Rohini heard the bell. Who could it be in the afternoon, she wondered, as she opened the door? A beaming Brinda stood before her with some books held close to her chest and asked “Aunty, the school closed today earlier. I thought if you are free will learn some trigonometry and French from you”
“Why not? Come in” she said to the 13 year old girl from the adjacent apartment. Her parents work with her mom returning only by 6pm.A warm and pleasant girl, she had endeared herself to Rohini.She helped her with her subjects whenever she sought her help. The girl too was above average.Brinda had a bigger physique for her age and looked almost 16.Though not fair complexioned, she had a beautiful face with long eyes. They spent time with the subjects interspersed with a break for tea and snacks. She left at 630 pm when Rakesh returned from the office. As Brinda was leaving, Rakesh patted her on her back and held her by one hand asking her “Why do you run away when I enter?”
“It is not like that. Mom would have come I am with aunty since 3-30. I have homework to finish” she said as she wriggled out of his hand. Rohini remembered that the girl avoided coming to her place when Rakesh was at home.
“Cute looking girl, Brinda has grown big, isn’t it?”he asked Rohini.
“Yes, she has grown a bigger girl. Don’t touch her. Didn’t you notice how uncomfortable she was when you held her hand or patted her on the back?”
“What are you blabbering? I have no bad intentions. I know her since she was a young kid’ he remonstrated.
“Still it is better to maintain a distance with girls beyond some age .Let me get you tea” she said
“I don’t need tea” he said brusquely
A fortnight later Rakesh had gone on tour and was to be back the next day.Rohini was feeling lonely when Brinda came around 4-30 pm and asked “Aunty, can you help me with my Calculus and a little of French?”
“By all means. Rakesh isn’t at home. He will return only tomorrow. You can come after your dinner and study till late night. You can sleep over here” suggested Rohini. The girl gladly agreed and ran away.
She came back at 7pm and both worked on the dining table in the living cum dining hall. They had cool mango shake around 9pm.They had revised what all she wanted by 11pm.She made the girl comfortable in the guest bed room adjacent to hers and went to her room. She read the unfinished novel for about 30 minutes before she dozed off to sleep
Around 1230am she heard some muffled voice repeatedly and some movement of chair. She got up quickly and without switching on the light rushed to the next room. What she saw shocked her beyond belief. In the night light she could see Rakesh sitting on his knees over the girl with one hand tightly shutting her mouth. The girl’s clothes were ripped open. The girl was still fighting him to throw him but was evidently losing the battle.
Rohini screamed’’Rakesh, what is this you are doing to the girl? Are you a brute? Come away from her this moment before I get wild” and pulled him away from the girl.
“Get lost and go to your room quietly. Otherwise I will kill you” he shouted back as he pushed her violently. She fell down and hurt her head on the door. When she saw the manic overpower the young girl, she managed to stand up and grab a baseball bat that was resting in one corner. Time was crucial and this was not the occasion to persuade him to get off from the girl. She steeled her mind and hit hard his both knees with the bat. She could hear the bones snap. He growled in pain and fell down. When he swayed his arms calling her a whore, she swayed the bat again like a mad woman in rage at his hands. The bat made contact and broke his bones. He fell down writhing in pain.
The girl mean while got up.Rohini told her.”By God’s grace I came in the nick of time before any damage could be done. Go and wash yourself and then wear the clothes. Be with me as I hand over this despicable wretch to the police for taking him to hospital” As Rakesh lay in pain unable to move, she with a steady tone asked for an ambulance and police help.
When the police came she said “I am Rohini wife of this scum. He was on tour and supposed to come in the morning. He had come earlier and entered the house with his key. When he saw the girl alone in the room, he attempted to molest her and would have succeeded. Providentially I woke up. When he refused to let go and was intent on violating her modesty, I took the law in my hand and incapacitated him. Otherwise the girl would have been ruined. “This was corroborated by Brinda whereupon Rakesh was taken into custody by police and taken in ambulance to hospital.
Whether Rohini was right in taking law into her own hands given the circumstances and gravity of the situation is for the law enforcing authorities to consider and readers meanwhile are left to conjecture the likely outcome