Distant Silhouette- Chapter -8
by Tanuja Chatterjee
Back to Distant Silhouette - Chapter 7
Chapter 8 New Design of Fate
The Exodus Col. Todd and N. K (as addressed by Todd) listened intently to her story and were contemplating ways to save her withered soul, when Anya joined them.
"Poor woman!" she said.
"Don't feel sorry for her Aneie! Look at her courage and that tremendous zeal for life! She is truly a brave heart! What do you say N.K?" answered Todd almost cutting short Anya's conversation.
"Hmm...I'm thinking how brutally battered and bruised she is from within, yet her eyes express that strong desire to live! So, just to safeguard her physically won't be enough we need to save her soul. But how! Well that's bothering me. What must I do to liberate her mind from fear, suffering, shame, guilt and humiliation?" spoke Nirmal quietly.
"Why Nirmal? Let's nurture her back to strength and then we can enroll her as a mid wife in the hospital." came an encouraging idea from Anya.
"Wow! That would be good! We want to help her so that she's able to hold on to life with courage, grace, poise and dignity, don't we? Then what could be better than making her self- reliant!" answered Todd with great enthusiasm."Anya is right, N. K! Let's administer her back to health."
Though they spoke amongst themselves in English, a language alien to her, yet she was intently studying their gestures. It's difficult to know what made her think so, Kanta rasped out a plea, all of a sudden"Save my daughter saheb! Save my daughter!"
Then in a fit of fear she began to cry loudly flinging her arms on all sides. The noise drew the attention of some nurses, ward boys and even the compounder and they gathered at Nirmal's house. It was almost 8 O'clock at night. The children couldn't hold themselves in either and came and stood at the threshold of their room aghast while Ramilla peeped from behind those long drapes. Anya consoled her and gently rubbed her back with her soft and gentle strokes.
"You are good people. You don't know, they'll not leave my baby in comforting hands. They'll soon come for her. Saheb, please save my daughter." said Kanta almost begging Nirmal.
"No Kanta, no one can take my daughter away from me. It'll be unlawful," said Anya thinking of pacifying her but Nirmal spoke just then,
"Stop it Anya! Stop fooling her. Look at her impoverished body! Those people have already put this woman on the path of silent death by their imposed starvation. You know who they are! They are ruthless, stone hearted murderers" he spoke venom.
"Yes it's true Aneie!" spoke Col with a gentle touch.
"Ramilla isn't safe here Anya. She must leave us at once for her own good. She'll be away but safe ...pursuing her journey the way she wants. Let her go and don't sacrifice her for the sake of your emotions." Nirmal spoke gathering all his courage.
Anya dropped on the nearest chair, like a stone. She was quiet for a while and then said, "Where will she go?"
"She'll come with me. I'll take her now but will also bring her back when you wish to see her," remarked Tod.
She clutched on to Anya, with a tiny but a tight grip, refusing to part and no one made any efforts either, to steer her away to Col. Todd. Apu stood beside Anya holding on to her saree and Iti totally confused couldn't stop crying and yelling. It had been the toughest morning for N.K. Though Anya held the little girl tightly but her eyes bore a vacant look. They were hard core eyes with no trace of fear or tear. Stoned eyed she stood emotionless...not stirring a bit.
It was getting late and Todd had to reach Dharamsala with a break at two places on the way. He had to leave few instructions at the excavating sites of Chaitru and Jwalamukhi. He didn't have the luxury to squander time so he came up to Anya himself, took Ramilla in his arms and went straight to the jeep. As it began to move towards the hospital gate, all could see Ramilla clinging on to Col. with eyes tightly shut which gave away few tears, rolling down her round peachy cheeks. No one waved, all stood in a state of shock.
Prem, the jeep driver saw through the rear mirror and brought the vehicle to a screechy halt.
"What happened? Why did you stop?" asked Todd.
"Memsaab has fainted!" he replied while getting out of his seat in a hurry.
Todd climbed down the jeep, still clutching Ramilla in his arms. N.K stopped him from coming near Anya and said "Go back Todd, she'll be fine. Child's safety first. Don't bother I'll take care of her. She'll be fine. She's in good hands, don't you think?". N.K gathered all his strength to bring in some humor.
Todd quietly nodded in affirmation with a slight smile at the corner of his lips as he returned to the jeep. Prem pressed on the accelerator and whisked them away, within a wink of an eye.
Todd started off late, so he made a slight change in his plans. Now, instead of Chaitru, he opted for Jwalamukhi. He thought of freshening up first, then eat and after that...to his camp.
Lowering Ramilla from his aching shoulder he looked at the serene face of the child and thought "Poor girl, must have fallen off to sleep...sobbing! I wonder what lies in store for her!"
Lost in his own thoughts he remembered N.K. and Anya and the richness of their hearts. It was just yesterday, when they were so happy and then...! It's so hard to discern our fate or destiny! Looking at Ramilla still in deep slumber beside him his heart went all out for the little one.
"How cruelly she has been treated even before her birth! And since then..., poor little thing!...in spite of having two loving mothers she seems to be running wild like an orphan! How cruel thou art, oh heavens! How cruel indeed!" thought Todd looking high up at the clear blue sunshine filled sky.
"Is she actually gripped in the clutches of fate for a life time? Is there a way out? Anya says that life is eternal, then, is she in this eternal trap? No...no...no..! There must be a way out! There has to be...one at least.....for my little one! When all seems lost....future remains! I'll find a way out for her. I'll bring the warmth of sunshine in her life! I'll ...yes, I'll....! Stay assured oh my tender one ....rest well..... Be happy and safe....you'll be....,I promise....for I'm there!" Todd felt his spirits soar high and all of a sudden, the sunshine which lay outside, spread it's warmth in his heart...filling it with absolute hope. He began to hum a few pieces which he composed then..."You just keep trusting me, Love
As you walk along;
You just keep trusting me, Love
I'll' give you a reason and a song
Though the storm clouds dark on the sky
Over that heavenly trail
You just keep trusting me Love
I'll NEVER FAIL". .........
To be continued ...... Back to Distant Silhouette - Chapter 7 Go Back to Distant Silhouette - Chapter 1