Treasure Island

Jasbir Chatterjee

(4 March 1966 / Delhi)

Past, Present and Future...


Once upon a time
I was also a 23-year-old girl who lived in the city of Delhi…
After a hard day at work,
I stood at a lonely bus stop
On a cold, chilly, foggy night of December
Shivering, exhausted, hungry,
Waiting anxiously for the bus to take me home,
To the warmth and comfort of my parents' home…

A chartered bus with dark, tinted windows suddenly appeared out of the mist.
It stopped beside me.
The door opened
And the conductor, a minor, beckoned me in…
I entered, taken aback to see I was the only passenger…
I asked them where the bus was heading to.
The bearded driver kept on driving and muttered,
'We are going to the Depot.'

I ran towards the door and said,
'Stop, let me go.'
The conductor caught hold of my hand
And with his other hand pushed the door shut and held the handle with his strong grip.
I was now very frightened.
I shouted, I screamed, I pleaded…
Getting ready mentally for a sordid death
Ahead…

The driver turned towards me slightly and asked,
'What is your name? ' 'Where do you live? '
'What do you do?
'Do you study? '
Do you work? '
I lied and thought it best to mention only half truths…
'My name is Janki and I live in Janakpuri.'
I study and I work in an office.'

From the corner of my eye
I noticed,
The bus was turning into a smaller road,
Lonelier, darker
Surrounded by tall trees and thick foliage all round…
I shouted, I screamed, I pleaded…
Getting ready mentally for a sordid death
Ahead…

For some strange reason,
The bus slowed down somewhat,
The conductor's grip on the handle slackened somewhat,
With all my strength
and courage that I could muster
I pushed the door open
And I flung myself
out of the bus…

Last month,23 years later
As the whole city wept and prayed for the 23-year-old Nirbhaya,
While she took her last few breaths in the hospital
I tossed and turned on my bed restlessly, enveloped in a blanket of darkness,
Shivering through the thick quilt...
While our Law, like a toothless tiger
Shuffled its feet over the matter of dealing with the 6 rapists
And the so called 'Fast Track Courts' struggled through the reams of case sheets…

Just a few more years to go,
And my daughter too would be a 23-year-old girl living in the city of Delhi
Who might have to hang out at a lonely bus stop
After a hard day at work, studies, or whatever,
On a cold, chilly, foggy night of December
Shivering, exhausted, hungry,
Waiting anxiously for the bus to take her home,
To the warmth and comfort of her parents' home…

As a mother,
I can only hope and pray
That God protects her
As he protected me
And our society is a lot more civilized and sensitive by then,
And the so called chartered buses
Manned by rapists
Exist only in horror movies…

Submitted: Monday, January 14, 2013
Edited: Sunday, January 20, 2013

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  • Suman Kumar Das (3/8/2014 9:54:00 PM)

    I respect and appreciate this revolutionary initiative to raise the voice against girls abuse. such heinous and inhuman act need be stopped in our society........................well scripted with full of emotion.................Thank You, Madam! for sharing such wonderful ink...............Hope for the best. (Report) Reply

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