Ranjita stuffed a few clothes that would suffice for a couple of days in the small bag. She removed the golden bangles and ear rings and wore tinsel stuff.She kept in her hand her mobile and a few hundreds of rupees that she had.The mobile she had kept below the pillow rang in a muffled tone.
“Ravi here, I am in bus stand.Come quickly.It is already 10 PM”
“Yes Ravi, I am almost ready.Waiting for my parents to sleep.I am very much afraid but will surely leave soon”
“Don’t be afraid.You can trust me .I will never leave you.We can get married if possible tomorrow itself in a temple”
“Thanks.I believe you.Still I am scared about the fall out once they come to know that I have eloped with you.”
“Nothing will happen.We are both major.They will initially be upset but would reconcile in course of time.We have discussed this humpteen times.Come quick.Do not take any costly things.That is important.”
“It is not about their anger.My dad is a heart patient and his heart is very weak to bear shock.I have a younger sister and brother who are very attached to me.My mom dotes on me.Ravi, I am so confused.i want to be with you but do not wish to lose my family” she said sobbing
“Look, we have talked a lot and finally decided to get married as you are pretty sure your parents would not permit you to marry me.If you are still undecided, be frank with me.I will go back to my room and forget marrying you” said Ravi with some irritation.
“No, Ravi.Please wait.I will be there hopefully in 30 minutes.Do not go away I will be there positively.”
When she saw the lights in her parent’s room switched off and the house was very quiet, she tiptoed silently with her bag to the main door in ground floor.
As she crossed her parent’s room she heard them conversing in low tone.She heard her mom telling her dad “How can you be so adamant? Is not Ranjita your daughter and her happiness most important for you?What is so wrong ,if she loves a man of another community.He is also equally well qualified and working in good position.His family is no less decent than ours. Do not be rigid and spoil the life of a girl.Caste and community rank in my opinion lower than mutual happiness between couple. I have not told Ranjita what I feel about this in view of your stand.”
“Okay,if you also support Ranjita, why should I be a hurdle.I thought of finding some very good match from our own community.If she has cast her lot with him,I will not stand in her way.Tell her we would both go and talk soon to the youngman’s parents” said her dad
“So sweet of you.I will talk to Ranjita.She is such a good girl especially in these times when girls run away with lovers without a tinge of remorse” said her mom
Ranjita could not believe what she heard.What nice parents she was blessed with and how cruel of her to have entertained the thought of eloping.Meanwhile her mom found her out standing near the door when she abruptly came out.
What are you doing here, Ranji?”asked her mom
“Came to take water.I forgot to carry the water jug”
“Okay.it is good you are awake.Come on, let us go down and chat for a while”her mom said
They discussed for nearly an hour about what transpired between the parents and their plan to visit Ravi’s house for taking matters forward.When she rang up Ravi subsequently, his mobile was shut off.She kept trying many times in vain and wondered why he had closed the mobile.
Next morning when she tried the land line she was told by the maid in the house that all the family membersy were in the hospital and that Ravi was seriously ill.Prodded further the maid divulged that he had consumed sleeping tablets the previous night..
Shocked Ranjita along with her parents rushed to the hospital to find his parents sitting worried outside the ICU.
His mom said “We don’t know why he did this utterly foolish thing.They have given a stomach wash but he is still critical.What disappointment he could have had in such an young age? You tell me if you know of anything.You are a close friend of his since childhod days.Is he in love with anyone and jilted by her?”
Ranjita had no words except hugging the lady and comforting her with words “By god’s grace all will be well.Do not worry, aunty.”
They all sat on the bench waiting anxiously for the doctor to come out with good news.