Fiction: For Her Sister’s Sake

June 9, 2016 Fiction , POETRY / FICTION

By

Kaushik Chakraborty

 

 

Life was a burden for Shivangi. She neither wanted to live, nor could give up. Her mornings were darker than nights; evenings were gloomier than forebodings; and nights were scarier than nightmares. She was only nineteen; and her fate had screwed up her very existence. Every breath she took had its own pain; every second she lived had its own regrets. Yet, she carried on… She had to get up early in the morning, fetch water from the well, cook some rice and veggies, only for her sweet little sister – Titli.

Even after enduring so much suffering, Shivangi had very little to complain about. Rather, it was a curse in itself to have come to this world as the daughter of an incorrigible drunkard, who could even bet over her for a few drops of liquor. When her mother was alive, he insisted she share her bed with other men who paid him for his liquor. And later, when she refused to do that, he started beating her brutally. People said he had beaten his wife to death; and now it was Shivangi’s turn to bear the brunt of his arrogance.

Shivangi was only sixteen when her mother passed away. And Titli was eight. Since then she had been carrying her sister all along with her, trying to keep her away from the furies of their wretched father. But as Shivangi grew older and blossomed to a ripe age, her father started forcing her to inherit the plight of her mother. Initially she kept quiet; pretending not to understand anything. But later, situations crossed all limits and Shivangi had to undergo tough turbulences to rescue herself from the filthy clutches of that wretched man.

Shivangi lived in a small village. She neither went to school; nor read at home. But she knew Anand, the only son of a wealthy shopkeeper, who could read and write. Anand adored Shivangi, and she knew it very well. They met secretly; spent time together at the river banks and in the open fields. Anand was well aware of Shivangi’s plight, and was quite bothered too. One day, when they strolled along the river bank, Anand asked her to come with him to the city. On hearing this, Shivangi said, “It’s not possible. What’ll happen to Titli? Who’ll look after her? She’ll be ruined.”

Anand tried to convince her, “We’ll also take her. But let’s go ourselves and settle first.”

Shivangi turned to Anand with some curiocity, and asked, “Settle? What do you mean by that?”

Anand said, “I mean, we’ll marry. We’ll have our own house in the city. Won’t you like it?”

Shivangi was quite fond of Anand; and would love to elope with him. But, at the same time, she was worried about him. Her predicaments have always marked her unfortunate and she didn’t want her ominous presence to cast a dark shadow around him. The same thought she nurtured for Titli too, but it was her innocence that had always pulled Shivangi towards her.

On one evening, when Shivangi was at home with Titli, somebody started banging on the door. As she opened the door, it was her father who pushed her away and barged inside with all his strength. Then he looked at Shivangi with his gruesome eyes and shouted, “What the hell are you doing at home? Can’t you work and earn? How long shall I look after you two?”

Shivangi retaliated, “Even if I earn, I won’t give a penny to you.”

Her father said, “Oh! So you’ll enjoy alone?”

Shivangi answered, “Why? I’ve my responsibilities towards Titli. And I’ll look after her.”

That old drunkard came closer to Shivangi, held her long hair firmly in his grip, and banged her head against the wall. Titli was sitting on the bed; on seeing her father beating her up Shivangi tried to rescue her. But she wasn’t spared too.

Next day, early in the morning, Anand’s sister came to Shivangi’s house and gave her a chit. Shivangi looked into it; it was Anand’s handwriting. He asked her to be ready in the night at the bus stand, and from there they would quietly leave for the city.

That day she completed all her works and was free by the evening. She took out an old tattered bag from under the bed and got it packed. Looking at that, Titli asked her, “What are you doing?”

Shivangi said, “Just packing my bag. I need to go out for some days.” Then she turned to Titli and asked, “If I go, can you stay with Baba?”

Titli moved closer to Shivangi, grasped her firmly with her little hands, and said,” I’ll not leave you. I’ll go with you, wherever you’ll go.”

Titli’s answers were straight from her heart. Shivangi thought that it’d be selfish to run away with Anand leaving her alone in this den. She again remembered her mother’s last words – “Look after Titli. She has nobody except you. When I pass away you’ll be her mother.”

The clock struck nine. Shivangi sat on the bed. Her father had not yet returned. She looked at the clock and thought how Anand would be looking for her at the bus station. She felt sorry for betraying him. At the same time she was happy too, for not leaving Titli alone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kaushik Chakraborty

Kaushik Chakraborty was born in India in 1980, and grew up to be an advertising professional. From his school days, his short stories, poetry and articles started appearing in leading English and vernacular dailies in India. He did his BA Honours in English Literature, MA in Advertising and Public Relations and MBA in Human Resource Management. As a working student, he pursued Post Graduate Diploma courses in Mass Communication and Digital Arts separately. After completing education, he plunged into the world of mainstream advertising with a zeal to move to the top. From a copywriter he rocketed to the position of the creative director of a reputed advertising company. Currently, he is working with The Sauce Brand Communications as director of strategy and planning.

0 Comments

No Comments Yet!

You can be first to comment this post!

Leave a Reply