This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 30; the thirtieth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.
"I should have changed into something else" thought Akshara. Her blue and white school uniform was a little conspicuous.
The evening wind pushed a strand of hair in front of her face, shielding her vision. Catching it with her nimble fingers, she tucked it behind her ear.
Her eyes were fixed on Raghu, as he walked in the direction of the bhel puri vendor.
Her hands slowly moved to her cheek and carressed the spot, where his kiss had touched her a few minutes ago. The red nail polish on her nails gleamed in the glow from the setting sun as a blush formed in her tender cheeks.
Bombay! A few of hours left to catch the train. Raghu would marry her and they would start a new life together. He had even suggested that they could find her a chance in Bollywood.
Pa and Ma would never approve of their relationship. Board Exams, Marks, Studies! Thats all they were concerned about. Her future lay with Raghu, they would never understand.
As agreed, she had attended school as usual and had rushed to him at their usual meeting place at the beach.
As Raghu neared the cart, the mobile phone in his pockets started rendering 'Jai Ho' indicating an incoming call.
"Everything going as per plan?"
" Perfect Vicky. Have I ever goofed up before? She is with me now."
"Ok. Bring her to our usual place once you reach Bombay"
Raghu turned towards Akshara and smiled.
Sixteen year olds were his favorites. He would have his turn first. After all it was his plan that was being enacted. Vicky could take her after that.
Akshara heard some riotous laughter and turned in its direction. A small boy was playing in the water, his father standing nearby."Be careful son. You have fifteen more minutes.We are heading home after that", the man shouted to his boy.
"He must be Atul's age" she thought. A depressing emotion crept into Akshara's mind when she thought about her little brother. Eight years younger than her, he was her only sibling. She got reminded of the previous night when he had been terrified due to some nightmares and had crept next to her in bed hugging her tightly.
A few feet ahead, a little girl was standing near the water, her arms locked in the safety of her parents' firm grip. Every time the waves touched her little feet, they lifted her up and she let out squeals of delight.
'Once More Mama, Once More' she kept screaming in childish mirth.
Akshara's memories travelled back in time to a day when she had been six. Goa;Vacation;That afternoon !She had been playing in the water. A huge wave had enveloped her tiny body. She felt her feet getting dragged by the currents and she was suddenly getting tossed like a rag doll .The salt in the water hit her taste buds and stung her eyes. She could sense that she was swallowing the water but there was no way she could control it. The next thing she remembered was waking up facing Pa's anxious face, tears streaming down his cheeks. She had never seen Pa cry before. For that matter, until then,she did not even know that Pa could cry.
A gloomy and lost expression clouded Akshara's face.She started getting restless. Guilt, fear, shame - All combined lashed at her mind in rhythm to the splashing waves. Above all , the thoughts about her family bore into her being like sharp arrows.
"Oh my God! What on earth am I doing?" she thought with panic.
"This is wrong, Akshara. Get up.Go back home" she heard a voice pounding repeatedly inside her head.
Akshara rose with agility as Raghu neared her, holding two plates full of chat in his hands.
"Raghu, this is not correct! I am going" she shouted as she started moving backwards away from him.
"What happened baby? Hey wait Akshara" he kept the plates down and tried to come near her.
"No, I need to think Raghu. I am sorry" she said and ran. He ran after her, but before he could reach her, she quickly got into an auto and headed home.
She was seated at the sofa when her Pa came back home from work. "Hi sweetheart!" he said and gently ruffled her hair.
She went near him and gave him a hug. When she felt the secure warmth of her father's embrace, she burst into tears. "I love you Pa" she cried!
"What happened Akshara?"
"Nothing ! Nothing Pa. I promise, I will never do anything that you will be ashamed of."
She rushed to her room as her father stared after her in bewilderment.
Raghu's calls stopped coming after some time.She could not bring herself to respond.
The next morning , the family sat together for breakfast. The familiar music from the local news channel on TV filled the living room.
Distractedly Akshara glanced at the TV screen and her heartbeat stopped for a moment.
"A man named Chander was found murdered near Fisheman's Cove early today morning with multiple stab wounds in his abdomen. He was a criminal wanted by the local police in connection with a sex racket. He is said to have lured young girls to sell them in cities like Bombay and Delhi.A woman named Kavitha has surrendered at the DGG Police Station accepting responsibility for the murder" the newsreader announced.
Raghu's lifeless body stretched on the sand on the TV screen.
The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. I’m thankful to C.Suresh, who introduced Blog-a-Ton to me, and I debuted in the 28th edition.