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Creation and Criticism

ISSN: 2455-9687  

(A Quarterly International Peer-reviewed Refereed e-Journal

Devoted to English Language and Literature)

Vol. 05, Joint Issue 18 & 19 : July-Oct 2020

Short Story


The Victim — Katta Rajamouly


Dr Katta Rajamouly, Professor and Head, Department of English (S.H), Ganapathy Engineering College, Warangal has to his credit: The Poetry of Philip Larkin: a Critical Study, Learn English through Conversation, Grammar and Dictionary of Grammatical and Literary Terms. As a poet, he published 1080 poems in his poetry collections, Beauty in Variety, Cherished Cherries, Petals of Insight, Voices and Silences and Kavitanjali. He has short story collections: Post Gandhian Days, Thorns in the Path, Shadows of Realities and Naked Truths; and novels Rajarishi in Quest of Peace, Man-for Man, a Quest, Smart Child, and Troubles and Tribals. He can be contacted at rajamoulykatta@gmail.com.


 

An orphan-victim with tears in her eyes was at the doorstep of the most famous orphanage. She came with a baby in her arms. She had the glimpse of the most famous philanthropist, Prof. Surakshith in her presence. Her unhappiness vanished in seconds when he welcomed her. She opened her heart to narrate her long story: 

 

People do not favour all the people especially to the poverty-stricken ones. The poor feel that they are unfortunate when they look at the rich. They have to face poverty or helpless state by adopting at least some odd jobs like cleaning, sweeping, washing and so on. They are to search for their low jobs in rich houses to get on livelihood.

 

In such circumstances, an orphan youth in her teenage, Sujatha came to rich couple, Vasanth and Vasavi in search of the low job as a servant maid in their lavished house. She was shabbily dressed but looked very beautiful. The couple had the only son, Jagrith. The previous servant-maid stopped to work in their house, as she was sick.  They were in search of a new servant-maid.

 

Vasanth and Vasavi noticed Sujatha stand at the gate of their house. She started appealing to the couple when she saw them at the entrance.

 

'Sir, I am Sujatha. I am ready to work in your house as a servant maid,' said Sujatha respectfully.

 

'We are also searching for a new servant-maid... The previous servant-maid became sick...,' said Vasanth.

 

'Yes...We want a new servant-maid,' said Vasavi.

 

'Very glad...I don't have any work in any house right now... If you offer me a chance, I shall work in your house...and prove my sincerity... Sir,' said Sujatha.

 

'You seem to be sincere and active...You seem to be work-cultured and good-natured...,' said Vasanth.

 

'Absolutely true...,' said Vasavi.

 

'Where do you live?' said Vasanth.

 

'I live with my distant relative here...She is the only relative of mine with whom I stay...,' said Sujatha.

         

'Dear Vasavi, she appears to be work-cultured and good-natured... Let us appoint her in our house...Sujatha, come in... We give you two thousand rupees a month for cleaning, sweeping, washing clothes and other household chores,' said Vasanth.

 

'Okay...I do whatever you assign...I work up to your satisfaction...It is my utmost responsibility as a servant-maid,' said Sujatha.

 

Sujatha was sincere in work, human in dealing and rational in approach. She learnt how to read and write in the houses she worked. She read all whatever she found. She did not leave any waste paper without reading it. She had all common sense. If she were born, she would study highly and get a higher job. She was cute. It was not possible for her all high as she was helpless. She had all high qualities. Despite poverty, she appeared very beautiful even in simple apparel. She had glittering charm in her face. She was able to speak her vernacular very fluently. Her conversation flowed like the flow of the Ganges. She was able to frame some sentences in English now and then in her speech.

 

In her conversation, Sujatha said that she was staying with a distant relative who was also a servant-maid working in the other house. Vasanth and Vasavi hoped her to perform her duties very responsibly. They were happy to find the very good servant-maid in her to work in their house. 

 

Jagrith was the only son of the rich parents: Vasanth and Vasavi. He became unruly because they were over affectionate towards him. He frequently watched films. He was least interested in studies. He was not regular to his post-graduate study. His father, Vasanth used to advise his son to study well. He arranged a separate room with all facilities for his study.

 

Sujatha was to serve tea for him whenever he wanted to have it. Whenever he wanted, she accepted to supply tea to him. He depended on her to get most of his works done. She was very humble to him as he was the son of her master.

 

Sujatha was to serve Jagrith whenever he called her. One day he called her and taught her how to play chess.

 

'Sujatha! It is an interesting game. Vishwanath Anand taught me how to play it...Do you know who is he? You do not know...,' said Jagrith.

 

'I know him as I read about him in newspapers. He is the most famous chess player...I saw him playing on TV...' said Sujatha.

 

'Very good...Do you know how to play it...?' said Jagrith.

 

'I don't know how to play it...' said Sujatha.

 

Jagrith explained the procedure of the play. Sujatha was able to understand it easily as her mind was very sharp. Both of them played chess whenever he wanted her to play it. His parents did not mind her playing with him. When she learnt it perfectly, she was able to defeat him many times. Very rarely, he won the game while she was concentrating on the household chores. She was very happy whenever he won the game. She deliberately gave him a chance to win the game. He did not know this secret but felt jubilant. His happiness knew no bounds whenever he was successful in the game.

 

Sujatha was with Vasanth and Vasavi on the eve of all festivals. Vasavi was offering her prayers, singing a hymn. She was not able to sing perfectly as she forgot the hymn. Sujatha reminded her of the forgotten part of the hymn. She also joined her in her singing to make her singing a grand success. She surprised them by her singing so melodiously that they had never expected. That day she put on an old sari given by Vasavi.  She looked a thousand times more beautiful and more graceful in the old sari than Vasavi in her new costly costumes on the occasion.

       

Vasanth and Vasavi used to go to the theatre, as it was their regular pastime. One day they went to a theatre to watch the film of their choice. Jagrith and Sujatha were in the house. He called her for the chess play.

 

'Let us play chess...Today I am going to win the game...'said Jagrith.

 

'You can win...I am happy if you win the game. In fact as a servant maid I feel happier than you...You do not know it...,' said Sujatha.

 

'Very good...very good gesture...,' said Jagrith.

 

'I wish that you should be successful in all fields especially in your studies as my master, Vasanth always wishes you,' said Sujatha.

 

'Let us start the play...,' said Jagrith.

 

'Okay...' said Sujatha.

 

They started to play chess. Sujatha was playing in the usual manner very successfully. Jagrith was not concentrating on the game. She was likely to win the game. She indirectly gave him a chance to lead him to the stage of victory. Even then, his playing was not flawless. He did not know much of how to play the game. Even then, she tried her best giving him chances to win the game. She wanted to please him by allowing him to win the game.

 

As the game was going on, Jagrith all of a sudden, took Sujatha into his arms. He embraced her. Then Sujatha was against his attempts. She tried to escape and made all attempts for that.

 

'Don't touch me...,' said Sujatha.

 

'No... You are for me... I want to enjoy your beauty...You are more beautiful than the girl I dream of... Unfortunately you are a servant-maid...Indeed you are an angel...' said Jagrith.

 

'No...Don't spoil me...,' said Sujatha.

 

'I am not spoiling you...I am enjoying you...your unrivalled beauty...your unsurpassed charms...You are for me...All your wealth is for me alone,' said Jagrith.

 

'Don't spoil me...Please...please...I don't like this gruesome act, heinous crime and brutal treatment...,'said Sujatha.

 

Sujatha made all possible attempts to escape Jagrith's sexual harassment by crying but failed helplessly as there was none. She tried to run out of the house but she found the doors locked inside. She cried for help. Her voice did not reach anyone as the house was on the tree-grown wide campus.  When she became helpless, he raped her to satiate his lust. He did not know how to console her with suitable terms.

 

Sujatha was helplessly lying there on the floor while crying. She waited for some one to come to her rescue. He did the heinous act as his parents were away in the theatre watching the film of their choice. She felt extremely sorry and tears were flowing down from her eyes. He came to her and started a consoling conversation with her,

 

'Don't feel sorry...Nothing happens to you...I am here for you all the times...Don't tell my parents about it...' said Jagrith.

 

Sujatha cried bitterly. She did not know what to do. She felt desolate and desperate. A bird sitting on a tree on the premises was singing a melancholy song. She felt like telling the bird about what happened to her when she was helpless. She wept so bitterly that her wailing was accompanying the sorrowful song of the bird.

 

After watching the film of their choice, Vasanth and Vasavi came back in full joy. They knocked the door. Sujatha in the usual way opened the door. They came in the joyous mood talking about the movie very openly.

 

'The hero forcibly marries the heroine to deprive of her freedom to marry a boy according to her choice,' said Vasavi.

 

'He is bound to do so as he felt that she was very suitable to him in all respects...It is a fact too,' said Vasanth.

  

'She is upset as she is not prepared to be married to him,' said Vasavi.

 

'He is also in all respects suitable to her...He is rich, handsome, educated...what not. He is very much suitable to her...' said Vasanth.

 

'Let them appear to be made for each other and born for each other. She should like him to get married to him,' said Vasavi.

 

'Keeping in view some forcible circumstances, he forcibly married. He did not marry to spoil her...The film is indeed interesting... Let us have dinner...,' said Vasanth.

                         

Sujatha did not come to Jagrith to play chess with him again. He went to her to console her wailing heart whenever possible.

 

'You need not worry...You are here. I am with you life long... If any thing happens to you, I take the responsibility...,' said Jagrith going to her.

 

'I am an orphan to work in different houses as a servant-maid. I must impress all by my charming manners and work-culture in their houses...Otherwise I can't enter anybody's house to work as a servant-maid,' said Sujatha.

 

'Why do you think of your fate...your life...your future...You needn't worry a bit...You will be with me who has to look after you in all respects,' said Jagrith.

 

'How do you look after me...?'  Sujatha said doubtfully.

 

'I am going to marry you...You needn't worry,' said Jagrith.

 

Days passed as a test to Sujatha in all respects. Every time he was saying that he would marry her within a short time...He was postponing the fulfillment of his promise every time without caring for her repeated appeals. He warned her not to reveal that matter to any one.

 

To her shock, Sujatha learnt that she had become pregnant. Her distant relative who got it confirmed. It was the worst shock to her. She was cursing herself to have worked in the house where the unruly fellow, Jagrith was the only son in the house. She felt like telling his parents about her pregnancy but kept it a secret as he promised to marry her. She felt like speaking to him.

 

'I am pregnant...My pregnancy will be known to others if I go out...I am very much worried. Let us get married,' said Sujatha.

 

'Don't think of marriage now... Go for abortion...' said Jagrith.

 

'What you say is hurting me. Your promise to marry me is still safe in my heart. I am living with all hopes that you would definitely marry me. You ask me to go for abortion instead of marrying me... I can't do it...I can't live with bad reputation in my life,' said Sujatha.

 

'We secretly go to a doctor for abortion...,' said Jagrith.

 

'No... I can't do that... It is against my principle... Please understand me in all respects... Have a soft corner and good heart for an orphan,' said Sujatha.

 

'Very easy to go for abortion,' said Jagrith.

 

'It may be easy for rich people like you... It is not easy for me... I can't think of it...It is a life question... You should not for get that your replica is growing in my womb...,' said Sujatha.

 

'Don't talk of sentiments...morals...' said Jagrith.

 

'It is not a sentiment or anything, but it is my life...The foetus...the baby is growing in the womb... I can't go out and show my face to any one... Pregnancy without a marriage... how...how...how...?' said Sujatha with tears welled in her eyes.

 

'We don't need any children now...We have a long way to move and many miles to go...We needn't bear the burden of children now itself. After marriage, we can plan for children... Now you can go for abortion...Two of us can live happily...Marriage is not a problem,' said Jagrith.

 

'What are you talking...? What you talk is against my principle...Though I am an orphan, I have my own principles...I am not a prostitute...None can question my sincerity and integrity, purity and fidelity...,' said Sujatha.

 

'What nonsense are you talking...? Now-a-days abortion is common...You are very afraid of it...Why...?' said Jagrith.

 

'I don't want to be called a sinner...I am not a sinner to kill the foetus in the womb,' said Sujatha.  

 

Sujatha was in full tension for some days. She ultimately approached Jagrith's parents: Vasanth and Vasavi and narrated all what had happened to her,

 

'I am an orphan. I joined as a servant-maid in your house. I sincerely worked in your house,' said Sujatha.

 

'What happened to you...?' said the parents.

 

'Your son...Your son...Your son... Jagrith...Jagrith...'

 

'Jagrith...?'

 

'Jagrith raped me when you went to a movie... Later he solemnly promised to marry me... He vowed to convince you to get ready for my marriage with him...He went on postponing his promise to convince you, regarding my marriage with him. He is responsible for my pregnancy... the foetus of his heir that is growing in my womb...He asks me to go for abortion,' said Sujatha with tears in her eyes.

 

They heard all that and kept very quiet. Sujatha expected some good news from the parents of Jagrith and waited for it with abundant patience. Against her wishes, she heard that some news that they were secretly planning to kill her or to leave her alone in a different, distant country as they were not ready for their son's marriage with a low caste, house-to-house wandering servant maid. They felt it a prestige question and an insult to the caste institution.  They felt that just to think of their son's marriage with her was very highly insulting and shocking for them.

 

Sujata expected some danger to occur to her soon. She also read some news in all dailies about a rape case. The rape-victim in the news drew bitter criticism against her for her moving freely with the accused, the offenders.  Keeping in view all, she realized her fault in believing all people innocently. She thought that she was a deer-like innocent girl in the wild society. She was blaming herself to have been innocent.

 

Sujatha recounted all occurred to her against her wishes and felt extremely sorry for what happened. She fell into the sea of tears. She wanted to be away from the situation and many ideas coursed through her mind:

 

"I must not go for abortion as Jagrith wanted... I must not become a victim to the evil plans of Vasavi and Vasanth... I must save my child as a mother...The foetus is growing in my womb. The baby-- male or female--is the replica of Jagrith...He is its father... He is its father though he is lusty, cruel, inhuman or any other to me. He must be my husband and I must be his wife...Let him not marry me keeping in view all false grounds of caste system and status level...I don't honour the social system...

 

"Jagrith is its father...I am its mother...It is a naked truth...a ground reality...

 

"Jagrith raped me...Later he promised me to marry me but he did not keep the promise...It is his fault...When it is a fault, crime or sin, it is his fault, crime or sin but not mine. In the gruesome incident, he was like a cruel tiger to kill an innocent deer when it was hungry. The deer became a victim to its hunger...

 

"I am a pure woman...I am pure ... purer...the purest...I am not like a woman who willingly had sex with someone and married someone else...

 

"I want to live, safeguarding my baby in the womb...I have no right to kill it for my false prestige...I can live with my baby...I bring up my baby... I respect the fact that for it, Jagrith is its father. I don't hide it...

 

"I am ready to welcome him as my husband not for his highs and riches if at all he is reformed  and is ready to marry me as per his promise to marry me...I shall pardon the evil plans of his parents... " 

 

Sujatha thought of all and tried to escape from the house where she expected danger both to the baby in the womb and to her life. When she thought of the right alternative for her, she fled to some safe place and lived incognito for over a year. The people did not see her anywhere as she disappeared from the house.

 

Vasanth and Vasavi were surprised at Sujatha's disappearance from the house. When she fled, they suspected her to have stolen the valuables in the house, as she was a servant-maid. They immediately checked up all the valuable things. They found all the valuables in tact. They thought that she had left for her distant relative's house. Their son, Jagrith was happy as she was away and he felt that he got rid of the problem of marrying her, a street girl, servant-maid. As she was away, he was very excessively happy.

                    

Sujatha lived incognito for over a year. During the period, she delivered a male baby. She read about an orphanage and a school for the orphans managed by a philanthropist very successfully. She approached him for admitting her son in it. 

 

Like that, Sujatha went on to narrate her heart-moving story to the most famous philanthropist, Prof Surakshith while tears were rolling down her cheeks. Her pathetic story moved him to tears. He expressed his response:

 

'The little boy will come up successfully and shine like the sun in his life...I am here to look after him...Your son grows up to your expectations,' said Prof. Surakshith. 

             

'I thank you profusely... I am none other than Sujatha leading pathetic life... standing before you... I am Sujatha... the victim... I can never forget your hearty concern for my little son in this heartless society... Thank you very much Sir,' said Sujatha.

 

'I am extremely sorry for all that you faced in life...You are brilliant... You are able to bear in mind the barbaric act and heinous crime. You can work as a teacher in my school where you can see your son's progress with your own eyes,' said Surakshith.

 

'I am very happy now. My heart finds solace. I can forget all my tragic story in your majestic, divine presence...Thank you very much for your human element and fatherly treatment,' said Sujatha happily.