Velturu Part 2
Velturu Part 212 mins 163 12 mins 163
Roshini grew up with many dreams and aspirations. She was a district Basketball player, a school-level chess champion, a chef of demand at home, an artist who played with colors, a singer by choice, a well honored classical dancer, and what not! Her parents were extremely proud of her. Many of her relatives’ children wanted to become like her. She was modest of all souls on earth. Apart from achieving multiple trophies, certificates, making her way onto the wall of fame she never had an inch of arrogance. She was very much interested in learning different languages. She knew how to speak in nearly 14 different languages and all of them belonged to India. She was a very humble creature whose existence in this self-centered world was almost a miracle.
Roshini and Priya were friends since their childhood. Both have completed their studies in the same institute and now were working together at the same workplace. Their bond was unique, more than just friends, if one of them was a male or if they were lesbians, they were sure to get married, but their togetherness dreams burnt into ashes when Roshini's marriage was fixed with her boyfriend.
Roshini's marriage date was just a month away when she landed in Lucknow from Hyderabad. Priya had informed her that she would arrive a day before 15th June due to the workload. This was the first time when Priya lied to Roshini. Priya boarded the train a week before Roshini's marriage date. She wanted to become her best friend's marriage present. After all her presence wasn't expected a week before. No expensive gifts can replace the surprise of the best friend herself.
When Priya opened her eyes she found herself sleeping on her berth in Lucknow Express with the book “World of Magic” in her hand. She had a strange feeling of fear. She looked around, everything was empty; the whole block S was empty. She was the only passenger on the train. Trepidated Priya peeped out of the window, the train was motionless. She felt extreme anxiety, she wanted to get out but Velturu kept revolving her mind. Then a cleaner, cleaning the floor approached her. She asked him at which station the train stopped and he politely replied that it is the final station Lucknow. Priya was completely blank. She was traveling in a cab, Velturu seemed as if she was a ghost, she fell unconscious and when she opened her eyes; she was lying on the berth of Lucknow Express with the same book in hand. It cannot be a dream, if it did how did the book come into reality? All these things and thoughts revolving in her mind made her feel some sort of terror. She packed all her belongings got out and walked towards a tea stall. She sat on the bench there and ordered a cup of strong black tea. After she was done drinking, somehow she made courage and traveled to her friend’s house in a cab but this time she made sure to charge her phone near the charging point just beside the tea stall.
She safely reached her friend’s apartment; she was just 30 steps away from meeting her. Without any delay, though she was tired of her horrific experience she geared herself and started to climb the steps with her handbag in right and a suitcase in left. She stopped before a brown door designed just like the temple doors. She observed few pairs of sandals and slippers outside the door; she quickly guessed that there were few guests in. But everyone in the family residing on the other side of the door knew Priya very well. She had spent all the best memories of her childhood in the house. There was no need to hesitate. She without any delay rang the bell. The housemaid opened the door and quickly disappeared from Priya's sight and got engaged in her kitchen work. Priya in great excitement entered inside leaving her pair of footwear outside. She laid her belongings leaning to the sofa, set beside the main door. The hall was divided into two halves occupied by mattresses with white bedsheets on each end. The women sat on one mattress and the other was occupied by men. The gap between the two halves was left for the pathway which headed towards a small table on which there was placed a photo frame to which all the people dressed in mourning whites offered fresh white daisy flowers. Priya felt that she has arrived at the wrong time. The house has to be lit with colorful lights, which has to shine with the flamboyant women, which has to dance on the beats of men, which has to smell like an eatery overfilled with the sweet chuckles of the children but is crowded with lament.
One of the residents of the house told Priya that she has arrived at the right time, they were about to inform her. Priya was confused that why they wanted to inform Priya bout their family member's demise, then she thought that the demise resulted in the cancellation of Roshini's marriage and they wanted to inform her the same. She felt uncomfortable in colorful ware roaming around the people weeping in grief. Her eyes searched for Roshini to give her company. After a search of almost five minutes, she found her. A girl with medium braided hair, dressed in white kurta-pajama standing near the small table to which the pathway led. Priya headed her steps towards the girl. She approached her and tapped her back. The girl in white kurta turned around and Priya's excitement of reaching Roshini was carbonized. The girl was not Roshini. Priya's eyeballs turned towards the photo frame and a sudden scream came in Priya's voice, "Rosh!!".
Priya when opened her eyes, found herself sleeping on Roshini's bed. Roshini's mother told her that she couldn't tolerate the sudden demise of Roshini and fainted. She was then brought to Roshini's room. Her mother asked Priya to rest in Roshini's room for a while and left closing the door. The four walls of the room were not new to her but this time she felt as if she entered the room for the first time. The yellow wall which hung all the certificates and medals lost its shine. The blue ceiling adrift all her dreams. All the imaginary stories of the green wall vanished. The photos on the pink panels now tuned into beautiful memories which could never fade. The balcony connected to the room didn't allow a single ray of hope to penetrate. The spark of the room is no more.
Priya couldn't resist her palm from touching the beautiful picture of Priya and Roshini together framed. As she rubbed her palm over the frame, a water drop fell from the ceiling as if the sky of Roshini's world was also crying in her absence. Priya looked above and a sudden terror came on the screen. It was not the ceiling but was Roshini's tear which fell. Before Priya could say something, Roshini indicated her to stay silent and listen to what she says.
"It was on 24th May when I was traveling to Lucknow, I arrived at the Kachiguda station at 9.25 and occupied my seat in Lucknow Express. I was completely alone in the compartment, night journies were usually not preferred to Lucknow. I wouldn't have taken a train in the night, I decided to board a train in the morning but my mother pressurized me to be available there in the morning hour. It is nearly a 23hour journey, if I didn't start in the night I would take two days to reach Lucknow. It is not her fault, every mother whose daughter is going to get married within a month will wish to spend and make memories with her child. And the arrangements for the marriage; she had all the tension on her head and my absence was another big stress. But the night journey proved to be the biggest mistake of my life.
It was in the Bhopal station when a gang of three males boarded the train. Maybe three of them were drunken. I was having a seat near the exit gate, but as I saw them arrive I quickly changed my seat. It is something like a woman's security mentality. When we find ourselves alone, and a gang of drunken males around us we tend to be more alert and start protecting ourselves. I did the same. But maybe my efforts were not so effective. The males caught sight of me. I pretended as I didn't notice them but they started to walk towards me. I began to move back. The doors of the next compartment were locked, maybe because of security reasons. There have been registered ten theft cases near the Bhopal station last week. They walked towards me laughing aloud. I was scared. I started to look around for things to safeguard myself, but nothing seems to work, the emergency exist was behind the males and I didn't dare to go towards it.
My bag, my belongings, I left everything in my seat, I left my phone too. Out of fear, my brain didn't function and I left my phone on my seat too. I was not using the mobile, was about to sleep. I placed my phone to charge near the switchboard on my berth and left it there. They were just five steps away from me, I tried to escape, knocked on the doors but no one opened. They started to circle me from the left, I understood their plan and tried escaping from the right, but one of them caught my chunni which surrounded my neck and I was pulled towards them. I tried hard to escape and run away, but one of them caught my hip and I couldn't move. Out of the three, one caught my hip and the other pulled my hands back and tied my chunni to my wrists. I harmed them with my nails, scratched them but they were successful. I was forcefully pushed onto one of the berths. One male who was just wearing his vest and jeans approached me. I kicked him for self-defense and he threw his beer bottle onto my head. My head started bleeding, I was helpless but I tried my best.
I twisted my body and fell from the berth, the two other men were helping the male I kicked to sit, I kicked him with my heels and it hurt his stomach. It was the right time for me to escape and I jumped down from the moving train. They noticed me escaping and ran behind me. My head was severely bleeding I couldn't run fast and they were able to grab me. My chunni was tied tight, tighter that I wasn't able to free my hands. They grabbed me. The man in the vest tore my kurta, I was half-naked but I still tried to escape and run but I wound of my head didn't help me. The next morning I was found completely naked on a railway track which was 20 km away from Bhopal Station. I was admitted to a hospital and soon was discharged. The police asked me to register an FIR so that they can proceed with the orders but my family refused to support me. My father and mother didn't want to make this an issue. They didn't want my fiance to come to know my rape. They were afraid of society.
Like many other rape victims, I also was made to sit silent inside my room. But I couldn't digest the assault with me. It was not at all easy to leave those bastards unpunished. Everyone just kept saying to me that God is going to punish them but I couldn't wait for God. I didn't want to be bound in a relationship with lies. I told my fiance everything about what happened and he is a loyal supporter of mine. He assured me of justice.
We decided to file an FIR against those three men. While we were on our way to the police station on a bike, a man in a black mask-wearing a helmet over his head approached by my side and poured some sort of liquid on me, and left. I and my fiance fell from the bike, my face and body started to burn. I was immediately admitted to the hospital, my whole body was burnt and my fiance's left index and middle fingers were also burnt. Now I was an acid attack victim too. I didn't know who has come to attack me, why someone had to try to kill me, I didn't know anything. All I knew was, I was just an alive dead body. I was discharged and brought back home. Everyone in the house fired jeers on us, they didn't want me to become an issue and I did. I locked myself inside my room for three days, I was in trauma. I received a letter, the fourth day,
I'm sorry. A few days back my friends came up to me for help. They allegedly raped a lady. They were completely drunken and didn't know what they did until they find themselves naked on a woman who was undressed and bleeding from the head. They escaped from there and approached me. They came to know that the lady was going to file a case against them, out of mind I advised them to plan an attack on her. I advised them to kill her so that they were safe. But later after the acid attack on you, I came to know that the girl they sexually assaulted was none other than you. They'll kill you. I'm sorry Roshini.
After reading the letter, I realized that people around me will never want me to get justice, I thought I locked myself in a room but when I tried to come out of the room I came to know that my family boycotted and locked me in the room. I eventually attempted suicide. There are no proves now, all the proves were burnt by my fiance who safeguarded himself and his friends."
A few years later, while Priya was having rounds in the campus along with Roshini's soul which was only visible to Priya, a rape victim asked her, "Why is your NGO for rape and acid attack victims named Velturu?" and Priya replied, "Velturu in many south Indian languages is Roshini. Roshini is light in Hindi. Our NGO aims to lighten the lives of victims like you, who lose all the support they have with a single incident."