Lovers In the Lockdown - contd
by Vaman Acharya
(Bengaluru, Karnataka, India)
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The lockdown was again imposed in the year 2021 due to the increase in covid cases. Most of the residents of Indira Slum praised Pratap and Parvati for their selfless service. Palakshi was angry at both Parvati and Pratap. She was under the impression that Parvati, who married Bhojappa, had a bad omen. Palakshi had multifarious activities including running a chit fund business, money lending, real estate and kirana shop. Whenever corona warriors visit the slum during the lockdown for distribution of food materials packets, Palakshi somehow manages to take all the packets with a promise that the same would be distributed to all. God only knows how many packets reached the really needed persons?
Pratap and Parvati stopped this misuse and arranged proper distribution without any complaint.
Parvati knew each resident personally. Palakshi warned the duo to either keep quiet or face the serious threat. In the absence of Bhojappa, she was unable to get the work done. He was like a right hand man to flourish her illegal business. Her most obedient person Kashappa, a rowdy sheeter, was ready to finish those who came in her way. Kashappa was facing criminal charges. Palakshi can do whatever she wishes through Kashappa.
A great challenge before Pratap and Parvati was to stop don's illegal activities. The task was very difficult. The duos were in firm belief that nothing is impossible. Palakshi had a link with political leaders, police and government officials. Pratap and Parvati at the risk of their life decided to end the misdeeds of Palakshi. They spent sleepless nights trying to find out the solution. Initially both had to face death threats. One day at midnight Kashappa attacked them. He spared Parvati. Because he knew that Parvati was pregnant. During the scuffle, Pratap was seriously injured and admitted to hospital. He recovered after
one week. Pratap registered a FIR in the police station. Kashappa was kept in police custody for further interrogation. He was sent to jail.
After one month there was a miraculous change in the behaviour of Palakshi. She became a reformed woman and said goodbye to all the sinful activities. She went even further to call Pratap as her adopted son and Parvati as a daughter in law. As a penance, she waived all the loans, settled chit funds and returned gold ornaments pledged. She closed down all the businesses.
How was it possible?
During the period of 30 days, Pratap and Parvati met each person of the slum and explained how to stop the atrocities of Palakshi. Initially the residents had expressed fear. Pratap explained to them that now Palakshi had become a paper tiger after the demise of her son Bhojappa and imprisonment of Kashappa. The residents realised the truth. One day about fifty residents at a time met Palakshi with weapons and warned her to give up all the illegal activities, otherwise, face the punishment including death. Once a terror woman became timid. Palakshi had no other ways to protect herself. She stopped all the illegal activities.
After nine months of pregnancy, 27 year old Parvati was blessed with twins- a boy and a girl in the early hours of 20th March, 2021. She was admitted to Primary Health Centre. The babies were named Covid (boy), Corona (girl) in the naming ceremony arranged by all the slum dwellers.
Pratap was overjoyed to see his lovable son and daughter. Most of the residents of the Indira slum including Palakshi were present at the naming ceremony.
Indira slum dwellers wish the new born babies would bring happiness to all.
The talents of Parvati's melodious voice and mimicry of Pratap was recognised by the people and wished them a great future. ***