Brave Daughter of Pavanpur
by Vaman Acharya
It was a miraculous escape of a middle-aged woman while she was in a hurry to get down at the railway station. The cloak was showing 5 am. She thought the train was halted. But the train was moving. Another passenger, a young lady who was just behind, pulled her back with all the might and saved her life. It was a rebirth of a middle-aged woman.
She expressed thanks with folded hands.
The train stopped at Pavanpur station. Both got down along with their family members. They became friends after introducing themselves. Priya saved the life of Sumangala. All came out of the station and left to their homes with a promise to meet shortly. During this short time, all the information like contact number, home address, profession etc., shared by Priya and Sumangala. The other family members were silent spectators.
Priya’s father Amarnath was a mechanic in the private factory. Sumangala and her husband Rajkumar were working as teachers in the Sunshine High School. Their only son Keerti was school drop out and unable to complete SSLC even after six attempts. Amarnath was living with his wife Suvarna and 25-year-old daughter Priya. These two families maintained a very good relationship. They used to meet every month ends and exchange pleasantries. Suvarna and Sumangala became good friends. Likewise, Amarnath and Rajkumar became friends. Priya and Keerti just waved their hands. Every time Sumangala appreciate Priya for the brave action to save her life. In the first meeting itself, it was revealed that Priya had completed post graduation in Science with distinction. Her goal was to become topper in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) examination. Keerti and Priya were like a south pole and north pole.
Suddenly, the meeting of two families stopped after six months. Rajkumar moved with his family to a village called Bhimnagar due to the sudden demise of his father-in-law. The distance between Pavanpur to Bhimnagar is 60 kilometres. Sumangala inherited big property. Rajkumar and Sumangala resigned their jobs. While leaving Pavanpur, Rajkumar met Amarnath. He told the reason for leaving Pavanpur.
After one month, Rajkumar invited his friend and his family on the occasion of their 30th wedding anniversary. Amarnath and his family arrived Bhimnagar on the previous day of the function. They were given warm welcome and good treatment. Amarnath was happy to see the wealth of Rajkumar. On the function day, he was seriously thinking about the marriage alliance of his daughter Priya with Keerti. He called Suvarna to Hanuman temple situated outside the village. It was 6 in the evening. Both entered the temple and performed archane and mangalaruti. The priest gave teertha and prasadam. Amarnath paid Dakshina to the priest.
The couples sat on a big platform. Amarnath initiated the topic. The serious discussion went on for half an hour. Priya overheard their conversation. Suvarna rejected the proposal on three grounds viz., out of caste, education status and village life.
On hearing this Priya became angry and said, “I am against this proposal. You know I am post graduate and aspiring to appear for IAS. Whereas, Keerti is a school drop out. If I marry Keerti, my dream of IAS would be shattered. We have come here to attend the function. It is over. Let us move from this place tomorrow morning.”
Amarnath had no choice except to keep quite for some time. They left the place. Amarnath continued his efforts without the knowledge of Suvarna and Priya. One day he contacted Raj over the telephone.
“Hi, Raj how are you?”
“I am fine. What about you and your family?”
“We are also fine. I wish marriage of my daughter Priya with your son Keerti.”
Raj was surprised and said, “It’s a good proposal. I have to consult Sumangala and Keerti before conveying my opinion.”
“Okay, take your own time.”
Rajkumar revealed the intention of Amarnath to his wife Sumangala. She was happy to know that Priya would be her daughter in law.
“Raj, go ahead with the proposal. I am alive because of Priya. Call Keerti right now,” said Sumangala.
Keerti arrived after five minutes.
“Keerti, we would like to propose your marriage with Priya,” told Sumangala.
Keerti was not happy with Priya. He remembered the incidents with her. She insulted him several times for not giving the correct answer to her questions. She even called him stupid. He thought he can take revenge after the marriage.
“Mom and dad, I am ready to marry Priya.”
Sumangala was happy. But Raj was unhappy.
“Sumagala, Priya is highly qualified and shortly completing IAS. She will become Commissioner. I don’t want to spoil her career. I am against this proposal. If you
love her so much adopt her as a daughter. Our wish of having a daughter would be fulfilled,” said Rajkumar.
“Raj, I want Priya either as a daughter or a daughter in law,” said Sumangala.
The circumstances compelled Rajkumar to accept Priya as a daughter in law. Rajkumar conveyed this to his friend. Now the responsibility lies on Amarnath to convince his wife and daughter. He was thinking seriously. It was a hard nut to crack.
One day in the morning in the presence of Suvarna and Priya, he raised the issue.
“Priya, please think with a peace of mind and take the decision to marry Keerti,” said Amarnath.
“Pappa, you want me to marry that illiterate useless guy? I prefer to remain unmarried and never marry Keerti.”
“I support Pallavi. Her decision is final,” said Suvarna.
Amarnath tried his best to convince his daughter. He utterly failed in his effort. This information reached to Rajkumar. There was no contact between the friends for about one month. One day, suddenly, Priya disappeared from the home. Amarnath and Suvarna lodged a complaint with Pavanpur police station. Both went there to submit a first information report giving details connected to her kidnap. He gave the latest photograph of Priya.
“Mr Amarnath, do you suspect any person?” asked police inspector.
“Yes sir, I have one person in my mind.”
“Who is that person?”
“Sir, I suspect Keerti, son of Rajkumar. He is residing in Bheemnagar village.”
Police officer after obtaining full information of Rajkumar sent a police team to Bheemnagar.
Just after two days, Priya arrived in Pavanpur police station along with Keerti. The police inspector was surprised. Out of curiosity, he asked Priya to narrate her adventure.
“Sir, the day before yesterday on Friday at about 1 pm, I was returning from the college library. One person came in the car and stopped behind me. He put an acid handkerchief near my nose. I became unconscious. He took me in his car and lodged in a room in an isolated place. Then he called Amarnath over the phone. He didn't demand money and put the single demand of Priya's marriage with Keerti. The entire scene was witnessed by my four friends. They followed the car up to the hiding place. We are all girls trained in the karate. It took fifteen minutes to fight with them. They were two persons including Keerti. We tied them with rope and reported to the nearest police station. Police-constable came and arrested these guys. I told him to take Pavanpur police station.”
“Keerti, do you accept the crime,” asked police inspector.
“Yes sir,” replied Keerti.
He told the constable to take Keerti and another person to custody. Amarnath was there felt ashamed of his guilt. Police Inspector told Amarnath to visit the police station, whenever they call. Amarnath and his family left home.
“Priya, I am also convicted like Keerti. Put me in jail for my crime. I am repenting for the sin I have committed," said Amarnath.
“Pappa, you did out of affection on me. You failed to visualize the outcome. You need not to feel guilty. Repentance means you change your mind so deeply that it changes you.”
At the same time Keerti's parents arrived with a bail paper to police station. Inspector released the two boys with conditions. They went to Amarnath's house.
Keerti said, “Priya, I am repenting for kidnapping you. I have committed a crime. Now I am a reformed man. Please condone me. I am not a suitable life partner for you. I wish you marry with a person of your choice.”
“Priya, please be like my daughter. Let our relationship continue,” said Sumangala.
Rajkumar requested Priya to forget and forgive.
“Uncle, I don’t have any ill will against Keerti. He has already repented. But the way adopted by him is a serious offence,” said Priya.
She recollected the repentance incident of 3 years back happened in the college. Dress code notice for girls was displayed in the notice board. In that, it was mentioned, those who do not follow this rule, disciplinary action would be initiated against them. One girl abused the principal for this rule. A Lecturer, who was passing through heard her abuse against the principal. He went to the Principal and told, “Sir, Priya is abusing you on the dress code.”
Priya was called to the Principal’s chamber and asked her explanation. She denied having criticised about the dress code. It was a mistaken identity. Instead of Ambika, the lecturer told Priya. After realising the mistake, the Principal repented.
The story of Priya spread all over Pavanpur. Some people affectionately called her brave daughter of Pavanpur. ***