The Deadly Dark Night

The dark night terrified her. The barking dogs and howling wolves made things worst. Suddenly, she saw light; villagers were chasing her. Surely, they would kill her. As she got up to run, her sari stuck in bushes. Unable to move any far, she prayed God, ‘Oh Lord, save me from all these beasts.’ They have gone mad. They are calling filthy names for me. They considered me guilty of practicing witchcraft.

They shouted, 'Kill that bitch. She is a threat for our children.' Unable to take her sari out from bushes, she left it there and tried to run. It started raining. Remaining clothes were unable to cover her modesty. Lighting thunder was making her more vulnerable to the mindless beasts. She was running towards the river bank. Suddenly, she was held by rock-chested man. She got extremely terrified. Holding her breath, she looked up the face. It was Ram.

‘Now, I wouldn't mind even giving up my life in his arms’, she thought. He was stern. He was strong. He was capable. And most important, He knew her innocence. He challenged the villagers. Who had guts to confront him? It appeared all the storm was controlled by him. Rain was stopped and wind was cool. Villagers were slowly returning their way.

Ram said, 'I will never ever leave you alone.' She was feeling cozy resting in his broad shoulders. They sat there. He lit the fire and offered her shawl. She was having the entire night in his eyes thinking, had they killed me, even heaven wouldn’t have been so nice.
Raghuram Chacha was posted in the post office of nearby town and had to come regularly to deliver posts. He was shocked seeing Mitali in the river bank and said, ‘Mitali beta, you are lying here…what happened? How did you get here?’

She replied, ‘Oh Raghuram Chacha! They almost lynched me last night. Ram helped me. He was here only. Oh, where has he gone?’ Raghuram Chacha said, ‘Ram…Hmm, Ram is indeed almighty. He is Supreme Lord. How it all did happened? Anyway, you look relaxed now, come to village with me.’

She replied, ‘Yeah indeed, I am quite relaxed now. The biggest distraction of my life, I was fed up with those uncountable heartbeats. I could have focused and achieved more. And the most tiresome. Oh those breaths of mine, the flow of wind both in-wards and out-wards. Now that all is gone for good, the ultimate attention, the everlasting comfort; the unmatched tranquility and the absolute perfection! The luxury of time as my pillow and sky as fur soft sheet. No one dare ask me to getup no matter how fine the morning is. Now is the moment of achievement - its divinity. I have no fear; not even death can defeat me second time. I will not come with you Chacha. I am happy staying with Ram. He will come soon.’

‘Ram will come soon; have you gone mad Bitiya? What all you are saying? I am not able to relate. I know people say lots of different things for you but I never believed them. I know you are only graduate in the village. But Ram? Whole village stricken in deep grief when the news came about his plane crash. They say that he was very talented pilot of air force. I remember, you cried for months when they sent his belongings.’ Chacha said.

‘No Chacha, he was here only.’ She firmly said looking directly in the eyes of Raghuram Chacha. Her eyes got dried. The river water was flowing with thunder sound capable to frighten the deep soul within.

Raghuram Chacha tried to convince her to come back home. She was frightened with the mad mob last night. ‘How could I? They will kill me.’ She said. Then again, she smiled as if she knows no fear in the next moment.

Chacha said, ‘Don’t worry, they all respect me. Nobody will date touch you.’ She agreed.
They were passing through usually crowded market of the village. It was deserted today. ‘There is too much silence today. Where have all the people gone?’ Chacha thought. Hariya, Ramesh and Baburam were smoking chillum near broken bullock cart. Talking about the incident last night, they were confusingly satisfied. Baburam said, ‘We have killed the biggest danger of our lives. Now we can live peacefully.’ Hariya interrupted, ‘We all know; we didn’t kill her. Rather, we couldn’t kill her. We were forced to run away. And moreover, God knows, when this all might trigger a police enquiry.’
Chacha was apprehensive as these goons might stop him entering the village with Mitali. He said, ‘Don’t worry Mitali. I will ensure your safety.’ Mitali smiled.

Again night, Dark night, Deadly-dark night and mob was chasing Raghuram Chacha.
Hey, we will kill the demon this time forever!

Raghuram Chacha was running for his life. It was drizzling. His chappal got stuck in the slippery soil. He couldn’t believe that even God could save him from this barbarian mob. It was getting difficult for him to hold his breath. Not more than twenty feet, Mitali was standing firm and strong to rescue him. Chacha was shocked, same sari, same big rounded bindi and unified dark and long hair covering half of her face. Chacha screamed, ‘Stay away Mitali beta. They will kill you. Don’t you see them coming?’

She said, ‘I have crossed all the limits of fear Chacha. I will protect you from these beasts.’ She shrieked, ‘Come and dare touch me.’ Chacha said, ‘Beta, don’t risk your life for me.’ She replied, ‘Ram had come and saved me last night. Today is my turn.’

The next moment was serene. The deadly crowd had gone. Mitali was pampering Raghuram Chacha allowing his head resting in her lap. She was caressing his hair to calm down and feel ultimate divinity.

- Amit Roop

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