Abhay was conferred the MBBS Degree at Moti Lal Nehru Medical College, Prayag. He was hankering for a glimpse of his mother and every second seemed to be a decade during the train journey. As soon as he alighted from the train, a known cool breeze caressed his body, and his heart puffed up with the sense of being home. As he stepped ahead, he felt a nudge on his back that made him swivel. There's a girl in her early twenties adorned in a sheer red saree and outrageous make up, she tried to coax him to spend time with her.
Seeing her, Abhay's face turned red and he scoffed at her, " Stay away! You filthy woman!" But she didn't budge and continued persuading and luring him flaunting her voluptuous body. " Go away or else I call the cops!" He shoved her with such a force that she fell on the ground, and moved ahead with a detesting frown, "The lust of money has blinded them ....Shh... this easy money!"
On reaching home, his heart skipped a beat to see the front door locked, he darted to his neighbour's. Malti Masi, a middle-aged woman, sympathetically muttered, "Prabha's admitted in the hospital, she had been suffering from cancer but we were forbidden to tell you as she did not want to hinder your studies. After all, to see you as a doctor was her only dream in life." His feet gave way and he plummeted on the ground as a dried lifeless leaf falls down the tree. At Malti's touch on his sweat drenched temple, he regained consciousness and psychotically ran towards the hospital.
Prabha beamed with delight at the sight of Abhay. It seemed as if she was alive only to get a glance of him, "I wish I could live some more days! All my life I visualised this day, but God doesn't want me to cherish the moment for which I died everyday. Maybe this is the punishment for my sins," and her eyes welled up. Abhay grasped her mother's hand tightly, "I will never let you go! Never! Never!" Prabha mumbled, "So often I tried to tell you the truth but the fright of you hating me kept me from that. My conscience haunted me all my life, and if I don't tell you the truth today, I may not get peace in my grave also," she stared at Abhay with pleading eyes.
Rishi, your father, was a jovial and successful man. We were leading a happy life, but suddenly, one day Rishi's body was found hanging from the fan in one of the rooms. Rishi was inundated in heavy debts and when he did not find a way out he ended his life. Long relentless trials and the auction of our bungalow and factory tore me apart. In a jiffy, I was on road with a one year old child. Helpless!
That night, I felt something crawling on my thighs under my saree which made me sit up with a jerk. In front there was an on duty constable, he was ogling me with his lascivious eyes, "This place is not to sleep, you'll have to pay fine." He lugged me in a corner and started fondling my body, when I retaliated, he kicked at my groin and strangled me under him. My whimpers were strangulated and so was my sanctity. In this whole wide world there was no one to hear my sobbing and second by second I kept dying within. That incident brought about a never-ending dusk in my life...the day when Prabha died....the day when Prabha turned to a living corpse.
You were crying bitterly in hunger and your body was burning with fever. My breast had dried up for being hungry for two days. Though haggard and drained due to the last night's torment, I kept begging at the signal stumbling at every step. Rabia bibi, who had been watching me from a distance took pity on me and brought me some food. She ushered me to a motel, reaching where, I at once understood what was expected from me. I wanted to leave instantly but the thought of the unsafe world outside and your face ceased me.
Next evening, I was sitting squatted in a dark and dingy room startling by even the feeblest noise around. "Get ready, it's time. The client must be approaching any moment. It's your first day and you've to be at your best. That's how one gets frequent and affluent clients here," Rabia bibi peeked in from the window. How I would love to stand infront of the mirror and blush on Rishi's impish comments on my beauty! But that day the mirror was reproaching me....and it seemed like my deadbody was getting ready for my own funeral.
With a creak of the door a huge dark man darted in, a shiver ran down my spine seeing his lewd eyes and my soul urged me to flee, but your face flashed before me and I stuck there statue-still. Even long after the man left, like a carcass I kept lying on the bed staring at the ceiling. My heart filled with repentance for deceiving your father and I found him tossing thousand questions at me , I felt an excrutiating pain and screamed madly, " Rishi, why? Why did you do this to me?" Grabbing a knife, I was about to stab myself when you heaved into sight and I flung the knife aside, "Oh! How can I be so selfish?" ... Tell me Abhay ....how I could be so sel....
Abhay opened his locked house and felt the presence of Prabha in each and every speck. It appeared that Prabha's soul was residing in there hungering to get his approval. He held the photo frame kept on the bedside and stared at that for a long time, his heart was brimming with respect for his mother, "You're the world's best mother. Though the world is blind to see the purity of intentions behind your sins,I'm proud to be your son." Remembering the woman he met at the station, tears of remorse rolled down his eyes.
At the station, Abhay was hungering to see that girl once again and apologise. The night fell, a host of ladies erupted and scattered all over. A few approached him too, but now Abhay didn't abhor them as he could see a mother, a daughter, a sister or a wife in them who had sacrificed themselves for their loved ones. He waited till day break but there was no sign of the girl. Tired and downhearted, as Abhay rose to go, he saw some people gathered at the gate of the hospital across the road. Inquisitively, he brisked towards the crowd and was taken aback to see that girl sitting near the dead body of a young man and whining.