Monday, 1 December 2014

"Our Rano dances so well. Beta show uncle and aunty your dance" her mother gushed, when the guests had come over for the dinner.
And she happily performed the few steps that she had learnt from the latest Madhuri Dixits dance, when she went to watch the television at the neighbours place.
She just wished she was rich. Not because she had dreamt of luxuries, but coz she had always wanted to have a dance teacher.
That day the guests actually appreciated her.
"You dance really well Rano" said the dark one.
"I can help you, if you want to learn it better by professionals" offered the bald gentleman.
She willingly ran towards him and sat in his laps.
"Uncle take me to the teacher. I want to learn. I wanna become a dancer. Look I learnt this all by myself"
She danced gracefully.
"Hamari Rano ko dancer banna hai! Hum bitiya ko zarur nachaenge" replied his uncle.
She happily sang herself to her room planning of how would she be now. How good a dancer would she become.
Meanwhile, the guests and her parents had a talk about taking Rano to Mumbai for her dance classes. Her father agreed as the person offering was no one other than his own cousin brother.
"Bhaiya, do not worry. We'll keep her safe. And then we'll bring her to meet you people every 6months. You have my number know. You can call me anytime whenever you feel like talking to her".
"Its not about that Chotu. Its just that we are poor . We have never been to such big cities. I fear the city would gulp her down. And I have no money to offer" the worried father said.
"You need not worry about that Bhaiya. She is even my daughter. Trust me. This village won't appriciate her talent. She'll soon be back as a professional dancer."
Of all the conversation, it was decided that the 12 year illitrate girl would be going to Mumbai in next three days.
It was only her mother who wasn't in the favour of the decision.
She kept on repeating "I don't find it safe. Your brother did not offer any help when we asked for money to send her to the school. And all of a sudden he is being too good. What harm is it if she works like us, and earns her meal. What if our village is a small one. Atleast it lets us survive. And then Mumbai is too far. We can not even afford to go and meet her."
"Everything would be fine Suman. Chotu has changed. He is a nice man. He'll take care of our Rano."
Three days later Rano wore her favourite yellow frock that her mother had stitched. She carried a small 'Jhola' in which she had kept the two frocks that she had and her only doll. She was glad. She couldn't wait any longer for her uncle to arrive. The past two days were no less than a year to her. She sat on the footsteps, her hair tied in a pony, waiting for him to come and take her closer to her dream. Her mother sat on the 'charpayi' looking at her daughter. She couldn't believe that she was going this far from her. She hadn't ever lived without her a single day. Tears rolled down her eyes.
She was too young to understand this.
Her father returned from the field early that day to see her off.
It was 5 hours later, when Rano was fast asleep on the doorsteps that her uncle arrived. She instantly woke up when she heard the cars horn. She quickly ran towards him .
"I was waiting for you uncle". Chalo, lets go. We'll miss the train otherwise.
She abruptly waved gudbye to her parents.
Before leaving, she handed over her doll to her mother asking her to hug her every time she misses her.
The family cried.
Rano sat in the car and the car moved away. The parents stood there. Crying at their only childs departure. But they knew she would be happier there.
Its 8 years now. Rano hasn't returned. No calls, no contacts. Not even her uncle showed up ever again. The poor parents can not afford to go and look for her. Her father still calls at her uncles number everyday. It switched off since the day he left with his daughter.
Her mother sits with the doll, singing lullabies to it. No tears roll down now from her eyes. She is mentally sick. The fathers heart still believes that Rano would return. He prays for the same every day.
He refuses to agree that Rano was the same girl whom the neighbours told they read about in the newspaper.
She was brutally raped and murdered a week later after she left.

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