Life like that

I remember that morning very clearly. I opened my window and saw cattle rushing towards the valley. Then suddenly a loud bang and I saw one cow burst into pieces. Her head was tossed into the air. There were blood droplets all over the place. That day my father told me truth. Every morning the army jawans make cattle run over certain areas to find where mines are hidden.

That day and this day I have never forgotten the taste of the bitter pill called truth. For some people to be rich some people have to be poor. Sitting by my penthouse window looking at the hurling traffic below I thought life had become too busy. I have left my family and friends far away.
I packed my bags and took the next flight back home. After hours of journey in the jeep I could see shimmering lights. Behind the dunes was my village. I could hear someone screaming Akshay has come. “ wo aa gaya hai”, screeched Sujata  chachi.

I was waiting for a grand welcome at home. I wished ma would make my favourite dish tonight. But as soon as I walked the street of my village I saw people running, closing their windows, shutting their doors. I was so shocked at this.

People were enchanting Hanuman Chalisa, Splashing holy water of Ganga. Old people stood with hands folded and as if begging for forgiveness. They pleaded that their children be spared.

I reached my house and no lights were on. My house was lost in darkness.  Then Bano the love of my life came running from somewhere. Panting crying rather howling she hugged me and laughed. I thought she has lost her mind. But Bano shouted “I knew you would come. I knew it. I never believed Sumit. I knew it.” while saying this she fainted. I took her into my empty house and gave her water from my flask.

Soon she regained strength.  Bano said,” Sumit your  childhood friend one day received a letter that you have died in a plane crash. He collected money from all the people in the village to get your body to the village. Your parents were shocked. Mummyji lost hope to live and became ill by the passing hour. This was three years ago. Sumit one day came back with your death certificate. He vanished after that. Till date nobody knows where he is.  And then your mother passed away a week ago. Your father has gone to Haridwar for her last rites.”

I couldn’t sleep that night. The mystery needed a solution. From the corner of my eye I saw a shadow on my  window. I sprang from my bed and ran outside. I followed their shadow but some where I lost it. I was standing alone in the desert. Felt the wind slapping on my face. I started to walk back.  Kaboom…. I heard a loud noise in the dead silence. I turned and saw someone holding a gun steadily walking towards me. I was numb. The shadow came out of the dark. The tall man asked me to accompany him in silence. I followed him. After walking a mile we came to some tents. There I saw Sumit washing dishes. He looked tried with droopy puffy eyes.

I was shocked again. I wanted to talk to him but no use. Then I saw a man I had known all my life but couldn’t recognize him ever. It was my father. All my life just flashed by. My father was the local maoists. He told me for the first time when he got a lot of money. To live a better life he plotted that conspiracy.

But soon he got so involved with these people. And he got  sympathy from villagers and police. So he carried out his work operations safely.

He wanted me to join him now that I know the truth. To save myself I joined the group. They took my phone. I sat and never did anything in the group. I thought of plan to help them.

One day I over heard their plan to attack police at night. I was scared. I somehow managed to write a letter. I gave to Sumit to give to police. But he got caught and they killed him.

They killed all the police men as well. Then one day i got an idea. I plotted an attack on BSF jawans. They trusted me now. And during operation  I killed people of my group.  I earned confidence of the jawans.

The villagers joined hands with us to get these Maoists caught. I plotted another plan this time in the village when Maoists came. All men were hiding in villagers houses dressed as women.

When my group came close these jawans came out and lured them in a house and killed them. My father now doubted me. I had to act smart. This time he made the plans. I had no way of informing the police. I was tuck. I knew lot of innocent lives would be lost.

I had to do it. when my group attacked. I shot my father. The entire group was caught. But police caught me as well. It’s been thirteen years since I am in jail. Where I expected a medal for my bravery I got jail. This is life. The police got medals.

Priyanka Gandhi