Sheela's spirit was at its nadir. She couldn't face her life any more as for everything went against her. She had left her home for her lover despite her parents’ pleas. He turned out to be a rogue, a many times married man hooking gullible women to matrimony with his charm and great physique and deserting them after robbing them of their money. An ordinary graduate he had tricked her by his glib talk and suave manner into believing that he was a professional in a MNC.His bluff was called when in a restaurant she overheard one of his buddies asking him " What, a new catch,eh?" A short investigation by her with help from private detective landed him into police. But she was not prepared for the endless legal proceedings that needed her presence at the court and the unwanted media publicity. She was fed up being bracketed with his other victims of different backgrounds. She wished to get away from it all.
Her ego prevented her from going back to her parents. The thought that she lost her virginity to a crook hurt her most. She changed the job and came to a new city hoping to find peace but it was not to be. The story of her being a victim of deception by a rascal had reached her new office ahead of her. The atmosphere was stifling. The easy informality of the male colleagues and sneer of female colleagues irked her. She avoided them and kept aloof. Life was boring and empty but she still took it in her stride. The last straw was when they splashed in the visual and printed media the news of jail sentence that was given to him with juicy details of his escapades and the women he deceived. She wanted to put an end to her life. She could take it no more.
It was past 6pm and darkness was slowly creeping. There were still people in the Ganesh temple on the top of the hill. She did not go to the shrine to pray and seek forgiveness of the god for the act she was contemplating. She was standing by the railing in the space abutting deep fall. As she looked down it no longer seemed scary but beckoning. She saw a couple and a man in the area. She can afford to wait for no one would be expecting her. She thought of her loving parents with whom she had stopped contact consciously. The couple had drifted away and the young man was still there looking at the other side. She wanted him away but minutes crept by with the man still there.
She turned as she felt someone standing close to her.”I can sense your crazy idea. This is no solution” he said softly. He looked tall for her petite figure. The unruly hair on his head and the blue denim he was wearing gave him a ruggedness that she liked.
“What crazy idea? Leave me alone” she replied
“You know it. I am not leaving this place till you vacate it. Come down and share with me your problem, if you wish to. May be I have some better alternative. This place is always there for you to return. Not today” he said in a voice that was gentle but persuasive.
As they reached down, he asked “Care to have some snacks? I am very hungry. You can tell as we eat”
Seated in a corner with a large onion rava masala dosa, she unwound herself and narrated her predicament in a gist. She could never imagine she will tell her personal issues to an utter stranger but yet she did compelled by an unseen spell as it were.
“Lucky I could meet you. I am Raghav, a professional counselor and trained psychiatrist. I have my office on the main road. I can understand your deep hurt and disappointment and the way people behave. Remember one thing, you were a victim of deceit. Your intentions were honest. No blame attaches to you. It is a bad dream best forgotten. Luckily you could find out with in a couple of months and you acted intelligently” he explained.
There was some flicker of relief and her face brightened up.”Do you think I have a future with this blot on me?”
“What crap? What blot are you talking about?”he said with some irascibility.
“Would any man marry me if he knew the back ground? Would you yourself if you knew someone like this? Do not preach’ she said with a shrill tone.
“Why not? I would consider myself as fortunate” he replied with a loud guffaw. He added with a smile. ”For you information I am a single looking for petite young and charming lady”
“Chee, chee “ she said and smiled
They met regularly thereafter and the friendship grew into love. When they decided to marry he took her home for her to meet his parents. She found them affable and warm. As the mom put her hand around Sheela’s shoulder with affection she asked with utter credulity ”Raghav, is this the girl whom your dad’s friend asked you to keep your eyes on?”
When Sheela turned to look at Raghav, there was a sheepish grin that cloaked another deception.But Sheela was happy this time.