The Blue Shawl

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic


Shreya, an assistant professor in a post graduate college, meets an orphan girl, named Deepti, by accident. Over time, they both develop liking for each other and, therefore, come closer, building
an emotional bond. One day Deepti is raped and murdered, which throws Shreya in the sea of emotion turmoil.



The story runs like this .............

Submitted: May 17, 2018

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Submitted: May 17, 2018

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Shreya, while sitting in the chair in the hostel room, could envision the whole cascade of events leading from her acquaintance with Deepti to her rape and murder. Unaware of tears flowing down from her eyes, she keeps staring blankly into the distance, having a feeling as if someone very dear to her has died creating a big emotional void in her life that will remain there forever.

She feels penitent as every event vividly unfolds itself ………..

An Emotional Bond -

Deepti feels quite comfortable and safe in the company of Shreya, in spite of the difference of their age and economic status. Deepti is 14 years old who lives in a nearby small cluster of slum houses at a short distance from the woman’s hostel, where Shreya has been staying for more than 8 months.

After completion of PhD in chemistry, Shreya landed a job of Assistant Professor in a famous Post Graduate college in Rampur. Though far from her home in Ranikhet, she readily accepted the offer as it was her first job assignment. In fact, she was very happy to have it since she always had a desire to chart out her career in chemistry. And this was the beginning.

A month ago, when she returned from college to her room in the hostel, she saw a girl of about 14 years of age glumly sitting with head resting on knees near her room in the corridor.

Shreya asked her: “Who are you? What is your name?”

She didn’t answer but kept on sobbing inconsolably. Shreya then took her to the room and, after making her drink some water, made her sit comfortably. She noticed that her dress was quite dirty and torn at many places. Looking at her pitiable condition, Shreya’s heart melted.

On further probing, she told: “My name is Deepti. I am an orphan and live in the nearby slum hutment with my uncle, who often beats me up. I have to go without food for so many days. I am fed up with my life. Today I slipped out to this place to avoid beating, when my uncle was mad with anger on me.”

With trepidation, Deepti requested her to let her stay here and told: “I will do all your routine household chores. You let me stay with you as I am always scared as long as I am there. I assure that I will never be any kind of nuisance to you.”

On hearing all this, Shreya’s heart went out to protect her but she didn’t want to act naïve since there are many instances where gullible persons are easily duped and have to suffer. She wanted to be sure before helping Deepti that she is not the part of a malicious plot to involve her. Therefore, she could somehow put her off after giving some food to eat and old clothes to wear. The girl was happy to have food and some clothes.

She reluctantly left, saying: “Didi, I will come tomorrow.”

When Shreya came from the college, she found her waiting at the same spot. She was all smiles on seeing Shreya and uttered Did, Didi holding her hand. Shreya couldn’t remain unaffected by her innocent smile.

She said: “Look Didi, I am wearing the clothes that you gave me yesterday. They look good on me.”

Shreya took her inside after unlocking the door. She offered her some food and tea. She gobbled it up as if she had not eaten anything during the day. They chitchatted for some time and then Deepti left for home, saying she would come again tomorrow. Their meetings continued almost daily. Shreya was happy that she could make the girl comfortable and remove some of her fears of life. Life sometimes acts so weirdly that it knocks the wind out of us.

By now Shreya is sure that the girl is not the part of a plot being hatched against her. So she stops being on guard when she is around. Over time, their strange rapport grows. The girl likes to spend more time with Shreya and enjoys helping her Didi with household work.

One day Shreya took her to the local flea market and bought her some new clothes. The girl was so happy to have them that teas began to well up her eyes. She immediately kissed Shreya’s hands and thanked her. 

As the winters approached, she decided to give the girl one of her warm shawls. One day, Shreya gave her a blue shawl. The girl began jumping with excitement. Her happiness infected Shreya as well, so she decided would keep the girl with her when she gets her new apartment. She had, in fact, selected to purchase an apartment in Rampur. She had been waiting for her father to come over and finalize the deal.

Today when Deepti came, she broke her news: “I am going to Ranikhet next week and, after coming back, I will purchase an apartment. Then I will let you stay with me. I will also bring a new shawl for you from Ranikhet.”

On hearing the news, her happiness knew no bounds and she hugged her tightly, saying Didi I love you.

Next day, she came to Shreya unexpectedly at around 9.00 PM in the night and began crying. She told the incidence that forced her to come at the odd hour: “Since late evening, my uncle and some of his friends had been having some drinks together. After some time, they came to me and started molesting me and the youngest one of them tried to probe my body indecently. Somehow I could escape from there.”

She begged her: “Didi let me stay here tonight lest they might kill me as they are dangerous hooligans. I am scared of them.”

Shreya hugged and consoled her, allowing her to stay tonight. Next day, before going to college, she told her: “I have to go to Ranikhet the day after tomorrow, so you go to your uncle for three days to stay there. When I will come back, you can come over again to stay.”

Deepika agreed reluctantly. She could clearly sense her fear of staying there but she couldn’t help her.

On the day she had to go to Ranikhet, she came out and hailed an auto-rickshaw to go to the inter-state bus terminus. All of a sudden, she saw a crowd of people at a short distance. Out of sheer curiosity, she went nearer the crowd. When she peeped through the crowd, she could get a glimpse of the blue shawl, which she had given to Deepika.

When questioned by her, the police officer present on the spot told: “Madam, the girl has been raped and murdered; her body has been thrown here. No one has come forward to identify her.”

Thinking that the girl could be Deepika, Shreya’s heart suddenly sank and she could prevent herself from falling down with difficulty. As she lifted the blue shawl from her face, it was undeniably Deepika. She felt sudden giddiness and collapsed on the ground. The policemen helped her stand up and gave some water. She took some time to recover her composure.

She then told the police: “She lives in one of the nearby slum houses with her uncle. Her name is Deepika. Day before yesterday, she had come to me in the night complaining that her uncle along with his friends had molested and manhandled her. You must catch hold of the uncle who would tell you what exactly had happened to her. I live nearby.”

Giving her mobile no. to the police, she told that she would be willing to help them in every possible manner since she was emotionally attached to the girl. She drops the plan of going to Ranikhet and instead goes to the hostel.

She slumps down into an easy chair in the room and begins crying inconsolably, muttering: “If I would have let her stay with me, she could have been alive. It was stupid of me that I couldn’t assess the gravity of the situation properly. I don’t know how I would be able to lift the burden of the guilt from over my heart. God, please stand by my side!”

 

 

 

 

 


© Copyright 2018 Dr. Pran Rangan. All rights reserved.

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