I posted the last two chapters together and in case you missed it, please click here to read the previous Chapter 239: Defying Gravity
Chapter 240: Epilogue
So it happened that Rajani returned to Chandigarh. Aditi insisted on accompanying her and stayed on for a couple of days at a nearby hotel. She didn’t want anybody to think Rajani was all alone in the world.
Mrs Parminder, Rajani’s new landlady, was rather militant and aggressive. She ruled her PG and play school with an iron hand. She wasn’t allowed to use the rod but she made ample use of her frown, which sent shivers down Rajani’s spine. Yet Mrs Parminder and Aditi hit off at first meeting and became fast friends.
Bit by bit Rajani saw through MPs façade and could meet her without losing her equanimity. Rajani’s greatest strength was Anisha who took to her new life like a duck to water. Busy exploring her new world, she asked for her father only once in a while.
The initial weeks were tough and best glossed over. She considered moving back to her parents’ place about a hundred times. She couldn’t draw an easy breath nor sleep and when she did nightmares haunted her. The worst ones were the ones where she or Anisha were chased and molested by Kuldeep and all of a sudden he would morph into Suryakant. She would wake up sweating and retching. Yet these dreams helped her hold on and carry on despite all odds. Her broken tooth was infected and required numerous sittings and rapidly depleted her meager resources.
But her nightmares, MPs frowns and glares along with Aditi’s bracing talks held her back. Taking their advice, she focused on getting by one day at a time.
One step at a time.
Taken aback by her grit and determination, fate got bored and moved on to greener (weaker) pastures. The infection reduced as did the swelling and the pain. She graduated from thin gruel to hot crispy parathas.
She helped Mrs Parminder around the house in the morning and in the school during the day. Afternoons and evenings were for Anisha while she spent half the night scouring the Internet for options and opportunities. She found a gang of ladies who were similarly abused and were attempting to raise their voice against the reigning unfair societal norms and practices. Being a part of with them not only gave her moral support but also helped her overcome bouts of guilt and tendency to blame herself. It was shocking how despite being educated so many women were in the same boat, or at least similar boats. One lady of the girl gang was a lawyer and had offered to fight her case once she gathered the gumption to file a case.
As promised, the girls organized a trip and came to visit Rajani and even dragged her for an overnight trip to Kasauli. Rajani was thrilled to be able to finally share ‘normal’ news of her life.
While Rajani did not want for anything she constantly fretted over her financial situation. She had enough to get by but nothing saved for a rainy day. Court cases were expensive and notorious for dragging on and on. She had to do something to supplement her earnings from the school job. Anisha would require admission to a school, there maybe medical bills. She had new nightmares. Her sleepless searches led her to an online tutor site which paid very well. Slowly her bank balance grew and so did her confidence. Biting the bullet, and armed with her support gang, she filed a case charging both her in-laws and parents of mental and physical abuse and torture. Aditi made sure her case grabbed the headlines and shock waves went through the entire country. She met her parents for the first time in court. They wept all over her and begged pardon. As did Sunaina. Her family was shattered, broken, the children were suffering, they were innocent, why make them suffer, if only she would withdraw her case, all would be well, they would be one big happy family. Harsha would move out with her, Anisha would get her father, what could be better than that? Withdraw the case, Sunaina pleaded over and over again.
Rajani was dry-eyed and unyielding. Anisha is next still echoed in her head. There would be no more potential Ayeshas she swore, not if she could help it. She battled her case for four long years and emerged victorious – uncontested divorce from Harsha, seven-year imprisonment for Kuldeep, massive fines for the others for aiding and abetting mental and physical trauma and abuse despite knowing everything. She put away all the money for Anisha’s future and refused alimony support for Anisha’s upkeep and education. She eventually forgave her parents but didn’t move back in with them. One good thing about coming out of hiding was that she re-established contact with Shikha and her giggles.
Mother and daughter grew up together with Anisha showing the way. She was a remarkably mature girl and her mother’s greatest strength and support. Over the years, Rajani made it a point to share bits and pieces of her life. Anisha took these snippets in her stride often chastising her mother for not moving out earlier. They were the best of friends and worst of enemies – especially when it came to the last piece of chocolate. They studied together and it so happened that they both became doctors – Anisha a medical doctor and Rajani a doctorate in mathematics.
Pakhi also took a call and divorced her husband. She left for Ahmedabad to pursue MBA, which she passed with flying colors. Despite getting a better placement at Bengaluru, she opted for Chandigarh as her city of choice. She had fallen in love with her classmate who hailed from there and ultimately married him and settled down not too far from where Rajani stayed. Aditi put in her papers at Paperworks and shifted base to Chandigarh and went back to her first love journalism and newfound love, Anisha, while Tanya became the defanged BBW at Paperworks.
“I could not stop talking because now I had started my story, it wanted to be finished. We cannot choose where to start and stop. Our stories are the tellers of us. ” ― Chris Cleave,
A/N So that’s it folks. I thank each and every one of you, including the silent readers for your company on this difficult journey. Frankly I am surprised that you have held on for so long. As I have said before, given a choice, I wouldn’t have read this story. I started blogging because I had to tell this story which is over and done but whether I managed in depict one or more of my multiple objectives or just ended up scaring impressionable minds off marriage is another story. Since you have held on for so long would you mind telling me if this story is worthy of a larger audience? Do you think it needed to be told? Will it make any difference? Or was reading it a waste of time or at best a time pass horror story that is over and done with? These questions plague me and for that reason I have not even publicized it on my own blog. Moonshine is posted as Pages so it doesn’t show up on the main blog page or in automated notification list either. Any sort of feedback – good bad ugly, either here or by email is most welcome and I sincerely hope some of you will come forward and share your views and thoughts and put my doubts and questions to rest – either way. Go on be brutal, I am currently riding high on a wave of euphoria at having completed this mammoth task. At other times I feel completely drained and exhausted like one does after a prolonged bout of emesis.
Even though I have wrapped up Moonshine, I hope to continue to write flash fiction, short stories, restart my Story Club feature and of course when DMami strikes, spin yarns of Silver Streaks. If any of you would like to receive a mail notification whenever I post, please click the Follow button. However, like I mentioned above, automated notifications are not sent if I post a story under DM’s desk. So if you are just interested in IPK based stories do send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or we could meet on twitter (@mysilverstreaks), as I make it a point to tweet my IPK stories. Woh kya hai na, Arnav aur Khushi ki baat ho aur aap saath na ho yeh to What the waali baat hogi hai ki nahi? 😀
See you around, on another page, another day, another story 🙂