The chubby bubbly girl left from home dressed neatly in her crisp white shirt and the dark blue skirt, proudly wearing her long hair in two thick plaits neatly set in place with bright red ribbons. For some reason she loved her uniform, even though the colours were a tad boring, the combination was good and comfortable without hindering her movements like a salwar kameez would have done.
She enjoyed her school and was eager to get home and tell her mom about the surprise test paper conducted in school that she topped. Her mom would be so proud of her and might treat her to an ice cream or some sweet that she liked. She always felt her mom was the best cook in the world, but only when granny was not cooking. For when granny was in the kitchen and cooking, the aromas arising from the kitchen would make her feel like nothing else in world mattered any more.
Granny had gone back to their village more than a week back, exactly on the day her school reopened. She was heartbroken, more because granny was going away than for the reason that her two month long vacation was coming to an end.
School had begun uneventfully and things were going smooth until the day their school bus timings changed. Till 4.00 o clock she had to while away time and she found that she could borrow books from the school library and read them while she waited for the bus to arrive to take her home. Her parents had insisted that she travel by the school bus itself because other means of transportation were not safe enough for young girls to be alone in.
The girl who came back home that evening looked nothing like the one who went to school in the morning. She was glad that her mom was away in office and that there would be nobody when she reached back home. She fumbled in her pockets, the contents of which fell down. She never bothered to pick them up. Still not able to find her keys, she scoured through her satchel which was now drenched in the rain that her umbrella did not protect her from. Finally managing to get inside and lock the door, she broke down. She continued to weep all the while trying to understand what had happened to her in the last 20 minutes or so.
She recollected getting down at her bus stop. It was drizzling slightly and she opened her umbrella. Her favourite red umbrella with small yellow flowers – bright and cheerful- and stuck to the sides of the roads safely away from speeding vehicles that would splash the muddy rainwater on to her. She was humming a song and homeward bound when suddenly she felt a hand on her chest. It was then that she saw the guy on the bicycle – he could very well have been her neighbourhood friend’s age – hardly three or four years elder to her. While one hand was on her, the other was pressing her umbrella down onto her face so that she wouldn’t see who was attacking her.
Those hands wandered to a lot of places, broke a few buttons on her shirt and tried to lift her skirt. A sudden car horn made those hands withdraw from her and she ran without looking behind. She ran and ran, she felt like her lungs were burning yet she continued to run.
She decided then and there that whatever happened, she could not let her parents know what happened that evening. She was strong enough and could keep this within herself and move on with life as if nothing had happened, she could not see her parents sad.