Saturday, March 24, 2012

Is kindness sometimes foolish?

It was past 1 am. I was rushing back in my car from Hissar to my home in Rohini. I had gone there to strike a business deal. The party insisted that I have my dinner with him and I could not refuse him after the lucrative deal. But I took care not to have any drink as I had a long distance to drive. Except for the occasional cars the road was clear. It was February end and the air was cold. There was a slight smog that restrained my speed. But I was in a happy frame of mind and played Sonu Nigam as I drove carefully.

As I was cruising along, the car gave some trouble after it had crossed Rohtak and ground to a halt abruptly. As I opened the bonnet, the edge slightly scratched my elbow but the blood stopped immediately. I checked the electrical connections inside the car and found everything fine. The fuel was more than half the tank. I switched off the car, waited for it to cool down. I lit a cigarette and was lost in thought how blessed I was. I was just 27 but my business had already picked up. I was making good money though it entailed a lot of travel. I was a commission agent who knew the art of bringing together the needy buyers and eager sellers to make my living. I was earning a lot for my age despite my lack of professional education. My mom felt it was time for me to settle down and give her a grandchild to pamper and play with. She had chosen an attractive young woman for me and talks were on to finalize the wedding.

Luckily to my great relief after about 30 minutes the car started. I had lost more nearly an hour. I soon crossed Bahadurgarh and the Tikri border of Delhi. I found from distance a figure lying on the road. I slowed down the car to find a young woman covered with bruises and blood sprawled on the floor. When I got down and went near her to see whether she needed any medical assistance, I found her stark naked without a shred of cloth on her to cover. She must be less than 30 and appeared to be a victim of sexual molestation. The rapist (or the vile gang) having done the evil act must have killed her and dumped the body on the road. I placed my fingers under her nostrils. There was no evidence of life. I felt her forehead to find her cold. The sight of blood and the gaping wound across her chest made me feel like throwing up. I quickly walked away to my car.

Just before I started the car, the thought of naked body lying in open assailed my mind. What an indignity to the unknown young woman. I opened the door, went near her and without a second thought took out my blue denim jacket and covered her nudity. The chill wind was biting and I rushed back to the car.

I could see the next day the furor the abduction and rape as I suspected had caused and the repeated visuals in the TV only added to the sense of insecurity for women in the capital. There was a hue and outcry to capture the guilty and punish. People were aghast at the impunity with which such ghastly crime took place immediately after the Gurgaon rape. Police were under intense pressure to nab the culprits.

Two days later I was just relaxing after dinner watching Sasural genda phool in the TV when there was a knock at the door. There was a jeep outside with three policemen. Residents from the adjacent apartments peeped through windows or gathered near the vehicle. The blue jacket on the dead body and a bill left inadvertently in it led the trail towards me. I was taken to the police station and asked about the jacket. I narrated the fact as it had happened and admitted the jacket was mine.

There was a persistent but polite questioning. We went to Hissar to corroborate my statement of visit there on business. The business associate confirmed and told them the time I left. What I could not satisfactorily explain was about the one hour gap.. My plea that the car broke down did not cut much ice. The scratch on my elbow only accentuated my vulnerable position. To make matters worse the woman hailed from Rohini.. Police were under compulsion to show quick results. The media were invited as I was led to the police station. The TVs blared with the visuals of the blue jacket, the unaccounted one hour and the scratch on the elbow. There was a spate of praises at the alacrity shown by police in nabbing the culprit so soon after the gruesome incident. One paper screamed for castration of all rapists while another pleaded for summary capital punishment with no mercy pleas..

All my denials were met with stony silence by authorities.My parents were devastated not because the bride’s party withdrew but the evidence the police were mounting were strong against me. The well known lawyer whom they fixed assured he would do his best but confessed the mood of all segments of society was unforgiving towards crime against women. Is protecting a woman’s honour by draping her with one’s own shirt a crime?

I am keeping my fingers crossed as the world around me has crashed and turned hostile..

22 comments:

  1. That's really unfair..Strange are the ways of life & god know how many such helpful innocent people have been caught in such crossfires in life.. B/w GP good to know you are so in tune with young generation.. of sony nigam & sasural genda phool ;)

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  2. I wish this is a fiction and such tragedies don't happen with everyone..
    dunno whom to be blamed for this,the cruel rapists...or the suspicious law..
    At a less serious note,, before doing any such kind deed i will make sure i don't leave any trails back!

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  3. Still feeling sad, reading the story. It looks like a true story. It can happen to anyone. Feel like an unfinished story, but that gives the attraction to the story!

    Very well written, Partha Sir!

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  4. That was an intriguing plot , the best in recent times from you.
    "The Swhashawnk Redemption" a gripping movie where the husband is jailed for thirty years for murdering his wife. the eventual escape after some sixteen years and then accidentally confronting the actual killer...

    Good read this.

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  5. Oh My God. This is one of your best Works :-)
    Really sad, what the person had to go through for no fault of his own. But when we think from a third person's perspective, the man seems to be guilty, though we know for sure he is not. He did do a good deed, by protecting the dignity of the woman he found, but because of the same thing, he lost his dignity.

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  6. Very poignant, KP. So sad, how an act of genuine kindness turns against the poor man. So vile is our society and the PRESS these days...

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  7. One of your best to date. Genuine kindess does not seem to be recognised. Why dont you write a sequel to it.

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  8. Kindness is one thing and stupidity, quite another.
    The young man was stupid to leave his shirt for a dead woman who could not come and testify for him!

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  9. thats a good enough to be a movie script
    in fact a movie in nutshell ...
    some fascinating imagination working well there...

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  10. KP Sir, while I would not go so far as to use such strong and harsh comment as Reader Dhevi has used here,I agree with the sentiment that the young man was to egoistic and self- absorbed even to have the presence of mind or civic sense to call the Emergency Police :-)
    Some people use harsh words in their comments. Are the words used in these comments appropriate and constructive or are they meant to annoy or hurt the writer and test his capabilities? Such comments better be ignored.
    Sir, you cannot please everyone with your work. The best thing for you to do is accept it as part of e-life !
    Vazz

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  11. Another open ended story! hmmm its true that such innocent people are getting victimised.

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  12. We face such a situation when we show some kindness it doesnt mean u should stop helping..Showing some humanity n kindness is never a foolish thing

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  13. Good post and good question you've put before us to ponder over.

    True, nowadays, one is automatically afraid of helping people because those who help get into legal trouble. But like many sincere people, I too believe that compassion and kindness is never wasted and therefore it is never really a foolish thing.

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  14. You have succeeded in your story when comments come from opposite quarters of the blog spectrum. You made your readers think thereby bringing life to the story itself. That's your special niche. You are a fine story-teller. :-) Blessings to you and your family.

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  15. kindness is never a foolish thing. Good sir

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  16. hmmm something to ponder on....good post...i feel kindness is what makes and keeps us human or manushya as they say. otherwise what's the difference between me and an animal

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  17. Hmmm this is one reason why people dont help.. But then If the person in story had put his Jacket on the lady then he should have informed the police too..

    That is what a good citizen should do ..

    but this thing about no investiggation done and making a scapegoat of a person is very common .. I will write a story which is true ver ysoon.. your story sir reminded me of that ..

    Bikram's

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  18. Very nice one. People always hesitate to help others for those who are in distress. Do not know what or where it would lead too.

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  19. If he was a gentleman,wouldnt he have called the police

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  20. The story is slightly frightening. Sometimes things we do out of good intentions can really backfire. There are some loopholes in the story - but then it is a story and a good one too!

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  21. 'ouch', but then nowadays kindness is indeed foolish in most cases that is

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