The street was busy that day. Finally the cruel sun was gone. It had rain only twice or thrice but the climate was to die for. Cold breeze was dancing around. There were few clouds; the rains lurking behind them.
Crowd was thickening; some were shopping, some were hanging around, some were merely there because they liked the climate.
A group of young girls was chattering nearby. All in their twenties, chirping merrily. The girl with sleek brown hairs was striking from the group. Her shoulder length hairs were rippling softly.
Her peach skin seemed flawless. Her lined eyes made her highly beautiful. Her friends burst out laughing on her joke.
Across the road a little girl barely seven was watching them. Relishing ice candy in one hand and holding her mother’s hand in other. The ice candy stained her lips dark orange. And she thought it was the only way of coloring lips without using her mum’s lipstick. Her curly hairs were set back by the hair band. She had tiny butterflies all over her frock. It was her favorite. The round face and small nose looked damn cute.
I will grow my hairs that long, I will wear that watch, and I want that purse too. She thought.
‘My aunt gifted me’ said Kavya, the pretty girl, flashing her Rolex.
Her friends oohed and ahhed. But next moment Kavya wasn’t smiling anymore. She looked as though she might have seen some disgusting worm, the look of highest dislike and anger. Others followed her eyes and saw a young guy almost of their age on bike.
His bloodshot eyes could have scared anyone. His lips were blackened. There was no sort of flesh on his face.
‘That’s enough! I am not taking this anymore.’ Kavya said angrily.
‘Oh I just hate him!’ said her friend.
‘He doesn’t even get scared of the cops!’ said another one.
‘I don’t care! The whole year I suffocated because of him. Today he will see what I am capable of!’ she said rolling her sleeves.
She knew he would come, stand besides her and talk his nonsense.
He tried to woo her for almost a year. But Kavya didn’t move a budge! And why should she? When she didn’t even liked his presence around her. The limit was when he came stalking her in Goa where she was on holiday with her family.
The little girl across the road was still watching her. Thinking; the rolling of sleeves was new fashion.
‘Mum look at that did-‘she said pointing at Kavya.
‘Soumya it’s rude to point love!’ said her mother lowering Soumya’s hand.
‘But mum look she is so pretty!’
She saw were her daughter pointed.
Yeah she is beautiful! But why is she quarreling with that guy? What is the all commotion about?’
She was not the only one who noticed the scene. Almost everyone was looking at the group. There were raised voices.
‘Mum I want that watch-‘
But Soumya’s words were drowned by Kavya’s blood curdling scream.
Everyone gasped so badly that it seemed all the air was trapped inside them.
The street froze in their tracks.
Only Soumya remained unchanged.
Why did she shout? He just threw water at her! Is she laughing behind her hands?
Soumya gave an inaudible chuckle.
Hardly had she known the truth.
The glass bottle was lying down, smashed into pieces, and vapors rising above.
Kavya was screaming so badly, she could faint anytime. The agony was unbearable. Few passerbies ran behind him. But what was the use? The damage was done already!
Her friends tried to pull her hands off. But no! She won’t let go. Her palms bore angry blisters.
‘Why is crying mum? What happened?’
But Avantika Rathod wasn’t listening to her daughter.
She stopped an auto pulled Soumya inside.
‘Sector 12! Fast!’ she said and swept a last look at Kavya. There could be nothing more horrible than this. There was nothing pettier than her face.
‘But mum what-‘
‘Shut up Soumya! Don’t ask anything’
The incident shocked Avantika completely. All these stuff were only in news, seeing it in real was total nightmare. The whole time in auto she didn’t let go of Soumya’s hand.
Soumya remained silent but the questions inside her were bubbling.
‘Ha bas bhaiya rokiye!’
Avantika didn’t even care for the change. She threw herself and Soumya inside the house and locked the door as if that criminal would come banging it.
‘Mum- what happened?’
‘Soumya go to your room!’ she said controlling her temper.
‘Did you hear me? Go! Now!’ Avantika shouted.
Soumya got scared. Tears swam in her eyes.
‘I don’t want to talk to you!’ she cried and stormed to her room.
‘Sou-‘Avantika sighed and dropped in the couch.
She was always a strong, transparent woman. She was always Soumya’s best friend. Then why couldn’t she tell her this time?
What should I tell her? She is so young, so naïve. How will she understand this cruelty? How should I tell her it wasn’t water but acid?
But then I can’t keep her in dark like this.
A guilt started fencing between her and Soumya.
I should explain her. I had had explain her everything. She would understand. What if it was-!
She pushed away that terrible thought.
Avantika made her way to her daughter’s room. She peeped into the room; silent tears were flowing down Soumya’s face.
I shouldn’t have shouted.
Soumya realized her presence and turned back on her. Avantika sat beside her.
‘I am sorry’ she said patiently.
Soumya kept quiet. There was silence for few more minutes.
‘Wish I could play hide n seek with some one!’ Avantika said finally.
Soumya shuffled in her place, her ears sharp. Hide n seek was favorite game in the house.
‘No one?’ Avantika pressed on.
‘I can play with you if you want.’ Soumya whispered blinking her eyes.
Avantika smiled. She is so beautiful.
Adults can never achieve this peculiar quality of kids; FORGIVENESS!
They played hide n seek for an hour or something.
‘Mum you hide in so easy places. I found you in seconds!’ Soumya said.
‘Yeah! Everyone can’t be a champ like you!’ Avantika winked at her.
Soumya’s face glowed. Kids hardly need a reason to celebrate.
‘Mum can I ask you something?’ the questions never went out of her heart.
She knew her mother was no longer mad at her.
’hmm ask away!’ she said. Even Avantika knew some or the other day Soumya would ask this.
After all she was her daughter; stubborn for right things.
‘You won’t shout at me?’
‘Nope! Go on!’ she encouraged.
‘What happened to that girl? That man just threw water at her didn’t he?’
Avantika took a deep breath.
‘It wasn’t water love. It was acid!’
‘Acid?’ Soumya said, wondering what on the earth was this?
‘Yeah acid! It’s like- it’s like boiling water! You remember that day you dipped your hand in hot water?’
‘Yes! It was so painful’
‘Well acid is worse than that!’
Soumya clapped her hands on mouth.
‘Oh she must be so hurt! Will she be alright?’
‘It will take time but yes she will be fine!’ she assured her daughter.
‘Who was that man? And-‘
‘He was a bad guy!’
‘But why he did that to her?’
‘He was bad! That’s enough reason isn’t it?’ Avantika knew where to put the grip.
‘Hmm. She was so good looking mum! ‘
‘She will just have some scars. Beauty is by heart and not by looks love!’ Avantika smiled.
‘Yeah’ Soumya looked a bit scared.
‘Hey sweetheart don’t you get scared okay! Everyone isn’t bad like that man. There are good people too and mind you good people are more in number. I just want you take care of yourself. Don’t answer to any stranger and be alert wherever you go! Okay?’
‘Okay mum’ Soumya smiled.
‘Anyways my daughter is strong isn’t she?’
‘yes see!’ Soumya said posing her muscles.
Avantika laughed. The fence of guilt melted away. And she would remain her daughter’s best friend forever.
Protecting your kids is good but keeping them away from the world under the disguise of protection is bad.
After all it’s better to live with the reality than to die with the guilt isn’t it?
This article was written by our special author
Pratiksha P. Salunke
We request all our readers to encourage writers like this so that they can write such beautiful and informative articles . We found this writer . We want more writers like her so that their skill and art of writing is encouraged and credited with loads of praises .
Do let us know what you think about this article by commenting below. 🙂