Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Rahul's story

Harsh Mandar in The Hindustan Times:

It was a devastating fury that raged through the young boy’s heart. It died down almost as quickly as it rose, but it was too late. By then it had already destroyed many lives. A 14-year-old domestic help working in Mumbai was so infuriated one afternoon by the obdurate refusal of his employer to pay him his accumulated wages that he impetuously picked up an iron vessel in the kitchen and smashed it on her head repeatedly. She screamed, bleeding profusely, struggled briefly, then crumpled on to the kitchen floor, motionless.

More frightened than he had ever been in his life, the boy ran out of the flat to the nearest bus stop. It was deserted. As he crouched in a corner, weeping inconsolably, the terrifying reality began to slowly seep in. He had gravely wounded a woman of means. He was absolutely alone in a strange city, with no relatives or friends to whom he could go for shelter or advice, to suggest to him a way out of his sudden horrific predicament.

His heart heaved, as he desperately missed his parents, their thatched hut, his village in Jharkhand and even their poverty. It was a dreadful mistake. He should never have come to Mumbai in the first place, however hard life was back at home. His only chance now was to return to his village, before the police discovered his crime.

But Rahul had no money, therefore he could not board a bus. Instead, he alternately ran and walked as fast as he could, breathless and panting, his heart beating against his breast, to the train station. There were barely minutes left for the train to depart, when a police inspector identified him, and he was bundled into a jeep and driven to the police station. The petrified boy put up no resistance, and told them truthfully all that had happened. “The sethani is dead. You will have to go to jail,” they told him. “You have destroyed your life. There is nothing that anyone can do for you.”

Read the full text here.

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