Meenal’s Visit to Her Village
The last time Meenal went to her village she vividly remembered meeting her grandmother. She had laid her head on her grandmother’s lap while they were sitting on the swing in the verandah. She loved to hear stories of the village and how the brave villagers had valiantly defended the village against dacoits and wild animals. She often wondered if the simple and ignorant looking villagers were really that brave. Grandma confirmed her belief. Yes. Most of them had not gone to school and yes they were simple. But they weren’t ignorant. They knew the ways of the village and the law of the jungle. Grandma believed that education makes you cowardly. Educated people look for excuses to run away from conflict.
Meenal wanted to prove that she was brave too. This time, during her visit to the village she went to Ramesh’s house. Ramesh had allegedly killed his wife in a fit of rage.
Ramesh and his wife Daksha used to fight all the time. Ramesh used to drink a lot and Daksha used to reprimand him when he came home from the local country liquor bar. This would lead to arguments and abuses most of the time. Last year, while everyone was celebrating Diwali in the village square, Daksha was burnt alive in the house. Apparently she had been cooking and her saree had caught fire. There had been no one to help her. The whole village suspected Ramesh to be a murderer. No one had seen him either at the celebrations or at the country liquor bar. He insisted he was at the bar since afternoon and lying around the woods, passed out, due to drinking. Unfortunately, there was no proof or eye-witness. So, the police had let Ramesh go.
Meenal was very angry with the villagers. How could they let Ramesh continue as normal. If he had killed Daksha, then it was a premeditated murder. In other words, Ramesh must have planned this gruesome murder meticulously. He had seized the opportunity on Diwali, since he knew the village folks will be celebrating the festival at the village square. It was not possible for a person to get burnt so easily, so soon. Daksha’s cries for help may have been drowned in the noise of crackers.
Meenal walked along the path to Ramesh’s house. With every step she took fear was sneaking up on her. Suddenly, she was not feeling so brave. She had heard stories from the villagers and grandma that Daksha roamed the streets around the house. She used to call to passersby and ask for help. Nobody knew what she wanted because people would usually flee.
Meenal was very near the house now. She could see it beyond the small patch of mud. A small house with terracotta tiled roof. The house itself looked barren, dead and abandoned, as if no one lived there now. The windows were broken and beyond the dirty torn curtains there was hardly anything to see. Evening was approaching and the sun hard started it’s journey to the horizon. Meenal froze in her tracks. She could have been mistaken, but she thought she heard her name being whispered. “Meenal” the voice said. Meenal turned around towards the direction the voice came. There was a shadow lurking there.
Meenal’s visit to her village Words and phrases to remember.
way of the village
law of the jungle