Living with two daughters, one of my father in law and other one is my own, I was a happy guy. Having a nice job in Bank. In one of my branch for almost last six months I was following all the loan accounts. Most of the borrowers were regular in the repayment but after all this is banking.
One fine day Paresh told “Sir, one account has two installments overdue, I am trying the mobile but no one is picking the phone. “
Casually I moved towards the screen and typed the account number, within few second account statement appeared on the screen. Loan was below one lac amount and customer was quite regular except for last two installments. I noted the file number from the screen and called loudly “Maganlal, ye file dena.” Maganlal come forward slowly, take the chit from my hand within a minute he returned with the file. I opened the file and looked at the borrower Savjibhai. He was a policeman working in the nearby police station. The photograph was old one but I can guess that the person has some cunningness in his eyes. Some arrogance was also visible through the lens of camera.
I was going to dial a number my mobile rung. A cute lovely face was zooming on the mobile screen. Yes my dear daughter has arrived from the school. I picked up the mobile “Hi Dadly, I got A+ in exam now my bicycle…… I want it today.”
I was joyous “Excellent my dear, we will go together in the evening and will bring your ladybird.” I put the mobile back and concentrate on Savjibhai. Now whom to contact? , Maganlal came forward slowly and told me in loud voice “Ask Lakhubha, he was with this borrower while loan was given.”
I thanked him mentally and picked up the phone, Lakhubha was a writer in the police station and a good person with generous nature. We had sanctioned many loans to police staff on recommendation of him. He has a reputation of a regular fellow and if any installment was not coming in any loan of his department we were turning to him.
“Jay Mataji Lakhubha, Calling from the Bank “
“Are Jay Mataji Saheb, called for Savjibhai ?”
I was little startled with alertness of this person, he continued “Have you not read in the paper Saheb two month back, Savjibhai was killed by his daughter Sangita at home “
Now I was completely socked , a policeman killed by his daughter, something must be unusual, I requested him, “Lakhubha, can you give me more information I have to complete the legal process if guarantor will not pay.”
He replied “Saheb, if you are free come here, we will have a cup of tea together.”
I along with Paresh rushed to police station. Our area was a taluka place but there was not much population and due to prestige of the bank, people of government departments were quite helpful. We reached the police station in couple of minutes. Police station was an old building having a look of princely states. Lakhubha welcomed us into his office. Police Inspector Hemantsinh was in field so he was free and asked the messenger to bring tea for us.
“Savjibhai was good person but this daughter has finished him. Sangita was well mannered and very calm from the childhood; we could not believe when she turned to police station at mid night and surrender self. I was on duty that night along with my other colleague. There was not a slightest remorse on her face for killing with his father with a wooden club. We recorded her statement in the morning. Look here is the file of case.” While handling the file some papers fell on the floor. We helped Lakhubha for collecting the papers and returned to him. After a while I spoke “This is really a painful Lakhubha , what was the reason for killing ?”
Lakhubha spoke “Saheb….actually…”
My mobile rung once again, there was same cute face on screen. I pushed the switch and there was a very dreadful voice of my wife came from the other side. “Papa has fallen again in the bathroom and we have called 108 , you please come home immediately.”
I could easily envisage her tearful face. I replied “ I am leaving within short time , but I will take at least three hours to reach. Which hospital are you going? “
“Sterlite, where he was paralyzed.” She replied with a sob.
I told “Please don’t panic, everything will be fine. “
“Please come here as early as possible, I am feeling very helpless.” She uttered in very low voice.
“I am leaving just now” I replied.
Lakhubha immediately smelled the situation and closed the file. He told “Saheb , we will deal with the case when you will return.” I rose, something struck in my mind and I asked his favour. “Lakhubha my father in low is serious and admitted in the hospital, but if you can give me the extra copy of the statement made by Sangita, I will read it and returned it to you. “
He thought for a moment and said “Saheb, this is extra copy no need to returned but don’t mention my name to anyone. “
I thanked him and rushed to bus stop for catching the bus. I got the bus immediately as there was good frequency. I call my wife “What happened?” She responded with a cry “Position is critical, there is breathing problem, he is not speaking to any one, he even not recognize me, he is not responding to any medicine, doctor says if required we have to put him on ventilator.”
I could not speak anything, finally I replied “God will save him. I am coming. Will reach in couple of hours.”
I put mobile in my pocket, number of thoughts rush to my mind; a complete sequence of my engagement to marriage to present day became visual in front of me. Very fond of her father my wife was very much attached to her father. Two years back I had to rush in the same manner to hospital when my father in law had a stroke and subsequent paralysis. My wife was almost divided between her father and our daughter. Every day was painful for us. Being away I do not have that much agony but I could realize her situation.
My mind diverted to my briefcase where statement of Sangita was lying. Lakhubha had trusted me and I had to make some remarks only into loan account file. Being incurious about the reasons I pick up the statement, now in her words.
“I Sangita Savjibhai, age 16 , village Dharampur give my statement as under. Born in a small village with very low population we three sisters were not able to get much education. There was a school in the village up to seven standard but we were taught very less during the year and more time was passed into playing with other girls. We had a farm were mother was toiling throughout the day. Father was a police man. Even at home he was police man and we all three sisters were very much scared of him.
My brother was an exception, being only son he had got a special status. He can ask for any type of toy, he can beat any sister and we were not allowed to reply. These were common scenes in the village. One fine day father informed that he has purchased a house in near city area. We were happy that we will see the city life. Father was very much income conscious. He has purchased a house in outskirt of the city and there was a large open plot just near our home. Father has purchased some buffalos and now mother’s task was changed.
Earlier she was toiling at the farm, now she was after animals. Income started from selling the milk and so started the habit of my father taking drinks. He was very much addicted to wine and now he has started to beat my mother and us. My sisters were silent but I could not bear this injustice. My brother was under total influence of my father and never intervened when our father ruthlessly beat my mother or us.
Some more months passed, we sisters tried to talk with our father but it was all in vain. My mother was ill, entire day of animal care had made her health worse. Due to habits of my father we could hardly have enough money to go for good doctor.
Today we all three sisters were at home in the evening, my father arrived at home around 8. As usual he started his daily bottle programme and he saw that there was not much liquor into the bottle. He lost his mind and asked my mother to borrow some spirit with the neighbor who was also the friend of my father. For the first time in her life my mother denied, and my father flared up, he immediately started abusing my mother and started to beat her with his belt. This was too much for my ill mother who fainted. Now my father turned to me and he started to beat me with the same belt. I could not stop my self. A wooden club was in the house and I picked it up. My one stroke was enough for my drunk father. He lied on the floor with a broken skull.
I confess that I have killed my father but at the same time I want to tell that it was in self defense and for the defense of my mother and sisters. I have no guilt feeling about the incident. “
I was awestruck with the narration. The very idea of cruelty and result of the same was gruesome. My stop arrived and I immediately rushed to the hospital. My father in law was in ICU and doctor had put him on ventilator. Now I have to face another daughter who was praying for the life of his father. I had no word to tell her for easing her grief. After an hour or so I went to home. The door opened and a voice come from the house “Hi Dadly, we cannot go for our bicycle now” I was cheered up with the face of my daughter but did not show much enthusiasm and remain quite displaying the sorrow on condition of my father in law.
We remain 10 days in hospital, everyday there were only prayers, no improvement in the position of the patient. I reached hospital and house doctor was explaining about LAMA. I asked her what is LAMA ? She said “It is leaving against medical advice form, which we obtain from the family members when they move the patient to home.”
I was startled, I looked at my wife. She was looking different today. I asked her what they were planning now. She replied “I cannot see the much suffering of my father any more, we are moving him home.”
I was shocked I asked “Do you know what that mean?”
She replied “No more injections, no more ventilators, no more medicines, no more bedpans………” We in ambulance reached at home at around noon and in the afternoon my grandfather was no more. Once again I had no words to sooth my wife. For months she was in grief.
After few months once again my mobile rang. Same cute face was displaying on the screen and when I pick up the phone, same sweet voice echoed in my ears “Hey Dadly, Now what about my ladybird?”