The Old Woman's Story
The Old Woman's Story3 mins 204 3 mins 204
“I understand,” said Aditya, shifting his position to reach next to the old woman. Placing a gentle hand on her shoulder, he said, “tell me what happened.” Saira just could not understand what was happening. She wondered when did they speak before, without her knowledge. “Why did he not tell me,” she thought to herself, managing her disappointment and trying to focus on the conversation that was now happening in front of her. “He has no father, they influenced him. I could not do anything,” said the old woman crying.
“What is his name,” said Aditya. “Kishan,” she said sobbing. “How did they influence him,” he asked. Saira thought this was getting interrogative, but was too overwhelmed by surprise, to intervene and she only looked on. The old woman promptly replied, “that Hari...he was his friend. Kishan’s father never liked him. But after his death, he started coming home. He used to take Kishan to the city sometimes. Bikes, watches, clothes, Kishan desired things we never used or needed.” “What did he do then,” he asked. “He did nothing...he was not part of them. He only arranged the things they brought, and moved them, to sell in the city. He never went with them to loot. I know him. He cannot ride a horse, hold a gun. He cannot beat people up. He is a kind child. I know him.” she said, looking scared.
Aditya paused for a while, thinking, to frame the next question. “What, got him, into trouble?” he said, pausing at each word.
“They left him. He did nothing,” she said sobbing.
Aditya looked on intently, and she continued “When the police found their hiding place, they fled on their horses. Kishan, Hari, and other boys, who were left there, got caught.”
“What happened then,” said Aditya in a pressing voice, not sparing her a pause to sob.
She replied sounding more alert, “the police came to the village. I never saw the police before. They put up posters everywhere, they made announcements, they got us, all...the families of these boys. They gave so much trouble. The villagers also turned against us. That Hari...their family took him and fled the village. All those families lost all their money and left the village. I gave all my jewelry and got Kishan out. I know nothing of the world outside the village. I had to leave...”
“This jewelry?” Aditya said, shifting his gaze to the satin bag that she had placed in the trunk a while ago.
“This is a copy,” she said, hastily picking it up and placing it in his hands. “The jeweler's copy. I will give them and get my original,” she said, looking up hopefully.
“What is Kishan doing now,” he said sharply.
“He...he...Saab, you give him work Saab. He will come back. He is a good boy. Saab, he will do any work Saab”
Aditya gave no acknowledgment to her request and said, “He went back to them?”
“Saab, he doesn't want to go back. The villagers give him no work. They don’t buy anything from us. He is illiterate. He can't go to the city. He is very innocent Saab. He will do any work, Saab. He is a good boy.”
“What does he know. What did he study?” he said.
“Study...Saab, there is no school in the village,” she said.
“Does he come to see you?” Aditya asked sharply. “Ye...yes” she replied. He looked on intently into her eyes, expecting to hear more. “Sometimes he comes. He brings grain. I tell him not to go back. But...”
“When did he come last,” he interrupted.
“A... a week ago. He said he will come back the next day, never to return. He said he will tell them and come back.”
“Did he,” he said. “He...he will come. Saab he is innocent” she said, joining her hands.