About a Girl

14 10 2008

Sorry for borrowing the title so shamelessly from the Nirvana song but it’s just that it fits here perfectly. It’s about somebody called Nidhi. I knew Nidhi since class 5 but we were never friends. We were neighbors, did our schooling together and so also our college and for the complete weirdness of fate joined in the same company as employees. This story is about the same girl. This is her story.

Here I go!

Nidhi was shy. She was so shy to talk to people that they would misunderstand her shyness for rudeness. But she wasn’t rude. She was very simple and very nice. People who knew her really liked her. Nidhi had had a very happy childhood and was a brilliant student. As far as I can remember, she has topped every exam I wrote. Except for the pangs of loneliness, her life was perfect. And by the time we started with our jobs, I think she must have got used to even that. She had a lot of acquaintances, lesser friends and hardly any good friend, none as far as I know. Even I was just an acquaintance. I once overheard her mother telling her, “No one will even attend your funeral.”

So much for astro-predictions!

She always got what she wanted and never really struggled or fought for anything. She was also extremely gullible. She trusted people blindly, may be hoping to make friends with them. I never saw her going out for dates either. I guess because nobody asked her out. I spoke to her just once or twice and I really had t strain my ears because she could hardly raise her voice. The only time I saw her really happy was once when the curtains of her home were not drawn and she was alone and dancing.

What a sight!

And so she lived until suddenly “THE THING” happened. A lot has already been said about THE THING and also since this is Nidhi’s story, let us just stick to her. Just for your knowledge, it was some sort of a protest against the government. It was about a policy of the government that would affect the lives of a lot of people.

To hell with the government!

But it didn’t affect Nidhi’s life personally. And since she hardly read any newspaper, she wasn’t even aware of the great public uprising that might shape the country’s future.

So much for all the education!

So it was Friday evening I looked up from my computer screen and saw Nidhi cleaning her table for the weekend. A friend of mine, Anurag, cheerful guy, also happened to be doing the same and out of sheer habit he smiled at Nidhi. Normally nobody smiled at her because as I had said, people thought she was rude. Just as Anurag began to contemplate his mistake, Nidhi surprised him (and even me) by returning his smile.

Surprise!

So it was kind of imperative that he said something.

“So all set for tomorrow?” he asked.

“What do you mean?” Nidhi replied.

She was clueless because she didn’t really know that people actually did something on Saturdays.

“I meant the protest. Aren’t you going for that?” asked Anurag.

“What protest?”

Anurag thought Nidhi was kidding him or just playing because it was the biggest thing that was happening in the country. Perhaps bigger than the game of cricket. However something about her innocence told him that she wasn’t really kidding.

“You mean you don’t know anything about it?” said Anurag, stressing on the word ‘it’.

“No. I hardly know anything that happens around me.” She said matter of factly.

Anurag had to smile at her truthfulness and so he smiled. Anurag always smiled. He never smirked. Suddenly he felt like as if he was her dad and needed a father-daughter talk with her.

“Okay let’ s go for dinner and I’ll explain you.” It wasn’t really that he had asked her out but it was her first date.

Whoa, what a nigh!

The dinner went for long hours and Anurag explained her all about the new government policy and how it would affect a common man of this country. He spoke in the way most guys do, which they think will impress the girl they are talking to, by waving their hands and punching fists in the air. However, with Anurag, I must tell you, it was all very natural. He was seriously serious about it.

“But I don’t see how it will affect me, personally.” Said Nidhi after Anurag had finished.

Anurag tried to keep his cool by reminding himself that she was just too innocent and ignorant and not playing smart.

“But, don’t you see the bigger picture?” he asked. “What about your country? It will go to dogs. You don’t want that, do you?” Another session followed wherein Anurag tried to explain her the bigger picture which Nidhi, being, as I had said before, gullible, understood really well.

“So that’s that.” Said Anurag, concluding his inspirational speech with another punch to the helpless air, which had pretty much got used to getting punched at. His speech had, however, made her speechless and had she been British, she would have probably said, ‘Blimey!’ or ‘Ooo la la!’ had she been French but since she was just a simple India girl, she remained speechless and Anurag could see a faint glint of tear in her eye. She was very clearly moved.

Or may be it was just a sparkle!

Nidhi’s mind was racing. She was touched. It was as if she had been living in a dark room all along and suddenly with just a blink of an eye, there was a loud light around her – bright and clear. The light hurt her eyes – and hence the tear.

“I’ll be there tomorrow.” She said and left – without a word or even a good-bye. What Anurag did with the bill is another story but its funny. So let me not include it in this particular chronicle.

Nidhi crashed into her bed when she reached home. Thoughts began to crowd into her mind. Where had she been all these years? Why had she been so blind? So un-informed (if such a word existed)! So stupid! So freakingly self-absorbed! Why had she never even felt a hint of pain for her fellow countrymen? She did could not sleep the whole night. Peeping out of my room, I saw her sitting in the balcony whole night.

Boy, had she changed!

She was one of the first persons to reach at the venue. When I reached there, I found Nidhi standing in a corner as people began to appear slowly. The banners, posters and pamphlets began to be put up, drawn and distributed, respectively. Certain black ribbons also found themselves, almost automatically, getting tying on people’s arms. I went up to her and she smiled at me, probably for the first time and …well…for the first time.

We both were waiting for Anurag because we didn’t know what to talk to each other and the silence between us was getting too loud and too uncomfortable. However, there wasn’t any silence around us as people had begun shouting certain catchy slogans explaining how certain breeds of dogs were better than certain breeds of politicians.

So much for democracy!

Nidhi too was searching for Anurag. “Did she like him?’ ‘Shut up!’ her mind warned her, ‘You are here to improve the plight of your countrymen.’ And so suddenly Nidhi joined the marching people. Certain slogans, Nidhi found were rude, a few witty and some ridiculous. But who cared as long as they rhymed. Anything said against the government was good.

“People can take any shit when united!”

Nidhi found herself in a sea of people. She had never seen so many people. Thousands and thousands of them were marching and shouting slogans – just like it would have happened during the struggle for independence. Her senses got numb and she suddenly stopped in the middle. She stood there like a tree and everything around her seemed to move in slow motion. (Yes, it happens just the way they show in movies.) She turned around a full circle and all she could see was people. She couldn’t hear a word. She didn’t know where she was or what was happening.

I have become comfortably numb!

Nidhi was jolted back to reality by Anurag after he had finally managed to find her. But what he saw was somebody new.

“I am going to the front.” She said. Suddenly she could feel the leader in her. She cut in through the throngs of people and managed to reach in the very first row of the protestors.

She saw police vans ready with lathis, water cannons, tear gas etc. Some of them even had rifles in their hands. The crowd slowed down as police marched ahead. They knew what was coming but they knew that they themselves couldn’t stop either because suddenly they had a new leader.

Nidhi shouted half a slogan. She shouted that at such a voice that it surprised her herself. The loudest she had ever said anything. It was probably the first time she had actually raised her voice. The crowd responded back, completing the other half of the slogan. She shouted again, louder and firmer. This time more number of people completed her half said line. The third time when she shouted, it was the loudest anybody had ever shouted since the march began but it was also because she had, by this time, a megaphone miraculously placed in her hands. Her voice sounded like a tigress on the megaphone. The chants grew louder and stronger and the police began to proceed even faster. Nidhi looked straight into them and continued to move ahead. The police warned them to stop but nobody seemed to hear them.

They got the guns but we got the numbers!

And out of nowhere, came an order, ‘Lathi Charge!’

The police began to do what they were told viz. hitting people with their sticks to disperse them. Water cannons began to fire water at high velocities. Nidhi was not deterred. She continued to move ahead. A policeman rushed at her and gave a powerful blow of his thick stick on Nidhi’s skull. The blow was too hard for a delicate person like her. Her body took a 270 degrees spin and collapsed. Anurag saw her falling down and just about managed to get her body by the side of the road.

Nidhi was dead!

The situation came to order after an hour or so. Nidhi’s head, now fully smeared in blood was nestled in Anurag’s lap. An ambulance arrived and took her body away for post-mortem.

Give me a break!

The next day’s newspapers read the following headlines: Government takes back its decision amidst violent countrywide protests.

While another line said: 101 injured and one dead in Mumbai.

The one dead was a certain Nidhi. She was popular for the first time but she wasn’t there anymore. She was popular because unlike her mother used to say, thousands of people attended her funeral. Everybody who came there said how brave Nidhi was and everybody from our office said how great a friend they had been with Nidhi and how great a girl she was.

I saw Anurag sitting in a corner, head down probably feeling guilty for what happened. I don’t know why but I heard a deafening silence as a saw her body go up in flames.

Adios!

Advertisements

Actions

Information

12 responses

14 10 2008
Sujit Kumar Chakrabarti

Vikrant. Top class writing.I think you leave much for the reader to
think. Will do that presently. :)By the way, I liked the ‘helpless air
being punched’ and ‘it’s getting habituated’ very much.

14 10 2008
Not Shy Now

what a sad story. unfortunately when you are shy this can be your life.
that is why it is important to deal with your shyness instead of
withdrawing.

14 10 2008
Abhay

I read the Government protest story. yeah one needs to be careful in such
places… even if the story need not be real..

and yes, very good snaps!! keep shooting ——->>>~~~~!!!!!

14 10 2008
Prema Raja

Very good narration.
You had brought out the leader in Nidhi slowly,step by step, like a blooming flower!!>
Enjoyed it

14 10 2008
Nargis Natarajan

Vikrant….this was not just a fictional story about a girl but a reality about the seeding of leaders….of how a nonentity can be influenced with just one word and transformed into a hero, sometimes even without their knowledge…..What I loved about this blog is the unique narration. It is done in a beautiful style and keeps one captivated….Amazing story of a different kind of bravery:-} Loved it

14 10 2008
Typical

hey vikrant,

found this pathyway through a recommendation Nargis Natarajan had left on the sulekha bloggers’ pick.

and it turned out to be quite a captivating read. loved the way you moulded the central character… looking from the outside, it seemed. in fact what you left unsaid about Anurag was even better.

nice.

-t!

14 10 2008
estamani

WOW…thats something.

Probably will come back to this… to comment more 🙂

esta

14 10 2008
Shreedhar

Nice story…but has a sad ending

14 10 2008
Samir

Dude…just tempted to be the first to comment…!This one made me call
up a few ‘Nidhi’s I know, to wish them well! thankfully they are alive
and aware… :)will read this a few more times to get All out of it… &
then will wait for the next! ;)Rock on…Sam

14 10 2008
Krishna Chaitanya

Hai Vikoo, your post about a girl is superb. But, I feel some more
tenderness is required. I mean you could hve explained abt Nidhi’s
innocence by giving one or few more examples, so that It could have
touched the heart some more deeply…hahhaahah..a nice one vikoo..

11 02 2009
Anuji

Hi, checkout this when you get sometime.

check this: if u have not seen.
http://anujis.blogspot.com/2009/01/phd-phd.html

Thanks, 🙂

3 01 2011
2010 in review « Writings on My Wall

[…] About a Girl October 2008 11 comments […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s