Friday, 5 August 2016

A New Ray Of Hope

"Anisha.. Anisha.. Wake up doll. C'mon, wake up Anisha, you have to leave for the school " he mumbled while patting the pillow on the other side of the bed, with his eyes closed, "Anisha, you're getting late. Wake up now!", he repeated, still without opening the eyes.
Anisha, on the other hand, was smiling while brushing her hair, standing in front of the mirror and watching her sleepy father's innocent act. She was habitual to this. Her father, Abhishek, who worked as a Radio jockey, used to come late at night and it was difficult for him to wake himself and her in the morning. So, Anisha herself learned to get ready for the school. At the small age of eight, she was far more mature than all the kids of her age.
After being done with her hairdressing and getting tired of her father's waking up calls, she picked up the jug of water with both her little hands and made small steps towards the bed. Once reaching near it, she poured the water on earlier-sleeping-now-awake Abhishek.
"What the.....!" he shouted but stopped mid sentence when he saw his little daughter's serious face. He was now sitting on the bed with his hair and face drenched with water.
Anisha, trying hard to suppress her laughter, kept a straight face and said,"Wake up, it is already 7:30 am, I'm getting late for school."
Abhishek, with his mouth open, was still watching his well-dressed daughter with wide eyes.
"Dad, you're wasting time in staring at me. GET OFF THE BED NOW! " Anisha ordered.
Abhishek smiled on her daughter's bossy act and pulled her close to him. Anisha couldn't keep the serious face anymore.
"Okay Mommy, I'm getting up, but let me tickle my doll's tummy first", said Abhishek and began tickling her , while Anisha trying to speak amidst the bursting laughter shouted, "YOU... ARE MESSING... UP... WITH MY...  MY UNIFORM.."
"Oops! Sorry! I forgot my doll is ready for the school", he said leaving her and then watching her re-do her hair and uniform.
"You always forget everything. C'mon now, get up, I'm hungry", Anisha shouted holding her stomach.
Abhishek, getting back to his conscience, jumped out of his bed, picked Anisha up on his back and ran towards the kitchen.
"What will my princess have for breakfast today?"he asked making her sit on the kitchen slab.
"Pasta in white sauce, with some garlic bread and chocolate chip muffins, " she said batting her eyelashes and giving a fake smile.
Abhishek, with his mouth agape, asked, "All this? Right now?" Anisha shook her head in yes, "but how will I prepare all this in" he saw the wall "in 15 minutes?" he continued.
"Then why did you ask me" Anisha replied with the fake smile still pasted on her lips, "when all you have to serve me is bread and butter" she complained.
"Sorry," Abhishek said with his head bowed down.
"Aww Daddy!" Anisha hugged his father and said, "you cook the tastiest bread-butter in the whole world."
Abhishek grinned on her daughter's flattering and hugged her back tightly.
"We have just 10 minutes left" Anisha slowly whispered in his left ear. Abhishek laughed on this and started preparing the breakfast. He knew he is by no chance, any good at cooking, but his daughter's love kept him motivated.
He quickly prepared and served the breakfast to his girl. He watched her eating while she repeatedly told him how good the simple milk and toast were. The school bus honked its horn from outside and Abhishek quickly made Anisha have her breakfast, he then picked her up with the school bag and water bottle and ran out of the house. Anisha jumped inside the school bus and blew a kiss towards her daddy, accompanied with an "I love you my super daddy", Abhishek laughed and shouted back "I love you more my little baby".
He kept standing on the pavement till the bus was out of his sight. He stretched himself to get rid of any laziness left in him and walked towards the house. It was Saturday and he had taken off from work for two days. He went to the bathroom and took a quick bath. He has to make the best out of this day. After brewing a cup of coffee for himself, he sat with a pen and a paper and began preparing a list of grocery items. At the age of 24, he has a burden of responsibilities on his head, but he never lets anyone know about his problems. He was busy thinking and noting down the essentials when a phone call broke his concentration. He looked for his mobile and found it under the table, the screen flashed 'Adv. Sunil Sharma Calling'. He quickly swiped the phone screen to receive the call. Advocate Sunil kept updating Abhishek regarding his sister's case and this time again, the call was for the same cause. Abhishek's father and Sunil were high school buddies so this made him loyal towards Abhishek. He was taking care of the case pretty well. He disconnected the phone call and got back to his work, but he couldn't write a single word now. Memories of his sister began flashing in front of him. He and his twin sister, Nikita, were 16 back then. It was their first year of college and they were as excited as every other student of the freshman year. Nikita being very pretty and intelligent had soon gained a lot of fan following in her college. Abhishek was never a protective brother for her sister, they were more like best friends and shared all their secrets with each other. After their parents' death, they were each other's support system. Belonging from a rich background, they did not face any financial crisis.
On the night of their fresher's party, Abhishek caught a cold and was not in the situation of attending the function. Nikita, who was preparing for the party since days, also dropped the idea of attending it. She was not ready to go alone, without her brother.
But Abhishek insisted her to go and enjoy, so he could get all the updates of the party. She agreed and left the house promising to get back within an hour or two. Abhishek knew his sister is not going to stay alone there and will really return back early. He took his medicines and slept while watching the television. After around seven hours, he suddenly woke up. He checked the clock, it was 4 am. He thought Nikita would have come back and seeing him asleep, didn't wake him up, so he pulled off his blanket and thought of waking her up from her sleep to know how the party went. He went to her room but didn't find her inside. He called her name while looking for her all around the house but she was nowhere in sight. He ran back to his room and fetch his mobile phone to dial her number but the call did not connect. He called repeatedly but the call wasn't getting connected. Worried and angry, he took his bike keys and rushed towards the entrance of the house when Nikita stepped in. "Where were you?" Abhishek questioned on seeing his sister, "You were to get back till 11 and you are coming back at 4. And where is your phone? I have been calling you. I was about to leave for the party venue. You should have at least.... Are you listening?" he noticed Nikita was just standing there and not reacting to any of his questions. He went close to her. "Is anything wrong?" he asked. No answer. He held her by the shoulders and shook her. Nikita returned back to her consciousness. "Is anything wrong?", he repeated. Nikita looked at his brother's worried face for a while. Abhishek shouted, "Niki speak something."
"No.. No.. Nothing is wrong... Everything is fine" , Nikita finally spoke with a smile. "The party was fun, so I got stuck into it. Sorry. I should probably change now. I'm tired. I need to sleep. Good night." She continued, and quickly walked into her room, shutting the door close. Abhishek was surprised by his sister's strange behavior. He stood at the same place for a few minutes and then headed towards his sister's room. He knocked the door shouting her name. No reply. He knocked again. Still no response. He warned he will break the door. Suddenly the door opened and Nikita came out. She slapped him on his face and asked him to stay away. Abhishek was stunned by this sudden outburst of his sister. Before he could speak anything, she closed the door again.
He went to his room and thought about talking to her in the morning. It was almost sunrise and Abhishek had lost his sleep. He called some of his friends to know about the party, basically to know the reason behind Nikita's behavior. Three of his friends did not attend the phone call, "they might be sleeping" he thought. He still tried calling more friends, one of them received the call.
Abhishek apologized for calling this late and asked him how the party went. He told Abhishek that the party went good and it ended up at 1 am. Abhishek disconnected the call. He was completely blank and had no idea what has happened. He sat on his bed and kept waiting for Nikita to come out of the room. The clock kept running. It was 11 am, finally, Nikita came out of her room and walked towards the kitchen. Abhishek also went towards his sister.
"Good morning ", Nikita wished her brother with her brightest smile.
"Morning" Abhishek wished back, still in shock. He was going to talk about their last encounter when Nikita asked him if he'd like to have some coffee. He shook his had in No. "How was the party? ", Abhishek finally asked.
He watched Nikita getting tensed by the question and then calming down. "It was great", she replied happily "I enjoyed a lot. But couldn't win the Miss Fresher's tag", she continued. Abhishek kept looking at her. "And sorry about that slap, I was really tired and you kept irritating me by banging the door. So, you know, it just happened. Sorry," she tried explaining. Abhishek took the reason as a genuine one and decided to drop the topic there itself. "It's okay," he said and asked her if she'd be going to college.
"No, I have to work on a project, so I'll not attend the college this week ", she reasoned. Abhishek didn't question her further.
Days passed by and Nikita was acting normal to him. Abhishek also forgot about the incident. Two weeks passed, but Nikita didn't attend the college. When Abhishek asked, she said she has got her leaves extended as her project work is taking a lot of time. One night, when Abhishek was reading a book in his room, he heard the sound of weeping. At first, he ignored it but sound kept increasing . He sensed that the sound was coming from Nikita's room. He ran to her room and found the door open, he walked inside and saw Nikita lying on the floor and crying. Abhishek sat near his sister and asked her what was wrong. Nikita spoke nothing just kept crying. "Niki you are scaring me, please tell me what is wrong. For God's sake. Please." Nikita gave her brother the pregnancy detector strip she was holding. He took it and checked it out. Abhishek had no idea what did it mean. He asked her what it is.
"I am pregnant ", she cried and hugged her brother. Abhishek did not know how to react to this news he gained. He held his sister tightly and the duo didn't speak anything for a long time. Hours passed, Nikita had stopped crying.
"I am sorry" she spoke, "I should have told you that night itself".
Abhishek knew which night she was talking about. It had something to do with the fresher's party. But he kept quiet.  Nikita, still in her brother's arms, took it as a sign to explain further.
"I was feeling bored in the party without you, so I decided to leave just after an hour. I bid my friends goodbye and headed towards my car when someone shut my mouth from behind and held my hands", her tears started flowing again. Abhishek hugged her more tightly. She continued "I tried to shout, I even tried to kick him with my legs, but all in vain. He was well built and his grip was very strong. He dragged me to an abandoned toilet and he... he... raped.. me there." she burst into tears again. Abhishek could not stop his tears. He could feel his sister's pain. After a while, she said "He left me there alone, I shouted for help but my voice was very low. A few hours later, I myself managed to walk out of that place. The pain was unbearable. But I somehow drove back home." the tears kept flowing from their eyes.
"Do you know him?", Abhishek finally asked.
"Economics teacher" Nikita answered. The pain in Abhishek's eyes had now turned into anger. But his brain was still not working. He had to think before taking any step further. He told his sister not to worry and he will find some way out. He made her sleep and went to his room. That night was the most horrible night of his life. He spent the whole night crying and wished his parents were alive. He blamed himself for Nikita's situation. He waited for the sun to rise, so he could plan something for his sister. But the morning didn't bring any new hope in his life. He went to Nikita's room and found her body hanging from the fan. Abhishek couldn't tolerate the scene and fainted. When he gained his conscience back, he found himself on a hospital bed. All the memories from last night and the morning came back to his mind. "Niki.." he shouted and Sunil came running towards him.
He asked him to relax and told him how the maid called the police and him when she saw Abhishek lying on the floor, unconscious and Nikita dead.
"Where is Niki?", Abhishek asked.
"They have taken her for the post mortem" Sunil answered.
He did not cry or speak anything to him. He just left his bed and walked out of the hospital room. Sunil walked behind him, trying to stop him. But he did not respond. He just kept walking till he collided with a wall and fell. Sunil ran to hold him. Abhishek gained his senses and he cried. He cried his sister's name. He cried cursing God. He cried for his parents. He cried till he fainted again.
Many questions were asked to him by the police when he regained his consciousness. He told them everything. About the party, his sister's behavior and her last night confession. He asked the police to file a complaint against the Economics teacher. Sunil, who was the only close friend and relative to him, ensured that he will take care of everything. Abhishek's world was completely destroyed. At the age of 16, he had witnessed the death of three of his closest people. He thought of ending his life too but couldn't . "I have to fight for my sister," he thought.
One after the other, the days passed by after Nikita's cremation. Abhishek had stopped living in his house, the memories of his sister haunted him there. He passed most of his day in the hospital doing the paperwork related to his sister's case and in Sunil's office. He slept on the bench of his colony park. One morning when he woke up, he saw something covered in a dirty cloth lying near the bench he slept on. He went near it and found it was a baby. Its eyes were shut and it wasn't breathing properly. Abhishek picked it up and rushed to the hospital. The doctors told him she was a girl and is just 2 days old, someone might have thrown her in the park to get rid of her. 

The doorbell rang and his chain of memories was broken. He wiped off his tears and opened the door. Anisha jumped into his daddy's arms. Abhishek's smile returned back on seeing his little princess in front of his eyes. He hugged her back tightly.
Anisha was the little girl he found in the park eight years back. When the doctors told him she was abandoned, he thought about the consequences because of which his mother would have left her there, maybe she had a similar story like that of his sister's and at that moment, he decided to adopt her. The paperwork was difficult but Abhishek was adamant to have this ray of hope in his life. He knew she will bring back his happiness. And finally, at the age of 16, he became  a father.

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