Sunday, 20 August 2017

Fake Revolutionary

Ayesha Ansari was very nervous.
She had just five minutes left for her interview to start but she couldn't find the right address. Lost, she stopped in the mysterious corridors of JNU to ask the address.
Nobody paid any attention to her. All ignored. She was bewildered and confused. Wondered why?
All were talking in English but the accent was more confusing. It was neither English nor Bihari, Bengali, Hindi, English and what not. All mixed and with twenty-five per cent really good English.
‘Common room…please guide? I have to attend the interview…I am from OBC
/minority/backward region category. Where is the common room?' She almost cried.
 ‘Where are you from, girl?' asked a girl with uncombed hair, dirty jeans, cotton kurta, and a cigarette in mouth.
 ‘Me Ayesh Ansari from Jalmahal, Bengal.' 
The girl laughed. She wanted to show that she was modern and advance and she was a rustic village girl. 
‘What are you interviewing for? Guard or peon?' The ill mannered soiled clothed girl again laughed.
Ayesha Ansari did not reply as she did not want to spoil her interview. She and all seemed to be political activists. Another girl, tall and slim had some pity for her and replied, ‘Take a right turns at the multi story building and you will see there a ‘Q' for interviews. 
‘Thank you,' she said very coolly.
‘The sign board is in English not in Bengali!' the girl took a long puff and muttered.
Her friends pulled her and whispered some nasty things about her.
It was the first interview of Ayesha Ansari's life. Four old men sat opposite to her. She could not understand whether they were professors or migrants of some drought hit areas.
Uncombed dishevelled hair, floating beard, dirty trim fit jeans, long dirty kurta. One of them was puffing a cigar and two others were taking black tea. She was taken aback by their mannerism. 
 She had a different notion about the graceful attrite of professors.
 She was taught to wish people before an interview. ‘Pranam, sir.'
 ‘We are four here,' retorted the man sitting in the middle chair. He was around sixty years old, wore thick glasses and a loose jacket.
They all unitedly smiled at me in sarcasm. It was the English-class-to-Indian-class smile. The smile of superiority and arrogance that she wished them in Indian sanskaras.
‘Pranam,' Prof. Mukherjee said tersely. 
‘Directly from village to Delhi,' good break. Said Prof.Mandal, 
‘OBC, minority, woman and the backward region category,' said Prof.Siddiqi.
‘Dada Sunil Gangoupadhaya should be here to interview her,' all laughed together.
‘Her category and backward region are her final merit,' said the Prof. Mukherjee. 
‘OBC, minority, woman, backward region category, Jalmahal Bengal,' asked Prof.Siddiqi, scrutinizing through her file.
‘Yes sir,' she was bewildered by their response.
‘Can't you speak a full sentence?' Prof.Yadav said in a rude voice.
‘Yes, yes, but I am afraid due to your high scholarship,' she said meekly.
‘So…why you want to join JNU?'
There was hushed silence. All looked at her like wolfs.
‘I want a good university, good city and scholarly environment for my future,' she replied in a wavering voice.
All smiled at her answer.
‘What is good about JNU and Delhi?' Asked Prof. Mukherjee.  
It was enough for her in English. She switched to Hindi. She was not comfortable in English. They will laugh on her English and she was sure to be rejected by them.
‘This University has a big name in Bihar, Bengal, Odisha and Jharkhand etc., states,' she said.
‘Can't you speak English?' Said Prof.Mandal.   
She observed her slip-up on their smiling faces. She had said it because she was more at home in Hindi. But here the panel was more interested in showing their wrong accent English rather than knowing her correct Hindi.
‘Prof. Siddiqi even raised a question, how did she get a call for the interview?' 
Prof. Yadav perhaps realized her tension and nervousness and said to her ‘JNU desists Hindi as the medium of instruction.'
With her own mother tongue Hindi, she felt very panicky. Now she was trying to find out the easiest way to leave that place and go back to Bengal. But suddenly one Professor Yogesh Bhardwaj entered the room.
‘Bengal se ho? He said.
She was surprised but relieved.
‘Yes, sir. Bengal.'
She wanted to touch his feet. All four English speaking revolutionaries were staring at her and looking at each other with twisted brows.  
‘Tell us about yourself and achievements.' Bhardwaj Sir said.
Seeing me nervous he spoke,' be easy and take your own time.'
 The four professors were looking at Bhardwaj Sir with contempt.
She made herself relaxed and spoke her prepared lines.
‘And you want admission in M.A. English. Why?' Asked Prof.Mandal
‘It is a very tough course. Need a lot of studies. Remarked Prof. Siddiqi.
She could not understand why they were against her?
‘I am from OBC, minority, woman and the backward region category or from a poor family will not work her.' Sarcastically uttered Prof.Siddiqi. 
‘Can I explain my point in Hindi Sir?'
All were surprised on her newly acquired confidence in Hindi.
All remained silent. She explained her point in Hindi. 
A small crowd of students, mostly seniors, had gathered around the interview rooms. New admissions always pull the students. She stretched her neck and looked at the crowd. She saw a very simple boy. Very tall and slim.
Six feet is very attractive for an Indian boy. His fair colour, sharp features, long neck, broad shoulders, long and athletic legs were enough to pull the attention of every girl. He was an applicant of the general cum merit category. He wore blue very decently stitched trousers and white shirt.
‘5% reservation for attractive looks,' a senior girl commented as he entered the interview room. All the girls there giggled but he remained unfazed as if he was used to such comments.
When he passed her, she saw his sweaty charming face from close. They made eye contact for a split second and he vibrated her heart. She was attracted towards him. It was love at first sight. She felt something deep inside her heart for him. It was the most attractive face she had ever seen in her life.
All is wrapped in destiny. He returned after few second.
‘Pen, please,' he said. She felt almost paralyzed.
She put out my pen from her bag.
‘I said pen, please,' She held the pen for an extra second. She wanted to look at his innocent face a bit longer.
She gave him the pen. He took it nervously and looked at her.
‘Good luck, speak in English with the monsters.' She said.
‘What?' He looked at her. She wished she had worn better clothes.
‘They prefer English speaking candidates.' she said. She couldn't take her eyes off him.
He caught her staring. After the interview, he walked up to Ayesha Ansari to return the pen.
‘Thanks,' he said.
‘Your pen was lucky to me. My interview was good,' he said to her.
A few girls tried to make eye contact with him but he ignored them. She wanted to speak to him more.
‘What is your good name?' She asked. 
‘Good or bad, you know but one name, Yogesh Sharma.' He said and smiled.
Yogesh! She liked his simple name.
‘Your name?' He asked. For the first time in her life, a handsome Brahmin boy has asked her name.
‘Myself Ayesha. Ayesha Ansari.'
‘From Bengal,' he said and laughed.
‘You. You?'
‘From Haridwar UP..'
He was so attractive and charming that she wanted to continue talking to him.
‘Wow, you are really good,' she said.
‘Thanks,' he said.
‘Anyway, I have to go,' he said and lifted his hand. ‘Bye, nice meeting you.'
‘Bye,' she said, although her heart didn't want it to end. 
‘Unless God blesses us both and we are both lucky,' he added and smiled.
‘Yes God will definitely bless us,' she said.
‘Yes. If he does, then hope to see you again. Else, bye forever.'
He walked away. Her heart sank. She wanted nothing more than both of them to get admission in JNU.
She stood alone in the corner of the verandah. All others had left. She saw the red brick-coloured building and forest around it where young cupids were sitting inside every bush.
‘Good Morning,' he said. His sober voice startled her. She had been scanning the university notice board.
She turned around. She had prayed for both of us to get admissions. She made it but his name was nowhere in the list.
She was very sad and shocked. She had only fifty percent but Yogesh Sharma had eight five percent. Fifty percent was selected and eighty-five percent was rejected. She never thought of this that her caste, religion and backward region will pay her so handsomely.
She joined the university but could not get a place in the hostel. One day she was roaming in a nearby colony in search of a room. She was shown a room in a flat. An inmate of the other room was a boy. She was hesitant but on her amazement, the resident was none other than Yogesh Sharma. She gave advance and took that room.
Perhaps she was in love with Yogesh. But it was useless. She could not control her feelings. Yogesh Sharma, the handsome Brahman boy, preparing for civil services and giving tuitions, most handsome boy on the earth, owner of an extraordinary intellect and speaker of mesmerizing lines and snatched her heart. 
Every day she used to go to the university and he gave tuitions to students. In the night he prepared for civil services. 
Sometimes they walked down the University roads together. He was with her for hours.
‘You made friends here?' he asked.
‘No' she said.
She could not tell him that you are her only friend here.
‘You?' She asked.
‘I am still trying to adjust,' he said. ‘I feel I don't belong here.'
‘Trust me, next year you will get admission,' she said.
Our flat was a ground floor flat. There was a small piece of land behind our flat. Yogesh was very fond of gardening. He was a lover of trees and plants. He planted red hibiscus, mango trees in the garden. Soon the small garden had lush green plants all around. She also started helping him in his hobby of gardening.
In this manner, time passes. Days, weeks, months and a year passed.
Next session started. He again applied. But again he could not get admission due to faulty admission system where merit has fewer points but caste, the backwardness of the region, gender etc., have more point. This system was a new kind of apartheid.
One fateful morning when she got up, Yogesh was not in his room. He had collected his belongings and left the flat.
She was shattered, devastated. In a moment, her world and dreams were crushed.
His phone was switched off.  Her messages were not delivered to him. She waited for him at the entrance of the flat every evening.
Their neighbours could not understand her trauma. But they all saw it, "It was the first thought that came to her as she woke up. He was gone. And, soon, this bedroom, the house in whose eastern corner it sat, and the tiny garden outside with its gnarled old red hibiscus and the half-grown mango tree they had planted together, all those would be gone as well. It was the strangest feeling ever."
After this, her personality changed. She became silent. She never missed any class. She sat on the front seats and took notes very seriously but never participated in any discussion or activity. She would sit in the flat and the garden for hours but never talked to anyone.
Sometimes she lurked on the university roads, hoping to see him again. Nights hit her hardest. She found it difficult to sleep alone. She lay on the bed where they used to sleep together. She ended up being more shattered and puzzled. She wanted to get Yogesh out of her mind but she failed.
She passed M.A. and got some jobs too. But she did not want to work in Delhi or in any big city. She got a job of a teacher in a village, Bhawanipur, Bengal. She preferred that job, where she could serve her own people and make them good citizens.
She reached the school. But she could not understand should she focus on the teaching or see the cracking plaster of ceiling.  
‘Live with self-respect. Live for others, which are how one can earn respect.' This was taught by her father.
The school was a fifty-minute walk from the main kasbah of Bhawanipur. After passing through the field, she reached the grey-and-red school building. It was very old building, perhaps not painted nor repaired for decades. This was the gift of our much hyped revolutionary comrades and secular TMC. Rains create more havoc.
The school has three classrooms and a common staff room. There was no electricity although electric poles were there. The school has no toilet. Teachers and students have to go to the field to relieve. Ayesha used bushes or the field as do all the teachers of the school.
There was no fee; even then enrollment was very low. Indians have beggars inside. Without any fee, they want all the degrees.
Imran Ansari was the most notorious boy in the school. He was hardly eighteen but appeared much bigger than his age. He belonged to a very rich and politically connected family. Both Communists and TMC leaders used to visit his father due to his grip over his community votes. Ansaris were in meat and scrap business and were doing very well.
Imran was addicted to whisky. Imran spent as much money on whisky, almost equal to the school's entire budget. Imran was very short stature but his confidence and bullying nature made Ayesha seems like a kid answering his questions. Imran's family was insanely rich and rough. He had an Urdu accent, used to wear a skull cap and lived in a Muslim ghetto.
One day he did a horrifying thing with Ayesha. He bent forward and to hold of her waist. She was too shocked to understand this. Imran lifted her. All students giggled.
A part of frustration came from her heart. Ayesha has lived with this fakeness all her life. She was like a refugee for Imran and his fellow student's cum friends.
One day Ayesha got up very early and went to relieve in the fields. When she was washing her shit and her butt in the village pond, from the other side, a voice devastated Ayesha:
‘myadama kaal skula khulbe ?' (‘Madam will the school open tomorrow?')  It was Imran.
Ayesha Ansari fainted. On regaining consciousness, she rushed to her room, collected her belongings and took the first-morning train to Haridwar to find out her true love.

N.B. In this story, all the characters, places and episode are imaginary. Any similarity, if any, will be only by chance. It should be seen as an unintentional lapse. Kindly bear this omission. 

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

How Blue is my Sapphire

I am a true Indian and a Harijan.  So are all my relatives, friends and contacts.  One happy day I gave good news to all, "I am going to Varanasi." All were happy but worried too. With congratulations, I was showered with pieces of advice.
"Varanasi-Holy Ganga! ….how lucky you are! Great?
"No, no, you would have tried to America."
"It's the same thing. Varanasi or America…Makes no difference. Success is more important…This time Varanasi…next …America! Who knows?"
Really, a big name! A big city, a lonely planet and a glamorous playground of the dark-superstitious-Hindu world.
"But beware of Pundas, Brahman, Sadhus and cheats."
"Don't go out alone on banks of river Ganga. It is full of rowdy Sadhus, pundits and cheats. "
I was surprised that why everybody was so scared of Hindu Sadhus and pundits but love Muslim Mazars and dargahs. 
In India too, I have been hearing this since I was a child. Indian model of secularism has made Muslims as the most important species. That is talking about them has become fashionable, intellectualism, humanism and above all a powerful vote bank.
Long, whitish donning skull cap, some in lungis and most of the women in burqas and in hijabs. We have all possible shades of Islam among us.
"Crazy people. They love everything Islam and Islamic. Good or bad makes no difference"
"Ha-ha, hee-hee, hoo-hoo," everybody laughed.
Mr Dior of France has created a perfume called Poison. A black bottle in the shape of half cut apple. So is Brut. Similarly Rape jeans.
All are so popular here and there too.
Whatever the trend there, it is to be followed here.
"Varanasi is a very expensive city. Where will you stay?"
"Take my niece's address. She lives in the safe township, Malviya Nagar.  You can stay with her. You can go to Knowledge Village in the morning and come back in the evening." Shall I ask if the niece is Hindu or Muslim? What a funny question! A Hindu niece will be a Hindu. 
Whatever she is, my lodging has been prearranged. Happy! Spoke to the niece, "Enquire at the Varanasi Railway Station and a cab to Malviya Nagar. Call me from there. I will come and pick you up. Telephones in Varanasi are out of order most of the time."
When everything was ready my mother gave me a golden ring studded with blue Sapphire. She said, "It will protect me from inauspicious waves and looks.
All of us live with our past. All of us allow it to shape our future. But some of us know how to shrug the past. I think that is who I am.....
Good. Tension free.
My train reached Varanasi. Big railway station. Everything was big. Big longue. Big luggage. Big sadhus and big pundits. Big women. Big enquiry board.  Visible clearly from far. But station itself was very dirty.
The first thing I did after coming out of the coach, I kissed the blue sapphire and the soil of the oldest city and oldest civilization of the world.

Carrying the big luggage on a big trolley, I crossed the big longue, reached the big enquiry counter and stood in front of a blue eyed, healthy, black glass wearing woman. I was surprised why she was wearing black glasses inside a room.  She was blind.
"When does the local train leave for Malviya Nagar?
"I don't know."
"Do you have a timetable? Information booklet?"
"I don't know."
I was shocked to see their hostile behaviour towards visitors. 
I was almost in tears. Muttered- Malviya Nagar. I was advised by my host," Take a taxi and come. It will cost you Rs.40/= Ask a policeman and get the fare fixed, otherwise, you will be cheated."
I had this choice only. At least my hotel expenses have been saved. I moved towards the taxi stand. There were so many taxis. All the drivers were in grey and whites.
I reached one of the taxis. "Malviya Nagar."
"Meter or without the meter?"
I was taken aback. Was it Varanasi or Chennai?
He has his name plate written ‘Saddam Husain.' on his shirt.
I remembered I had been advised to ask the policeman to get the fare fixed. I saw one there sitting in the booth….Shukla …! Written on his name plate.
"Beware of Brahmans. Stay away from the Brahmans."
Hey, Krishna! Protect. He was advancing towards me like Genghis Khan, the brute and inexhaustible rapist.  
"May I help you?" He asked. Tall, strong, tilak on his broad forehead. I was scared and dumbstruck. My tongue trapped. I managed to murmur, "The fare to Malviya Nagar."
"Switch on the meter," he ordered in a firm voice to the driver and me. "It will come around Rs.40/=. Okay?"
"Okay." I was happy to be released from his clutches.
He walked away. He was very decent and soft spoken. I felt like stopping him and talking…But ….beware of Brahmans.
All of us live with our past. All of us allow it to shape our future. But some of us know how to shrug the past. I think that is who I am.....
The driver was on his seat. He opened the boot of the car by pulling a knob.  I put my luggage in it. As soon as I entered the taxi, it moved. Speed was very high like the arrow of Arjun's Gandiv. I was on the cloud nine although a little nervous. Outside it was hot, but inside the taxi it was cool. The temperature was comfortable. I closed my eyes to take a small nap. I heard the driver's voice.
"Where do you have to go Madam?"
"Malviya Nagar."
"Any idea, where's that?"
"I don't know. Wait; Let me see it on the map." As I was seeing the map, the meter clicked Rs.50/=. 
"I Shouted, we have crossed Malviya Nagar. Meter is indicating Rs.50/=."
"Stupid policeman. Forty! He does not know anything. Wanted to ruin my business as I don't bribe him"
"So? Miser Indian. Get down here."
"How can I get down here in a remote forest?"
"I have to go to Malviya Nagar."
"It will cost you near about 70 to 80 rupees." 
"Whatever. I have to go there. Move. Signboards may give us some clue. I also tried to find out on the map."
I kissed my blue sapphire.
"Malviya Nagar. Malviya Nagar. " I jumped with joy.
"Street? Block, building, number?"
"Raja Harish Chandra Road, Amrapali Towers, B-Blok, Flat No.101.
Oh God, Jai Hanuman, Here Krishna Here Ram, Om Namah Shivaya, please bless me and help me.
The driver got down in front of a tall building.
"This is your address."
"This one?" Totally abandoned type. Few Mazars near by. On the other side was a forest. Totally dark. 
I went into the building campus. There was a temple near the entrance. Some sadhus and pundits were busy in some puja and chanting holy mantras.
Taxi driver muttered something.
I heard, "Hindu bitch."
Who? Where? Or me? There was no one. So am I a bitch? Oh Krishna! Protect me.
In a split second rape of Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Nigeria etc., danced in my mind. 
I shouted, "The policeman has the number of your car. Take me to the proper address."
He laughed at me.
"Listen, listen. The policeman is our brother and a local. He will not help you against us."
I was taken aback. In India, Muslims are treated like VIPs. But here they are naming me as a bitch. What a great bond? Actually, nobody cares for Hindus and Indians.
A whistle thud and a guard was standing in front of me.
He was like a demon. Tall, strong, tilak on his broad forehead, moustache, and blue eyed. He laughed at me.
"Yes, madam. Why are you disturbing us here?"
I was shocked at his behaviour. I was just enquiring about the right address only and he was blaming me of disturbing him.
"Please help me. I have to go to Raja Harish Chandra Road, Amrapali Towers.
Asking a Brahman for help!... What is this?
He appeared more dangerous.
Here Krishna, Here Ram.
I kissed my blue sapphire ring.
The demon opened the door of the car and sat next to me. I minimized myself into the corner. He roared, "Driver."
The driver came running and puffing.
"Raja Harish Chandra Road, Amrapali Towers. No ifs and buts"
My blood froze. The driver became pale. He was hurling abuses some time in English, some time in their local dialects.
"Donkey, bastard, pig…!
On his name plate was written, Ram Kumar Mishra.
We reached "Raja Harish Chandra Road, Amrapali Towers.
The taxi stopped. I got down.
"Open the boot," I shouted.
The driver also got down. He was a middle aged man.
"Open the boot."
"Give me the money first."
"I will give you the fare but first give my luggage."
"No first give the money. Educated Hindu women run away without paying."
I was shocked and surprised. How poorly they think of educated Hindu women?
"I was told that taxi drivers like you ran away with luggage as well as money. Open the boot take out my luggage and take your money."
Ultimately again Ram Kumar Mishra roared,"Give her luggage. Don't talk much. I am here."
Blue sapphire – strong skull capped man and women passed by. All were staring at me.
At last, both I and my luggage were safe.
I called the niece and she took me to her small flat. I told her about my experience. "These taxi driver scoundrels are all cheating and consider we educated Hindu girls as second-grade citizens."
Luckily I have got a shelter so easily. I enjoyed my first night with this unknown niece of my neighbour. Next day I strolled in the campus of the building. All very imposing, huge and luxurious houses. Long, bright foreign made cars.
The niece said,"This is very good, posh and safe colony. No local or non-Hindu live here. All are outsiders. Some are Europeans. So no tension, no crime. Women are very safe here.
I spent the next night with her. The next morning I took a train to Knowledge Village where I was appointed as an academic executive in a university. My job would take the full day. I would have to find out a room near my workplace.
The flat of the niece was near the ghetto of Muslims where the majority of the people were in silk and cloth business.
The train arrived. The gate of the coach was quite wide. I was feeling clumsy and uncomfortable…
A large number of locals entered the coach in like rowdies.
I saw four empty seats. I tried to occupy one. The table cum board which had been locked with the seat suddenly opened and hit my hips.
"We are playing chess here," a well built, fair complexioned man said. He had opened the table without any warning. On two other seats were big sized men. One seat was empty. People in the coach were laughing at me. They were all rich people wearing expensive clothes and carrying briefcases. They all must be going to markets, every morning and returning together in the evening. They must be playing chess every day. But the same thing could have been said politely. They were all local weavers except me. "Are all locals as uncivilized?"
I cursed myself. Coward! Coward Hindu woman. I felt like crying. Humiliation, anger, frustration, shame, self-condemnation and what not. They cannot defeat me in arguments. Academically I was much higher. Hindus are treated so badly everywhere.
I took the cheapest room near the Knowledge Park. The hotel has strange rules. They made me first deposit entire amount. If I leave the hotel earlier,
"Take back your money when you leave," came a terse reply. I have no reply. We are the third class citizen.
I kissed my blue sapphire to get some solace.
Leaving my suitcase in the room, I went out for a walk. It was very hot outside. But I wanted to see the city. I also ate a tasteless burger and drank coffee.
Fast and furious winds started blowing. I rushed towards the hotel. I put an overcoat to protect my sari. The winds did not stop. They became more furious. The shade by the road side was crowded with the people waiting for the taxis. Taxi drivers were giving preference to locals and people from ghettos. This was another shock. In India, there is racism in everything.  After an hour I got a cab and reached the hotel.
Everybody was surprised. How could I reach on time in this weather otherwise,"Indians are never on time."
Next day again the weather was very bad and taxis were asking four times the amount. Very difficult situation. Almost impossible to reach the office. It was raining very heavily now. My umbrella turned inside out. I was very badly tired. "Taxi" I yelled.
Nobody stopped. I was running to reach on time. I requested a policeman. But he was also of no help. I reached a tourist office. The attendant told me," You cannot sit here. Office time is over, so I have to lock the office."  On his name plate was written Amar Paswan.
The weather was very cruel.
My skin was burning and my head was spinning. Only I remained there in the storm like King Lear, plunging, drowning, and floating in the storm.
I could not reach my office nor to my hotel.
I saw a temple nearby. I rushed inside. I saw a small cabin type shelter. I sat there on the ground. There I got respite from rain and storm.
I have just lain down…I removed my wet sari…went off to sleep.
"Wake up, get up!"
"Let me sleep."
"It is morning. Wake up."
I opened my eyes. A very smart, fair skinned and sharp featured young man was shaking me.
I screamed loudly.
He moved back, shocked and scared.
I got up.
He came near me with a glass of hot milk.
"Thank Baba Vishwanath, you are alive."
Tears dripped down my cheeks.
"Why did you come here?"
"I could not get any taxi and there were heavy rain and storm outside."
"Where do you have to go?"
"Raja Harish Chandra Road, Amrapali Towers, B-Blok, Flat No.101."
I tried to get up. I faltered. He lifted me by holding my hand. Again I stumbled. He put his hand around my waist and lifted me. I did not resist, rather I liked his touch.
"Are you drunk or drug addict?"
"No. I am tired and hungry."
He touched my forehead and hand.
"You have fear."
"May be! I am feeling very weak and exhausted."
"Do you have disprin or paracetamol with you?"
He gave a call to someone and told that Pundit Vishnu Prasad Bhardwaj was speaking. He ordered to bring disprin or paracetamol tablets.
He took me to his room. I lied down on his bed. A boy brought the medicines. He gave the money. He gave me biscuits to eat before medicines. He dissolved the disprin in water and gave me. I took the paracetamol with the milk. I was feeling much better.
After some time he brought two plates of aloo-puris. We both ate breakfast together and took tea.
"What is the time?" I asked.
"Now I have to leave."
"I won't let you go alone."
He gripped my hand firmly.
"Taxi and auto drivers, rickshaw pullers, beggars, drug addicts, juggle and ghetto dwellers, etc., may cheat you or rob you."
"I feel scared."
"Of Pundit Vishnu Prasad Bhardwaj? Then run away."
He removed his hand. This time I gripped it more tightly.
I was amazed but happy that a Brahman priest is so kind and caring for a Harijan woman.
He took me to the taxi stand and asked the driver to drop me at my hotel and not to charge any money. I was surprised the respect he had in the mind of the people.
I came back to my hotel room and removed my dirty clothes…lay down on the bed crying…and slept.
I was wrong.
Yes. Brahman. Male. And me?
Female. Hindu.. Harijan. Alone
I took Disprin. The hotel was full of people. But all were tired. Some were Sheikhs, some foreigners, a few lean and thin Indians. But all of them were tired and exhausted.
On the next morning, I got up. Absolutely happy and tension free. I kissed my blue sapphire. I checked out the room, collected my luggage, handed over the keys, and took my money back. 
I finished my coffee. Ate the pizza, swallowed the disprin again and called the cab.
Pundit Vishnu Prasad Bhardwaj cured a sick worm. I failed but Pundit Vishnu Prasad Bhardwaj had won.
I reached the temple. Pundit Vishnu Prasad Bhardwaj received me and alighted my luggage.
"I will live here permanently."
Pundit Vishnu Prasad Bhardwaj smiled, gripped my hand and took me to his room.
I kissed my blue sapphire.