A Bolt From The Blue

imageSo engrossed was she in the library with poetry, that she lost track of time was late in reaching her hostel. Waiting at the gate, Geeta was hoping the otherwise stern matron would let her in, or maybe the kind old watchman? But she could see no one. Worry soon became fear, but the police patrolling made her feel cautiously safe. As she slid into the darkness to hide herself, she could hear the policeman’s soft footsteps come closer. Just as a blood-curdling scream built up in her lungs, a huge soft hand muffled out any sounds. Before she knew it, he was forcing himself on her. Raped and helpless, she couldn’t muster the courage to file a complaint, all she knew was that he was a policeman named was R. Singh. Dejected, she packed her bags and fled for an unknown destination, unaware that he left more of himself inside her than he bargained for.

A year later, in a nondescript village, she bore the child of hate. She didn’t even want to know its gender and gave it up for adoption. With the secret buried in at the back of her closet, she went on to marry an RTI activist. Jaganath was a nice man, just and fair, but she always feared that her secrets would destroy the happy life she had become cozy in. As years passed on, fear was a constant companion: the petrifying death threats often kept her on tenterhooks. The thought of being helpless and alone again in the big bad world without her caring husband haunted her deeply. Years passed by and one day, without warning, fate played its ugliest card. Geeta and her Jagu were enjoying an unusual leisurely Sunday morning tea session. Little did she know, the 5 minutes that she left him alone to fetch the newspaper will turn her world upside-down. At the gate of his very own house, he was shot dead by a corrupt policeman. Her blood froze in terror and anger. It took all her strength to come to terms with the loss and all the questions. Effectively though, it turned her off newspapers. But, as is true for any respected activist, love, sympathy, awe, and shock poured in through the grief. She never really wanted to be a part of any of the “activism” that followed his death. She was a victim of her own situation, and she refused to be a poster girl for it.

Shattered, she chose to be celibate to his loving memory, until she encountered a man not too young, but neither was he old enough to be her father. He seemed to be smitten with her and eventually she let him sweep her off her feet. She had finally lowered her guard, and poured her heart out to Ashok. But she still kept some cards close to her chest, playing the game of wait and watch, just to be sure that her keeper of secrets was the one she could trust. As the mature romance blossomed with her old man, they eventually started spending a lot of time in each other’s happy company. But fate seemed to be a fair-weathered friend to Geeta. As she prepared a feast of to help reduce the severity of what her closet hid, Ashok asked her to accompany him to the pension office. These small things, he deduced, mattered to Geeta; knowing that she was never privy to such simple romantic pleasures of life.

Walking into the dingy old office, Geeta realised that she knows nothing about what Ashok did for a living in his youth. Quite taken by the warm greeting and reception he received, she asked him about his work life. He replied gleefully that the was a cop: fair, and just man with a clean slate, and was well admired and respected in his own social circle. The revelation had hit her like a bolt out of the blue. Politely retracing her steps, she decided to walk away from the suddenly claustrophobic place. Walking into nothingness, she made the best possible effort of reaching home without spilling any tears. But once in the confines of her own nest, she let herself flow a river. Why did this have to happen? Why did she let her guard down? Why, oh why, another cop? The questions and the tears refused to stop. Composing herself after what seemed like an eternity, she walked to her cupboard to pack for yet another destination unknown, shattered and bruised one more time in life. She decided to pick the first and the cheapest getaway that would come her way at the interstate bus terminus.

Ashok, baffled by her sudden exit was left confused, angry, and worried. Was it something he said? Did he cross the line? How can she just take off? I hope she’s fine. With his brain on overdrive, he frantically tried calling her, only to reach the automated “This number is switched off” message. Anxious of her safety, he reached her doorstep, only to find the house locked. Dejected and hurt by her stoic silence, he accepted his defeat, but he chose to be persistent — he wanted to know what went wrong so suddenly.

Then a month later, Geeta finally musted the courage to give Ashok his much-needed closure. They decide on a coffee shop, where they could talk without being bothered. Geeta finally explained her moral dilemma to Ashok: He’s perfect for her, but the wounds of her past are too deep to heal. She’s been scarred for life and cannot come to terms with the fact that she can lead a peaceful life with him, knowing he was once a cop. Heartbroken, Ashok walks away, leaving Geeta with her thoughts; shattered again by her haunted past…