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Single But Never Alone

by Vaman Acharya
(Bangalore, India)

It was about 11.15 a.m. Two boys on the motorbike snatched a necklace and a brand new mobile simultaneously. The victim was Sarala, a divorcee, who was standing outside her house waiting for her ten-year-old daughter Divya. Being a single parent, Sarala had a tough job to look after her only daughter. The day being a Sunday and school holiday the little girl went to her friend's house for play. All the little girls gathered on the road in front of their houses for hide and seek play. Divya left home at 11 a.m and she was expected to return at 11.30 a.m.

Sarala wanted to buy chips and other eatables for her daughter. She wanted to buy from the nearby store on the same road. Suddenly, two young boys on the motorbike came and the driver snatched her gold necklace and the other boy, who was sitting behind, snatched her mobile from her right hand and immediately fled away.
In the process of snatching the necklace, she got a minor injury on the neck.

The incident took place just outside her house. She ignored her neck pain and ran towards the bike. Within minutes the boys disappeared. Her shouting for help attracted the people around and assembled there. Those who were inside the house came out.

Two cops were going on the same road heard the shouting of Sarala for help. They immediately rushed to her and enquired.
"Madam, what happened? Why are you shouting at the top of your voice?" asked one of the cops.

"Sir, just three minutes back, two boys on the bike snatched my golden necklace and a brand new mobile. The boys sped away very fast," said Sarala
"Can you recognize the boys?" asked one of the cops.
"Sir, I am in tension. It is difficult for me to recognize them."

In the meantime, cops received a call from the Police Station to rush back immediately. Sarala also went along with them to lodge a complaint. She was astonished to see Divya in the police station sitting in front of the Inspector. Her friends were shouting 'we want the arrest of culprits and get back the necklace and mobile'.

Manjunath, who was the Inspector of Police on duty, heard the complaint. He was happy to see the courage of a little girl Divya and her friends. Divya was explaining to the police officer about the incident. She asked a plain paper to write about the incident. She mentioned in the letter that she can identify the culprits. The case was registered on the basis of a letter treating it as a First Information Report (F.I.R).

When Sarala was running towards the snatchers, Divya was playing on the road with her friends. She saw the boys on the motorbike, who were snatching the chain and mobile. Instead of going home, Divya went directly went to the police station along with her friends.

Manjunath told Divya to go and see the photos of culprits displayed on the notice board. She went there and keenly observed the photos.

After a few minutes, she recognized the photos of two boys and showed them to Manjunath. He told the cops to take the shot of the photos in their mobile camera for search. They did accordingly and left out to search the two boys. Within half an hour cops returned with those boys.

Divya stood up and said, "Sir the same boys snatched necklace and mobile of my mom."

He was happy to see the brave girl.

"Divya, how did you become brave?" asked Manjunath
"Sir, I was raised by a single mom, a tough woman I am extremely proud of! She used to narrate my adventure stories."

Sarala was extremely happy to observe the bravery of her daughter Divya. The boys returned the necklace and mobile. They were kept in the custody for further interrogation. Manjunath handed over the necklace and mobile to Sarala.
Luckily the necklace and mobile were in good condition.

Sarala expressed thanks to the Police Officer. He appreciated the braveness of Divya. Manjunath expressed his concern over the increase of chain and mobile snatching cases.

He emotionally said, "It is the moral responsibility of the parents to prevent their children to commit crimes."
"Sir, the concerned authorities must act firmly and take quick measures to nip the evil in the bud," said Sarala.

"Madam, you are one hundred per cent correct. But who has to bell the cat? Most of the teenagers either coming from rich family or sons of influential persons," said Manjunath.

"Sir, today my mom is a victim. Tomorrow somebody may become a victim. The only solution for such problems is to face the situation boldly without any fear," said Divya.

"Divya, at this tender age you have proved as a courageous and brave girl. You have set an example for others. I wish everybody must act like Divya," said Manjunath.
"Sir, thank you for your compliments," replied Divya with folded hands.

It was revealed after the interrogation that the young boys belonged to the families of respectable background. These boys were not professional thieves and cultivated this as a hobby to lead a luxurious life. The first boy was a son of Chairman, Town Municipal Council. The other boy was a son of a Magistrate.

By the time mom and daughter reached home, it was 2 p.m.
"Mom, I'm too hungry," said Divya.

Sarala gave chips and other eatables to her daughter and asked her to wait for half-an-hour to prepare food. Divya was tired and lied down on the bed. Sarala went to the kitchen for the preparation of food. She thought it may take 20 to 25 minutes to be ready.

Her attention diverted towards the calendar on the wall. The day was the Saturday, 15th September. She would never forget this day in her life. She tried to recollect the series of incidents happened eight years back. On this day only she took life's most important decision of separation from her husband.

Both were engineers and leading a happy life. It was a love marriage against the wishes of her parents. Her husband Mahesh had already applied for divorce petition in the court of law through a lawyer, just after two years of marriage. The court sent summons to Sarala to appear before the honourable judge. She gave consent for the divorce. On that day, Divya had just completed two years of age.

The differences between the couples had erupted on the first wedding anniversary. Sarala was the only daughter to her parents. She inherited the property which includes a bungalow, bank balance and shares in the companies. Mahesh was a greedy man waiting for the opportunity to grab his wife's properties. On the first wedding anniversary day, he demanded a transfer of bank balance about rupees one crore to his account, as he wanted to start his own company.

Sarala refused to transfer the amount. Their fight continued for a few months. Mahesh became angry and threatened her for divorce. Sarala was bold and ready to face the consequences. She had a strong reason to take such a bold step. Sarala came to know that Mahesh had an affair with another woman known to Sarala. She also understood that the same woman put a condition on him to get the bank balance of rupees one crore from Sarala.

Sarala and Mahesh had separated on Saturday, the 15th September. She was well aware that there are many challenges that a single parent has to go through. She had to plan both roles of a mom and dad that with a perfection. Sarala knew that being single the journey is not only struggles but a journey of strength.

Sarala came back from the memory when Divya got up.

The incident of chain and mobile snatching in broad daylight shook Pavanpur town.

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