The stirrings of first love are a fantastic experience. Those who have experienced, and I believe most of you have, know what I mean. The intense desire to see the person again and again, to talk to others about him or her, to write his name secretly, to meet her secretly, may be….may be being able to hold hands. The innocence of first love is often lost with it. So, today I will tell you about the love story of Maya and Lalit.
Maya and Lalit study in class 8th of ABCD government school.It is like any school near any basti. All the children in the school are from the same basti. So, they are all known to each other, have grown up together.
This is a huge basti. It has many castes living together: Khatik, banjara, kalbeliya, rangaswami, rajputs, brahmins and many many more. Mostly the areas in the basti are separated as to which caste will leave where. So, basically there are sections of kalbeliyas and banjaras and rangaswamis and khatiks. The number of “higher caste” households are limited in number and more scattered.
Children play together and fight together. Adults gossip together and fight together. Fighting is as much a part of life as anything else. Fights between children is often physical but rarely lasting. But the fights between young adults if leads to maarpeet then it is hardly forgotten. The rounds of revenge-taking goes on for quiet a long time.
In this scenario Maya Banjara fell in love with Lalit Kalbeliya. They study in the same class and their houses are not very off. He used to some times pass chits of paper with jokes written on them, she and her friends would smile..sometimes laugh too. This had led to many a scoldings for Maya, but then scolding from teachers is a part of being in school, who doesn’t get it.
Some days when Lalit had some money he would buy small chocolates for her, they often ate them together while walking home and sometimes she hid them and ate at night.
Oh and last monday he had written an entire film song on a piece of paper, yes the same Lalit who rarely completes his homework had learnt and written an entire song! And the love letter that he had written to her. It was full of all those nice lines written behind the autos in cities. Maya and her friends had enjoyed reading it for many days.
Yesterday when the school bell rang, Lalit did not leave his seat. Maya and her friends saw this. As they came out of the school, they again noticed from the window that he was still in the classroom.
“Come on Maya, you should go back and talk to him”, said Pooja.
“you think I should? but what if somebody sees and complains to my mother”, Maya, who was dying to go inside said.
“Don’t worry we are standing here, you go in talk to him and run back”, Mahima her cousin sister said.
Maya went back to meet Lalit.
“What happened, why are you still here? why aren’t you going home?”
“I wanted to meet you…alone”
“Why?” Maya was smiling, she also has an idea why a boyfriend and girlfriend need to meet alone.
Lalit came forward and held her hands. What an electric current went through both their bodies. They were both a little scared, excited and convinced that this is the right thing to do.
Suddenly the door outside the room was locked by somebody. It seems Govind, Lalu and Mahendra were laughing loudly. Lalit started abusing, there were return abuses from outside.
“Pooja-Mahima, come inside fast” Maya shouted. Though she was a little scared but she knew that when she gets out she would give a tight slap to all three of them, useless buggers.
Even before her friends could come, they had opened the door. Lalit started fighting them. As all four boys were intertwined in the brawl, Maya thought it wise just to slip out and reach home on time. It was a close escape. She reached home on time and everything was ordinary at home when her mother came home half hour later.
Next day Maya, Mahima and Pooja walked to school together. Maya saw Govind standing on the school gate and giggling.
“Just shut your mouth and go inside, otherwise I will give you such a tight slap that you wouldn’t be able to get up for two days”, Maya shouted as she entered the school.
Govind laughed it out loudly.
Just before the lunch break Sadhna madam called Maya to the staff room.
What a scene! Her mother, Sadhna madam, Aruna Madam, Shaheen madam were all there. Something is definitely not right.
“What happened yesterday, Mahima?” Sadhna Madam asked.
“Nothing Ma’am, really”
“What were you doing in the room with Lalit?”
This time Maya kept quiet
“Madam, I was asking her something about the work being done in the last month, as I was absent and Govind and Lalu just came and closed the door from outside, and when I shouted, they opened in a minute madam. Nothing happened” Govind pitched in.
“Why couldn’t you ask her in the school time, huh?” Shaheen madam “And have you become so old to be interested in these things?”
“Even a minute is enough ma’am to ruin the name” the mother said and then she started crying.
“Arre nahi, nothing has happened, why are you so worried, they are young children” Aruna madam tried to hush matters.
“Earlier also there have been complaints about her” the mother said in between the sobs.”She goes out in the evenings, it must be for this boy only”
Some, children had by now started to come to observe the scene.
“Go from here” shouted Sadhna madam.
“Madam, I will take her from the school only, there is no point in education at such a cost”
“Madam, we were only talking” Lalit made a small attempt.
“What was the talk about” Aruna madam asked.
“Yes, tell us, what was so important to talk about” Shaheen madam said.
“Friendship, is it?” Sadhna madam now intervened, “I have many a times scolded both of them”
“you are too old,huh, Maya?” Aruna Madam
“We are not tired of scolding them”
“He is an intelligent boy, he is good n studies also”
Govind – “Madam, I have not done anything”
“But what was the need to talk when the school got over?”
“And that too inside the class?”
“Answer this Maya?”
“Say something now, open your mouth” saying this the mother stood up and slapped her.
“Say something, why aren’t you speaking” and a volley of of slaps. She pushed her on the floor and kept hitting. The teachers were all silent for some time.
“I will kill you, if you do these things”
“Arre, they are children, why are you getting so emotional” Sadhna Madam, finally thought of intervening.
“They are young children Behen ji, they do not have any sense as of now” Shaheen madam.
“If, they will go on this line now madam, they will never be able to improve”
“They will improve don’t worry”
Aruna Madam-“Maya now we don’t have to do any such thing again”
“Say something to madam now, where is your tongue?” saying this the mother gave such a heavy blow that she fell again and the sleeve of her kurta came off.
Mother- “If I tell your father, he will definitely kill you”
Sadhna madam- “Easy behen ji, easy”
“Beta, aren’t you too young, just look at your mother”
“Your mother is so troubled, think of how much she does for you”
“Where all she goes and does work”
“And Govind, for your mother, you are the eldest, your father is not there, it is all your responsibility. Aren’t you sensible?”
“Madam, whatever was the matter, I have told you” said Lalit
“Then what were you doing inside?”
“We did nothing madam”
“Then why did they close the door?” the mother asked. She was troubled, crying and felt that probably her and her daughters name has already been maligned for ever. She wished to understand the situation, to come to terms with why her daughter was behaving like this, was she of bad character?
“What do I do, if somebody closest door, as soon as it was opened, I came out”
Aruna Madam- “Is that why Govind has not come today?”
Govind- “Madam, I gave him a mukka in his stomach and told him that I would call my mother to school today, thats why he may not have come today?”
“Then why did you not tell me anything since the morning?” Sadhna asked. She was troubled by the whole thing but above all, she was unable to understand how Lalit, such a good boy otherwise and also intelligent in studies can be involved in something like this.
“What do I do now madam?” mother was crying profusely, and Maya was wondering whether something so bad had really happened.
“Behen ji, the other boy tricked them and closed the door, its not that the got locked in the room by choice” Shaheen madam said.
“Madam, I had seen shayari written in her copy the other day, they must have written those shayari in the school itself. I am not educated, but I asked her sister to read them to me.”
“What Maya, are we old enough to be engaging in Shayari?” Aruna Madam said, she teaches class 1 and 2. She had taught Maya and Lalit too and was wondering when did they grow so old?
“Madam, I am forty years old, I have never engaged in any of these things.
“you come home, I will burn you, so that you learn a lesson, the moment you will go to the toilet, then I will come and burn you, you wait and watch. I don’t want such children”
“Behen ji, don’t say all this”
“ya, we also take care a lot at school, whenever anybody goes to toilet, we keep an eye, who is taking how long.”
“In today’s world you have to be careful all the time”
“Behen ji, you keep her home only, let her do the utensils and her senses will come back.”
“yes, I think it is right, she should sit at home and leave studies.”
Maya had now started sobbing and was wondering, why was it only her fault. Why was everyone thinking of making her sit at home, why not Govind and also why not Lalit?
So, what do you think, who has decided that the punishment needs to be meted out to Maya, the mother, teachers, community or some one else? Share your thoughts on what may happen next too.