by Vaman Acharya
What happens, when the newly married couple is attacked by the robbers causing severe injuries to both?
Kartik and Sulabha were under close observation in the ICU, Lakshmi Narayana multi speciality Hospital at Pavanpur. It was busy with patients, hospital staff and visitors. Several visitors arrived to know the condition of couples. The doctors and nurses of the hospital were impressed to see them. They were engaged in their own ways of prayers. One of them was chanting the shlokas in the Bhagavad Gita. Another was praying before the statue of Lord Dhanvantari. Others were reading the Bible, Quran and Guru Granth Sahib. Rest of them closed their eyes. Kids also participated in the prayer. Their silent prayers show the discipline and devotion among them. All these persons had one wish. Kartik and Sulabha recover from the illness and return to normal. It was a rare scene of well-wishers belonging to all faiths.
The couples were admitted to the hospital early in the morning. Lakshmi Narayana multi speciality hospital was the only fully equipped hospital in Pavanpur town. It was 8 in the morning. The latest health report of the couple was not released.
The previous day was Sunday 21st June’ 1992. At midnight, a gang of thieves attacked Kartik and Sulabha in their house ‘Sanjeevini’ by breaking the main door and strong grilled door. They were professional and executed the operation efficiently. Due to Amavasya, there was darkness everywhere. The newly married couple moved to the new house just a fortnight back. Gruha Pravesham was celebrated with all the rituals. About one hundred guests attended the function. After the ghastly attack on the couple, some guests, who attended the function, were talking about the few persons who were moving in a suspicious manner. But those who suspected them forgot to bring it to the notice of Kartik. The same people might have attacked the couples. These suspicious persons must have observed the entire house on that day to prepare a plan of looting the valuables.
Jayaram was a famous contractor and brother in law of Kartik. He had constructed the twin identical houses ‘Sanjeevini’ and ‘Suhasini’. The houses were constructed keeping in view of perfect security measures as the location was isolated. After the sunset, people were afraid to walk in this area due to the fear of wild animals and thieves.
The newly formed Surya colony was three kilometers away from the Pavanpur town. Seventy five plots with different dimensions were planned as per the rules of the Pavanpur Town Planning Authority. The buyers depending upon their income purchased the plots. To attract customers, the society had announced a number of concessions like discounts for prompt payment, free sofa set etc. The layout plan was duly approved by the town municipality.
Jayaram was the president of Surya Co-operative Housing Society. He took special efforts to establish the society. After one year of the existence of society, Jayaram constructed two identical houses on adjacent plots. The serial numbers were given to all the plots. It was easy to identify the plots.
All the plots were sold in one year and registered in their names. The other plot owners were not in a hurry to take up the construction. They knew that it was not a proper time to go ahead with the construction.
Jayaram & Kartik shifted to the new house on the same day soon after the house warming ceremony. The entire layout was vacant except two identical houses.
Why Jayaram and Kartik moved hurriedly to the new house in spite of lack of minimum civic facilities like water, drainage, road and electricity? Jayaram thought of taking initiative, others may be tempted to commence the construction work. Apart from this, Surya Colony would be developed soon. For security purposes, a ferocious dog was brought here to watch both the houses. Couples had to overcome the number of hurdles before their marriage.
Kartik and Sulabha first met in a Ganesha festival arranged by the local youth forum of Pavanpur. There was a big pendal, a large Ganesha idol and colourful electrification. Three days function was arranged by the organisers. Varieties of entertainment activities were planned on each day. Lawyer Kartik and Dr.Sulabha, both were invited as guests on the last day of function. Both were unknown to each other. Kartik was asked to conduct the event as a president and Sulabha as a chief guest. Organisers of the function arranged an entertainment programme for the children. Kartik and Sulabha were introduced to the audience. It was a nicely conducted function. The participants were happy. The one hour programme was liked by Kartik and Sulabha. Prizes distributed to the selected boys and girls by the president and the chief
guest. In his speech, Kartik praised the participants, organisers and also told in brief on the purpose behind the celebration of Ganesha festival. Kartik concluded his speech by singing a popular film song ‘Jai Ganesha Jai Ganesha Deva”. Sulabha also gave a brief speech about the importance of Ganesha festival. She was very much impressed by the speech and sweet voice of Kartik.
It was a love at first sight for her. She could not stop her emotions and said, “Kartik, your speech was excellent, especially the melodious song.”
“Madam, I was so impressed with your speech on Lord Ganesha. I wonder, being a doctor, you have deep knowledge in literature.”
“Kartik, you have got a wonderful personality and knowledge. I love you.”
“Sulabha, I too love you. I wanted to express my love. But you have come forward before me. When both of us love each other, our journey as life partners would be easy and nobody can stop us.”
“Kartik, I totally agree with you.”
Lovers left the place with heavy hearts with a promise to meet soon.
Jayaram was coming in the way of the lovers. He tried to prevent their coming together. Sulabha was brought up under the guardianship of Jayaram. She had great respect for her brother. Kartik was a law graduate, a simple and straightforward man. He became popular through his social services like helping orphans, handicapped, beggars and poor widows. Jayaram wanted a boy for Sulabha from a well to do family and having equal education status. Sulabha had completed MBBS and was going for MS. Man proposes God disposes rightly applies to Jayaram. His wish was disapproved by Sulabha. She loved Kartik and decided to marry him only come what may. The tussle between brother and sister went on for about one year. Ultimately, out of affection, Jayaram decided to fulfil her wish. He remained bachelor even after her marriage.
After Kartik- Sulabha got married, Jayaram gifted one unit of the house to his brother-in-law.
Kartik commenced practicing as a lawyer and opened an office near court. Sulabha opened a clinic near the police station. On that day of attack, Jayaram failed to notice. Thieves were professional and planned the operation efficiently. But to the great disappointment of thieves, they didn't get gold, jewellery or cash. These crooked guys injured the innocent couple. The injury to both could have been avoided, if the couples did not resist with the thieves.
In Pavanpur, Kartik and Sulabha had earned good names and fame for their simplicity and kind nature. Sulabha treats poor patients without fees. The people and government appreciated Kartik for his social service.
Jayaram woke up early in the morning on that sad day and went outside. Every morning Jayaram wishes Kartik and Sulabha. She was in the habit of drawing rangoli in front of the main door. But on that day, Jayaram didn't see Kartik, Sulabha and rangoli. Another shocking thing was the ferocious dog was dead. Jayaram was sad. He saw the grill door and the main door was broken. He got suspicious and entered the house. The scene was horrible. He was unable to bear the unexpected event that happened. Kartik and Sulabha were lying on the floor unconscious. Immediately, he arranged an ambulance to the hospital. Kartik and Sulabha are admitted in the hospital in an unconscious position. By the time Jayaram reached, the people had already gathered in the hospital. They were upset due to the attack on Kartik and Sulabha. There were no immediate answers to their questions.
Who did this heinous work?
Why attack noble persons like Kartik & Sulabha?
Was it a pre-planned attempt?
Jayaram had already registered FIR in the police station. The sub-inspector along with a constable arrived at the hospital. He was present and giving all the information to the police. The news was spread like a wildfire in Pavanpur. The crowd increased after one hour. It was a hell of job for the police to control the mob.
By the grace of God, couples regained consciousness and showed improvement. This was possible after six hours of observation in the ICU. Doctors advised Jayaram that the couples need another fifteen days complete rest. After a fortnight, they were discharged from the hospital.
The police completed investigation after six months. In the report, it was revealed that the attack on Kartik and Sulabha was a clear case of mistaken identity. The target of the robbers was at Jayaram’s house. In Pavanpur it was a talk of the town that Jayaram had amassed wealth. Identical house created confusion for the robbers. All the culprits were arrested and sent to the jail.
It was an unforgettable incident in the life of Kartik and Sulabha. ***