Here is a chapter extract from my unpublished novel, Jhumki – Reflections of Love, Lust & Loneliness
For Anju, he was the father she never had. Deep in her unconscious mind, Anju had accepted Shyam as her new father and felt happy, secure and protected under his care. She basked in the love that she had often longed for from her own father. After her examinations, they visited the local bookstore and bought many books. She planned on finishing them before she began college.
One lazy Sunday afternoon, when everyone was sleeping, Anju walked into the outhouse to polish off another novel. She was surprised to find Shyam waiting for her.
“Hi Mamajee, what are you doing here? Don’t you want to take rest like everyone else?”
His bloodshot eyes stared at her as he moved closer and softly replied, “Of course, I do, let’s rest together.”
“No Mamajee, I have to finish my book today, there is another exciting one I just can’t wait to get my hands on.”
He pulled her close and said, “I just can’t wait to get my hands on you.” His nostrils flared as he breathed on her face. An unbearable stench of alcohol filled the room.
“Huh? Whaaat…? Mamajee…what are you doing …Mamajee? Let me go…What are you doing?Mummy!!! Mummy!!!! Help me…HELP ME SOMEONE!”
Her scream was abruptly stopped as he gave her a resounding slap. She was shocked and collapsed with the blow. She shut her eyes tightly and all she could feel was her body being pinched, grabbed, kneaded and sucked. She didn’t dare say anything even when the scratches bled. He tore her clothes and shoved himself on her.
She whispered hoarsely, “You’re like a father to me, what did I do to deserve this from you?”
A sharp pain ran through her entire being and she screamed once again. This time, he shut her mouth with his hand while he pinned her down with the other. She was in tremendous discomfort and pain. In this trauma, she opened her eyes for a brief moment to find the devil smiling down at her troubled face.
He slapped her several times and growled, “All this is because of you, you are a beautiful bitch. You have done everything to cause this.”
When she heard these words, she shut her tear-filled eyes and submitted herself to her fate. Her mentor and father-figure’s statement was like the ultimate truth for her. It remained with her forever – a stark reminder of what she deserved. After that day, each time he demanded her body, she would silently give in like a scapegoat in the lion’s lair.
This horrific act was discovered by Anju’s maid who had been observing the cuts and bruises on her body. She was concerned about Anju’s failing health and depressed demeanor. She followed her to the outhouse one day where she saw Shyam sitting like a demanding king on a chair and instructing Anju to perform sinful acts. She was stunned and horror-struck to see the monster under the garb of the angelic Shyam. No one would have ever imagined someone as nice as him to do something like this. She immediately scampered back to the bungalow and brought this to the notice of her madam. Sushila slapped her and refused to believe until she saw it with her own eyes. When she did, she fainted in the garden.
All the servants were bribed heavily and sent on a holiday. Anju’s siblings were sent on a surprise vacation to the farmhouse. Sushila wanted this to be sorted with the fewest possible people around. She hesitatingly told her husband who turned extremely livid. He beat Shyam black and blue while Anju watched silently. She had never seen her father so angry before.
“You bastard! How dare you? She is your Niece, my Daughter – Gopalkrishnan’s daughter. How could you even think of getting away with a sin like this? I’m calling the police right now!”
He punched and kicked black and blue while Anju and her mother watched his plight. As soon as he threatened to call the police, Sushila stepped in.
“No Gopal, we can’t hand him over to the police, what will people say? Besides, what has happened has happened. We can’t reverse it now. But if we send him to the police, his life will be ruined.”
“So you want me to allow this nonsense in my house? Gopalkrishan’s house? No! Never!”
“So all the screwing around that you’ve been doing all these years is allowed? For God’s sake Gopal! Stop being a hypocrite and get real. Kamla has even supplied her daughters and nieces to you. Don’t get me started Gopal. This house has too many untold secrets. Revealing even one would open a Pandora’s box of your own sick misdeeds.”
He charged towards her, “You bitch! How dare you?”
She caught his hand and twisted it, “Don’t even try to act smart with me, Gopal. Just let this matter be brushed under the carpet. All these years, I have done the same for you whenever I got word of all your shameful encounters. It’s payback time now. Let Shyam go.”
A red-faced Gopalkrishanan backed off silently and rubbed his bruised wrist. There was pin-drop silence in the room that was broken abruptly by Anju’s broken sobs.
“Mummy! How could you?…After all that he has done???…Mummy…You’re supposed to protect me!…Mummy…”
She wailed loudly and stopped only when her mother landed a stinging slap on her tear-streaked cheek…
Do you agree with Anju’s mother?
What would you have done if you were in
Mrs. Gopalkrishnan’s place?
Penned by: Mayura Amarkant
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