Monday, 13 August 2012

Cherry Blossoms - Part 6 (END)

            But he had no choice but to think things over now.  He was beginning to understand how difficult it was going to be and he was in no mood to let Arnav off the hook like others had done.  He was preparing himself for a long-drawn battle starting with his own family because he was sure that they won’t agree to his approach.  They would have preferred some other way of getting rid of the person who had harmed their family.  But for Krishna it was not just a question of ego but justice.  He wanted everyone to know who Arnav really was. 

            As he prepared for the battle, he could see that Sneha was slowly fading away… he was worried.  

            Meanwhile, Sneha felt as a mere observer of all that was happening around her.  She had never been a chirpy and lively person.  But slowly, her smile faded away.  She saw others look at her questioningly but she had no longer the courage or force to say anything.  She had suddenly realised how fragile she was.  She didn’t want to harm anyone and felt that by punishing Arnav she was actually going to kill her own spirit.  She was a non-violent person who believed in forgiving and forgetting.  But this was so hard to forgive or forget.  Arnav had taken away her childhood… he had killed her spirit and now he was going to kill her by making her do things that were against her nature.  The sadness in her eyes hurt.  And her silence froze all questions.  Krishna was too busy trying to get Arnav punished to pay any attention to his wife for whom he was doing all this.  

            Sneha’s silent and sadness pushed Krishna further and further away from her.  She no longer felt attached to anything and one day Krishna woke up to find her gone.  He searched everywhere like a dutiful husband but in a way he felt relieved because this was making him feel so hollow inside.  He had never told Sneha how he couldn’t bear to see her sad and silent and had thought that she knew… 

            And Sneha was feeling so lonely.  She hadn’t left any note, nothing.  No one knew whether she was dead or alive.  Whatever the case might be she hadn’t used her credit cards or bank account.  They had searched for her for some days, some had continued for some months, only Krishna continued to hope against hope that she’d return to him one day.  He felt guilty but there wasn’t much he could do.  He had failed where he wanted to succeed.  Everyone wanted him to remarry but Sneha was the essence of his being and he couldn’t think of leaving her even when she had left him.  His love for her grew with every day that passed and no one could ever replace her in his heart.  One day, fed up of being pressurised, he went to the temple and renounced the world.  He had done his own last rites and no longer belonged to this world.  He was alive but life had gone out of him long ago. 

            Sneha had always known what he was doing and had done her best to help but there was little that she could do for him from where she was.  Tears welled up in her eyes again and as another cherry blossom fell at her feet she saw Arnav go to another little girl… another Sneha?

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Cherry Blossoms - Part 5

            "Krishna, I hope you know what it means to register a case of CSA in our country, and that too against someone as rich and influential as Arnav."
            "Raghav, I know that it's not going to be easy.  But..."
            "Easy?"  Raghav interrupted, "Krishna, not only is it going to be an uphill task but extremely dangerous as well.  And I am not talking about your, Sneha's or your families' reputation."
            "Reputation?  Have you seen how Sneha is suffering?  I am rich enough to silence the whole world and as they say even a bad reputation is a reputation.  My family's reputation has been built during hard times and hardships will strengthen it further, if anything.  Only middle-class or nouveau-riche people care about reputation.  People like us don't give a damn about what others say.  We tread on dangerous roads and continue the journey.  This will set an example for anyone who dares play or even think of playing with us or our sentiments."
            Raghav was stunned to hear these words from the scion of one of the most esteemed families of the country.  He looked doubtful but remained silent.
            Krishna broke the silence.
            "Raghav, all I want to know is what should I do to get Arnav behind the bars.  What does the law say?"
            "Krishna, the problem is that our law, like the society, is silent about the matter."
            "Well, you see, in our country Child Sexual Abuse is a matter of shame just like rape.  People don't want to admit that it exists.  As a result, there is no legal framework for CSA or victims of CSA.  There have been efforts by some individuals and NGOs in this direction.  But there's not been much progress."
            Krishna was shocked to silence.
            "You mean Arnav will get away with his crime?"
            "Well, firstly, beware that it's going to be a very long war.  There will be several battles that you'll have to fight before you can think of winning the war.  One thing that Arnav can't say is that Sneha gave her consent and so it was a consensual relationship.  Our law is very clear about it.  One can't sign any contract till one is18.  So she is actually safe on that front.  From what you told me, it appears that she was subjected to CSA when she was 4-5 years old and it continued till she was 10-12 years old.  So in no way could she give her consent.  Now, as it will be treated as rape, they'll ask for a proof.  It's easy to accuse someone but how will she prove it?  She was just a child so she didn't understand it and so she was not ever examined by doctors for the same.  So all possible medical and forensic evidence, including DNA, has disappeared forever."
            Krishna was listening silently.  He had never thought about all this.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Cherry Blossoms - Part 4

            Krishna couldn't control himself.  He shook with violence.
            "Arnav is in for a big shock," thought Raghav.
            Of course, like most lawyers, Raghav was aware of Arnav's penchant for young children, especially girls.  At least one couldn't accuse him of gender discrimination but this didn't make it easy to forgive or forget his deeds.  Legal community knew him well and he had a reputation, albeit a negative one.  How he and some of his colleagues wished that one of these days he'd be killed in an accident!  And some of them had even thought of arranging one especially for him.  But at the same time they felt that this would mean letting him off the hook too easily.  Yet it was so difficult, nay almost impossible, to nail him for his crime as most of the victims refused to come forward to register their complaint in the first place and when some did, they were reduced to silence either with money or by their own family's sense of shame.
            This was the first time a victim was going to come out in the open.  And the fact that the accused and the victim had been seen recently with each-other, on the occasion of Sneha and Krishna's wedding, wasn't going to make things easy.  Arnav had known Sneha's family for a long time.  Arnav and Anand Kaushal, Sneha's father, had known each other for over 20-25 years now.  Now that Sneha's story was going to come out in the open, Arnav will have to face someone whose social status was higher than his own and it won't be so easy for him to stifle the case this time.  At the same time, it also meant hard time ahead for Sneha's parents we well as her in-laws.  The wedding of the year was about to become the nightmare of the decade for all concerned.
            Raghav was glad that he had been chosen for this task.  He was sure to be in limelight and gain popularity, both within lawyers' community as well as among public.  He had heard the tales of other victims and knew how harrowing it must be for Sneha.  Poor Krishna!  Did he have any idea what he had taken on?  His love for Sneha was taking him towards unchartered waters.  But will his love withstand the difficulties that awaited him?

Friday, 10 February 2012

Cherry Blossoms Part - 3

            "Sneha is very ill," Krishna was saying. 
            "Shoplifting..." thought Raghav.  Or maybe Sneha wanted to write her will.  Other than that he couldn't see why would Krishna come to him?  He was a lawyer, not a doctor, for heaven's sake.  But he remained silent.  He wasn't there to judge people.  His job was to help his client to the best of his ability.  And it was important to be attentive.  He was a good listener but this was so unusual.  So he worked hard and concentrated to listening to what Krishna was saying.
            "Sneha is very ill.  Though I know it's not her fault and we have found the cause but we don't know how to act on what we have found and if there is anything we can do."
            "But if she is sick then you should take her to a doctor.  I am not one.  But if you want I can suggest some good ones."
            "It's not that."
            "Then what is it?"
            "Well, she is sick because she has found something that happened long ago."
            "When she was very young, someone took undue advantage of her innocence and took away her innocence.  Somehow, she had suffered a sort of amnesia and it all came back to her recently."
            "Are you sure of this?"
            "Yes, I am."
            "You know often some people speak like this just to make others' interested in themselves, especially people like Sneha who are simple and who haven't done anything in their lives."
            "Raghav!" Krishna felt anger rise within, "Be careful.  You are talking about Sneha, my wife."
            "I know, Krishna.  But how can you be so sure that all this is true."
            "I am sure because I was with her all the time when she was going through that hell.  I was there when the psychologist hypnotised her and made her remember all that.  I was there when she would sob the nights and tremble at every sound.  I was there."  Krishna was almost shouting. 
            Raghav was glad that his office was sound-proof.  Otherwise, regardless of whether they had signed a non-disclosure agreement or not, the way Krishna's voice was reverberating in the office everyone would have known and it was serious, really serious. 

Part 4....

Monday, 2 January 2012

Seasons' Greetings and A Very Happy & Prosperous New Year 2012

Dear Readers,

Here's wishing all of you a very happy and healthy new year 2012.  Here's to more reading & literary New Year 2012.

Happy reading.

Ritu Bhanot