It had intrigued me how desperately I wanted to see her. I wanted to watch her fearful eyes meet my gaze. I wanted her to smile like she had smiled at the little guy who was selling flowers to make a living. I told myself I was being crazy, and that girl was nothing but a villager. But I kept seeing her face clearly under my lids.
The weather had gone unusually cold and I walked down to my jeep, given up, jumped into it and started it, time for a drive back home. The cold winds slowly turned into storms. The climate had taken a drastic turn. Slowly, without any notice, rain started to fall. I knew this was coming and driving in a jeep at this time of the night with this weather wasn't safe. So, I decided that I had to get out and find a place where I could rest for the night. The road on which I drove was lonely with bushy forests lining up against the edges of it.
I heard someone cry. The cry was familiar, it was painful. Someone that I knew was in pain. I heard footsteps and my jeep came to an instant stop. I climbed out of it, running towards the forest where I heard the familiar cry and frantically looked around. Somehow, although there was no solid proof but the cry reminded me of the girl. My stomach turned uncomfortably as I imagined her in trouble, and it made my run even faster. "I have to see who's in danger!"
I heard it again, and my heart sank.
It was her.
I heard her when she crossed my paths. It had to be the girl!
I followed the voice again, and saw a mere shadow running into the depths of the dark forest.
There she was, running into deeper trouble. "Hey! Stop!" I yelled, but I knew that this wasn't a good move. Behind her ran a group of armed villagers.
They had heard my voice and half of them had split up, slowly walking along the other half of the forest, perhaps to find me. But I knew it better, I suppose, for they didn't. They came back disappointed and I heard one of them say:
"I guess the one who yelled has gotten him lost in this jungle, he wouldn't bother us," he had said, and I recognized one of the men.
He had been with the girl when she was walking alongside the streets.
He had been holding her hand, as though protecting her from something and had given her a dirty look when she had crossed paths and collided with me.
I had heard stories, but hadn't believed them, that men of households never spared the life of young woman who had some other affairs.
I felt my heart sink again.
Could it be that the girl who ran was running for her life because she had something to do with another guy.
I knew that this wasn't the time to think of how she had gotten herself into the mess, so I followed the men, where they reached a place in the middle of the forest. It was like a small field, clear of trees, yet still surrounded by them.
"You thought you'd have run away chokri?!" the man who I recognized yelled as he raised his sword, a rather dangerous one and was about to slash the innocent girl in half, but it was as if my feet had moved automatically and I caught the thing before time, my hand cutting from the razor.
"What the hell?!" I said as I pushed the guy away and ran to the girl who seemed like she would die any second. There came the clan of others, but being amazing in karate, I made them lay on my feet in no time. The girl had looked shocked, and terrible, but my heart leapt with joy on seeing her again. I shook her, as if making her conscious and asked:
"Are you okay?" The worry in my tone had fascinated me. How this girl had affected me and how she didn't even know I existed, until of course, now.
"C'mon!" I said as I pulled her hand, slowly making way through the forest. I could have sworn I heard one of the guys get up, which was why in fear, I snaked my hands around her waist and legs and lifted her up. She perfectly knew that she was in danger, and her limp feet wasn't helping her to escape either, so there was absolutely no way she could have objected to all of this. I ran, with her in my arms, to find a place to hide, since there seemed no way to get out of the jungle with just the moonlight illuminating the place.
I walked, with her in my arms, aimlessly, not knowing where to go, and where to hide.
"Where are we going?" she squeaked, and I instantly looked at her, in my arms, where she looked so small. Her eyes were wide and tearful and her voice was etched with worry and fear.
"Where it's safe" I voiced back, looking up to a strange cottage-like place in the deeper depths of the dark forest.
"Am I safe?" she asked, a rather child-like question. Hadn't I risked my life, saving hers?
"Of course you are, who were they?" I asked, as I noticed that she had kept her arm around my neck, so that she didn't have trouble keeping on.
"My brother and his-"
"They were trying to kill you?" I asked, petrified. Who in their right minds would want to kill a part of their family?
"Yes," she squeaked, her tears now rushing freely down her cheeks. I noticed she suddenly ran her hands down her stomach and closed her eyes, as if feeling something underneath it. I tore my gaze away from her face, I had to concentrate on keeping her safe.
"We can rest here for the night" I whispered as I walked up to the dark shady cottage. "There are no sounds of the men here…"
I walked into the low roof cottage which was evidently made of hay. The door was too small for any of us to get in without ducking so I let the girl stand on her feet, only for a tiny second when she rushed into the cottage and collapsed. I sort of knew what was coming, she had seemed worried, and fainting wasn't unusual when situations like these rose. I gently placed her on the muddy yet hard floor and turned to find wood to fire it up. But something caught my wrist.
And i knew it in an instant that it was her hand. Not because she'd touched me before, but because, there was possibly no way any one else could have a touch like the one i felt.
I turned around to see her eyes still shut, and her breathing going shallow.
"Please don't leave me," a whisper escaped her lips...
I bent down to see her face more clearly, I couldn't be too sure that her eyes were shut.
"I am here," I whispered back, feeling a strange rush of affection for her. Her eyes slowly opened, as if she forced it with all of her strength and she looked at me.
I had never been so confused about what the other felt. Was she confused? It definitely didn't seem like it. Was she astounded? Well, that would be considerable but before i had the time to think any further of what she felt, she suddenly leapt up and crashed into my chest, digging her face into my neck, sending jolts down my body. She tightened her hold on me and I slowly snaked my hands around her waist and waited for her to loosen her hold.
She slowly did and pulled away. I could see that she had been crying in my arms. And it was very weird of me to like the way she had held me close to her.
"Thankyou, so very much" she spoke, her eyes lowered as she tried to wipe away the endless tears.
"Why did they want to kill you?" I asked, feeling the food that i had in the evening churn in my stomach.
"I don't think you'll understand, no body does," and she cried some more. What wouldn't i be able to understand? i wondered.
It was as if she had read my mind or maybe the questioning look i had been wearing because she instantly sniffed and answered:
"I'm Geet, Geet Handa..." she started, i was more than willing to hear her story although i did pretend to be not too much interested in it. "Handa's are well known throughout their Village, because of their superiority and their so-called 'izzat'... But in this family, no one really knows how to give izzat to the females. We had been treated like dirt. We had no say of our own. We had to abide by the family rules, no matter how wrong they were. If we were to object, we'd be slaughtered...
"But that's not the case here. They treated me rather fairly, and they married me off to a rich NRI who lived in Canada, or so as he said."
She sniffed, and Maan felt something cut him. It was not a physical wound, but it felt like it really was.
She continued and Maan listened:
"Well, we got married, and they got the money they wanted from our family, a piece of land who's true owner was me. I was happy, more than happy to be precise... when the time came for me to face something that i had least expected..."
Maan stiffened, still purposely showing less signs of interest.
"I was supposed to fly with him to Toronto... when he left me at the airport..."
Her voice broke at the last word... she didn't want to continue but she had to.
"Turned out everything had been fake! I had been played mercilessly! The marriage was fake! everything!..... My family went into shock, but they never wanted anyone to even hear of this incident. So they forced me to move on, something that they couldn't make me do... I was too depressed, when... there came hope, that i just want to live my life again, just for the sake of something that grew inside me..."
Maan lowered his gaze, after listening, he felt that his heart would explode with the amount of respect he had garnered for an eighteen year old that sat in front of him.
"You must be thinking why i would want to keep the baby of someone so.... filthy..."
And it certainly did click Maan, how can she?
"The baby is free from the faults of him, it's pure, it's my life now. I'd do anything to protect it from anything dangerous!"
Maan knew now, that the reason why Geet had been almost murdered was for her decision to keep the baby.
"I can't go back," she cried, "they'll murder me and my baby... i do not want to risk his life..."
"You don't need to go back..." Maan spoke, he didn't know why but he wanted to protect the girl. Such innocent soul needed to be protected.
"You can start over a new life," Maan continued, "a fresh start, for you and your baby"
The girl's head snapped up, and she looked at me as though i was some sort of a hero for her. She deserved more, i thought to myself, after all that she had been through.
And that scum needed to be taken care of.
The guy who ripped away her innocence, her dignity and is still living happily with the money that was never his.
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