This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 13; the thirteenth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.
All characters and events in this story are purely fictional. Any resemblance to any person(s) or events in real life is purely a coincidence.
Silence…I surrendered to its voice.
The highway was empty. I gazed straight through the windshield and saw just darkness. In the sky, the stars gathered, winking at me like angels, calling me toward them. I smiled. I opened the door and stepped out, the wind slipping his hands through my hair as he passed by. I felt an urge to shout into the forsaken void that surrounded me. I yelled, “I’m free!!” and somewhere, that voice returned to me. I looked behind me, and somewhere far away, lights were approaching fast toward me. As I stumbled back inside the car, it slipped from my hand and fell down, but panic had gripped me already. I started the car and sped off. I knew I wasn’t as fast as them, but I’d come this far… I’d to give it one last run. I forgot the brakes, pushed hard on the accelerator and the world became a blur!
“Aarti, send in the next patient please”, I called to my receptionist. “Last patient Dr. Mehra…she’s coming now. Her name is Nethra”, her voice came over the intercom.
The girl who entered the room was maybe seventeen or eighteen years old. She was alone, and her ghoonghat was low over her head. She stood there for a few minutes, unsure of something. “Please come in”, I called to her. She paused on hearing my voice, turned away for a moment, and then walked back inside. I directed her toward the chairs. She looked at me, and then sat on the one to the left of me, the ghoonghat still covering her face.
“What seems to be the problem, miss?” I enquired.
“Doctor, I want to know if I’m pregnant.”
“Isn’t your husband with you?” I asked. No one was there in the waiting room.
She took some time, before she spoke, softly and with measured words.
“No. I came alone. I’m not allowed outside. My husband is very…protective”, she said. I wondered why she paused before choosing the word, but didn’t push further.
“The test will be taken today. You’ll get to know by day after tomorrow morning”, I said. She nodded.
I sent her to the pathologist to get her blood tested. When it was over, she came back to my office. I was just about to leave. She looked at me, and then asked, “Can you hold these results for me? I mightn’t be able to come day after. I’ve given the personal details you asked for to her, but calling home might not be a good idea, doctor.” She turned towards Aarti as she spoke.
I usually never accepted, but her voice had a plea in it. I nodded. She didn’t smile, but she folded her hands, said “Namaste”. I saw her wrist, and there was something written on it. It was her name, written in green ink. “Wait”, I whispered but she just said, “Goodbye Doctor” and left.
I shuddered. My heart began to beat fast. I went back into my room and collapsed on the chair. Oh no… I knew her. It was she…
The lights were far away now. I didn’t think they’d catch up to me anytime soon. I stopped the car at a petrol bunk on the desolate road. “How many kilometres till the next gas station?” I asked the attendant who came to me. “Twenty five, sahib, and thirty after that one”, he said, volunteering the additional info. “Fill the tank anyways”, I said. I didn’t know where I was going also. I just wanted to go far, far from those lights. I paid for the gas, and started on my way again. No one was behind me as far as I could see. But my eyes had strayed behind for a second too long. I nearly ran into another car, swerving at the last possible minute to avoid the collision that never came. “Stop… please”, a voice screamed. I sped on, not looking back to see what happened to the other car. If only I’d been aware…
“Dr. Mehra, the results from Nethra Dixit’s test”, said Aarti, handing me a sheet, when I entered the office two days later. I was anxious for that paper, but I took and glanced at it casually. It was a positive result. Nethra was pregnant.
“Aarti, cancel my remaining appointments for the day. I’m not feeling that well”, I told her after my third patient of the day. While she got busy explaining to the patients, I mulled over what had happened two weeks back.
Nachiket, Arun and I had gone to the beachside village of Sheshnag for a weekend break. Arun had a small cottage there. We watched the sunset while sitting on the beach, drinking. It was my birthday that day. Arun suddenly remembered that. “Oye Aniket, aaj tera janamdin hai. Today is your happpppy birthday, is it not?” he said. “Wait, I will go get us… you, a present.”
He had stumbled off, while the two of us went back into the cottage, rain beginning to fall slightly. Two hours later, he returned. “Aniket, lo tere liye tofa…gifft for you my friend”, he said. Another fellow came behind him, and pulled a girl inside, her hand tied behind her. She was wet, her legs muddy. There was a scarf on her head, but it was tied across her mouth. Her sari, which clung to her bosom, was new and there was a bit of jewellery on her neck. The fellow was drunk too, and leaned toward her and said, “No dahej for me, no mercy for you. Goodbye my dear wife. Enjoy your first night.” Leaving her to our mercy, he went outside, bolting the door behind him. She struggled against the wall, her eyes showing fear. Nachiket stumbled to her side. “You know English? Angrezi malum?” he asked her. She just nodded. He removed her gag and bonds.
“Please, don’t hurt me. Let me go. I’m innocent”, she pleaded, falling on her knees and folding her hands. Nachiket was too drunk to listen. He grabbed her by her hair, and pulled her by it into centre of the room. Helpless, she screamed. The cottage was far from the village. No one could hear her. He didn’t hesitate. His hand caught her blouse and pulled, shredding it. She ran, but Arun caught her and pushed her to the floor. He held her down, his hands on her bosom and feet on her arms while Nachiket pulled off the rest of her clothes. She wailed, but with no use. Nachiket entered her first, shouting like a lunatic. “Aniket, aa ja. Virgin thi…” he yelled. I held her wrists on both sides of her as they both abused her relentlessly, and intoxicated, I followed suit. As soon as I let go of her hands, exhausted as she was, she folded them again, “Please, sahib. Chod do. Let me go…” I saw the word there on her wrist, Nethra. I laughed, “Nethra. That’s your name? Use your eyes to see me while I enjoy my tofa.”
We had abused her all night. In the morning, before she could regain consciousness after the assault, we’d left, Arun paying her husband handsomely. I felt guilty that morning, but I couldn’t confess. My wife and child had mattered more to me. “It’s just a one time thing. A moment of temptation”, I had consoled myself.
“Dr. Mehra, wake up”, Aarti’s voice came. I was jolted to reality by her voice. “I called up Mrs Dixit’s number to tell her results, but the man who picked up said no one by that name was there. What do we do?” I panicked. “What if the baby is mine?” I asked myself. I had to know. It was either the husband or me. I was the only one who wasn’t careful that night. If only, I had been aware…
The world becomes a blur to me again. I pay no heed to the voice that says “Stop. Slow down.” The speedometer shows the needle at 50kph. There’s no one ahead of me, I look in the rear view mirror. There’s just a single source of light, a van perhaps some distance away in the curving road. Could they have caught up with me already? That panic grips me again. The load is on the accelerator. 60kph… 70… 80… I can’t see anything. But then again, I don’t have to. It’s a straight road to nowhere. The speed goes to a 100kph. And then, some time later, it happens. All I am left to see is smoke… a final goodbye…
I drive to Sheshnag. I reach there at 4 in the evening, park my car near the highway and walk slowly to the village. There is a big crowd assembled there. I stand behind a house and watch.
Majority of the crowd are facing me, but five of them stand facing the crowd. One of them is restraining a woman, her hands behind her back, the ghoonghat pulled down. The one holding her addresses the gathering, “She has sinned. I swore on my honour that I’ll protect her and love her when I accepted her as my wife, but she has bared her soul before another. My friends, I’m leaving you to cast judgement on her crime. Give her the punishment that befits it.”
The three others facing the crowd discuss amongst themselves, and after a while, one of them speaks out, “The heads of Sheshnag give this verdict. This woman has sinned. Since she has bared all before another, she is to be stripped of her clothes and restrained. She shall be stoned till she’s near death, and left to die without mercy. The honour of this village has been sacrificed, and no one is to help her.”
The woman screams, and escaping the clutches of her husband runs past them…past me. It is Nethra, and she is chased by few men from the village. Only the waves bear testament to her troubles, as she runs through them, eluding the hands of the assailants, just for a few moments. She is caught and dragged back to the village. She’s screaming, “He sold me. He sold me. Believe me please”, but no one does. She’s restrained to a pole outside of the village. Her husband looks at her with malice, and approaches her. “You’re having a baby, aren’t you? One of those three is the father. I’m not going to let that happen. Goodbye, sweetheart”, he whispers and with no hesitation, strips off her clothes and removes her jewellery. Her eyes are closed in shame now, no way to hide herself from greedy eyes. She opens them to stare at her feet. The first blow comes soon, hitting her on the head, drawing blood. The air is filled with curses, and her screams lost as the last light of the sun falls on her eyes. No energy left, she falls on her knees. The pelting stops. Night descends as the villagers go to their homes, still blessing her with curses.
I approached her, cautious of any straying eyes. I lift her head up. The blood is in her eyes, but she sees me. “It is you”, she mutters, “My baby’s father. I knew you’d come from the moment I saw you two days back. But it is too late, Dr. Mehra. This is my goodbye to this world” and falls unconscious.
I slice her bonds with my penknife and lift her up. She’s petite, and it’s easy for me to carry her. A light comes in the village. I panic and I run, as fast as I can to my car.
“How old is she?” someone asks.
“Seventeen, but forced to marry”, I reply.
I can still remember the last moments. I see the crumpled wall with just few moments to spare. Opening the side doors, I push her out and jump. The next moment, the Alto speeds into it, tumbling over and bursting into flames. A lone car passing the other way sees us and gets us to the city without delay.
We’re at the City Hospital. A week has passed. The police have interviewed us already, and the press given access. Nethra is awake, dressed heavily in bandages. Her husband has been apprehended by the police already, trying to enter the room to finish the job. She’s given her version of the story.
“How come your car crashed, Doctor?” another asks.
“I didn’t want to, but to steady my nerves, I’d taken a few pegs. So when the villagers chased the vehicle, I panicked and drove too fast, saw the wall late.”
“What’ll happen to her, once you resume your life?” he asks again.
“I’ve spoken to my wife, and I’m going to sponsor her and the child now. She’ll be well taken care of.” I reply to them, with a half smile.
The doctor rushes in, demands the press to leave. I look at Nethra. She’s silent. I look at my wife, standing beside her. She’s furious, but composed. There is a sheet of paper in her hand. Her signature is there on it already.
I do what I have to do. A tear slides down my cheek, as I sign the divorce papers. The final goodbye…
Moment of temptation
A little extra I did take
Lost all the sense I had
It was just my mistake
I forgot what I valued
My true love I betrayed
Sinned without thought
For that, dearly I paid
Rescued my own blood
I didn’t let Death to try
Yet my life is part gone
As I say, a final goodbye
The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.
For Thursday Tales – Tale 19
Image by ProudOfBeingStrange, DeviantArt, ©2008-2010 ~ProudOfBeingStrange