Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Employment

Part 34

Meals were served and in that Ibna was taking part in the way as if she is a part of the family. They finished afternoon supper enjoying talk of farm and farm related topics where Shree was the main talker, rest were listening to his exploits and Ibna asking him questions after questions on various farming techniques giving him more importance. Father and mother with Yamuna of course, were amused to hear the Arab girl speaking Marathi with such ease that they could not believe their senses. Veena preferred to keep to herself only watching carelessly the advances of her friend, constantly worrying about what shall happen if this grows into an affair, she had noticed from the behavior of her friend that the girl was not easy to control and her brother may go in her favor, then what?

After siesta mother decides to take Yamuna and Veena to the temple of their family deity. Mother inadvertently requests Ibna if she wants to see the goddess Mahalakshumi’s temple in the village and on that as Veena and Yamuna were expecting the girl immediately readied herself. They moved to the temple and there the temple priest welcomed the three not knowing much about the new girl offered the prasad to her along with the three ladies. They preferred to not mention about her religion to him as they thought it was absurd to do that. Being people from the same village the priest invited them to his house. They enjoy the day with such visits and introducing Ibna to all telling that she taught Shree car driving in one day. They all appreciated her talent and Ibna felt very thrilled on that.

Shree suggested to Ibna privately, will it be good to do some more driving at the evening for more practice, Ibna was overjoyed at the request and straight away accepts it. They move out in the car without telling any body in the house, fearing that they may not get a permission. As car roared every body in the house realize that they are going for some practice. Veena deliberately keeps out of it giving the couple some privacy. On return Ibna declares that Shree can drive car properly and should apply for a regular driving license.

At nightfall every body is preparing to sleep, Ibna is sleeping along with the ladies in a separate room. She prepares to sleep, is now fully engrossed with thoughts of Shree and all of a sudden she realizes that she is in her village in Arabia. People had gathered around her and one munsif talking in harsh voice calls Ibna and makes her stand in the middle of a circle of men all Arabs dressed in their native attire. On one side was sitting her father with red glare in his eyes full of disdain for her, the whole scene was eerie and Ibna with her both hand tied behind her with a thick rope was quivering even though it was very hot all over. They were talking about her exploits in India and the village court was summoned to decide what to do with such a girl who has shamed the Arab pride by falling in love of a kefir. The punishment offered for the wrong she has committed by loving a heathen was to severe her both arms and legs and for that she was allowed to run away from the punisher and if God forbids, she shall not be found by them and so not punished, obviously it was a ploy to offer some elusive chance to save herself from the punishment but every body including Ibna knew that the punishment for her guilt cannot be avoided. Munsif signs and the girl is allowed to run away from the crowd, they allow her to run some distance, Ibna running in the sand finds it very difficult to cover any tangible distance from the punishing men armed with two bladed swords in their hands. They are standing at the spot allowing her to cover some distance, Ibna is almost exhausted. The crowd is shouting in the name of Allah and holy Koran, their voices very sharp and full of contempt for her and in that she sees her brother and his friends were on the forefront to show their dislike for her, her father also shouting hoarse against her condemning himself for having such a daughter. Ibna is running very fast but the sand is so loose that she gets deep in it every time she jumps to go ahead. She looks back, sees that she has covered some distance, and sees the crowd looking small due to distance. It was night and the stars shining giving not much light for the vision. Ibna is terrified with the idea that soon they will start the run after her and catch on her in no time and there she hears the shouting asking the punishers to start the chase to catch on her. Ibna can no more run she is fully exhausted finally falls on the ground. She over hears the shouting of the crowd calling for punishment for her. Her eyes dimming due to exhaustion and there she sees a figure of some man standing not very far from her, that man tells her calling her name that it is better to be dead than staying with amputated limbs. Ibna is shocked to see that the man she was hearing was her uncle who was killed for reading bible when she was a small girl almost fifteen years ago. Ohh… it was the apparition, holding a shining dagger in his hands he tells her that he shall kill her before they come and try to amputate your limbs. She looks away at the punishing people amongst them was her brother wielding a sword of flat thick blade shining in the dim light of the stars. Ibna has no chance but to pray but then she realizes that praying for Allah is of no use as the punishment is coming due to his dictates and at that moment she remembers the Goddess Mahalakshumi’s temple. The divine Goddess she remembers and unconsciously begins to pray for her help. Ibna pleads saying that she has done no crime by loving Shree. It was most natural that she liked him and proclaimed even in that condition that her love for Shree was most honest and she still adheres to it. Ibna was sweating profusely looking nowhere she keeps calling Goddess her eyes closed keeps waiting for the inevitable. She now hears the voices of her brothers who were in the group to punish her and there she gets up. Ohh… it was a bad dream but how real. Ibna sits on the bed and sees the other people sleeping quietly. The night was advancing. Hearing an owl she gets out of her bed. Drenched in her sweat she is still panting.

This Story continues in the next posting.

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