She was walking down the road lost in her thoughts. An eternal bliss dripped from her countenance. She was too happy to suppress the faint smile on her face. The streets were dark and deserted on the way to the station. She lived in a small village in the remote corner of the district. She had to take two trains to come to the little town which had the only cyber café with an internet connection in the whole stretch of the district. She looked at her watch and increased her pace as it was already seven and the train was scheduled to leave at seven thirty. She would have been on time except she rushed to the nearby temple as soon as she saw her result on the old dusty desktop in the shop. It was a dream come true, a dream that she and her father perceived, nurtured and held on to all these years. She was going to be a professor. Her feet gained pace again of excitement. She could not keep the news any longer in her. She wished she had a mobile phone and she would call her father and give him the news that now she was something more than his daughter, she was a professor too. She smiled again as to what will be the expression on Baba’s face when she will give him the news. She had already imagined a thousand countenances of his face when he will hear that everything he wished for and he fought for had come true that day when the mirage turns into a reality.

She had lost her mother at a very tender age. She doesn’t even remember her face, they were just blurry outlines. Baba was all that she got. Baba worked at the farm of the local landlord. He has always been the firm hand of protection and safety and the lap of nourishment of a mother. She recalled when the school was over and all the relatives were pressurizing Baba to arrange her into a marriage, how Baba said that my daughter will go to college. He arranged for the books and took her to the town and got her enrolled in a distance learning program. How he used to sit beside her near the lamp while she was studying. How he has rebelled against almost everybody in the village to let her continue her study. Her eyebrows were soaked in the salty waters, but she didn’t know exactly what they were for? Were those the tears of joy on the fulfillment of hers’ and her father’s dream or were they tears for the constant struggle she and her father have done to carry that dream that they have seen together. No girl of the village had ever gone to college before, not even of the well to do households like the landlords. But Baba insisted that her daughter would study and she will become a teacher and be independent. She will not be a prisoner in the confines of a kitchen. People used to laugh at Baba that he had gone mad, but nothing has ever deflected him from his determination. He has laid himself as stairs to help his daughter climb the skies. Oh! How very much pleased will he be?

She was very much near the station. It was getting darker and barely any people on the road. She would have taken a rickshaw but with that money, she bought sweets instead. She could walk. It was not that far after all. Now she could also hear the gentle whistles of the trains. Stray dogs were barking on illusions. She again paced up. She sensed that someone was following her. She looked back and saw two men walking at some distance behind her. She kept striding towards the station. She turned into the alley connecting the road to the station. Those men were still tracing her path. She was a little scared but thought nothing of it and kept walking towards her destination. Then one of the men said something followed by a whistle. She wanted to turn back but she chose to walk with more speed and ignore them. Then suddenly a shadow appeared from the front.

“What’s the hurry?” he said.

“Get out of my way, I have my train to catch” she replied.

“It’s not going to be much; my friend there, wants to talk to you that’s all”

A shiver ran through her spine. She tried to run but the shadow held her by her arms. She struggled but she was too feeble to out strength the devil. The men walking back caught up the distance. She started pleading to let her go. But the men laughed at her. Their faces were disguised by the dark but their sparkling eyes dripped of lust and disgust.

She cried for help but no one heard. She pleaded for mercy but no hearts melted. She fought for dignity but lost against the hounds. She wept and cried but the beasts feasted upon her flesh. Then she stopped crying and the tears were gone. So were the animals. She lied there naked and bloody. The sweets scattered in the alley. She was blank and pale. She stared at the darkness with an eye of stone deprived of any emotions.Does Satan lives in hell? then who were those men. She tried to stand up but fell, of the pain.

All her sweats and her father’s blood were robbed from them. All those dreams pushed back in the abyss. Baba will be without his daughter. A few devils had managed to take a life and destroy their entire world.

The letter of acceptance was fluttering in the wind. She turned her head to look at it.

“Baba, Baba……”

There laid a lifeless body in the morose alley, where the vultures of inhumanity have feasted upon decency and life. But soon she will be forgotten. The devilish acts will be forgotten too. She will become a case in a police station. But who will compensate for the life taken, the dreams broken, the relations broken? It will be another accident for the world to forget. But how many more of those forgetful accidents will happen before she will be considered an equal human being and not a commodity to enjoy? When will the humanness in the humans come? When will it be that a brother is not robbed of his sister, a father of his daughter, a son of his mother, the world of its grace, the women of her dignity? For how long the world will raise vipers in the homes?


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