CHAPTER 2: ‘SORRY… WRONG NUMBER’
“WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE?!”, Anirudh bellowed. “Is that a way to treat a young girl?! Is this how you treat a HUMAN?! WHAT IS THIS INHUMANITY?!”, he raged.
“Mister, you don’t know the deeds of this girl. She is characterless. This girl seduced my husband. Tried to get close to him. And then, she falsely accused him. And now, my husband is in jail on charges of inappropriate behaviour with a minor. For a whole freaking year!”, the woman shot back.
“Please! She’s literally a kid! Why would she do that?! And, suppose she even did… ‘seduce’ your husband, as you say, then isn’t it equally your husband’s fault that he let himself be seduced?! She wasn’t forcing herself upon him, was she?! Yeah?! Tell me?!”, Anirudh said, defending the girl.
“Hey! I didn’t do anything. Your first assumption was correct. Not the second one! I hadn’t even spared a look at that disgusting man! It was HE, who tried to touch me inappropriately. That too in a crowded marketplace! A crowded marketplace! Seriously? How can some people think about these things in the midst of such stuffy crowded places?! So should I not complain against him?”, said Bondita.
Anirudh looked at the girl. He could see that she had spirit. She was independent and fearless. Because many would ignore such kind of immoral actions, unless very serious. But she had resisted and acted quickly.
To be honest, he was very much impressed by that.
He watched her argue with the woman.
As the woman tried to slap Bondita, Anirudh’s booming voice interrupted her.
“STOP IT! You want to create a scene? Do that in your house! Don’t you know the consequences of physical abuse, that too on a minor?!”, he shouted.
The woman finally stopped. Yet, her eyes were filled with madness and anger.
“What are you people still doing here? Come to see a show? You want to watch drama?! Go buy cinema tickets! Get away from here! Get away!”, Anirudh yelled, addressing the crowd.
Slowly, the people dispersed away.
Only Bondita and Anirudh were left standing on the pavement. Bondita looked at the man standing beside her. He had defended her from the lady’s accusations. And while she didn’t need his help, his presence still gave her confidence. He was a saviour. He was Rakshak Babu.
“Though I didn’t need it, thank you very much for your help and for defending me”, she said to him.
“That was my duty. The humanity inside me, couldn’t just watch you getting painted red with tomatoes, could it?”, he laughed.
Bondita puffed up her cheeks angrily.
“Sorry. I’m joking! Here, take this handkerchief and wipe your face. Where do you live? Shall I drop you home?”, he asked.
Bondita accepted the handkerchief to wipe off the remnants of the squashed tomato off her face, and said to Anirudh, “I’m perfectly capable of going home on my own, thank you very much”.
As she went away from there, she threw the dirty handkerchief on his face.
“Hey!”, Anirudh shrieked indignantly.
“Revenge is sweet, Rakshak Babu!”, Bondita said and ran off.
“No! Revenge is a rotten tomato!”, he shouted after her, but she had already disappeared.
That’s when Anirudh did a double-take. What had she called him? Rakshak Babu?
For some time, he stood there, confused. And then he too went back into his car, and continued on his way to the tennis court.
“Why do you always have to go and get yourself hurt, Bondita? Why did you fight with the woman?”, Sumati asked her daughter as she tended to her ankle injury.
“Maa, it was that crazy woman, who started it. I am not deaf and dumb, that I would act as if I didn’t hear her wrong accusations and stay silent”, Bondita replied.
“Yes, of course! When can you stay silent, Bondita? Tell me one thing. Don’t you ever get tired after being a chatterbox for the whole day?”, Bondita’s aunt asked her.
“No Maami. Why would I? I am a simple, calm and quiet girl. You are blaming me without reason”, she said.
“Hey Kaali Ma! This girl! Why do you always have to quarrel and argue?”, her aunt said to her, glaring angrily.
“Maami, first and foremost, there’s a difference between quarreling and arguing. Quarreling is…”
“Stop! Just shut up, Bondita!”, her Maami shouted at her and Bondita merely shrugged her shoulders.
“I was just giving some useful information to fill into your empty brain. Why so hyper, Maami? Just chill down!”, Bondita said, smiling like an angel.
Her aunt gaped at her, open-mouthed.
“Uhh… Dear, shall we discuss what we wanted to?”, Bondita’s maternal uncle meekly asked his wife, trying to pacify her wrath.
“Oh, yes, of course! You discuss about it. I’m listening”, she said in reply.
“Yes. So Bondita, what have you thought of our offer of joining a hostel? I don’t understand why you wouldn’t want to join it. You can continue your law studies there. Even mobile phones are allowed for a limited time period. You can be in contact with your mother. It’s a prestigious hostel. You yourself say that you are not a kid! You are responsible enough at sixteen, to take care of yourself. And its us, who are paying the fees. Where’s the problem then?”
“The problem is that I can’t leave my mother alone here”, Bondita said, stubbornly.
“Why are you still tied to your mother by the umbilical cord? We are here to take care of her, aren’t we?”, Bondita’s aunt asked her, trying hard to suppress her anger.
“Yes, exactly. That’s where the problem lies. I’m not going leave my mother in the care of two greedy wolves. And you were talking about paying for me at the hostel. I know how you are going to pay the fees. You will use a part of the money that my father left for me and Maa in his will. Nothing else!”, Bondita stated and rushed back into her room, slamming the door.
“Anirudh, I have changed my SIM card. Would you please note down the new number? When you reach home, just send me a message on WhatsApp. That’s ok with you?”, Saurav asked his childhood best friend, as they were coming out of the tennis court.
“Ok. I’ll just memorize the number. Call it out”, Anirudh replied, nodding his head.
“Ok then. But I doubt you’ll be able to memorize the number. After all, you don’t eat much almonds”, Saurav said, grinning cheekily.
“Saurav! I’m twenty-five, not seventy-five, that I won’t be able to memorize a simple phone number”, Anirudh replied, in mock anger.
And both then burst out in laughter.
When Anirudh reached home and went into his room, the first thinghe did, was, typing a message to Saurav.
‘Hey! What’s up, bro? See! I told you I can memorize a simple phone number.’
Today, her aunt and uncle’s words had hurt Bondita to the core. Was it wrong to care for your mother, whom you love so much? Why did they criticise her? Why did they want to separate her from her mother? Why did the whole world, except, of course, her mother, seem to be against her? Why her?
As she sat sulking in her room, and mulling over these things, she heard the sound of a notification pop up on her phone. She checked her phone. A message from an unknown number? And what on earth, did that message mean?
‘Hey! What’s up, bro? See! I told you I can memorize a simple phone number.’
This world was full of weirdos. Bondita rolled her eyes and started typing.
‘I really think you should start doubting your memorisation skills, since you really can’t remember a phone number. This is not your buddy. And I am a girl, sir. So… I guess it’s a wrong number.’
And she hit the send button.
‘Saurav, you joking?’, was the reply she got. What kind of a person was he?, Bondita thought, frowning.
Bondita texted back,
‘Look, I don’t know any Saurav. And I am not joking.’
‘Oops!… Wrong number. I’m really sorry ma’am. My humble apologies.’, came the reply.
Bondita smiled. This was actually a decent and humble man.
Author’s Notes (A/N): How was the chapter? Let me know your valuable suggestions and opinions in comments☺️…
So now, Anirudh and Bondita have got each other’s mobile numbers and contacted each other…. accidentally.😁… What’s going to happen next?
And by the way, the part where Bondita was sulking in her room, was something that represents teenage angst. Bondita represents a typical teenager. All teenagers go through this angsty phase. Which is why, whenever something goes wrong, they think that the whole world is against them… 😐…