Friday, May 11, 2012

Dancing to the beats of life - Part 3

“Whooooooosh, broom, zoooooooom raced the wheels of Bolero SLX”, the backlights of the huge vehicle flashed on Sushant’s face as he tried to follow it. 
“Shucks, What the…….” Sushant wailed as he hit a stone and fell down.  His conscience was urging him, “Don’t leave them Sushant, get up Sushant, run……” His legs hurt, he could barely keep a step further.

He felt something vibrating in his pocket. Drops of sweat were falling from his forehead; he wiped it and tucked his hand into his packet. 
“Maa calling”, displayed on his mobile as he pulled it from his pocket with his shivering hands.
 “Beta, leave them, come home please, Jaane do unhe”, his mom pleaded crying on the phone.“Maa but…..” Sushant’s voice trailed off.
“I can’t explain the situation here, beta, I can’t handle this”,he could hear his mother’s voice filled with worry and anxiety.
“Thike maa, I am coming, please take care of yourself”, Sushant replied.

A few minutes earlier his mother had opened the door hearing the bell ring. On hearing her scream Sushant ran out. Sushant saw a boy push a girl outside from the Bolero.He ran towards her, lifted her to see her face and shouted, "Maa........". Sushant chased the Bolero which sped off in seconds and was still chasing when his mother had called him. He then took an auto back home after his mother’s call.

He ran out of the auto-rickshaw into the porch where his parents were sitting. His mother ran to Sushant as he entered. "See beta, she is just sitting without responding to anything.",she tried to explain to Sushant as he tried to caress his mother.

He went closer and sat next to her.  Her eyelids were closed, lips dry and hair messed up. Her dress was tattered and she was barefoot. Sushant went closer to hold her face when he realized that she was unconscious. He picked her up with his hands; he had picked her up the same way when she was born. He was holding the girl whom he loved more than himself, his sister, “Rakshita”. She lay motionless.

 Laying her on the bed in her room, Sushant caressed her forehead and consoled himself and thanked god to have finally brought her back home. He turned to his mother who was standing leaning on her husband’s chest.
“What has happened, Sushant? Why is she not replying to anything?”  His father questioned worriedly.
 “I don’t know papaa, let her sleep for now, we will wake her up in the morning”, Sushant requested.
“I will sit with her, you both go and sleep.” They left to their room and Sushant sat next to his sister gazing towards the stickers of stars that Rakshita had stuck on the ceiling.
He tried to reminisce and his thoughts ran back to the happy days with Rakshu. “Bhaiya, I am your angel na, so these stars show you that I live in my celestial world”, Rakshu had jumped like a kid when she was amazed to see the radium stars in her room,“Yes Rakshu, you are our prettiest angel”, Sushant had replied and Rakshu had hugged her brother.
Drop of tears fell from his eyes when he saw her lay motionless in front of him. He tried not to make himself weak as he had to take care of his family at these grievous moments. He caressed her forehead and said, “Don’t be afraid my child, your bhaiya is near you and he will take care of you”. The chimes that had made Rakshita sleep once, played a soothing melody and Sushant got lost in his sleep.

{Around 100 kms away from Rakshita’s house, two boys were discussing about the happenings. “I don’t think what you did was right”, exclaimed the boy with a French beard. “No she deserved it, how could she deny something that I wanted so badly”, replied the other guy who had a small scar in the right side of his forehead.}

 The clock struck 6.00 the next morning and Rakshita’s mom was in the kitchen trying to cook something, but her thoughts ran around her daughter. She kept the milk to boil and didn’t realize that it had spilled over, until her husband came and switched of the stove.
“Leela, what are you dreaming about?” enquired Pranoy in an angry tone.
“What else ji? About Rakshu only.” She began to talk and her worried face showed lines on her forehead, “What must have happened to her? I hope it is not what I am thinking.” She began to say something and Sushant who had entered the kitchen hearing the conversation spoke up.“No maa, nothing would have happened, I have called a doctor home to check Rakshu”

 A white maruthi swift sped into the compound of Rakshita’s house and a young woman in her 30’s stepped out of it. She had a white coat on one hand, a stethoscope around her neck and a black bag in her other hand.
“Hello Doctor, thank you so much for coming”, Sushant came running outside to receive her.
 ”Take me to Rakshita, I want to see her”.Sushant took her to Rakshita's room. On seeing her condition the doctor gave a worried look and turned to Sushant and said, "Mr. Sushant can you leave us alone for a few minutes?"

Sushant agreed politely and left the room to join his parents outside. 
 It was a 15 minutes long wait and the doc finally came out.“I am sorry to say this Mr. Sushant, Your sister has been raped. Her internal organs have been shattered and I am afraid she can never give birth." 

Sushant and Pranoy were baffled to hear this. Leela burst out into tears and closed her face in Pranoy's arms. 

“I understand what you all must be going through. But you are the only strength she has. I would say you are blessed to have got her back alive. I will take care of all the medical treatment that will heal the wounds that are visible. But the wounds that she has received mentally will take a lot of time to heal.” The doctor explained and patted on Sushant's shoulder trying to console him.

As the doctor had said it took almost 5 months for Rakshita to be healed from the internal and external physical wounds. The best medical treatment had been provided to her. However, in these 5 months Rakshita had never spoken about what had happened to her that month when she went missing. Raveena would visit her every day and try to make her talk, but all Rakshita would do is try to change the topic or start screaming at her.
At times she would get nightmares and scream in her sleep, “Leave me please, I beg you, leave me.”
(Her mother could not bear to see her daughter in this situation. How a mother’s heart wept to see her daughter in this state.)
Sushant who was equally worried now beseeched Raveena for help,“Raveena, we have to find out what exactly happened to her in that one month. Only when we find that out we can help Rakshu”. Sushant knew Raveena was the only person who could help him. “Bhaiya, you had the video of Rakhita’s dance performance at the International dance competition right? I think dance is the only way we can help her. Dance is her meditation bhaiya”, Raveena had given a brilliant idea and Sushant ran to bring the DVD of Rakshita’s dance.
 Rakshita watched the DVD almost every day. At the beginning, she would cry watching it but later slowly she started getting out of the bed and performing a few steps. She started leaving her room and walking around the house.
Raveena’s idea had worked when one day early in the morning rakshita came to Sushant’s room and said, “Bhaiya, I am going to participate in the International Dance competition this year too”Sushant  was flabbergasted hearing this.
 He got up from his couch and hugged his sister. “Yes Rakshu, you can and I am sure you will do well this year too”
Rakshita smiled and said, “Thanks bhaiya”, and walked back to her room. From the next day Raveena took care of Rakshita’s practices. Rakshita found it difficult in the beginning to dance with the grace the way she did before but later she picked up fast and day by day started improving in her performance. She started smiling again and gathered herself to face the world again. Deep inside she was still suffering from all that had happened to her.
“Rakshu, I know you are trying your best to get back to your normal life. I also know that this won’t be possible till you don’t share what is in your heart. Tell me Rakshu I promise you will feel better.” Raveena pleaded.
Rakshita who was sitting next to Raveena all this while, got up in anger and screamed, ”What do you want to know Raveena, How was I raped? I do not have the strength to recollect it all Raveena. It will be like living those moments again if I start telling you”.
Raveena got up and went to Rakshita, stood in front of her and held her face between her hands, “Rakshu, listen I want to know what happened that night after the competition, calm down and tell me. I know this is going to be hurting but it is the only way you can forget everything”.

“That night I came searching for you in the parking, you were no where to be seen, I walked to the other end and saw you facing the opposite side.”, Rakshita started crying as she said this. 
 “I started to call out your name when someone came and held me from the back and put me into a huge vehicle. I tried to scream, we crossed you, but you didn’t notice us. 
I tried to wrestle with them but they blindfolded me. After travelling for around 5 hours they took me to a house in some remote village."
Rakshita's voice choked as she continue to reveal, "One of the guys came and pulled me out of the vehicle and led me to a house. It was when they opened the cloth around my eyes that I realized that it was Varun who had bought me here. "
"What!!! was it Varun?",Raveena enquired shockingly.
Rakshita continued, "Yes Raveena, At the beginning for a few days he would come and warn me that if I didn’t love him the way he did, he would assault me. I was scared initially but I tried explaining him silently that I did not have feelings for him but he never seemed to understand."
She took a pause before continuing, "And finally, 3 days before he could bring me here he raped me everyday........ every single day Raveena,  for 3 days continuously.”, she finally revealed everything and collapsed on the bed.
“Rakshu, I am sorry I made you speak, but I had no choice.”, Raveena tried to console her. 
 “Raveena you wanna know the reason I was quiet so long. If I hadn’t kept this pain inside me I wouldn’t have had the guts to stand on my feet and dance again. I will come up in life again Raveena and live my normal life. I have taken a long time to be strong and I won’t fail easily”, Rakshita replied and went back to practice.
Meanwhile Raveena went and told Sushant everything that Rakshita had said. He was filled with rage and anger. He immediately went to the police station and lodged a complaint against Varun. The police spent no time in tracing Varun’s whereabouts from the information given by Rakshita and finally hunted down Varun and his French bearded friend who had accompanied him in this entire plan.
Varun finally gave up and agreed to have raped Rakshita. He also agreed on dropping her outside her house on the 26th may early in the morning.  Varun was imprisoned on charges of rape, assault and abduction. 

30th of April finally dawned, Rakshita got up and prayed. She switched off her morning alarm and went to take bath. Her clothes for the performance were kept on her bed. She came and sat on her bed and touched her costume. She thought of her dream to make it to the exchange program. She got dressed and walked out. Her family and Raveena stood outside to wish her. Her mother walked with the Aarti thali and blessed her, “Be happy child, May you get all that you desire”. Rakshita touched her mother’s and father’s feet for blessings and went to her brother.
“All the best my angel, God bless you”, Sushant hugged his sister and said this.

The stage was set and as always Raveena and Rakshita’s family sat in the second row to watch her Dance. She finally walked in and everyone was surprised to see her perform after everything that had happened. News had spread about her rape which made them even more surprised to find her perform. She danced in more elegance and style than before. The confidence on her face gave her an extra advantage to perform better. As soon as her performance got over the entire auditorium was quiet. A woman in the crowd got up quietly and started a small clap. Seeing her, the person next to her joined her and to everyone’s amazement the entire crowd was standing and applauding.
Rakshita knelt in appreciation and looking at the sky said, “I have finally won the first battle.”

Present day Rakshita stood at the Delhi international airport. Yes she had been selected for the foreign exchange program. She was going to live her dream at “Julliard School” in New York.Wearing a light blue T-shirt and denim, she looked perfect and beautiful; Sushant was accompanying her to New York. She had succeeded in dancing to the beats that life had played; now, she was going to dance to the beats of music.

She turned back and waved her hand to her parents and walked into the airport smiling to start her whole new life.
                                     
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