|Image: FreeImages.com/Ann Sam|
The next morning, Sapna taped the danglers in her panty, packed her belongings in a bag and got ready to leave. Just as they were about to leave, to Sapna’s surprise, Divya asked to check Sapna’s bag. Though, Sapna willingly obeyed, she was glad she had not hidden the danglers in the bag. All clear.
Divya, Maira and Sapna left for Karuna’s agency. Sapna sat at the back of the car while Divya drove. Divya called Kaustav to let him know they were leaving. They started early to avoid the morning rush and so decided to miss the school bus and drop Maira to school. At the school gate, Divya asked Maira to bid Sapna goodbye. But Maira began to cry. The little girl did not want to lose her friend. Maira was inconsolable and Divya could not leave Maira in this state at school, so she decided to take Maira along to Nathupur.
Sapna was worried, she loved the little girl. She frantically texted Vicky, but there was no reply from him. Vicky had never liked that pesky kid anyway.
As they got off the highway towards Nathupur, an auto rickshaw came up parallel to the car. Divya gave way, but the auto did not budge, it came closer. Divya got irritated and with hand gestures indicated way to the auto, but the auto tagged along. Divya rolled down the window to scream at the auto driver. That is when she saw Vicky sitting in the passenger seat of the auto.
Divya felt a chill in her bones; something was wrong. She sensed doom, ‘Something terrible was going to happen.’ She stomped the accelerator, and zoomed ahead. The auto was left behind, when she looked in the mirror at Sapna, she saw Sapna’s familiar face ‘although, were her lips curved in a smile?’
Divya was right. She felt a knife at her neck. Divya panicked. Her car swirled, but she regained control. ‘How did Sapna get a knife?’ Sapna had taped a kitchen knife to her back. Divya had not frisked her trustworthy help. ‘Maybe, I should have.’
Maira was now crying uncontrollably, she was trying to get to the front seat, but Sapna held her down. The auto was now by Divya’s side, again. Divya turned left, but there in front she could see a dead end. The auto blocked the car. The guard and the auto driver, a friend of Vicky, entered the car, and Divya knew an end was near. Sapna then, without as much as a flinch of an eyelid, stabbed Divya.
Divya screamed in pain. Maira howled.
“Please leave Maira!” Divya begged as she fell across the car seat, blood pooling up around her now disabled body.
Sapna looked at Maira and then at Vicky. “Do it,” he said.
“I can’t, Vicky, she’s just a child.”
“Ok, just slit her wrist. If she’s lucky, she’ll live. Else, she’ll die.”
Vicky took off Divya’s gold ring, tore the diamond studs from her ears, forced out her bracelet, picked her handbag and fled the scene.
Somewhere an iota of goodness remained in Sapna, for she spared Maira. The little girl sat crunched up, shivering on the foot mat, under the front seat where Divya now lay.
Vicky and Sapna headed straight to the Ambience mall to change clothes and merge into the crowd. In the toilet, Sapna changed into her prized red, hot T-shirt, jeans, heels and her new diamond danglers. She switched off her mobile phone, broke it apart and threw its parts in different dustbins across the mall. Then, she waited for Vicky in Starbucks, sipping her coffee and staring out of the window, just as she remembered Divya madam on her first day in the city. She now had money, a dream lifestyle that she could almost reach out and touch and her hero by her side.
Sapna and Vicky left Ambience mall that afternoon in fear but with dreams in their eyes; dreams of a glittering life; dreams of marriage, money and happiness. She would finally have what her zamindar father had denied her, what her eight sisters enjoyed, what was supposed to be her birth right.
Vicky took Sapna to a shanty in the neighbouring Chakkarpur village. Sapna entered his home with her right foot, to mark the auspicious moment in her life. As Sapna and Vicky relaxed and admired their loot, the realization of their victory seeped in. They made passionate love and dreamt of a life of togetherness.
The following days were days of celebration albeit with care and caution. Vicky started looking for ways to sell the jewellery for cash. Sapna started making home for Vicky.
Vicky slowly introduced Sapna to friends and neighbours. Chanchal from the adjacent room helped Sapna mould into the girl a man like Vicky would desire.
Slowly, Sapna settled into family life. Vicky and Chanchal had common friends who started coming over for dinner and drinks with Vicky. They would buy some local spurious liquor in the evening and would come home and celebrate. Chanchal would also join in and by the end of the evening would leave with one of Vicky’s friends. Though uncomfortable, Sapna assumed these to be the ways of city girls.
Chanchal encouraged Sapna to have some fun, as well. When Sapna discussed Chanchal’s morality with Vicky, to her horror Vicky supported Chanchal.
The next day, Vicky locked Sapna indoor as he left for work in the morning. Sapna was confused, she was beginning to realize that life was not as rosy as she had dreamt. The jewellery was now with Vicky and the attack on Divya madam could be pinned on Sapna. Vicky had only intercepted midway and if Divya madam and Maira had died, no one would know of Vicky’s involvement in the crime.
What Sapna did not know was that Divya had survived the attack. When Divya did not reach Karuna’s home, Kaustav and Karuna tracked Divya’s car through GPS. As a single woman living alone in Gurgaon, Divya had surrounded herself with security systems. Kaustav had rushed Divya and Maira to the hospital. The police were informed and Sapna and Vicky were now on their wanted list.
Meanwhile, Sapna was beginning to feel trapped. At night, Vicky came home with Chanchal and a drunken friend. Chanchal urged Sapna to dress up and service the friend. Sapna looked at Vicky, but Vicky’s eyes confirmed Sapna’s worst fears.
“Vicky!” Tears streamed down Sapna’s eyes. “You cheat. Is this why you brought me with you? Is my body all you wanted? Did I never mean anything to you?”
“Is this your normal business? You pimp!” Sapna leaped onto hit Vicky with the belan that she got her hands on. But, Chanchal grabbed Sapna by the arms and twisted them behind her.
“Give me the jewellery, you bastard. You and this whore Chanchal can live the life you want, I am leaving.”
“Ha ha ha! You can’t leave like this my dear Sapna. What did you think, you were some hoor from jannat, and I would fall in love with you? You made a pass at me, and I took it. That’s it.”
“You were willing to offer me a body, so I fucked it. You had access to the cash and jewellery in Divya madam’s house, so I took your help in stealing it. Don’t forget, you stole and you murdered. No one knows that I was involved. For all I know, you and I have never been in touch post my suspension from the apartment. I can give you all that you need, money, a life, if you earn me some. So give up your ego and any shame that I have not seen in you and lead the city life. Else, I can kill you and throw your body in the gutter and no one will know.”
“You cheat!” Sapna sobbed and fell to the floor in helplessness. Vicky and Chanchal left the drunken man in the room with Sapna, locked it from outside and went over to Chanchal’s room.
Sapna had no option but to give in. She was trapped. Life had not dealt her fair cards. She had lost her battle. This was the beginning of the rest of her life.
Sapna’s dreams to make it big were not to be...she continued to lead a life of want, a life of disrespect. She continued to be the zamindar’s ninth burden!
NOTICE: © 2015 by Donna Abraham
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No part of this story and its images, including but not limited to PDFs, audio, video, or other mediums, including mediums that may be added in the future, may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, photocopying, or recording, without express dated and signed permission in writing from the copyright holder.