anything wrong to him on the phone that would make him feel so bad.
Whom should I tell my restlessness? To Ragini, Kalpana, or Shivi? No no, Shivi is cow… a discreet cow. As soon as Shivi’s name came up, a statue would emerge in the mind which did not know any subject other than Physics, Chemistry. She was completely alone despite being extremely talented and beautiful. It was difficult to say that she did not like to talk to anyone or anyone to her.
Shivi and Kalpana were two banks of the river. Even if no one likes to talk to one, she was not going to agree and talk and even if she is eager to talk to another, do not open her lips.
“Neelam!” Ragini smacked my shoulder, said “What I am seeing, is it true?”
“Your eyes are out of control today. You know that?”
“I wish I could refuse.” I said a little emotionally “Ragini! Do you know the reason for my discomfort?”
“I know your eyes are looking for someone. Maybe Ankur. Is it not?”
“But today he did not come.”
“That was not even two-days ago, but there was not so much uneasiness in you then.”
“Ragini!” I stared at him “It was two more days ago. Yesterday he called me. I was crazy who spoke upside down. I feel like he was hurt by something I said.”
“And I think this is your misconception. He may not have come for some other reason.”
“If you don’t mind, your news reporter will be present with the report.”
We both looked back. Kalpana was standing in front. “Oh Kalpana you came here!”
“Should not have come? You don’t need to insult me because today I am walking with self-respect. If you say I can return right now.”
“No, that’s not the case, I really needed you a lot at this time. I’m sure you would know.” I tried to smile – “I kind of recommend you to work in the news channel.”
“Today he has gone to see the film with his family.” Kalpana said in a very easy way, but the thing was such that we could not live without being surprised.
“Oh Kalpana!” I wanted to embrace her.
“Kalpana!” Ragini called out “Now also tell me where you got this information from?”
“Just eat mangoes, there is no use in counting kernels.” Kalpana said with a laugh.
“But I want to count, tell if you can?”
“If you are insisting now, then this aspect has to be made public. But yes, do not doubt that I can be good reporter.”
“Dude won’t!” I said touching her cheeks.
“Actually his father and my father work in the same office.” She said smiling.
“Oh, is that so….”
That day, as soon as I entered the house, I was shocked! Everyone was waiting for me. For a few moments I did not understand anything but soon Papa told that we are going to the cinema to watch the film. So I should quickly change clothes.
“What!! Cinema?” I had a wrinkle on my forehead. I looked carefully at the mother. She had a glow on her face. As far as I knew she was a fan of films but in Cinema hall. She believed that T.V. removes the skin of eve a good movie. True! She used to sit very often in front of TV.
I entered the bathroom. Face washed, took off clothes and stood in front of the mirror. I looked closely towards the mirror, he was also blushing at the beauty.
“Neelam hurry.” Mother’s voice came from outside.
“I am coming.” I screamed as I walked out of the bathroom.
“Oh… what did you do?” When I reached in front of my mother, she shouted at me – “Why are you wearing the clothes you wear at home. Do you intend to wear them?”
“I will not go.” The joy of my face had vanished.
“What happened daughter?” Papa asked with surprised eyes.
“Nothing dad. Actually I have got a lot of homework today. That’s why I will not be able to go anywhere.” I brought all the innocence of the world on my face.
“But I have come with four tickets.”
“So give me one and think, I am with you.”
“Oh Neelu, you have grown a lot.” Dad grew and cuddled me “Who says, you do not studying?” The tightening of Papa’s arms increased. My youth was brutally crushed between me and my father’s chest. It was a completely new feeling for me, years later someone hugs me with a chest. What a sweet feeling was hidden in that cremation of the body. Although I should have known that it was the bastardy of my brain that confined me to just physical life beyond the walls of the relationship.
My father’s car was shaken from the door that I ran straight to the phone.
“Ankur!” My trembling lips took the name of heartless.
Ankur refused to come to my house and then I started crying in tears. Looks like someone has snatched a glass of water from my thirsty lips. I think now it is surprising. GOD has also made all the things. Well crying is something and tears is even worse than that. But at that moment it seemed that if the GOD made a mistake of not making them, then I would have been incomplete. When the sound of my cry hit his ears, the abyss melted. Stuck and said “Okay I am coming but at least you can tell the work. By the way, you should know that I have apologized for my mistake that day. I just made the excuse of the book and called you. This was my biggest mistake.
“You come, I’ll tell you the work.”
“Do you want, you mother scold me? But, Neelam!” I felt a slight fury in his voice “If you do this then you should take care that you go to school too.” This was his sheer threat, but don’t know why I didn’t feel bad at that time.
“Mummy is not at home.” I made it clear.
“No, that’s not he either.”
“Nobody is here. I am alone.”
“Alone!” He was shocked as if someone had made him realize my intentions “Are you really alone at home?” His voice became heavy as if he forgot to swallow the spit “Where have all the people gone?”
“Why haven’t you gone?”
“I don’t like movie.”
“You are lying, I know you are very interested in films.”
“Quit these things, just you come.” I was getting rash.
In an instant, Ragini and Shekhar entered the room together in front of me and after spending some time, smiling came out on Rigini’s lips like lightning. I wish I could completely take equal feeling of that time. I could not understand what was going on in my body, which was probably the first time in my life.
In a hurry, I took the receiver of the phone from one ear to another ear. I don’t know why, at that time I was not sure that it would be able to hear everything that was going to be said by Ankur.
“I will not come, not at all.” He slams the phone.
Oops! I got mad after hearing his next sentence. From childhood, till today I had easily found what I wanted. And for what I could not find, I unified and snatched it under any circumstances. This is the case that every time my father’s shoulder or his uncultivated wealth would be the basis of my stubbornness. But today I could do anything.
By the way what was my need today? Even wishing I could not think anything nor was able to laugh no cry, except to call myself evil. How crazy was that day? If I had gone to Shekhar’s room with Ragini, then today I would not have to do all this for a rubbish feeling. Oh! Ragini you are great. You also eat ice-cream and take a gift as well.
I was worried how to explain to him? How to tell him that nothing is going to spoil him. I thought if I tell that I am alone at home, he will come running here, but I got silly who could not understand such a thing.
I called again. I tried to convince him and wept too, then he melted away.
I sent home guards out on the pretext of bringing biscuits. How does money also make a human being a pet dog? I was his daughter’s age, but respected me as if I was his mother.
My night was passed very hard. Early in the morning I got ready and ran to school.
On seeing me, Ragini came running and hugged me. Her lips went on kissing my cheeks. I could not stop her.
‘Who is restless? Me or Ragini?’ I did not have time to think.
“Ragini! Ragini!” I shouted. This madness of her caused panic in me.
“You know Neelam, who has given this ring?” He blossomed while raising his ring.
“I don’t know.” I said directly “Is it gold?”
“Hundred percent gold?”
“Who gave it? Did Shekhar?”
“Oh Nilam!” Suddenly, Ragini’s got wings. She jumped two feet above the ground and came straight on my chest “You recognized! You are my best friend, Man.”
“Oh GOD!” I groaned. His happiness would have taken my life if the bones of the chest had collided. Femininity worked. The gap between the Hattie’s remained intact.
Ragini had a strange glow in her eyes. I was surprised – a beautiful girl like Ragini was bothered by the boy’s deteriorated face or his richness. I did not set my mind free to race much.
As we crossed the corridor coming towards the road, my upper breaths remained up and down.
“What happened Nilam!” Why did you come to the square? “Ragini said looking at me with strange eyes.
“Nothing.” I said to say but the eyes were there.
“Oh!” Ragini laughed. She was very vigilant in these matters. Ankur could not escape from his eyes – “Are you afraid of going in front of him?”
“No!” I answered with confidence.
As soon as Ankur eyed me, he hide himself behind the door intensely. Who was afraid of whom? It was difficult to say.
Now I was free from his eyes. Ragini’s hand was caught and dragged away, she went out to the other side of the campus.
Two stones face to face and we sit on them. Stones stared at each other with stone faces.
“Ankur called me to my house’s phone.” I was bored with silence. I had to start talking.
“Why..?” She asked with ease.
“I don’t know. Mother told me.”
“Are you talking about three-four days ago?”
“Yes, you know that?”
“You’ve told me.”
“Oh!” I fell silent.
“Nilam!” After a while Ragini said – “Would you like to go to Shekhar’s house?”
“Sekhar!” Suddenly I stood up “I don’t like his face.”
“Nilam! Say one thing?” Her eyes started staring at me. I wish! At that time, I was able to realize that no ill-tempered mind would tolerate the manipulation of the favorite thing in its heart.
“I feel bad when you say all this about Shekhar.”
“So what do I do? You talk about Shekhar again and again.”
Ragini became silent. I could read the anger on her face very well.
“I am leaving.” Ragini got up and walked away without looking at me “I think, I should not have told you anything about Shekhar.”
“Ragini!” I called him – “I couldn’t tell you a thing. What would you like to hear?”
“No, I am going.”
“Yesterday Ankur came to my house.”
“So what do I do?”
“There was no one at home. I was alone.”
Ragini still did not stay.
“I and Ankur remained locked in a room for a long time.” I said.
This time she could not stop herself from turning to me. She said with a lot of smiles- “You are telling the truth?”
“Oh… Nilam.” She ran and clung to my chest. “You mean you and Ankur?”
I kept looking at her shining face for a long time. She was waiting for what I was about to say.
“What did he do?” Ragini smiled and asked.
I thought I knew that her rashness was bugging the silence of my closed lips, I did not know why my lips did not open quickly.
“Say Nilam!” She pushed me harder – “What did he do to you?”
“He was ashamed.” My eyes were bowed. “He did not remove the clothes.
“Oh, is that so?” Suddenly Ragini’s face turned blue. Splashes of regret were easily visible on his face.
Age was increasing rapidly, but my discomfort was growing faster than that. I was in awe of some amazing feeling. I used to think of Shekhar many times but his face would pour cold water on my rapture.
Ankur was disappointed if he had anexpectation.
A long period of time has passed between these hopes and disappointments.
It was a cold morning, I used to go to school alone because Ragini is often angry with me nowadays. He did not like to hear Shekhar’s evil and I did not like to hear his goodness.
This was the place where I often used to wait for the Ankur. Where I pick up and throw the pebbles sitting on a piece of stone like I have been entrusted with the responsibility of distracting these pebbles from their place.
I kept looking back several times in between. Maybe the next person will be Ragini.
She eventually came, smiling at me, but neither did she say anything nor did she expect me to say anything. She was afraid that if I would say anything, it would definitely be about Shekhar.
“Ragini!” Quickly I stood up.
“Let’s go to School. We are going to be late anyway.” She said without seeing me.
“Ragini today Shekhar…” I wanted to say something.
“Nilam!” She stared and looked at me “I said, we are late.”
“If you are fond of arriving late then you can definitely stay here.”
“No, I have no such passion but at least you can listen to me.” I ran up and reached her “Ragini! Please listen to me.”
“I can, but other than Shekhar. Say if you can talk besides Shekhar?” The lines of anger could be seen clearly on her face.
“Actually I wanted to talk about Shekhar, but…”
“Bye Nilam. I am going.” She went ahead with running steps.
“Ragini! Ragini!” I ran after her “Can we go to Shekhar’s house today?”
“What!” She stopped and stared at me “Are you going to tell him something in front of him? Oh Nilam, you have really become much disrespected. You cannot understand that nobody likes to hear their evil before them, especially with regard to face or appearance. “
“Ragini, I do not want to go to do his evil.” I grabbed her hand and said “I am… Well, tell me can we go now?”
Ragini turned around and stood up. “Can I know the reason?”
“Yes sure.” I smiled.
“But today I don’t want to go, can you forgive me?”
I did not say anything. We remained silent for a long time.
“Nilam!” Ragini called.
“Yeah.” I looked at her like a stranger.
She smiled, said “Are you sure, you like to Shekhar?”
”No.” I kept my stubbornness.
“Then?” The laughter on her face suddenly disappeared.
“I want to see you with him once. In her room, absolutely naked.”
“Oh Nilam! You are so shameless. By the way, let me tell you, today I am not that rash. I know that you are engaged in some study these days. Say that I am a lie?”
“No, I can’t tell you a lie but it’s probably not true either.”
“I can read you Neelam.” Ragini smiled but her eyes were angry “you cannot mislead me by saying doubled meaning words.”
“Are you sure you don’t want to go today?” I asked again.
“Absolutely not!” she said then kept watching the movment inside me for a while.
I did not say anything.
“Nilam!” She called me with soft voice “You won’t be able to face that much shame.”
“Ragini!” I looked at her with keen eyes then said “I can.”
“No, you can’t. You are my friend and Trust me, I know you very well.”
I fell silent again without looking her.
“You know Nilam? I often think.” She said picking up a piece of clay, “Why are some natural practices not as smooth as eating food when we feel hungry, Water is drunk when thirsty?”
I started looking at Ragini.
“Why does this happen?” She continued her talk “Many important things are wrapped in a sheet of shame. For example, I desire physical relation with a man, but I am not free to do that. I have to go through many rounds and rituals just to get a few moments. It means a lot dear. I have to grow an apple tree to eat an apple.” She took long breaths. “I wish! Every natural practices would have been easy and equal way.”
“Ragini!” My eyes were fixed on her face and said smile “You has been grown so much.”
She did not look at me. Perhaps she herself was surprised that her childishness was being severely crushed into the walls of adulthood.
By the way, I was not among those who thought so much, but why not know? On this strange but important aspect of life, the eagerness to know something more and more was increasing.
“Ragini!” I called her. She started looking at me. “You feel that your age is not yet where you reached. Now you have to be childish.”
“Childish!” She laughed softly. She had less innocence, more bitterness in her laughter “People have not given me a chance to live my childhood. Ever since I became conscious, I am living as a woman.”
“You mean I’m not a woman.”
“No!” She answered firmly.
“So am I looking at you a men?” I asked her to make fun of her.
“Leave it Nilams.” Her face got serious. I tried to measure the depth of her eyes. “You will not understand the meaning of a woman. You just know that you’re just a girl, not a woman.”
Ragini was standing in front of me. Absolutely naked, just like an open book but I was unable to read properly.
For the first time today, in her eyes I was seeing a sea of pain. It was something she was trying to hide.
“I wish! After getting sense, I would be able to live as a girl in two moments.” Ragini’s eyelids bowed when only a single strand of tear water spilled from her eyes.
We sat silent for a while. Eyes kept chasing a flying straw.
“You know Nilam?” Suddenly Ragini’s wet eyes smiled at me “Our exams are going to start soon.”
“Yes! Kalpana told me.” I also smiled.
I returned at home but my brain was not with me. There was conflict. There was happiness with unknown disappointment. I was thinking what Ragini felt when she used to front of Shekhar. How a storm of thoughts will arise when he is about to touch her. There would be strange situations when he held her in his arms. Oops! How would it happen? I wish! Ragini would have been able to communicate those feelings directly to my brain.
I was shocked even after knowing many things but I could not know everything’s. I know the meaning of men and women. I know why Ragini needs Shekhar. I can feel the raging moment when Ragini have been crushing under Shekhar, but I am still not aware the feelings what she feels that moment?
I wanted to learn everything as I learned to add digits and read letters but I was still disappointed.
Few month ago I was happy that I am me, not Ragini but now I wish that I would have been Ragini. So I can know the first hypnosis when she would be attracted to Shekhar. The emotion she have spoken to him. That shame when she must have been devoted to him and that love too when she has given up everything to plunder. Oops! How would those moments happen? Suddenly, my mother’s ugly face landed on my eyes, which I saw in her bedroom with my father.
While comparing Ankur to Shekhar, I suddenly got swept away in the house. My eyes were fixed on the phone. I wanted to stop the fingers but they revolted. After ringing the bell the voice came over the phone.
What answer should I give, I could not understand anything, just kept listening.
Ankur was silent for long while saying hello. I felt his disappointment very well.
“I know who’s on the phone?” He said. My lips dried up. Does he really know? For a long time I was confused. Might he have been making me so I could speak?
“Nilam.” He took my name. My heartbeat suddenly took hold. Now it was more difficult to decide what to do. Shall I speak or be silent or will cut the phone?
“You know my phone is often with my mother.” He said “Tell me if there was some work?”
“No.” I had to speak.
“But you called me. Right?”
“Yes but just like that.” I said.
“Then I am going to sleep. Are you sleepy? If yes, then sleep otherwise go to roof and count the stars.” He said and hung up. I just kept looking at the receiver. I wish! The room would not light up.
The next morning I called Ragini, she was shocked! “Nilam! Are you crying?” She recognized my pain as soon as she heard the first letter of my words.
“No.” Taking care of my tears and I said “Can you come to my house now?”
“I don’t care of that. Just tell me, are you coming or not?” I asked her strongly.
“But what happened?”
“You are making me cry purposely, Ragini?”
“No Nilam! I am not.”
“So you have to come to my house.” I hung up.
Ragini arrived like a good friend in about half an hour. I entered the room with her, straight away.
“Would you both like to have tea?” Mother gave a voice from a distance.
“No, don’t need to.” I shouted.
“Ask Ragini at least.”
“She won’t drink either, just you let us be alone.” I show my anger.
As soon as I entered the room, I quickly closed the door and lit the light.
“Nilam!” She was surprised by my madness. I was also seen the spots of panic on her face.
Maybe she did not know what I was doing. Even I did not know what I was going to do?
“Ragini” My eyes filled up.
“Yea.” She neither smiled nor wept.
“Can you take off your clothes in front of me?”
“Nilam!” she looked with shock.
“I asked can you take off your clothes.”
“But the reason?”
“I don’t want to hear anything. Just tell me, can you take off or not?” I asked like a stubborn girl.
She went mad in my unwavering madness. Her teary eyes stopped on my ruined face. I knew she was very confused. If someone wants to remove the clothes himself, it is a different thing and the clothes should be removed from her by force that’s totally different.
At that time, I had absolutely no ability to understand this subtle analysis. I was just thinking that if she can easily take off clothes in front of that ugly boy Shekhar, then she should be removed in front of me too.
I was looking forward to the fact that she was going to undress and she was waiting that I might change my mind. We did not communicate to each other for a long. Just the eyes kept flowing. Finally, he touched the lower two sides of her hand, but the same question was still in her eyes “Why she take off?”
“Take off.” I forced her. Her hands rose up and the next moment her chest became naked.
“Trouser too!” I said.
She said nothing and also took off the trouser too. Now she was standing naked from bottom to top. I turned and got behind her intensely. After two turns I stripped myself too.
“Look in the mirror.” I was ruthless with her and me.
“Look.” I said to her.
“What?” Her lips opened long after.
“To yourself and me.”
“Why?” There was a heaviness in her voice.
“Ragini! You question a lot.”
She raised her eyes and looked at the mirror. Her face went mad with shame but frustration prevailed in my face.
“Don’t you think your body looks ugly to me?” I said while touching my navel.
Ragini did not say anything.
“Say, am I not telling the truth? Look at my eyes Do you feel their beauty?”
“Yes, you are beautiful more than me.” Her dry lips trembled.
“You believe that. Don’t you?”
“Then why does it happen that everyone likes you, not me? And Ankur? What does he think of me? ‘Sleep or count the stars?’ He said so to me Ragini. Can you believe that? Why don’t he call himself a bastard? Mom tells the truth that he does not deserve you? Bloody impotent!” My voice rang out uncontrollably.
Before I abuse more to Ankur, my eyes fell on Ragini’s face which was soaked in tears, All of a sudden my breath stopped.
“Ragini.” My madness evaporated “Are you crying?”
“I go?” Before I could say anything, Ragini grew and took her clothes, wore them and went out fast.
Not a word came out of my lips.
Ragini! The most unresolved aspect of my life. The more I tried to understand, the more stranger she would become. I remember, when I knew very little about her in childhood, I probably understood more.
Teasing the boys in school was a very easy task, for her. She was among those girls who did not leave without teasing to any stranger boys on the road. It is my shame sheet that has hidden many aspects that cannot be believed but still 100 per cent true, and one part of them is Shekhar too.
My mother used to look around carefully who was among the watchers before going in to bedrooms with my father. When she felt there were no one around her, she would go inside with smiling face but Ragini used to look at me shamelessly even while entering in to the room alone with Shekhar.
I had a great suspicion. Was she real Ragini who wept in the only undressness?
I slowly rose from the bed and switched on the tube light. The whole room took a bath with floodlights. I kept looking at the closet adjacent to the wall for a long time. I needed something but what? I could not think. I opened the shelf and started looking for something between clothes. Got nothing, I returned and sat on the bed. The rack remained open.
“Oops! This is kept in front.” Suddenly my gaze went on that. I stepped up and lifted that. The camera was now in my hand, I undressed myself and stood in front of the mirror and clicked my photo.
I kept looking at photo while sitting on the bed. I believed if I look that photo even after a hundred years, then I can identify myself. I wish! I had taken a photo of her when she naked at that time, then I would have been able to say with certainty that the girl who cries only when she is undressed can’t be Ragini. Ragini was among them, whose clothes are removed ten times, but still she will not cry.
‘Ragini did not come to school’ I came out of this pain when I saw Shivi with Kalpana.
“From which side the sun rise today, Madam?” I questioned Kalpana in the language of her.
“I think you did not sleep overnight so sleep late in the morning. Sun has come out from the east as always!” Kalpana blossomed “Are you coming to the canteen with us?”
“Why didn’t you bring lunch today?” I asked.
“I had brought it but Shivi wanted to eat something on the canteen today.”
Oops! When I heard Shivi’s name, there was panic in my mind. Now I was not really sure that the sun would rise in the east. Shivi and canteen’s food. Oh, it happened to connect two sides of the river.
Well, we went to the canteen. Shivi was sitting in front of me. She smiled as soon as she saw in my eyes.
“Neelam!” Shivi called me for the first time today “Can I ask you one thing?”
“Yes sure.” I bid impatiently. Don’t know why I thought she was going to ask some special questions today.
“Oops! Can’t dare. Don’t know what you think of me.” Sensations erupted on her face.
“Shivi!” I held her hand and said “If you really think to me as a friend, then you have to trust.”
“No, no, this is not the case, I trust you, but my question is so complicated that’s why I am afraid.”
She held my hands firmly.
“There are a lot of girls here.” She began to say “Boys too are enough. There are also beautiful faces but no shortage of ugly faces. I don’t know whether I am beautiful or ugly, but people say that I am quite beautiful. I also have a good brain.”
I kept looking at the changing color of her face. Kalpana was not uncontrollable today. She was sitting silently with seriousness.
“What do you believe?” Shivi questioned me.
“Of course you are beautiful Shivi. Not only can me, but no one deny this truth.” I acted with complete sincerity.
“Is not it?” A mild smile floated on Shivi’s lips “I don’t like to talk much, but this problem is not my own. It is my upbringing that made me like this. But this does not mean that I do not like people. I care people, I love them too.”
I was listening her words very carefully.
“The boys will surely complain to me.” She continued her talk “Truly, I don’t like to talk to them much but I like them.” Shivi bowed her eyelids.
I looked at Kalpana. Absolutely silent. The face was filled with sensations.
“Shivi!” I called her after a brief lull. She looked at me with a deep eye.
“I can guess.” Taking a deep breath, I said “What do you want to say, but maybe I go wrong so will you be able to tell me what you want?”
“What do I want?” Her lips wrinkled. “I don’t know, what do I want? Really! I don’t know Nilam, but the way everyone treats me, I don’t want it at all.”
“If I can understand you and am not wrong, you mean by boys… Right?”
“Maybe yes.” She gently lowered her head.
“You want someone to love you too?”
“No Neelam. I can’t have such great expectations from anyone. I just hope that someone likes me too. If don’t love me then at least take care of mine. So I will feel that even I am not beautiful but a girl. Someone cares about me, someone also waits for me.”
“Shivi!” My lips were not opening. I was surprised.
“Sometimes I surprise on my luck.” She wanted to spill everything “If I am not wrong about my beauty, then I wonder why no boy has loved me till today. Why someone’s craving eyes did not hit my body and if I bumped, why I could not feel?”
“Shivi!” The dam of my patience broke “Do you know what you are saying?”
“Yes, very well!” She looked at me with a smile “You know Neelam! I have a friend Kumkum, who lives in my neighborhood. She often tells me in detail about intimate relationships she has with her boyfriend, perhaps she knows I don’t like to talk to anyone, especially not on these issues.” There was excitement on her face. “You won’t believe me, Neelam! I am completely mad at that moment. My body is filled with excitement. It seems that someone just came and squeezed me.”
I wish! That round could go on for a long time. We had to leave from there as soon as the sounding of the bell. Classes were about to begin.
What Shivi told me at lunch was enough to clear up many of my misconceptions. I started to understand a lot about girls.
I started seeing the girls wandering like Shivi on the road now. The extent was that I had started re-defining my definition in a new way too.
I had my first paper that day. Woke up early in the morning, got ready and left for school. Kept holding my heart beats all the way.
Reason- I had to meet three such people with whom either I did not want to meet or they was with me.
Ankur did not leave me fit to meet. He played Holi with my feelings. I did not leave Ragini worth that and celebrated Diwali with her feelings and now the paper was going to play with my admiration, disregarding Papa’s expectations.
As I crossed the main entrance of the school, Ankur came in front of me. My heart beats created panic. Somehow I compromised with them and moved forward.
In the first hour before the start of the paper, I did not see the questions of the paper as much as I was looking at the vacant seat of Ragini. I wondered how she could leave the exam. I wish! I would have been wrong.
After finished the paper I returned home, my mother smiled and asked – “How is the paper?”
I moved towards the phone without answering. I dialed a number and the bell was ranging but no one picked up the phone.
‘Man is one who does not give up on failures.’ Father often used to say. At that time, I wanted to be that man. I kept dialing the number continuously.
“Hello!” Finally he had to pick up the phone. The voice was of a man. I knew the voice of Ragini’s father.
“Who’s there?” I asked “I want to talk to Ragini.”
“She is not at home.” He kept repeating the sentence for a long time. I am convinced that he is not intelligent at all, nor is an expert. “Has she gone out side?” He ate many tremors on this question. Sometimes stuttered too. Market, village, outside, with Papa… And I don’t know how many answers he gave to a question. I would change my style to ask question and he change his answer.
“Give the phone to Ragini.” I said scolding him.
He was afraid. He said in a heavy voice “who are you?”
“Who are you?” I repeated the same question to him.
“I… I work here?” He said.
“What do you do?”
“Oh! So do you even take care office of Ragini’s father?”
“You mean you know how to run a computer too?”
“No… I pay attention to the cleaning up to the office.” He was terrified. I couldn’t stop laughing. I had to disconnect the phone.
My question was still left, I dialed the number again.
“Hello!” He picked up the phone again. I did not careless this time. Sharply said – “Hey give the phone to Ragini, you understand.”
“M… madam!” I was heard by his scared voice.
“Hello!” Ragini had to come on the phone.
“Hello Ragin! Ragini please don’t disconnect the phone.”
“Who are you?” She asked in a confused manner.
“I… I am Nilam, you..?”
“Neelam! Oh! Maybe you have dialed the wrong number.” She hung up. I kept watching the receiver in hand for a long time. I notice the voice. She was hundred percent Ragini. I wish! I would not hate Shekhar so much. Then I do not even care for Ragini. My eyes became cumbersome. A few drops of water descended to the cheeks. I kept asking for justice sitting in front of mirror as a criminal.
It was a beautiful evening. Almost all the lights in the park were lit. We were both sitting on the bench near the fountain. Ragini’s eyes were set on the flying colored water of the fountain. I was distraught.
I wish! Some curtain falls around me. I should not come in anybody’s eyes but this did not happen. Those boys sitting on the front bench were going all over us. I could not keep my eyes on the fountain even if I wanted to. The eyes of the boys would force me to look at them. I hit Ragini by the elbow.
“What is it?” Her eyes did not move from the fountain. I could not say anything properly. For a while my heart beats kept boiling.
After few minutes I hit the elbow again.
What’s up man?” Ragini turned rapidly towards me “You don’t feel good here? Look, look at the fountain, feel the beauty of it.”
“Ragini!” I turned my eyes “Look there.”
“Where!” Ragini’s eyes flew off but not stopped. “
“Look at those boys.”
“Them!” She laughed and said “Looking at the fountain.”
“They are staring at us, not at the fountains, you understand!”
“Realy?” She tore his mouth “I didn’t know we were even prettier than Fountains.”
“Ragini!” I shouted lips.
“Just look at me and tell me, do I really look so beautiful?” Ragini came out of it. There was mischief in her voice.
“Ragini! I am getting upset. You are the one who keeps joking about everything.”
She kept watching me for a while. She was proficient in reading faces. She stood up and said- “Get up!”
“Get up then!”
I stood up. She grabbed my hand and pulled it up to the boys’ bench.
“Sit down!” She said.
“Where?” I asked her in the eyes.
“On the bench. Where else?”
I kept looking at her.
“Why not have a place?” She said to me. During that time I saw the deteriorated face of those boys. Their face colors were blown away.
“Excuse me.” Looking at a boy, she said “Just will you move there?”
The boy looked at her with surprise for a few moments, then turned back and asked his friends to move.
As soon as got the place, Ragini sat down with a drip. “Sit down now.” Giving space towards the edge of the bench she said.
I sat down. There was some nervousness hiding in my dry lips.
“Nilam!” She called out “You don’t think that the beauty of the fountain has sparkled on seeing it from here.”
I kept quiet.
“You know why this fountain looks so beautiful?”
“Because ….” She blinked loudly, leaving her answer incomplete.
I was surprised at her performance. I wanted to salute her. Do not know what happened in her laughter that the boys got up and walked as if snakes were left behind.
There were tears in my eyes. I wish! The time that had passed years ago would come once again. I opened my eyes and looked carefully at the mirror. I felt I am the weakest girl in the world and the same time Ragini is strongest.
“Nilam!” Mother called.
“What’s that?” I ran over there.
“I have put food on table, let’s have a dinner. Tomorrow is your next paper. You also have to study.”
Mother moved towards the kitchen.
I could not guess properly. A long time had passed since meeting Ragini and also with Ankur.
My my friendship with Ragini that came to the peak and started, to disintegrate on the peak. While friendship with Ankur could not be started yet.
I was turning the old pages of my life.
Salute you Ragini.
I compared to myself from her. I have not even had the very memorable moment in such a long time as the Ragini has experiences. But I? I bowed down.
Mirror does not lie. Tried it out.
As soon as I gave the paper and went straight to Shekhar’s house.
“With whom you want to meet?” The gate keeper asked me.
“Who is in the house?” Was my question.
“Whom do you want to meet? Did you hear my question?” He almost said to make fun of me.
“You are very tricky.” I dusted him off with firmness “Did you hear my question?”
He stared at me from bottom to top for a few moments. I could feel her blown color. I wanted to pat myself on the back because I was feeling ‘I had shown more courage according to my age.’
“There is no one at home.” He replied.
“Are you sure?”
“Yes hundred percent! You should know that I sit at the gate for a many hours because my other partner is ill nowadays.”
“Well, let it be, I am leaving.” I turned back.
“Listen, hey.” He gave a voice. I turned back and stood up “What shall I say to my master?”
“You mean?” I frowned.
“I mean what is your name, so that I can inform him of your arrival.”
“No need to report. I’ll come back later.” I said in a loud voice.
“Okay.” I saw a smile on his lips. I was sure that I did not do any comic sarcasm. I felt bad his smile. ‘Bloody Idiot!’ In whispering mind. ‘If he were in my house, I would speak to my father to get him out by his job.’
I turned back to him “Do you want to say that there is not a single person at home?” Even Shekhar. “I said while standing on his head.
“You want to meet Shekhar sir?”
“Yes!” My bad face glowed “Is he at home?”
“Yes, but he is sleeping.”
“Oh my GOD! You are very unfortunate. You kept questioning me unnecessarily for a long time but didn’t come to the point. I just go and complain to him about your behavior what you did. Maybe you don’t know he’s my good friend.” I screamed when I wanted to cross the main gate.
“No, you can’t go in.”
“Why?” I looked at him “You just told that Shekhar is inside. Right?”
“Yes, but you cannot meet him.”
“So you want to quarrel with me?”
“No, that is not my intention. I am on duty and followed boss orders that’s not allow strangers girls to meet Shekhar sir. I hope you understand.” He said firmly.
“Why are you stopping me then? I am not a stranger. Shekhar knows me.”
“But I don’t know about you, madam.”
“Oh! So you don’t like your job? You don’t know that if I complained to Shekhar about your misbehavior, then how will he treat with you?”
“I don’t care. This is my duty and I do not compromise with my duty. You may go now.”
I kept looking at him helplessly. Had my blessing become a reality, then surely I would have prayed to collapse the small building under which he was staring at me.
“Can I use your phone?” I asked while controlling my anger.
“No, the public booth is outside.” He did not give up his misbehavior.
After losing, I had to return from there. My funeral of desires was burnt in front of me. I kept moving forward burning in the fire.
“Where were you till now? The paper was already finished two hours ago.” As soon as I entered the house, the mother almost asked in a manner of scolding.
I did not say anything. I went straight to the room. Mother did not give up, said – “Stop Nilam! I have asked you something?”
I stayed. I looked deeply towards my mother but said nothing.
“What happened? What are you looking like this? I have asked you something?” Mother’s mood was completely changed today “You have not heard or do not want to answer?”
“What is your question?” I was rude.
“Where have you been yet?”
“It was late by coming from school.”
“Late by coming from school or is there something else?”
I looked carefully at the mother, her face was frayed. She was in the mood to do anything with me. Even she can beat the first.
“I was with Ragini…” I left my sentence incomplete.
“There is no need to meet her today after. You understand?”
“I did not go to meet her at home.”
“I know that but listen! Don’t to try to be like her.”
“What!!” My lips fluttered inside me. I was surprised whether the mother is trying to be ignorant even after knowing everything or is trying to learn from her this act.
“Let’s have dinner now.” To take the food, the mother entered the kitchen and I went to the bathroom to be fresh.
At the dinner table. I started to dinner.
“Now I won’t take any more bread.” I said stubbornly.
Mother did not give me eyesight “I know what your diet is. Eat this bread too.” She placed the bread in my plate. I kept quiet.
“Neelam!” She looked at me “How long have you known Ragini?”
“I don’t remember.” I wished to avoid the matter.
“Over 7-8 years?”
“I know her for 17 years, when she was born.”
I looked at the mother with astonished eyes. It did not take me long to understand that the matter is not as small as I was thinking.
“Ragini has told she is going to be 18.” I said.
“She is right. I have known her for more than 17 years.” Mother turned to the fridge.
“Mixing some warm water in my glass. My throat is not right.”
“I realized. I had made up my mind not to give you cold water at all.” She turned to me from the fridge “You don’t think I should know this as a mother.”
I smiled, but why? I do not know. But yes, maybe on her motherhood.
“I like your smile.” Mother said with a smile “You always smile like that.”
“Okay, I will take care of it.” I said while chewing the bread “Have you eaten?”
Mother kept watching me for a long time. Perhaps she was surprised at my question. She came and sat on the front chair.
“Neelam!” She called – “When Ragini was born, her mother could not see her appearance. She died during the operation.”
“You mean Ragini’s mother?” I stopped chewing the bread.
I stopped chewing bread.
“Yes but Listen next to. Ragini’s father loved her mother very much, he felt very sad. He believed Ragini should not be spared. His wife died because of her. Many people tried to convince him then he brought her at his home. But never accept as a daughter.
“Ragini has told me so.”
“Really? Then there is a good thing. There should be such a trump in friendship.” Mother pouring water in my empty glass, then asked “What kind of girl is Ragini in your eyes?”
“She is my good friend. Brave too.”
“Can you prove her bravery?”
“No, I can’t.” I said after thinking a while.
“But I can, even she’s your friend. Oh! Sorry I mean good friend.”
“How?” I questioned.
“She is still alive, this is enough to prove her bravery.” Mother stood up.
“Yes, the other girls would have died by now.”
I could not understand the intention of the mother properly but the phase was such that I could not even ask any question. Mother kept looking towards me standing near the table and I towards the plate. We kept quiet for a long time
“Nilam!” Mother spoke “Whatever Ragini is doing, probably not good in the eyes of me or others but she has no other way than this.”
“Mom!” My torn eyes quickly ran towards the mother’s face.
“Oh! So you finished the bread.” Mother’s eyes went towards my plate and she smiled “Good thing. And yes one more thing, you have asked me for the first time today that have I eaten yet whether not? It is good to hear, but I feel nervous too. You know why?”
“After hearing such mature questions of yours, I feel scared. I want you to be a child forever to keep away from the ugly eyes of the world.
I stood up, then said “I am tired, now I want to sleep. I also have to study at night.”
“Okay go.” Mother began to lift the plate.
“Nilam!” Mother’s voice stopped me before I reached the room. I stood and looked at my mother.
“That boy doesn’t even deserve for friendship. I hope you will not go to meet him again.”
“Whom?” The ground slipped under my feet!
“You know about whom I am talking.”
Mother entered the kitchen with a plate.
In front of me, there was just endless listlessness, booming confusion and my silence.
Another mystery related to life and relationships was undressed in front of me. I was in shame. I knew that I am an open book for my mother, whose every page is open in front of her, it is her convenience whether she reads it or not. It also cannot be denied that she do not pretend to read even after reading many times.
The number of times I saw myself, I was standing naked, even in front of my mother and maybe my father’s too.
If I knew what my mother would do to my father in the night, she also knew what I was going to do. I was very surprised that we all know what is done behind the scenes but still do a better job of not knowing.
‘Ragini!’ Her innocent face came in front of my eyes. My mother calls her a brave girl, why? When I tried to think of many aspects afresh, the matter would get stuck on Shekhar. If this is really the reason then why my mother does not want to make me brave? The more questions I asked myself, the confusion would get deeper.
I looked at the clock. It was one o’clock in the night. There was not a single bit of sleep in my eyes. I picked up the phone and dialed the number. Someone picked up the phone.
“Who’s there?” The almost wet voice touched my ears “Don’t you sleep?”
“Shekhar!” Exited my tongue.
“Look I can’t remember my name. Can you talk in the morning?” He slammed the phone. I could not say anything.
She was returning after giving exams in the next day. Suddenly a heavy motorcycle came in front of me. I shocked.
“You wanted to meet me.” He looked at me with a smile.
I could not laugh nor cry. I kept looking at him like stranger for a long time and trying to identify him.
“Nilam!” He gave voice again.
Suddenly, his nights indifferent swim of my eyes. After identifying him, I said “I called you tonight, do you remember that?”
“Yes, little a bit.” He nodded “I can’t say for sure that you were on the phone.”
“I know it was time to sleep.” I expressed my anger “But Shekhar something was important?”
“You were awake at that time?”
“Yes, I am”
“Do you wake up late every day? I think it must have been two or three o’clock at night, right?”
“No, you’re wrong. There was 1 am when I called you. I looked at the clock before dialing the number.”
“Well, I hope you forgive me.”
“For sure. But Shekhar, what are you doing here on the road?”
“No no. You called at night. That’s why I came to know the reason.”
“Sekhar!” I was shocked “I remember very well, I did not say you to come here.”
“I meant you had gone to my house! Don’t you like me coming here?”
“Oh yes, you know that too? Your gate keeper did a lot of disrespect with me. After knowing all this, have you called him on duty even today?”
“Means?” He looked at me with torn eyes.
“I think he should be changed. The gatekeeper of my house cannot be imprudent to this extent. You can come and see.”
“Yes, I was sorry to hear that, I had given him very abusive abuses as well. You can talk to my father, I even argued with my father about it.”
“That’s not enough Shekhar. But still, are you telling the truth? Well, tell me what you want to say now?” I turned my talk.
“What shall I say, I thought you wanted to say something?” He got off the bike and stood up at side of me.
“Oh! Yes I wanted to meet you.” I said, holding my bag on the shoulder.
Shekhar started looking at me. Today I did not have much complaint about his ugliness.
“How are you?” I asked.
“I am fine and you?” His lips smiled.
“Fine.” I fell silent.
“Did you go home to know this?” He asked while looking at my eyes.
“No, I went to ask about Ragini.” I had to hide the real issue. “How is Ragini?”
“Might be? Can’t say for sure.”
“Maybe? What by mean -can’t say for sure?”
“I haven’t met him for a long time.” He said.
“What!!” I was shocked – “Are you telling the truth?”
“Yes. It have been about 1-2 months.”
“About 1-2 months!!!” Surprisingly my eyes began to fill with surprise “I think you are not getting the right idea, are you?”
“I think it’s a long time.”
“I know but this is the reality.” He said firmly.
“Have you ever called?”
He kept looking at me for a few moments and then while pulling breath said “No, I never follow the footsteps of returning.”
“Let me go!” My eyes ran towards the clock.
“Bye!!” His bike raced on the road.
It was almost 11 o’clock at night. The phone rang densely.
“Nilam!” A voice came from the mother’s bedroom- “Just look, who is not sleeping this night?”
The same day the phone was placed in the verandah adjacent to my room. I did not have the courage to pick up. I kept listening to its hoarse voice for a long time.
“Nilam!” The mother shouted again.
“I am going.” I had to go.
“Hello Nilam!” The voice came out as soon as I left.
“Yes, who are you?” I could not recognize the voice. I was sure I had never heard this voice before.
No voice came to me for a few moments.
“Are you able to hear? I’m asking who you are.”
“Are you angry with me?” There was compassion in the voice.
“Sorry I did not recognize.”
“I don’t even recognize myself.” The tone of the voice increased. My conscience was buried under that pain “Are you still angry?”
“Ragini!” I had recognized the voice “You? At this time? Are you fine?” I feel like mountain has broken over me.
“Maybe.” She said in a suppressed voice. “Now, good and bad have no meaning for me.” Everything feels the same.”
“Look Ragini, don’t play the puzzles. Tell me exactly!” I picked up the phone and went towards the room “You’re fine, don’t you?”
“Yes, I’m good.” She laughed softly.
“Who’s Nilam?” Mother’s voice came.
“Your mother is probably calling you.” Ragini said.
“No, that’s just… By the way, tell me about you. You left the exams too?”
“Exams!” She laughed “There is nothing to me.”
“Yes, I am telling the truth.”
“Today, I met Shekhar.”
“Okay, how is he?”
“But you didn’t like him as far as I remember.”
“I still don’t like him.”
“You can say anything to him. Now I am not going to quarrel with you.” Meaningless laughter fell on the phone.
“He was praising you.”
“Are you making fun of me?”
“No, not at all.” I handled myself sharply “I apologize if you feel like this.”
“You don’t remember that friends don’t apologize.”
“Yes, remember. You are trying to apply my sentences on me. Tell me I’m lying?”
“I don’t deny, of course this your sentences.”
“Ragini!” I took a deep breath.
“I think it’s too late, now you should keep the phone and yes I am not going to apologize for my insolence of that day, you understand. If there is resentment at your heart then you can undoubtedly take out by saying the same. Say you want to remove your outburst?”
“Can you meet me Ragini?”
“I will call you tomorrow morning.”
I kept looking at the clock again and again in the morning. It kept running fast but still I did not get a Ragini’s call. I went to school.
“How was the paper?” As I left the paper, Ankur came in front of me and stood up. The ground slipped from under my feet! I could not trust my eyes for a long.
“I asked, how was your paper?” He asked again with a smile.
“Good and yours?” I could barely speak.
“I have also done well. I don’t understand the third question. I have left it blank.”
“Yes, it was a little complicated question, but I’ve done it.”
“I don’t remember about fifth one. Can you show me if you have question paper?”
He took the question paper from his pocket and extended on me.
After seeing the question I said “Oh this one? I wrote the answer but I’m not sure.”
“Will you drink water?”
“No… I have drunk.” I said while handling my pen box.
“There’s a lot of crowd on Thorough, isn’t it.”
“Yes, just over the paper, that’s why.” I did not look at him.
Okay, let me go now.”
“Are you on foot?”
“Yes, you probably come by bicycle, Right?”
“Papa has just bought a new bicycle a few days ago. I insisted.”
“It’s good. I have seen that.”
“You are telling the truth?” He leaned towards me, being happy.
“I have to go.” I turn to the road and moved forward, I felt like I had left something. I checked my bag, everything was in it, but still feel incomplete. I looked back and saw to Ankur. I wish! I could talk a little longer with him.
“Nilam!” Suddenly a voice came from behind. When I looked back, my hands and feet swelled up.
“Yes, I had to tell you one important thing, that’s why I have to come here.”
“Can we talk on the phone?” I said this complicated thing in a very unconvincing way “if you want, I can call you as soon as I get home.”
“Yes, you can, but if you want, you can listen here too. Believe me, I won’t take much time.”
“OK tell me.” I said standing on the side of the road.
“You had asked about Ragini, yesterday. Right?”
“Shekhar, I remember then so what?” I smiled slowly.
“You know why she broke up with me?”
“Can you guess?”
“No, I am hurry. Would be better if you tell me quickly.”
“I don’t want to hide anything from you. You know why she used to come to me?”
“But now she does not need me because she found someone else.
“Who?” I looked at him with surprise.
“He works in his father’s office.”
“What!!” I kept looking at him with torn eyes for a few moments “Do you realize, what you are saying?”
“Yes, it’s strange to hear but that’s the truth.”
“Sekhar!” My body became stone for a while.
“Nilam!” He continued talking “I was surprised too, to know this. I wish! It is not true.”
“Can you prove that? I mean, how you can say that?”
“I went to her house yesterday.”
“You mean, you went to meet her?”
“No, I would not like to meet her, especially after knowing all these. I talked to the man.”
“So you want to say that the man has told you everything with his tongue.”
“Oh my GOD! But how all this happened? I mean all these Tornado?” My tongue has swung like.
‘Ragini, you are truly a secret mystery, which can never be solved.’
“Neelam!” Moving towards me, he said “Don’t mind but this is the reality. Now I am seeing the shadow of Ragini in every girl.
“Shekhar, that’s not pretty good. You should talk about all girl with manner way.” I feel bad knowing his words meaning.
“Why? By the way I have to go now. Call you later and discuss.”
“Shekhar!” My lips remained open. “I wish! I could prove you wrong.”
It was a beautiful evening. All my papers were done. Now I was completely free. For at least two months.
Next year is the exam for XII. All of a sudden my forehead got up. ‘Bloody Books!’ I shrunk my nose. All the time came with new chapter and torcher us whole year.
“Neelam!” Suddenly I heard the voice of the mother.
“Yes Mom?” I ran towards my mother.
“I have gift for you, Take it.” Mother smilingly carried a book to me “Your Papa, brought yesterday, especially for you.”
“Oh! Again a book!” I looked at the mother with torn eyes. “How many times I asked Papa for the computer, didn’t bring that yet.”
“Read it! I am sure you will like it.”
I held the book.
“What is this?” I asked rudely.
“Have you heard the name of Aanand?”
“No, I don’t know any Aanand.”
“Oh you have missed something. You should read this book now.”
I took that and went towards my room.
The name of the book was “Red Planet”. I threw it in the cupboard. But the heart did not agree, if the mother said she should study then I should. I picked up the book and started reading.
“Oh humans can be changed to such an extent. My heart wakes up, I just wanted to go to the last line of the book but that could not be happened. The phone rang. I wanted to throw thats away now.
“Nilam!” Mother called. I had to pick up the phone.
“Today the whole world will belong to you, right?” A voice came out on the phone.
“Ragini, You?” I was rude with her “I wish! You would call after a while.”
“Busy at work?”
“No, I was reading a book.”
“What!” She was startled. I could understand her surprise. Because I was one of them who would never have told anyone even at the time of examination that ‘I am studying right now so do not disturb me.’ Ragini knew this very well.
“Yes, I was studying.” In my words there was no respect for her at all. But why? When I try to think this, the question remains stuck in the throat. Who knows, the book was so interesting that I was reading or that the reality of Ragini was so disgusting that Shekhar told me.
“Is there any paper yet?”
“No, I got a book which is very special, have you read it?” My words were stubborn.
“What is book’s name?”
“Red Planet, I’m sure you haven’t read yet”
“My dear, I have read it.” I felt excitement in her voice “Author of this book is Aanand, Right?
“How is it?”
“A very sensitive book. I am sure after reading this book, a human being cannot call themself as a Bahubali.”
“Very True Ragini. Quite a good book!” I smiled. Or rather I had to smile.
“Okay tell me how your papers have been? I wish you will have done better than all hopes, right?”
“Well, I’m not as smart as you are. Papers were good but not best.”
“Come on Nilam! Don’t hit the shoes on my head. Tell me if you have made a program to get away, like Goa or some hill station?”
“If you have got a long holiday, then you must go somewhere.” Ragini laughed.
“First of all, I want to come to you, tell me can I?”
“Oh Neelam! You said a lot. I don’t think you should waste your holidays like this.”
“So you want to say that I should not come to you.”
“I did not say that. This is you’re your friend’s house so logically it’s your too. You can come whenever you want.”
The doors opened as if she knew that I would reach there like air. I got into her room straight. She was sitting in front of TV.
“So you are watching TV?” I asked smiling.
“Yes.” She turned to me and smile. “I don’t think any better partner than this. So I spend more time with this.”
“Papa will be in office?”
“Yes.” She switched of her television.
“Hey why did you turn off the TV?”
She smiled at me. “TV is good friend but no better than you.”
“You are telling the truth?” I surprised. All of sudden my anger flew into the air. I have been confused that I feel proud to be her best friend or ashamed that she was my friend. I had never felt such an emblematic things before. There are many people without whom we feel incomplete, but still do not wish to meet with them.
“Should I prove that?”
“No, not needed.” I laughed. “What would you like to eat?” She picked up the phone.
“I did not eat anything yet but still had a desire to talk to you first. For a long time we did not chat.”
“It seems that nowadays you have become fonder of talking than food.”
“Maybe… but can’t say for sure.”
She dialed the number of her father’s office.
“Ragini.” I looked at her staring.
“Shut up! I know what is better to my friend.” She smiled.
“Hello!” A voice was heard on the phone. Her father was probably on the line.
“Don’t have some breakfast at home, send something quickly.” She said and hung up.
“You did not listen to me. Right?” I said laughing. “In fact I don’t need food. I am crazy to talk to you.”
“Say something different.”
I kept quiet for a while. She also didn’t say anything. Then suddenly got a look, both of us smiled.
“Tell me, what is going on your life?” I asked, stroking her thigh.
Though it was a splash of my injured mind on her, but I did not let her feel, kept a smile on my lips.
“In life?” She stood up laughing at the idea of making fun of her “There is no life Nilam, then tell me, how will it going on? Well, wait few seconds I’ll bring water for you.”
She went inside. I took a quick look around the room with cursory eyes. I feels that storm had just come inside the room. Everything is scattered.
“What are you looking at?” Suddenly Ragini entered to the room.
“Nothing.” I tried to smile.
“You know I don’t have mother so, there is no one to decorate this house.” She leaned towards the table to have a glass of water.
“You can decorate?”
“I am not interested in these things.” She looked at me with oblique eyes, “I should take care of myself, that’s enough.”
“Madam, breakfast.” Suddenly a young man entered in to the room.
“Put it on the table.” Ragini said in a dry tone.
He put and started decorating breakfast on the table.
“No no it’s not needed.” Ragini said taking the TV remote “I’ll do it.”
“Anything else?” He asked before turning back.
“No, now you go.” Ragini’s voice sounded disinterested. The young man swiftly left the room.
I just kept watching him go.
“Listen!” Suddenly Ragini gave voice to him. The young man turned quickly. She asked “Have He said anything?”
“Who sent this breakfast?” Ragini shouted.
“Your father.” The young man’s face ached.
“Then where did these words come from your tongue. You know, you are….” Suddenly her eyes came to me and she stopped – “Well you go, I’ll talk to him.”
The young man did not say anything. He looked at me while turning.
“How is he?” As soon as he closed the door, Ragini turned to me and said.
“Wh.. who?” Suddenly I was shocked to hear her question. I felt like someone had caught my theft.
“You was looking at him with big greed views. Therefore I asked to you. Well, it doesn’t matter, if you don’t like him.” A smile floated in Ragini’s lips.
“Ragini!” I blushed.
“But I like him a lot.” Ragini said.
I did not say anything, but suddenly Shekhar’s face jumped. Shekhar was one of those boys who would pour cold water on the girl’s rapture and this young man would set fire to the extinguished spark.
I can’t say for sure, but I definitely think that if Ragini would have pressured me at that time that I would be locked in to the room with him as she had asked before to go alone with Shekhar. I might could not refuse the offer.
Seeing his footsteps back, don’t know why my heartbeat started showing down. I wish! Ragini would tell him that he should stay with us for a while. Who knows when the reaction of our internal organs can fall down the wall of shame and I will get everything that I have longed for.
Ragini turned on television again.
“Let’s have breakfast now.” Ragini got up from the couch and started decorating the breakfast on the plate.
My eyes set on the TV screen. Pictures were seen moving but emotionless. My brain was busy to sort out any confusion.
“Nilam!” Ragini gave a voice “What I am thinking, are you also thinking the same?”
“What?” My eyes turned away from the TV screen.
“Why this serial is so popular here?”
“Hey!” She laughed – “Which you are watching so carefully. Are you?”
“Oh!” I acted out laughing- “Yes, absolutely. That’s exactly what I was thinking.”
“Sometimes I wonder, how much similarity we have in spite of so much difference, Right?” She said, raising the breakfast plate to me “Often we both think the same subject in the same way.”
I kept staring at her deteriorating mood. “You don’t think so?” She asked me.
“What?” I asked with complete innocence.
“Nilam!” She looked at my face carefully “You are here, aren’t you?”
I didn’t say anything just smiled softly. My smile has told her everything. She didn’t bother me anymore. Bid “Enjoy breakfast first.”
We kept quiet for a long time. My eyes stay on TV screen again.
“Papa is about to take him off from his job.” After a while Ragini said. I set my eyes on her face once more. There was sadness in her voice.
“Why?” I asked in the same spirit. Yes, the storm shifted in to my heart too.
“I do not know.”
“How long has he been working here?”
“Is this the person who received my phone?”
“Yes, he was at home that day.”
“You mean?” I looked at her with questioning eyes!
“I mean, I was the only one at home that day… Besides him”
“That means only you and him, both of you alone, under one roof?”
“Hey Nilam.” His eyes ran sharply towards me “You are probably running horses in your mind. My being alone meant that I was alone. And there was so much work at home that’s why he had to come here.”
I kept staring at Ragini. I could not understand the meaning of her explanation. Ragini continues to move her mouth while there is hardly anything left on her mouth.
“Ragini.” I called.
“Yea.” She did not look at me.
“I met Shekhar on the second day of your phone call.
“He told me that you hadn’t met him for the last about 2 months, didn’t even call.”
Ragini’s eyes turned towards me. There were creases on the face. She put a lot of feelings in her eyes.
“Is this true?” I asked in a composed manner.
“Yes” She also did not hide.
Now what should I say? I guess nothing. I fell silent.
“Nilam!” After a while of silence, she said a little laughing towards me “Don’t you think that I have grown up now? I don’t need ice cream anymore, not at all Gifts too.”
“Then what you need now?” That was a sarcastic question of mine.
She laughed “Do you think it needs to be told?”
“No, you have already told me a lot about the unknown.” I said mischievously.
She did not mind, laughed looking at me.
“Ragini.” I said- “Is your father really going to take him out of his job?” I could not handle the storm that rose inside my heart.
“Why?” She stared at me “Do you want to keep him?”
“No, I meant to say who will handle your office. Office’s cleanliness?” My words were off and no merit at all. I was surprised, at the ill-tempered mind of Ragini. I wish I had some reactions which Ragini would never understand.
“No, you misunderstand. He does not do cleaning. He is the caretaker of our office.”
“Doesn’t matter, I meant to say then who?”
“It’s matter dear, cleaning is a different thing and cleaning up is different. You understand? And yes it is a matter of taking care of the office, so now my father wants me to go to the office.”
“What!!” I was shocked “You will go your office? For work?”
“Yes! I have to.”
“Oh! Congratulations!! My Dear Ragini.” I held her palm in happiness “You got a job. That is why you left the study, Right? Okay, so when are you getting married now?”
“Soon.” She did not shocked with my question anymore. She smiled lightly.
“Really! But to whom?”
“I have seen the boy?”
“Oh, the matter has increased so much and we didn’t even get the news. Well, I’ll fight you later. Now tell me, is there a picture of that boy?”
“What will you do with the picture?”
“Hey! You are a strange girl, they are going to be my brother-in-law and you?” I smiled “Look, Ragini I can’t control to myself now, Show me picture quickly.”
She kept looking at my rapture for a while and then smilingly said “I was thinking who I would seek out if someone is at home.”
“At home!” I looked at her with surprise “Whom?”
“What!!” I was shocked – “You are telling the truth? Oh Ragini! You have become so shameless. By the way don’t make me fool and tell me who is that lucky man? I know you have kept his photo, just show me.”
“Yes, I have.”
“Where is it?
“In front of me?”
“On the wall there.”
I glanced sharply at the picture but eyes did not stay on the picture. Yes! That was her father’s photo.
“Ragini!” I turned to look back at her. She bent her eyelids. I looked at her face carefully. There was something that had changed now.
“Nilam.” She did not look up, said in a beaming voice “I have missed some important work. You go now, I will call you later.”
I stood up without any question. She jerked up the eyelids, droplets of tears dripping down her cheeks, soaking the furs. For the moment my body became ice.
She came forward and opened the door. I did not dare to look at her. I crossed the door, paused for a moment and then moved forward with great intensity. During this time I also heard the sound of doors closing rapidly.
I am not a kid now and now I understand the label of jokes. What Ragini has said, I don’t think that was a joke? There must be something which is still unknown for me.
“I think I should marry my father” this is not just a joke. I was unable to swallow this sentence of Ragini because she was not mad.
Although I think in other way. Maybe she was trying to drive me away from her home? But those tears? Oops! I couldn’t think any more.
On reaching at home, mother was standing in front but did not say anything. I went straight to the room then not came out.
Around eleven o’clock at night I heard the sound of the car. I understand Papa has arrived. I found him that day at the door.
“Oh! Today our Nilam is still awake.” He move up and clinging me to himself “How are you princes?”
“I’m good.” I smiled.
“Your exams have been done, but you are still awake! Was studying to Aanand’s book RED PLANET?”
“No, I was looking at the books of the next class. They are very thick. I am nervous to see them.”
“Oh come-on dear!” Papa smiled with a nod at my head “I know you can read thick books even more than that. He is your brother whom books look like poison. Where is lazy boy? “
“In his room, but Papa!” I blush fully said “Don’t call lazy to my brother.”
Papa laughed “I know, you love your brother, very much.”
“Yes.” I was a little embarrassed.
“Shivani, did you hear?” Papa looked at the mother “This is why, I like the girls.”
Mother smiled “Should I took dinner for you?”
“No Mom.” I said while jumping “Today I will serve dinner for my father, you go and rest.”
“Wow! Looks like you’ve grown up.” Standing in front of me, Papa said “let’s see.”
He retreated two steps “Oh! You have grown so much indeed.”
“I think she is going to get you out something.” Mummy said laughing.
“Is that the case?” Papa looked at me with surprise,
I was ashamed. “No dad.”
“Come on, don’t be shy. If you really have any wish, you can tell me. By the way I like this style of yours.” Papa held my hands.
“Shall I decorate the food at dinner table?” I said while pulling my hand.”
“Okay, I’m going to be fresh then come.” I decorated the food on the table.
“What’s in the dinner today?” Papa asked while sitting on the chair.
“What you like.” I said raising the plate.
“Oh, is that so…..” Father looked at me with a laugh.
My father started eating, I sat in the front chair and looked at him. “You want to say something?” Suddenly, my father asked.
“No.” I smiled.
Dad got busy eating. I could not remain quiet.
“Papa!” I called him slowly. He looked at me impatiently. He stop chewing “You were telling that you need a boy for your office?”
“I mean… what do you need?”
“Why? Any of your friends need a job?”
“No No Papa, he is not my friend. The fact he is boy who is poor, I mean very poor. He just lost his job so I wanted get a job for him, that’s why.”
“Then what’s wrong with that, send him to my office. I see what kind of work he can do. I’ll give him some work.”
“Oh! Thank you dad.” I smiled and grabbed his palm “Will you have more bread?”
I was so thrilled that night. I could see my destination very close. I always kept burning with Ragini’s luck but now it was Ragini’s turn. I also thought about Ankur at that time. He was very arrogant. Now I do not care if he has been drown in pond or die in the sea. Now, even if he calls, I will not talk to him.
Frankly, I had a huge complaint to GOD. I wish! He wouldn’t have been given the thing by GOD what I needed from him. He is not so handsome that I used to cry for him and Shekhar, Oh GOD! He is so ugly, I feel sorry for him but needs are need, There are many girls who still needs to him.
For the first time that day I was restless, I wish! I would have been born in the Cap d’-Agde, then how closely I would have seen and felt every moment, every feeling. Ankur is not interested in me, then I would have got Shekhar’s support and if his appearance is ugly, he would have resorted to a third person. After all, everything is open there. I, you, he and all of them. Everyone is uncaring, undressed and unrestricted. If two people likes each other then they can spent unrestricted time together for few hours or days. And after that they got lost in a crowd. Neither he will think of her again nor will she try to find him because he found someone else to fulfill his aspirations and same for him too.
The special thing in that too is that-
Neither have she lost anything nor he. Neither in her eyes, nor in the eyes of the world. Whatever happened, they just forgot to name of the natural action and rules.
‘Cap d’agde’, a naturalist kingdom situated along the Mediterranean seas of France, where the people living call themselves naturalists. Wearing clothes is completely forbidden there.
It was strangely suffocating. Mom does not leave the house and I needed an empty house. Every night, I would think of some new excuse for next morning, I will say to my mother to go to market by some excuse then after telling any other need like some biscuits or Pizzas. I will ask my father to send the boy at home. No no, may my mother or father will understand my rubbish excuse and suddenly I used to found another excuse. All of a sudden the smile on my lips used to blink. How close I was to my destination. The distance was just one reason.
Every morning, all the plans were shattered like glass. Sometimes I wonder how Papa can be so alert. They had daily news of what is and what is not for breakfast. I would open the fridge several times every day, I wish! Any important thing is over and the mother goes to the market to take it. I also told her the benefits of going out many times but every time she started teaching me another lesson for the same things.
“You don’t know how laughable the market is and then leaving the house with the help of a gate keeper like this is utterly stupid.”
“Am I not at home?” I used to blush.
“Hey, will you stay at home? Have I come out of the house without you? Since you were two years old, I go anywhere, I take you with me. Then you could not speak even then I used to talk to you and at that time I never guess when the path has passed.”
“Brother, what the hell does he do at home? Take him along.”
“He? You have gone mad. You think he can be trusted? He will come out with me but return with his friends. He used to found people on the road and when I ask about them, he claim them as his friend. I don’t know how many friends he has made in this city. I think the whole city is his friend.
In this way, the mother would often present such concrete evidence to me that I had to withdraw my point.
I was surprised, how to deal with this problem? The sea in front is seven steps away, but still I am sitting thirsty on the sand. After traveling so many miles, I am not able to cross seven steps.
One day I picked up the phone and dialed the number of Papa’s office.
“Oh Neelu you!” Papa choked and filled his breath “I just came from home. Is everything right?”
“Yes Papa, everything is fine here but I have a complaint to you, shall I say?”
“This is your rights my princes, Speak?” His words sparked love.
“Papa, the holidays are about to end and you are not even taking us to the cinema this time. Today you have to walk. “
“I don’t know anything. No matter what you do, today you have to walk. Come at home. We are waiting for you.” I said stubbornly.
“If you insist on cinema for the first time, how can I avoid it?”
“Oh Papa! Thank you. How good you are.”
“No, so much praise is not needed because our Neelu is better than me.” He hung up.
It was time for Papa’s arrival, I entered the bathroom running.
“What happened Nilam?” When the mother’s eyes fell on me, she ran after me wildly.
“No, nothing, I fees little nausea.”
“Oh GOD! I was scared to see your condition, though had you eaten anything wrong yesterday?”
“Shivani!” Suddenly the father’s voice echoed. I asked Mom to go outside.
“Don’t know what happened to Nilam? Suddenly she is vomiting” Mummy worsened my deteriorating condition.
My father was not agreeing to go cinema at all. He tried to tear down all three tickets. I explained to him that I am all right. Let me rest and both of you should go for cinema.
Papa kept looking at me for a long time and I kept looking at the tickets slipped between his hand fingers.
“I know, Mom has a lot of mind to go so please you take her away. I’m fine and I can also take care of mine.”
My father had to give up in front of my innocence.
As soon as they got out of house, I came straight to the fridge and pulled out the milk. Now the milk is no longer at my house and I have to need a cup of tea. So what’s next now?
I dialed phone number of Papa’s office. Khurana Uncle was on the phone.
“Hey Neelam you?” They stared “Say, what work is it?”
“Uncle, I don’t have milk at home which has been fell on the floor. Can you send milk in any way here?” I said in a distorted voice.
“Fall on the floor but how?”
“I don’t know how? Just fell that and send milk please.”
“But there is no one in the office.”
“You mean you’re alone in the office?”
“No, I don’t mean that. There are many people in the office but everyone is busy, I meant to say that there is no peon.”
“I don’t know anything, I am not feeling well, and you have to do something, send it to the new guy who has come to the office. Isn’t he also free?”
“He is free but….”
“Then send him, but quick, please.”
“Well, don’t you bothered, I do something.”
“I’m waiting.” I hung up.
I rushed to my room, stood in front of the mirror and smiled. Then suddenly I remember why someone else saw those beautiful moments of ours. I started searching for something on the bed, but nothing was found. The towel I came out was hung on the wire to dry, I took it out and put it on the mirror.
“Sorry dear.” I smiled and looked at that “You will not be allowed today to see my naked body.”
I started dressing up, changing my clothes too. The new clothes were very generous, I left a lot of body to look open. I looked at half of my open breast with surprise. Had become quite larger.
I sat on the couch. Time kept on crawling slowly. What did father do with my mother? A foggy picture was passing in front of my eyes. There was a lot of uncertainty about what I was going to do. It will not be right, or it will not be right all of a sudden. Then it will be fine. All thoughts were racing through the brain like air.
“Daughter Nilam!” Suddenly a voice touched my ears. I wanted to get up and smash the outside but the brain woke up in time. There is not enough clothes on my body to go out.
“Nilam!” The voice came again.
“Yes, I am coming.” The tone of my voice was intense – a mixed form of some fear, some doubt and some uneasiness. I quickly pulled the towel over the mirror, put it on the body and ran outward.
I heard the sound. Perhaps the mirror was broken.
“Hey Uncle you!” I stood in front of Khurana Uncle. I couldn’t believe my eyes.
“Yes daughter. Actually that boy did not know the house, so I had to come. Well, take to milk.”
I kept staring him as a statue.
“What happened daughter?” He went ahead and raised his hand towards me “Are you feeling cold?”
I did not answer. They touched my forehead.
“The forehead is cold. Well tell me if you can make tea yourself otherwise I can make it. You know Neelu! When I came alone to this city during my studies, I used to make food myself.”
I just kept looking at them. My lips were glued into each other.
“Nilam!” He gently pushed me.
“Uncle!” I speak like Just I woke up from sleep.
“What happened to you? It seems you are not looking Okay?”
“Well, I am okay. Give me milk pouch.”
“I think you’re…?”
“No, no. Uncle, I’m fine. You go, there will be a lot of work in the office.”
“Yes it is, but still tell me you want something else?”
“No, no, just milk was needed.”
“Well, then I am going. I took the boy along, thought that maybe he would do something else and see the house as well.”
“Wh… which boy?”
“The new one who has just joined to our office.”
“Where is he?”
“Standing outside the car.”
“Nilam! I think…”
“Yes, yes uncle I also wanted some biscuits, Sorry not to tell you before. Can you please tell him to get them?”
“Remember if you want anything else in apart from Biscuits.”
“Then Biscuits will be found at the adjacent store, I bring myself.”
“Hey Uncle, you? Why are you bear pain? Why are you not sending to him?”
“What trouble is there in this? You know your father is my good friend outside the office. You are like my daughter.”
“But Uncle!” I wanted to say something.
He did not hear anything. Just passed out. I was helpless just watching him go. The palace of my dreams collapsed in front of my eyes and I could not do anything.
“Bloody old man!” I really want to abuse him even more.
I went to the running terrace. Looked at the car, the boy stood with the back of the car door.
“Biscuits.” A voice came from outside. He was again Khuarana uncle.
I entered the room as a loser. My four fit sized mirror was turned into small pieces and scattered all over the floor. I picked up every piece, looked at my ruined face in every pieces. My eyes were filled with tears.
I can’t bear the pain, I called Ragini.
”Hello, Hello.” Ragini kept screaming, I stood in silence. My lips could not open even after wanting. She once again proved to be a good friend, she recognized.
“What happened, Neelam?” She panicked “Why don’t you speak. Look, I’m coping. You, you can’t keep quiet. You can’t even fool me. You know I can recognize that you are on the phone. Even I recognize your breath. “
I could not resist myself. I cried.
“Are you crying?”
“Then what can I do Ragini?” I said in a loud voice.
“May I know what the matter is?”
“Ragini” I cut her off in the middle “Why can’t I be like you. Why can’t my luck be like yours?”
“But what happened? Why don’t you tell me?” Ragini’s nervousness increased.
“Ragini, do you know why I had given job to that boy in my father’s office?”
“Look Ragini, I think you are becoming shameless. You want me to use shameless words? Don’t you?”
“I really don’t know. I think you should believe me.”
“Will you tell me why you had him in your father’s office?” I said firmly.
“Oh Nilam! Now understand your point. But you are thinking wrong. I did not make any recommendations for him. Papa himself had brought him from somewhere.”
“But what you do with him? Well, leave it. I don’t want to be so shameless, because you know what you have done to him.” My voice trembled. My eyes dried up.
“I did not do with him but he did with me, you understand.” His voice suddenly filled with excitement.
“Are you joking?”
“Why you think so?”
“Because both are the same thing, you do with him or him with you. You both did it, right?”
She became silent.
“Ragini” I called “Say, if I am saying something wrong.”
“No, you are telling the truth, but one thing you should also know that all this did not happen under any plan.” Ragini’s tone shrunk, saying “Everything went on by itself. Probably it needed both of us.”
“No, you are lying, Ragini. That was just your need because I know, people like that boy don’t need it. They only need loaves and if they get it then they will either believe in luck or just their jobs which they do for all the girls like us.”
“You mean they don’t do all this?”
“But after marriage, they do it for the purpose of having a child only.” I kept getting uncontrolled “And Ragini I have learned a lot. I know that before marriage they neither have time nor permission for all these. Their society still sees it with fallen eyes.”
“Look Nilam!” Ragini took long breaths “I don’t want to argue with you about this but as a friend I want to say one thing to you, Can I?”
“Look, I agree that I have done sex many times with him but like a needy person. I have never had a hobby.” His voice became confused “Maybe the truth is that I never got a chance to keep a hobby.”
“Can you explain to me how you were needy which I am not?” I said looking into my new mirror.
She remained silent for a while “Neelam! Then she said “I think it will be good if we don’t talk about it.”
“I wish that such a secret should be buried along with my grave. Because if it does not happen, people’s trust will be lost from many relationships.” His voice wept.
“Come on, let’s just finish it now. Don’t explain things so deep to me. I don’t know how to swim.” I almost smiled and said laughing at her.
She became silent.
“Look, Ragini!” I claimed to be serious “Neigher I don’t want to get involved with you nor accusing you of anything, because I know that what you have done or is doing, This is not only your need but we all need it . Then why is luck alone with you? “
“Nilam!” His throat was filled “You know the fate. I don’t even know if it is luck or bad luck. I just want to tell you, in past, yes I did, but I am not doing it now.”
“Oh Ragini!” Once again, I got angry at her “How many more lies will you tell? You left Shekhar and caught him, then how can I believe that you will not take the support of the other after him.”
“Ragini.” I rang decently in my voice “I am very surprised sometimes. Do you remember your sentence? Remember Ragini. You told to me that why some natural processes are not so smooth as if we get food when we need to eat. Tell me Ragini, didn’t you say that?”
Ragini became silent. I could only hear the commotion of her deep breaths.
“Ragini.” I was not going to be silent “Wasn’t you thought what I am thinking now. I just need a few private moments with a boy and you seeing what I have to do for that. I have speak more than hundred lies to my father. I called the office but still what happened? Khurana Uncle came running. Is it not my misfortune?” The intensity of my voice once again increased “While you also know, that everyone does the same. Even my Mom and Papa, my neighbor, Khurana Uncle everyone.”
“Neelam, Neelam.” Ragini shouted “You are not able to understand the difference between right and wrong at this time. I wish! I would have botched my wounds from you.”
“Let it be Ragini, it is not needed. I have been with you since childhood. I understand you well.”
“Let’s let it be then. We talk later.” He hung up.
I don’t want to talk to Ragini anymore. Inside I was suffering in anger. Happiness was also raging in some corner, because today a girl like Ragini is jealous of my fate, whose fate used to burn not only me but all other girls of the school.
Among the list of my friends, apart from Ragini, there has hardly been another girl who has got locked with a boy in to the room, whether she wants to.
Suddenly I remembered that day of my defeat, I laughed myself. Why someone will jealous of my luck? I was one of the unlucky girls who did not get sympathy even for the filthy servants working at her house.
Then suddenly I do not know from where a gust of wind came and blew away my self-respect. I was standing naked completely.
I went to Ragini’s house.
To prove this, I am not wrong, I argued with myself that if she does not pick up the phone, it should not mean that we break up friendship.
“Nilam you?” Suddenly a voice pierced my ears and I was shocked and turned
“Yes I am, but what are you doing here?” He said, smiling.
“I came to meet Ragini. Did you too?”
“You can’t believe it, aren’t you?”
“Yes maybe! Because that sentence of yours still resonates in my ears even today.” I smiled softly “It was a good sentence. I also liked it a lot.”
“I know you are making fun of me.”
“No Sekhar, I am not.”
“Nilam!” He said while looking down “There is no fault in you. Maybe you can believe that I left Ragini.” Suddenly he turned and said “Well, let’s let it be now. That thing has no meaning.”
I felt pity on his lowered face, but could not stop without speaking. I laughed then said “Shekhar! Can you repeat that sentence once again?”
“Nilam!” He got frustrated but I laughed.
“I don’t follow footsteps by returning, that’s what you had said, right? Oh Shekhar, it was a really good sentence. Was it written by you?”
“Now I’m sure Neelam, you are really making fun of me. I wish!” We would not have met.”
“No Shekhar. That’s not my mean. I just joking.”
“Bye Nilam.” He said and went away but my footsteps rang.
Another truth was naked in front of me. Uninhibited entered Ragini’s house. Ragini was watching TV.
“You! All of a sudden!” She stared at me but the smile on my lips did not diminish, probably because now I had enough to say.
“How are you Ragini?” I threw a bewildering smile towards her.
“You tell?” There was a slight softening in his voice.
“Can I sit?” I asked, moving towards the couch.
“When have I refused?”
“Still you should say that.”
“Friends are not so hospitable. Realizes a lack of friendship.”
I kept looking at her for a while. She smiled, said “Will you take something?”
“You consider me as a friend that is enough for me. Yes, if you want then please bring a glass of water, otherwise I will take myself.”
“No, I’ll bring it.” She got up and went towards the fridge, took out the water bottle, and turned me over.
I started drinking water.
“Ragini!” I called after a long time.
“Yea.” Her eyelashes rose up.
“Shekhar came here?” I asked
“Yes.” Her torn eyes ran towards my face intensely. Hardly had she believed that I could be so vicious.
“You said that you’re broken up with Shekhar”
“Nilam!” Suddenly she shouted “Please.”
I woke up for a second. But there was something on that issue that I could not keep quiet for long.
“Shekhar got me out and he was saying…”
“Look Nilam!” Her eyes hardened “you understand without understanding and ready to lift the sky on the head. I want you please don’t talk about this issue anymore. It will be good to you as well me too.” His burning face was in front of my eyes, but do not know why, today I have neither pity nor love for her. I wanted to spew all the fire that was on my heart.
“But I want to talk.”
“Nilam!” She stood up and said “You can go now.”
“Ragini!” The smile of my lips disappeared amidst her harshness.
Now I wanted to come straight to the point, I said “You are jealous of my fate.”
“What!” Her teary eyes once again ran around my disoriented face.
“Yes Ragini, you are jealous of my fate because the boy for whom you turned down a rich boy like Shekhar has now become a puppet of my hand. I can call him as and when I want to.” I stood up with smile on my lips “And yes I am going now but remember that neither Shekhar nor he is going to come in your life. If your body got heated then jump into cold water. No one will come to do sex with you.” In the heat of my anger, my words lost control.
I turned around intensely.
“Nilam!” The last voice I heard was “You should leave this path.”
When I returned at home, my luck was waiting for me. The entire house was empty. I turned and came towards the door. The gate keeper stood in awe “Where do all go? Do you know?” I asked.
“Khurana Sir’s son has been an accident, all has gone to the hospital to see him.”
“Khurana Uncle’s son?” I looked at him staring.
I turned around and ran inside, I wanted to lift the whole sky and dance loudly.
“How can you be happy by setting fire on someone’s wishes, Khurana Uncle?” Looking at the sky, I saluted the one above “Thank you very much God, thank you very much.”
I rushed to the running phone “Hello Papa, where are you?”
“Oh sorry son! Actually you were not there and suddenly I got the news that Khurana ji’s son had an accident. I had to leave everything and run to the hospital in the same condition.”
“How long will you come? I’m missing you guys.”
“We are already missing you dear but sorry, it will take a lot of time here, the boy is quite serious. I know you are a brave girl, you can take care of yourself.”
“Neelu, your mother couldn’t make food at home yet, so I just call to my office and someone will send you food.”
“Thanks Papa But, I’m guessing, the office will be disturbed. You will stay, I’ll eat anything today.” My words were crazy.
“Oh come on baby! Don’t talk like crazy.” Papa’s paternity was yearning, saying “Well, Office’s work is not important than you. I will send someone to you right now.”
“Ok, I will wait for someone. Well, I think you should send that new boy. He must not be doing as much work right now. I think our loss will be less.”
“Oh love you dear. Looks like you care enough for your father’s business.”
Although frankly, I had pity on my father. I wish he should not be so innocent.
“Papa, I will not care then who will?” I laughed.
Today I did not put a towel over my new mirror. I knew previous mirror was be upset due to that.
He came half an hour later.
“Madam, your Pizza.” Saw me almost blushing. I looked at his broad chest, I wanted to go now and stick to him. I did not act hastily.
“Put it on the table there.” In my words, the spasm was filled with the code.
He kept it. “I go?” He asked in reverse.
“Are you in a hurry?”
“No, actually in the office…”
“Have you taken care of all the office?” My spasms did not subside.
“Anything else?” He gasped. His eyes were bent and his face was nervous.
“My bed is dirty, it has to be cleaned.” I said.
“Bed….?” His eyes were surprised, maybe on his own beginning or my madness?
“Why? Can’t you do?”
“No, I mean I can but…” He got scared.
“Okay, let’s let it be. My copies are scattered, Keep them in manner way, can’t you?”
“Where are they?” He kept looking at me with bent eyes.
“Inside the room”
His eyes did not move from my face. I could feel that in his eyes I would have been a very arrogant or stupid girl.
“The room is over there… go.” I said.
He looked at me one last time and stood at the door of the room trying to peek inside the room.
“The light key switch is next to the door.” Asked to him.
“Okay.” He went inside. As soon as the switch was pressed, the entire room took a bath with visible light.
“Madam!” He looked at me “The books are well kept.”
“Oh really!” I entered the room smiling, taking the door and smilingly said “If it is properly laid, why don’t you be scattered them?”
“What!!” Once again ran his surprised eyes around me.
“Yes, please go ahead.”
He kept looking at me. The smile of my lips kept growing. Today, I absolutely free to do anything, to go to any extent.
“Well, you don’t want to do it? Let it be as it is, I will tell you another work” I turned around and stood up. Now my back was on his side, two feet away, I said “Let’s take off my clothes.”
“Madam?” He spoke in a hoarse voice.
I turned quickly, my eyes were angry “What are you doing here if you don’t know any work?
His face shrunk. There was fear in the eyes. I kept watching him for a while.
“You didn’t hear what I said.”
“Sorry, yes I heard.”
“Then why stand up?”
“But Madam?” He was cooping.
“But means nothing. Listen, Do what I am saying you otherwise I have to call my Dad?” I used all the experiences very well which was told by my friends. I expressed love, then threatened and after that lured him.
For a while he had become a statue of stone but his lips were turning and eyes filled with tears. It was difficult to guess whether his tears were for his luck or bad luck.
I am sure he was confused that a rich girl was quite willing to surrender everything to him with ease, or he had become something like a product of a use for the rich people.
He raised his trembling arms towards me. I woke up. His hands came close to my body and stung.
“Look Kamal!” I tried to cheer him up “I know you are nervous. I assure you that your salary will be increased by telling Papa if you make me happy.”
When I think of today’s moment, I become watery in shame. How many cheap words I had used, but the truth was that other words might not be as effective in terms of age and circumstances.
He remained quiet.
Although I was trying to understand that he could not believe what is happening or he was used to hearing these words.
“Kamal!” I called him “This time will not come again in your life. A girl is ready to dedicate herself in front of you, so take your hands forward and tighten me in your arms, play with all my body.” This was the extent of my prostitution, arrogance, and insanity.
He move his hands toward me.
Oops! The next moment I am going to be naked, I yearned to realize this.
The phone rang. His hands stopped wherever he went. Both of our eyes collided, my lips smiled.
“I see whose house has caught fire, who is calling me right now.” I said and moved towards the phone.
Ragini was on the phone.
“You have no other time to call me?”
“I just wanted to tell you that please read tomorrow’s newspaper.” She said in a wounded voice.
“I hate newspapers, you know that. Let’s cut the phone now.”
“Then watch TV.” She hung up.
“Why?” I wanted to ask, but I kept looking at the receiver for a long time. Then suddenly Kamal came to the mind. I ran towards him.
“Who was it?” Kamal asked in a bewildered voice.
“Will you really talk to your Dad for my salary?”
His eyes twinkled. This time he showed more curiosity. I got mad at his touch.
Once again, the phone rang.
“Oh Ragini! You are really a very rude girl. I moved towards the phone almost annoyed. I picked up the phone and shouted “What do you want now? Why are you jealous on my fate?”
“What happened Baby? Are you alright?” When the father’s voice fell on my ear, the whole body trembled “Pa… Papa you?”
“Yes, but you was acting something strange.”
“No, nothing Papa, there was few confusion.”
“Okay, but was someone harassing you on the phone?”
“No Papa, that’s not the case. By the way how long are you coming?”
“Just in five minutes.” He said.
“Five? In five minutes?” The warm blood of my body suddenly became ice. I barely handled the receiver “Where are you?”
“I am parking the car outside of the home.”
I immediately slammed the phone.
“K… Kamal.” I Panicked ran toward him “you get out of the room immediately and yes, fix your shirt.
“What happened? Who’s there?”
I saw his blown face. If there was some other time, I would laugh a lot but at that time there was no laughter on my lips.
I came out running, picked up the pizza placed on the table and scattered it on the floor. Kamal kept looking madly at me. I ran towards the door with throwing footsteps.
“Hey, what happened, Princes?” My father got me at the door. Mother was standing behind him “You look very angry?”
“Then what should I do? You don’t even know how to keep mad people beings in the office who don’t have even common manners.”
“But what happened?” Mother asked
“The man who Papa asked me to bring food for me, he came with Pizza without asking me, now tell me, will I eat Pizza at this time?”
“But you like Pizza all the time?” Mother said.
“Yes Mom, I like Pizza but not at this time.”
Everyone was surprised when they entered the home. Pizza was scattered all over the floor. Kamal still stood as a statue at the same place.
“You brought Pizza?” Papa asked him.
“But why? Did you not find anything else in the food market?”
“But Sir, you asked for Pizza.” Kamal said in a heavy voice.
“Papa!” I turned to father- “You said that?”
“Yes, I was the one, but at least he should use his intelligence.”
“How he use?”“ Mother spoke in between “If you asked him to bring Pizza.”
“Oh Come on Shivani! At that time I was very upset due to that accident. He should ask himself to call her about princess’s choice.”
“Papa! Why do you keep such people in office who do not even understand small things like this?”
“But Nilam! You recommended for him. Rerember?” Mother said to look toward me.
“Yes Mom, I do but” I looked at the mother in a stoic look. My forehead was choked. I knew that the mother is about to wrap me. I made my stand more ruthless and clear “Yes I did but I never know that it would be so stupid. I just helped.”
“Then why are you so angry now?” Papa smiled and looked at me.
“No Papa, now I don’t want to see him, I hate such a mad people.” I quickly turned to Kamal “Now what are you doing here? Get away from our house and yes don’t show me your face again. You understand?”
“Nilam.” Papa said with a hand on my head “Let’s leave, the boy is new by the way. In slow manner he will learn the manner too.”
“How will he learn Papa?” I did not leave my cruelty. I knew that my slightest sympathy would make me stand in the dock of doubt. Because I knew that my mother is not a mad in these matters. She is a woman who has lived to my age. I became worst in anger “Papa, such people can never understand with punishment. You should throw him out from his job right now. Trust me, I don’t want to see face of the people like him.”
I looked at the mother with oblique eyes. I can read the mother’s face. Right now, I stood in her eyes as an innocent, stubborn and extremely angry girl who does not know how to forgive anyone’s mistake.
“You didn’t hear what she said?” Papa rained on the Kamal, taking my side. The mother being idol continued to watch the inhumanity of the father and daughter. Hardly could she swallow how someone could be fired for such a trivial matter.
Kamal slowly turned towards the door.
“Hey! Now who will clean it?” I also wanted to draw the last moment in my side “Keep it clean then go.” I said to Kamal.
“Nilam!” Mother was boiling now “Now being too much! You have gone mad in anger. Such anger is not good for health? Let him go, I will clean up.”
I could not sleep all night so still sleeping in the morning but my mother did not let me sleep. She brought tea at seven in the morning.
I was angry in anger “If you came after two or three hours, what doom was going to come? Oh Mom you are so bad. You know that the school holidays are going on, still come in the morning to awaken.”
“Look at the newspaper, sleep will run away.” The mother probably did not like my behavior. She slammed the newspaper on my head, placed the tea on table and quickly left the room. I did not mind anything. I picked up the newspaper and threw it towards the table – ‘Don’t know who told to my Mom that I am interested in the newspaper.’ I screwed my mouth and lay down.
But I could not sleep at all. Kamal is start to moving again in front of my eyes. Thought, I wish I could do something for him. But how do I? Ragini came between us. ‘Oh Ragini’ I wanted to scrape my hair in anger, but as soon as Ragini’s thought came, the forehead woke up ‘would you like to read tomorrow’s newspaper?’ Ragini’s sentence ran like lightning in my brain. I got up and sat down. I moved my hand to pick the newspaper, at that time the cup of tea fell from the table. The whole tea was scattered on the floor. I started to flip the newspaper quickly. I did not see anything special for which I could be so impatient.
I sat silent for a while but when not being done, I started turning around the pages of newspaper once again but still nothing was found. I put Newspaper on the table. Suddenly my eyes went to the main page and my breath got stuck. I was crazy who searched the inner pages of the newspaper. The front page was full of a stormy news.
“A father have been plundered for 18 years, daughter’s body!”
“Lust made a father to the devil.” was the newspaper’s major headlines. Ragini was raped by her own father for 18 year continuously.
Oops! So this was the reality of Ragini’s life? I woke up in anguish of soul. Can a daughter be so unlucky? The heart was not ready to accept this news, but unfortunately this was the truth.
Suddenly, I pressed down from many questions of life and its reality. Do not know why? Today, everything in the world looks like false which I was seeing and feeling. I looked carefully at all the things adorned in my room. Was they exist in reality with same manner or fake like a daughter’s relation with father? I took the flower out of the vase on my table and started rubbing it in my hands. I wish! It would have been a flower.
I straightened the newspaper. A large portion of the page featured a picture of Ragini’s tearful face along with many bitter memories of her life. I looked at the picture of his father printed in one corner with hatred. I wanted to cut his photo in billions of punks so that if someone would like to add it again, then take next 100 years to add it.
I got out of the room. Mother was standing in front. There was no laughter or pain on her face. Absolutely innocent face kept looking at me. I ran and clung to her. My eyes boiled.
“Neelu!” Mother’s eyes could not bear her tears. She also cried “Can’t understand.” Mother said in a distraught voice “What advice should I give to you.
She sat on the floor. I put head in his dock. Mother looked at me with full eyes.
“If I tell you that don’t meet to Ragini again, never even touch her shadow, and when I consider my decision, the question arises, why? Then I used to surprise at my decision.”
“Mom!” I called “You remember? Once you called her a brave girl.”
“Yeah.” She said without seeing me.
“She is really brave girl Mom, she is brave.”
“Brave.” Mom started thinking, her cop fingers kept playing with my hair “Yes Neelu, it is probably right to call her brave but…” She stopped her talk in the middle and looked at me “Oh! I am really skeptical about her, but I am happy about one thing that she was your good friend.”
“Was not Mom, She is still my good friend. In fact today she is my best friend.” I wiped my lips “I am proud of her for her bravery.”
“Yes! How much she endured in her life, never let herself become week. Even did not give up the courage to live.”
Mother kept looking at me.
All of a sudden the phone rang. I kept looking at the phone for a long time, neither mother said anything, neither did I.
“I go and see.” Mother said “getting up.”
“No, I see.” I picked up the phone. A strange voice, I kept listening for a long time. Perhaps the person standing on the phone was crying.
“Hello.” I tried to speak.
“Hello!” This time she did not disappoint me.
“Oh! Kalpana you?” Receivers left while leaving my hand “You are crying?”
“Did you read the newspaper today?” Kalpana said while taking care herself.
“Nilam! I always used to make madded testers on the behavior of Ragini. I didn’t know why she is such a way? Why did she started the crushing of the world’s ethnicities from the childhood? Sometimes the life really happen so impolite? And Relations? Oops! I am ashamed to say that the rapist was no one else but her own father was. Perhaps the father was the reason for all her behaiors, but How Nilam?”
I had no answer.
Passing the whole day, but I did not come out of the room. After all this, I did not have the courage to call Ragini. I don’t know why I believe that she will call me. I was waiting for Ragini’s call all the day but call didn’t come.
After approximately 3 o’clock afternoon I went back from the room and went straight to the terrace.
“Nilam! Nilam!” Suddenly a voice pierced my ears. The voice was of my mother.
“What is it?” I did not show much curiosity.
“Look who’s on the phone. Doesn’t say anything. It’s probably Ragini.”
“Really?” I ran wildly downstream.
“Yes I think. Come, Phone on the hold.”
She must be Ragini. I had complete confidence at the mother’s openion. I pick the receiver and said “Hello!” for a long time, No one said anything.
“I know you are Ragini, Right? I was waiting your phone since morning so please say something.
Despite this, many moments had passed in the midst of silence but no sound came. I stood holding the receiver. My believe is still alive.
“Nilam!” After a long time, a loud voice touched my ears “Will you still say that I am jealous of your fate?”
“Never Ragini, never. You can never be jealous of my fate.”
“Ragini! I know this is the hardest time for you but can I ask you one thing as a friend?”
“Don’t you think that you are largely responsible for your own misfortune?”
“Can I know the reason?”
“You should have stopped your father from doing this.”
“Nilam!” She said sobbing “I don’t remember when he did this first act with me. Maybe when I didn’t even have a voice to raise.”
“Yes I could and I knew it Neelam, but by that time my upbringing, life and security had come to the fore. I had begun to understand the meaning of these too. My mother was dead. That father was the one who was nurturing me. I was getting respect in the eyes of the world due to my so called father. I used to have similar status like other a common girl.
“Oh Ragini! So you made such a big deal with yourself for the food and status?”
“Perhaps the truth was Neelam! She exclaimed in a long breath “Because I knew that I had to choose one of the two, either let my father do it with me or the whole world.”
“So you chose the father?”