The hunter

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Story of a poor girl in a concrete jungle.

 

That evening, when Babita, returned home after work, she found her father Ramlal quarrelling with her mother Parvati. He was in a drunken state and calling her bad names and was throwing things here and there. He was a heavy drinker and used to quarrel with Parvati.

She yelled at him, “You beast, be silent and get out of the home.”

Hearing this from his daughter he turned to her and slapped her twice. Parvati grabbed him by his hands to save Babita from him. She thrust him out of the room and closed the room.

This domestic violence is not new to Babita. She was used to it. She had been seeing this quarrelling and beating since her childhood. Since their childhood, she and her brother Ramesh were subjected to beating by parents.

Ramlal lives with his family in a slum of an industrial city of India. He was a labourer in a factory. He used to squander all the wages he earned. He never gave money to Parvati to run the home. Parvati had to do odd jobs to make both the ends meet. After somehow passing high school, Babita began to work as a housemaid in some homes. Whatever she earned, she used to give it to her mother to run the home. Soon Ramesh began to earn money by doing odd jobs. Gradually her mother stopped going to work due to her illness. Like father like son. Ramesh, too, soon began to squandering money on drinking and gambling.

 

So the responsibility of running the home came upon Babita. Her father and brother were used to snatch money from her. She was twenty-four years old. She was a pretty and charming girl. The society was like a concrete jungle full of wolves and vultures. She had to face the many greedy, lusty and staring eyes of wolves, vultures and other beasts. She used to ignore them. Sometimes she felt unsafe in the concrete jungle.

One of such vultures and wolves was Sunderlal from whom Ramlal once took a loan and now was unable to pay the loan. He was in his early forty and still unmarried. He was the only offspring of his parents and the parents had died years ago. He was alone in the concrete jungle and was desperately in search of a woman to marry. One day he bargained with Ramlal for Babita.

Ramlal was in debt over head and ears. Sunderlal was a notorious moneylender. Sunderlal gave him two options, either pay the loan or marry Babita to him. He also threatened Ramlal that, otherwise, he had to face dire consequences of not paying the loan. Ramlal got frightened and gave in to the threat. 

When Babita heard from her mother that her father wanted her to tie the knot with that beast Sunderlal, she filled with anger and hate for her father. She yelled in anger, "she will never marry with that old beast."

 

Ramlal was in the next room and he was expecting that Babita would give her assent to the marriage proposal. When he heard the words of Babita, he rushed to her.

He said to her, “You will have to marry him. I will not take no as an answer.”

She cried, “I marry him to settle the loan taken by you. You are selling me to him, aren’t you?” saying so she looked into his eyes.

 

Since he was at wrong, he felt nervous and began looking in another direction. She began crying and went out of the room. Her mother, too, was sobbing in a corner of the home.

Babita couldn’t sleep all night. She was upset over what was happening to her. Like other girls of her age, she, too, had some dreams about her life. She wished a happy life and wished to marry a man who at least would not be a heavy drinker like her father and brother. Now she was feeling unsafe in the concrete jungle.

Sunderlal was not the only one to want to marry her. There were others who want to marry her. Prashant was one of Ramesh’s best friends. He is from a wealthy family. He was not a reputed member of the society. He was a lame man of age around twenty-five. He wanted to get married but being lame was the biggest hurdle. He was interested in Babita. She knew him very well from her childhood. He was a spoiled and nasty child in his childhood. With age, he got more and more involved in nasty things from drinking and gambling to theft. One day he told her that he loved her very much and wanted to marry her. Hearing this she got furious and slapped him. She did not complain of him to Ramesh because she knew her brother very well. Like her father, he too was indebted to his friend. So it is of no use to complain. By the way, Ramesh, too, was not much interested in her sister’s marriage. His eyes were on her income. He can get money from her any time and he didn’t want to lose her.

After musing about for a long time, she reached to the conclusion that she had to protect herself and to survive somehow in these merciless concrete jungles. She felt herself alone. A desire to be with someone arose in her. She began to make a distance from her family.

 

Those days, she met a man in a marriage party. His name was Arun. He was a labourer in a factory in the nearby city. He used to come home every Sunday to meet his parents. He was a graduate, handsome, talk-active and unmarried man of age about thirty years. This first meeting and a few other subsequent meetings brought them close to each other. They fall in love with each other.  She found a kind of solace in his company.

Ramesh, When came to know about Babita’s love affair, got out of control in anger. In his point of view, love relation between a woman and a man was a crime. For him, this crime is more serious than the other forms of crimes like gambling, theft and robbery. He wanted to punish his sister and her lover. He along with father and mother beat Babita severely and shut her in a room. But they couldn’t keep her shut in the room for a long time because she earns money for them. They had to release her.

Her mother tried to make her understand that she forget her lover. It was a good opportunity for Ramlal. He once again raised the topic of Babita’s marriage with Sunderlal. He talked with the Sunderlal. He began the preparation of her marriage.  

One day, Babita didn’t return home from the work. They waited for her up to the late night. They report the matter to the police. Later they came to know that Babita eloped with Arun. The bird had flown in the dark sky of the concrete jungle.

Arun married her in a temple. She was happy and was dreaming of living a happy life in her own small nest in the concrete jungle. A few honeymoon days passed happily. Gradually, Arun began to show his true colours. He turned out to be a greedy person. In the town, he had many friends. He used to spend his evenings with his friends. At night he would come home with friends and play cards and drink wine till late at night. He would not spend a buck on all this stuff. All the cost was carried out by his friend. When Babita took objection on his coming home with friends, he raised his hand against her. Days were passing in this way. Her parents didn’t try to search for her.

One day, Arun return home late with one of his friends. He was in a drunken state. His friend was staring her with lusty eyes. Arun asked her to prepare tea for them. She was angry with them but she went to prepare tea. When she went to serve the tea, she saw a bundle of currency notes in Arun’s hands.

When she was serving tea to Arun’s friend, he gave her a smile starring at her. His eyes were filled with lust. She took no time to understand what the matter is. She got shocked. She had never thought that Arun could sink so low.  She got trapped by hunters.

That night she became prey to the concrete jungle. A vulture tore her body and soul. No one was near to save her. Her all the dreams shattered. Her heart, too, was broken. One sometimes preys and sometimes becomes prey intentionally or unintentionally. This is the law of the concrete jungle.  

She flew into a rage. She was wounded but couldn’t do anything. Next morning, she found her husband sleeping. She, in rage, attacked him. She punched, kicked and even spat on him without giving him any chance to escape from her. After beating him, she left him forever. She didn’t know where to go. She wandered on the streets of the town. Now she had no one to help her. She had nowhere to go. Arun tried to take her home but she not only refused to go with him but also called him bad names and threatened him to take the matter to police.  

Then she decided to return to her parents. She disliked her father and brother for what they did to her. But she had no disliking for her mother. A strong desire to meet mother took birth in her heart.

When she reached home, the mother got happy seeing her daughter. She took Babita into her arms and began to cry. She told her that the father was admitted in the hospital and was in critical condition. When Babita reached the hospital to see her father was on the verge of death. Seeing his daughter, his eyes filled with tears. He was unable to open his mouth. His mouth was paralysed. After some hours her father Ramlal died.

Some days after the death of Ramlal, Ramesh decided to get married to a widow. She was like him, a factory worker and was in love relation with him. After getting a wife as a new source of money, he began to ignore his mother and sister and after marriage, he shifted to another house. Seeing this, Babita began to work as a housemaid again. Her mother was now totally depended on her. She took the responsibility of her.

Parvati was worried about Babita’s future. It was very hard for Babita to live alone in the concrete jungles full of beasts and predators. Babita was living with her shattered dreams and a broken heart. Her wounds were fresh. That moneylender Sunderlal was still interested in Babita. He couldn’t find a woman for him so far. He was alone and has no one to look after him except a loyal servant named Vijay. He wanted to marry Babita. He was in contact with Parvati in this regard. When Babita heard about him, she began to think something. After thinking for a long time, she gave her assent to marry Sunderlal. No one knows what was in her mind.

She had now some new dreams. Fortune gave her another chance to fulfil all her dreams. Sunderlal married her. She was now wife of a rich man. Some months after marriage Sunderlal fall ill. She began to help him in his business. One day, Arun was found murdered in his house. He was preyed on by an unknown hunter of the merciless concrete jungle. Once Babita said to her mother, “I have learned to survive in these jungles of concretes.”  Her mother could not understand her words.

The concrete jungles are full of beasts preying one another with reason or without reason. In natural jungles, animal prey only for quench hunger. But in the jungle of concrete human prey for satisfying hunger, greed, fulfil ambitions, taking revenge and sometimes just for pleasure.

Within a few months, Sunderland's health conditions got worsen and he had to admit in the hospital. And with the help of his most loyal servant Vijay, Babita took the charge of his entire business. It took Sunderlal many weeks to get well. During this period of time, she and Vijay left no stone unturned to run business and to get him treated. He was happy with Babita and the loyal servant.

One day, when Sunderlal was going to a nearby city in his car, he was hit by a truck. This was a terrible accident. He died on the spot. Hearing the news of her husband’s death, she got shocked and began to weep. The street was sounded with her cries. Everybody sympathised with her.

She remained mournful during the cremation and all the related traditions.

These jungles of concrete are not as civil and virtuous as they look. After a few weeks of the death of her husband, one fine evening Babita was waiting for someone in her bedroom sipping wine of good quality. Someone knocked on the door and said, “May I come in?”

She recognises that voice very well. She replied in her sweetest voice, “Yes, my darling. I am waiting for you.” That someone came near to her. She spread her arms toward him. He took her in his arms and said, “Oh, my sweetheart.” They began kissing each other passionately.

He said to her, “From now on, you are mine. I have removed both the stones from our way. May God bless them a place in heaven.” Saying so he again embraced her tightly and they lost in each other.

And who was those two stone whom he removed from the way? They were her ex-husbands Arun and Sunderlal.

 


Submitted: May 13, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Sumit Kumar Arora. All rights reserved.

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