Priya is a 21 year old girl, in her final year of college. She from an ordinary middle class indian family. bengali. the kinds who have stray relatives here and there who are highly educated and well placed and stray ancestors who were big names, but the family itself is very ordinary. Dad is very typical - hard working humble - doesnt think too much or expect too much from life. Mom is quiet in way of someone who was very colourful and had big dreams but gave in to what life offered her and shut up about what she had wanted. Priya has a brother, Nirmal. He is younger to her and stays away from home most of the day job hunting. He is frustrated and a little bitter.

She is attractive and looks very striking now and then, but she is not really pretty or beautiful.

One day she is coming home from somewhere and a group of local boys lounging around in front of a semi-deserted park passes a comment as she walks by. She recognises one of them as Rahul, someone who she knows vaguely through their families. he is a nice boy from a decent family and she wonders what he is doing with this crowd. She hurries past and is irritated but then forgets about it. She tells her mom about it, not expecting her to repeat it to the rest of the family, but she hadnt really thought abt it one way or the other. However, the mom brings it up after dinner. The dad expresses concrns. Brother passes a sarcastic comment (implying) questioning her part in the whole incident.

Some time passes

One afternoon this same group of guys, or some of them, has had a lot to drink and are a bit out of control. One of them, Rahul, more so than the rest. They get into a mood of playful betting and as they are drunk and young and excited, high on the alchohol and on life, the stakes get higher and higher. One of them starts talking about girls and they start boasting about things they have done or would dare to do. It snowballs. Someone dares Rahul to make out with a girl. At that moment Priya passes by and they pin on her. By this time they barely know what they are doing and Rahul follows Priya till the park and rapes her there. Afterwards she faints.

When she comes to it's evening. She is initially just under shock. Somehow she drags herself home. Her mom is the first to see her and their is some drama which echo's the earlier incident, scaled up. However, her parents are completely sympathetic, but it never strikes them to go to the police about it or do anything but try to hush it up. They cant even imagine it. It doesnt even strike them.

Slowly a few people come to know. People come over and ask questions, some are plain curious, some are like her brother, some genuinely sympathetic. Priya is in shock. Numb. Part of her listens to all the conversations around her. Rest of her is blank, with occasional flashes of the incident coming back to haunt her. When these happen she just quickly shuts off all thought to survive the intensity of the pain.

One lady comes over (there is some intro to her before). She is a para-didi. Single. 35. Very well educated. People admire her achievements yet look at her kind of like she were a strange being - they cant understand the difference betw themselves and her. This lady is v kind to Priya and Priya peeps out a little from the shell of numbness she has woven around her mind. The lady asks Priya to go to the police. She stills Priya's immediate panic at the suggestion and explains how this could have happened to someone else if Priya doesnt take action. Priya is just beginning to think about it when her mom hears whats going on and comes over. Mom is shocked at the sugestion in her gentle way and says no way - explains nicely that we - our kind of family - cant afford to do that sort of thing - who will marry her - etc. Priya had been about to come out of her shell but sort of just draws back in bcz coming partway out was too much of an effort.

She just hangs around the house all day doing nothing. brother passes sarcastic comments. parents are worried and disturbed and have discussions. They encourage her to try and get back to normal life. She goes to college one day, but she feels like evryone is looking at her. Her brothers voice (and some other people who were shown when the visitors - types - categories) comes to her mind and so does flashes of the rape. She freaks and runs away.

She doesnt know where she is going but when she stops she is at the park. She sits in the same place she found herself when she woke up and cries. Rahul comes by. She runs away.

Rahul, is a 'good' boy from a 'decent' family who got carried away and made a really stupid mistake. He is torn by remorse and just cant get over it. His family knows and they are very devastated and dissapointed in him, and also worried about the legal implications. His mom at some level is just disgusted and treats him like there was some animal hidden in him all along and she mistook him as someone she could love as her own son ... as if all those years of loving him were a mistake. his dad is not talking to him but he is more angry about the practical point of view and about their social standing position. they also feel genuinely bad for the girl, but they are more overwhelmingly taken up by the whole fact that it was their son that did this. diff reactions. Mixed feelings. Rahul, however, is not angry or bothered, he hates himself - as if he did it on a high and when he woke up it was done. He just cant believe what he has done. He wants to apologise but how do you apologise for something so big? everytime he tries he loses the nerve. Instead he ends up haunting the park where it happened ... like poking a healing scab, trying to hold on to the pain in its bitter sweet stage. (he is enjoying his agony? scale? big-ness +ve or -ve of things having happened to him in life?)

Priya discovers she is pregnant. Before she can even digest the info her parents find out. All hell breaks lose. She is still half numb.

She thinks about it a lot and she realises / or feels that there is only one way out. She doesnt want an abortion bcz its her baby, however it was conceived. She wants to keep the baby. Coming from the background she does, no one will marry her with and baby and she cant have the baby and keep it on her own. She hasnt even finished college. She has to marry if she wants to keep the baby and the only who will or could be or should be made to marry her is Rahul.

Maybe at some level she senes Rahul is basically good, and is now remorseful. She realises he comes to the park often (how?) and she goes there one day to wait for him, without telling anyone at home.

As Rahul approaches the park, he see's Priya. This time he is the one who is surprised and is about to immediately turn and walk away, but she call him. He's even more surprised and he walks over to her. For a while no one says anything. Then he tries to apologise (what will he say?). Priya stops him and says she is pregnant. She doesnt want to drop the baby, she says. He doesnt know what to say. She forgives him and understands that it was a mistake on his part and he is repentant. He understands how she is feeling. They both know there's not much they can do about the past and that the grief it has already caused, created: like an entity, like the baby, will not go away, atleast not for a long time and noone other than them will really understand. They sit there quietly for a while just sharing that grief wordlessly. Then he says he will get a job and they can get married. She says something trivial / practical about marraige and the future. And it closes there

1 comment:

  1. All I can say is, hmmm...

    I know that this is fiction, and that you are touching a topic with your full authoritarian license --- but perhaps I would've liked to hear more about the mental churnings of the two characters, and also to have seen Rahul jailed.

    BTW, Shubho Nabobarsho! :)