Jun 18, 2013

Chitrangada’s Father

(A short story previously written for a contest)

Inspector Meghnad had a tough cold that day. He sneezed and coughed inadvertently. While sneezing convulsively, he glanced at the constables, and saw some of them laughing at him in a hidden manner, seeing him trying to get the towel from his pocket. Though that irritated him a bit, he simply smiled at the head constable Somdev, since they had some years’ long friendship, which was immeasurable by the hierarchies. As they both were posted to that small town station, where criminal activities were scarcely heard of, both had found most often the life there as monotonous.

Head Constable Somdev left the station for his daily rounds. He used to visit the town highlights, meet people, and make friends with the gentlemen and ruffians alike. Meanwhile, Meghnad sent a sentry for one latest weekly from the nearby shop, and began to read once he got it. While reading his favorite novels to kill the time, he accidentally immersed into thoughts and successively into sleep. 

When Meghnad was waked up from the sleep, he saw Somdev in front of him tapping his shoulders, so irreverently, as Meghnad felt. Scratching his eyes, Meghnad tried to get away from his impending sleep. Along with Somdev, an elderly man also was standing there in front of him. Meghnad watched him keenly. May be around his sixties, he had not shaved for several months, and was clad in torn dirty clothing. 

Questioningly Meghnad looked at Somdev. As what Somdev informed, the aged man was trying to commit suicide, not alone, with a 3 year old little girl. Some people of the town found him trying to jump into the river, though initially they did not suspect anything. But, when they understood what he was aiming at, they caught him, and rescued the girl who was crying inconsolably. 

“And where is that girl?” Meghnad queried after a short pause which he utilized for a quick sneeze. 

Another constable brought a little girl, clad in a dirty dress. Seeing the girl, the inspector reflected deeply, taken strongly aback by the sad plight of the poor girl. He questioned the old man. Initially he said nothing. But when Meghnads tone of questioning changed into threatening, the old man opened up, 

“I am Chitrangada’s father”, he said. “This is her child, my granddaughter. She is a little girl with no one to point out as her father”, he began to weep uncontrollably. 

The Inspector shocked. His thoughts traversed back. Chitrangada was in news some four years back. She was abducted by a woman and a man. The man who was the woman’s accomplice in sex trafficking, first trapped Chitrangada, by making her fall in love with him using his sugary words, and gifting her cheap things which worth no money. As she was a silly girl, living with her poor father and mother, those gifts were big things for her. But later, this man and the woman abducted her. He used her for his sexual gratification first, and took her to a resort in a tourism destination. There she was presented to many people, who were adorning some powerful political chairs, and celebrity status. For over a period of one month she was transported from places to places and was presented to so many men as a “fresh piece”. She was in no position to protest, as she was threatened by the woman who abducted her.

When she was saved by some social workers and political activists, she was in a very broken state. The advocates who joined hands with the vile persons argued that she could have escaped several times from the clutches of her trappers, but she didn’t do it as she was enjoying all those men. The arguments raised by the people who rescued her that she was suffering from a kind of Stockholm Syndrome - which is actually the reasonless empathy that a captive feels towards his or her capturers - was not considered seriously by the jurors. In the end, all the persons who tortured her were acquitted and Chitrangada and her family were left with utmost pain and humiliation.

After his serious thoughts about those tragic incidents, Inspector Meghnad asked the old man to tell what happened now to see them both in such a situation.

The old man replied, “What could I have done sir? Upon sympathy, my daughter was given a minor job in a government sector, but everywhere she was humiliated and was mocked. She was a subject of lustful looks of and heinous comments by the vile persons. She was just treated as an object. She was pregnant, after those incidents, and she gave birth to a baby girl, and that girl is now with me”. Everyone in the police room looked that girl sympathetically.
“My daughter was undergoing depression, so one day she simply put an end to her disgraced life by hanging herself. Her mother also died due to cardiac arrest. To escape from that world of shame and tragedy, I decided to put an end to both of our lives,” the old man stopped his narration.

His story put Megnhad into utter confusion. He did not know what to do next. But as a solution, he decided to contact a Children’s Home bearers to take care of the little girl. He decided to not interfere into the case of denying justice to Chitrangada, as the incidence was also involved by some top police officials. Moreover, Meghnad never wanted to spoil his peace of mind.

One day later, the officials from Childrens Home came to take the girl. The old man with tear filled eyes, accompanied them to the car carrying the little girl on his shoulder. He said that it might be his last chance to carry her on horseback, and for her, which might be the last chance to enjoy such horseback rides, while her grand pa treads like a horse carrying her on his broad, yet weak shoulders.

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