My college best friend Ritesh who came to Delhi for studies told me about his home town in Darjeeling, there it is so pleasant when we see the evening unfolds as the sunlight grow mild, foreshadowing the death of the day. The meadows of tea fields make your belief on being
alive more strong. He said he comes from such a place. He was a handsome guy of 20 whom any
girl would keenly desire. He was very famous in our circles for being a good looking and well
behaved brave man. There was no day that he passed without having girls hitting on him. But
to end all the proliferation he was in relationship with a humble girl named Ranjana from his village and he came to our college just to study and nothing else. He was truly in love with her and she loved him too in the same manner. She was a modest girl with a Caucasian white complexion and beautiful looks. It was his third month staying with me in a PG, we were classmates too. He made time for Ranjana every day and kept in touch via phone regularly. His bag was full of her pictures and her letters. I used to tease him many times about Ranjana. He once told me that she was his schoolmate and was once sexually abused by her uncle and she asked him for help. He did everything to get that bastard behind the bars and was successful. She was a happy-go-lucky girl who left the school after that incident and joined her mother in home making, but she always had that spark to become successful and help her brother achieve his dreams.
One day I saw Ritesh, he did not call her and was sitting sad. I asked him what had happened. He replied that Ranjana wants to go to Mumbai and work, but he never wants her to bear this burden of a job. I consoled him to not to worry and let her do some simple jobs. After a long haggling he agreed and he called her to give his consent over the matter. What an amazing couple it was. She left the next day for Mumbai and she called us from the Mumbai railway station after reaching there and I took the phone and congratulated her but that was last when he heard her voice. After that day her phone was switched off and she never called from anywhere. We thought that she has become too much fascinated with Mumbai that she has forgotten him but then he started sulking and going down in whatever he tried to do. He was completely broken because of her betrayal. But I asked him not to give up I asked him to leave for Mumbai the next day and find her. The poor man left for Mumbai and tried to find her but she was nowhere to be seen. He came back disappointed I asked him to call her mother but he said its okay let her go her way.
--------AFTER SEVEN MONTHS-------
It was a regular dull and boring day, he was taking shower and when he came out he found
that he had 34 missed calls in his phone from an unknown number. He called back and a girl picked up on a PCO and said that a girl who just left had been trying your number and she was crying and was scared. He asked for the location and the girl told him. He lost the ground beneath his feet
when he heard that. He immediately ran towards the train station without any thing on him. He
just took a general ticket and reached Mumbai the next day. He reached the location and asked
the girl about Ranjana and she said that Ranjana often comes at her shop with a lady for shopping and that day she tried calling him when the lady was away. He waited for three days and finally spotted her with a lady. He was aghast to look at his love grown so thin and pale with scars on her face. He immediately approached her and was successful in taking her away without letting the lady know about it. He rushed away from the place with her without talking to her. They did not even share a single word till they reached Delhi and were finally at our PG. They both sat face down, I enquired about the happenings there. No answer came I went forward and shook Ritesh and asked him where he found her. What he said tore me into pieces. He said "brothel"; she was sold into human trafficking. There was a pelting silence between all the numb bodies present into the room for three long days then she left for Darjeeling.
Everything changed like the earth has taken the place of sky and world is hung upside down. He never tried calling her or never talked to her he resumed his studies and did better than before. I was dumb struck to find out how fast he has changed after finding her to be sexually exploited. One day a call came on his phone when he wasn’t home and I thought I would give the message so I picked it up. It was her. What she told me throttled me into frenzy. According to her village laws, she has been abandoned and she is to be punished by stone pelting for her impurity, the only way she can be saved is if a man agrees to marry her. So now she wanted Ritesh to marry her and save her. Ritesh returned and plainly refused to marry her, when I asked him why he said she is impure and he can’t marry her as she is the victim of her own choice. I told him that you are dirtier than any brothel can ever be. Your love was so feeble and it was just a bodily love and not of a soul, I rebuked him badly and he replied to me that if you share so much sympathy with her, then why don’t you go and marry her. In rage I packed my stuff and moved away.
I shifted my PG but my heart kept poking me about the poor girl Ranjana. I thought I should follow what Ritesh said at last about marrying her at last as it would save her. I went to my house and discussed the things with my father but he denied and told me that I will disown you if you ever think about it because she is from another religion and culture. I felt piqued and wanted to run away from the cruelty of the world. I then decided to keep her and see what can be done. I went to Darjeeling, and reached her house. She was happy as anything to see me but she asked about him and I told her everything including what I had decided. She unlocked the tears from her eyes and fell unconscious. We took her to the nearby hospital where she recovered in one day and returned home. I talked to her mother telling her that I will marry Ranjana. Everyone was relieved. Ranjana thanked me and kissed me on my cheek and said you are an angel to us. The next day I woke up early and went to their house where a huge crowd had gathered and a louder cry of her mother was heard, I was shattered and broke into fragments as if I was dead because the air smelled of a death. I found out that she had committed suicide and left a letter for Ritesh and that letter said only few lines.
"KYA HUA TERA WADA?
WO KASAM WO IRADA,
BHOOLEGA DIL, JIS DIN TUMHEIN,
WO DIN ZINDAGI KA AKHRI DIN HOGA"
I took her mother in my arms and said Amma don’t worry she has just escaped the cruel world and
gone into a world of real love and peace. Since then I never went to my home and stayed with her
family and loved them like my family. And I became their elder son now. My father often
came to meet me but I never went back.