Later that night, Arnab was pretty grave! He didn’t come out from his study even though it was past eleven. Arunima on the other hand was tossing and turning in bed. She was not at peace. Arnab’s behavior was very disturbing. “How is my darling honey bun? Come on see what I have got for you”, this was repeatedly ringing in Arunima’s ears. She recalled how lovingly Arnab calls out to Pihu, his best friend’s daughter. “Arnab has always loved children”, she thought aloud. “But then why this behavior?? Binoy doesn’t seem to be the kind to pester him. What, then is so disturbing for him?? He is not even discussing stuff with me. . . we have always sorted our differences. But..!!” “I don’t think that I can blame Arnab. After all, he doesn’t know what it feels like when a homeless gets a home! He had had the luxury of residing with his parents and siblings, but not many are that fortunate.”
Arunima was almost in tears as she recalled the first time she was brought home by Dr. Raman Kumar. Dr. Raman was a renowned English professor of IND University. Twenty-years back, a super cyclone had left Arunima homeless. She was only four then! Life seemed dark and cruel to her. One day she had wandered off from the relief camp and landed up in a nearby tea stall where Dr. Raman was happily sipping his tea. Arunima went beside him and pulled his kurta. Dr. Raman was about to ignore but the innocent look on Arunima’s face entangled him and he could not help but start interacting with her.
Arunima was in deep trauma as she had lost everything – her parents, her house, her toys, everything was swept off!! She was unable to verbally interact with the professor. All she could do was point out towards the relief camp with a teary face. Dr. Raman followed her direction and he learned that she had wandered from the relief camp. He immediately went to the officers-in-charge and handed over little Arunima to them. Then he turned to leave. But he could not leave, he kept staring at Arunima who stared back with teary eyes.
Dr. Raman didn’t know till then that Arunima had lost her parents. He met those officers again and enquired of her parents with the intent of offering some financial help. But he was dumbfounded to learn that the little girl was now an orphan. Without a second thought he proposed that he wanted to take Arunima with him. But the officers were reluctant. After some discussion, it was agreed that Dr. Raman needed to complete certain legal formalities for adopting the little girl. Only then could he have her.
The next morning, Dr. Raman along with his wife and lawyer arrived at the camp with the required documents and brought Arunima to his home! It was Professor Raman who had named the little girl as Arunima. The Professor and his wife had no children. When Arunima entered their lives, their joy knew no bounds. They gave her their very best in every way. Arunima was equally grateful and thanked God for blessing her with such a wonderful family. “Whatever I am today is because of Papa and Mumma. But Arnab doesn’t even know this. I think I should tell him. I don’t know how he will react. But yes I will tell Arnab, maybe he will have a change of heart. Maybe he wont be hostile towards Binoy.” With much anticipation, Arunima decided to discuss the matter with Arnab.
Arnab was fuming in his study! “How will I make her understand?? What sort of a dumb woman is she?? There are many homeless children in the world. Does that mean we will bring them home?? There are orphanages, NGOs, many schemes of the Government – let them handle!! But no! She wants to be a savior for everyone! But, its not her fault actually!! How will she know how dangerous they are?? She has such a wonderful family, its beyond her understanding. She has no idea about their cruel and evil intentions.”
Arnab took a walk down the memory lane with a heavy heart. Those days when Arnab was studying in boarding school, his dad Lt. Col. Abhijeet Singh Retired from the Army. Arnab was the only child. Without him, house was completely empty. So his father had brought home Vicky, his martyred friend’s son. When Arnab finally finished his 12th, he returned home and was greeted by Vicky. Although he didn’t like him initially, but later he liked to have a friend and a partner in every fun and crime. But who knew the evil intentions of Vicky!
Soon after Arnab returned home, Vicky began his tantrums, which was a huge surprise for Arnab’s parents. But no one objected and thought that may be it was normal for his age. One day they had been to play cricket and on the way to the playground Vicky pushed Arnab and he fell rolling down the cliff. Few friends saw this and immediately called their coach. When they went down, Arnab was nowhere to be found. They immediately called his parents. Arnab’s parents arrived and were shocked to learn the truth. They didn’t know how to react. With much difficulty Arnab was retrieved from a nearby bush, lying in a pool of blood and was rushed to a hospital.
Meanwhile Vicky, was nowhere to be found. They searched for him but he was not to be found. Doctors hesitated to take up Arnab’s case as it was a case of accident and they wanted police intervention. Arnab’s dad contacted police and also some army officers to get hold of Vicky. Meanwhile the doctor announced that Arnab was in coma!! Arnab’s parents were shocked!! They were traumatized. How could Vicky do this? He was only seventeen. “We gave so much love but this is what he gave in return”, thought Arnab’s father.
In a while, Arnab’s dad got the message that Vicky was found and he had told in his statement that he wanted the entire property of Arnab’s parents and since Arnab was an obstruction in his way, he wanted to remove him!! His own statement landed him in trouble and he was sent to juvenile home!! Arnab recovered from coma after forty-eight days. It took quite some time for him to recover completely as he was severely injured.
Arnab recalled these, while staring at his scar on the right knee. He balled his hands into his fists, in anger. He never really wanted to recall all this, but the very sight of Binoy reminded him of Vicky. He wanted to convey his feelings to Arunima. Without a second thought he threw his pen and rushed towards their bedroom.
Arunima was also on her way towards Arnab’s study. Both were moving hastily with a sense of urgency. “Ooouucchhh, my head!!!” shrieked Arnab. It was followed by a thud sound which startled Arnab to the core!! “My goodness, is it a thief??”, muttered Arnab in a mysterious tone. He quietly switched on the torch and flashed the light on the other person’s face to get hold of him/her. “Aaaahhhhhh!!!”, screamed Arunima and shoved off his hand, “get off my feet” she groaned!!
Arnab was even more startled to find it was Arunima and not a thief. Arunima was equally taken aback to find Arnab flashing the torch at her. Both realized that they had awkwardly dashed into each other. They were trying hard to control their smiles and focus on their bruised head and feet. Arnab settled himself and switched on the lights. “What were you doing here??”, he asked Arunima in a sharp tone. “I…I wanted to speak to you”, fumbled Arunima, still caressing her feet. Without replying anything, he helped Arunima get on feet and turned to leave. Arunima grabbed his hands and asked, “and what were you doing here??” Arnab didn’t make any eye contact. But before he could reply, Arunima said, “finish up your work and get some sleep. Remember you have an important meeting tomorrow.”
Arunima retired to bed thinking how to approach Arnab and Arnab was on the other hand was also thinking the same.