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Asha, A Ray of Hope

by Vaman Acharya
(Bengaluru)

Part I


It was on the evening of 20th July 2000, there was a heavy rush at the exit gate of the Sharada Park, Bengaluru.The walkers were in a hurry to reach their homes. It was a tough time for old people and children. The watchman of the park had already cautioned all the walkers to leave the park immediately in view of the clouds, wind, and thunderstorm. The heavy rain was expected at any moment. Asha and Chintan, teenage lovers were spending romantic time on the bench. They failed to notice the caution given by the watchman. Later, they surprised to see the crowd shouting at the exit gate. The park was empty in five minutes.

By the time Asha and Chintan reached exit gate, the heavy rain begins. There was no shelter for the lovers. Luckily, one umbrella was lying just near the gate. Chintan took the umbrella and tried to open it. Due to the wind, he was unable to open the umbrella. With great difficulty, the umbrella was opened. There was a small shelter above the exit gate. It was little relief for them.

Chintan was unable to tolerate the force of the raindrops and terrible wind. He fell down on the ground. He lost the control over the umbrella. It went to some other place. Asha was bold enough to handle the situation. Seeing the pitiable condition of Chintan lifted him holding his hands firmly for some time.

The rain was stopped after three minutes.

The short span of rain created havoc in the city. A number of trees had fallen down to the ground. The vehicles parked under the trees were damaged. It was not clear how many suffered in this catastrophe. The power supply went off. Everywhere there was a dark. Chintan was shivering due to nature's outburst. He was unable to speak and closed his eyes. Power supply restored after five minutes. She took him to the nearest Dhanvantari Hospital and informed his parents.

Chintan's father Dr. Girish was a Psychiatrist and mother Dr. Pallavi was a Gynecologist working in the same hospital. The doctor couple expressed thanks to Asha. Seeing her condition, Dr. Pallavi advised her to undergo treatment along with Chintan. Both were admitted as inpatients. Specialist doctors examined the patients. The medical report was ready after one hour. It was revealed that both were out of danger. Due to fear psychosis, Chintan's condition was horrible. They were discharged from the hospital after three days.

Asha and Chintan were classmates from the first year of Bachelor of Engineering degree course at Sharada College of Engineering & Technology, Bengaluru. They were just friends until the third year. They became lovers only in the final year. The park incident was also in the same year. One month after the previous ghastly incident, one day in the afternoon, Asha and Chintan wanted to have a round on the college premises. The construction was in full progress in the southern part of the college.

The big board 'Entry inside prohibited' was displayed. The building materials like cement bags, steel and sand were lying. Chintan failed to notice the open big water tank ahead. He was about to put his leg in the water. Asha sensing the danger came to his rescue and saved him from the major accident. He didn't know to swim. Chintan was very much impressed for the timely help of Asha. He expressed thanks to her.

On another occasion just after two months, Chintan was busy in submitting a project report exercise. He was informed to submit it on that day itself. But

he was unable to finish the report. Asha came to his help to complete the report well in time. The lecturer, who checked up the project report appreciated him. Whenever Asha was in trouble, particularly money problem, Chintan was ready to help her. But she never misused the help. Their friendship continued and decided to marry.

There were so many obstacles in their way to tie the knot. Asha was an orphan and grown up in the orphanage run by the NGO. Nobody knows, whether her parents are alive or dead. She was admitted to the orphanage when she was just three years old. At the age of five, she was able to talk fluently without any mistakes. Her memory power was excellent. Observing her exceptional qualities, the management of the orphanage decided to send her to a good school.

She proved as a bright student and completed SSLC with first class marks. After two years, she was able to pass the PUC 2nd year with highest marks. Asha had a wish to take admission in the Engineering college. She cleared the Entrance Test and got admission in an Engineering college in the merit quota. She was a recipient of several awards from the school and the college. Scholarship from the government was also sanctioned till the completion of the course.

Some philanthropists like Dr. Girish and Dr. Pallavi came forward to help her to pursue the education. She moved to an independent small one bedroom house with the cooperation of the orphanage. She did a mistake by taking such a decision. The house was not in the secured place. One midnight thieves came to her house and knocked the door. Asha was bold to face the situation. She locked the door inside and informed the owner of the house to come with the group of people. By the time the owner arrived, the robbers left the place. They overheard the conversation between Asha and the owner. He came with the small group of people at the right time. Another mistake she did was not reporting the burglary attempt to the police. She moved to ladies hostel.

Asha was most sensitive and brilliant student in the high school and college. She was a very good orator in the college. During the third year, Asha participated in the mock Parliament conducted by the cultural committee of the college. As a leader of the opposition, her performance was excellent. On the occasion of the annual gathering of the college, a drama was conducted. Asha was given a lead role in the drama. She showed her talent and everybody praised her.

Dr. Girish and Dr. Pallavi leading practitioners of the city, were invited as chief guest and chairman of the prize distribution function, respectively. Dr. Pallavi praised Asha for her talents and wished her bright future. Dr. Girish in his concluding speech appreciated Asha for her outstanding qualities. He also told about Asha born as an orphan and lived in the orphanage. The meeting was concluded with vote of thanks by the Principal of the college.

Chintan was the only son of Dr. Girish and Dr. Pallavi. He was brought up in an affluent family and average in studies. Chintan managed to get admission in the same Engineering college, where Asha was studying. Both were joined in the same year. Chintan got admission by paying the huge amount to the college as a donation. Everything was changed when he was admitted to Bachelor of Engineering final year. Chintan and Asha became lovers. The circumstances were compelled them to become lovers.

***
Concluding with Part 2.

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