Mansi sat at the window seat watching the paths passed by. Her head was leaned against the window pane, her eyes closed .She was tired to the hilt after her long journey by train.
Many Villages passed her. She waited to reach her destination, Mumbai Central. The man next to her seat was one of the last in the Compartment to get down at the Station, the train just crossed. She closed her eyes trying to take a nap, thoughts started flashing in her mind, at a rate faster than she ever wanted to forget. Mansi was 20, and was leaving her home for the first time, in search of a job. More than job, it was her concern for Safety that forced her take such an extreme step without consulting anyone .The recent happenings had already made her stern and frozen, she was in no mood to waste her time and energy over such frivolous matters anymore. It was in her 19th year that she lost her father in a road accident. He was a Government Servant and was healthy and young. After performing his last rites and rituals, she found her house surrounded by many relatives, half of whom she had never seen when her father was alive.
Mansi’s elder sister was a home maker, married to a Government employee. The sudden death of her father brought out the hidden greed and desperation in her sister’s husband and his family. They wanted the property and other belongings at the earliest in her sister’s name. Her mother was in a state of shock and wasn’t in a position to judge the situation. So she had to rely on her immediate relatives for many important decisions and this made their house all the more crowded.
One of her mother’s Cousins lived nearby and every evening, Saro aunty made it a habit to visit them .She had three Sons. Either of her sons dropped her at Mansi’s place and waited obediently till the discussions came to some conclusion. Saro aunty was a beautiful woman, matured and kind. Her husband Gopal Uncle was a retired Government employee and usually gave suggestions and advices to Mansi’s sister and her mother. In the meantime, her sister’s marital life began to soar due to unfulfilled demands from her husband’s side. She was made to stay with Mansi and her mother with the promise of being taken back after transferring all property in her name. The atmosphere at Mansi’s house was filled with tension. She could hardly concentrate on anything productive. College was also closed for preparatory leaves due to upcoming examinations. She used to sit in her room, waiting for the guests to leave, so that she could spend some time with her mother.
Once Saro aunty suggested Mansi to visit her house for a change. She had been there a couple of times with her mother but this is the first time that Mansi was invited alone, with a promise of a movie screening especially for her. She agreed to the plan and reached Saro Aunty’s house next day by forenoon. Aunty was eagerly waiting for her and seeing her, she ran to the kitchen and got busy preparing Mansi’s favorite dish, Dosa and Chutney. Mansi was standing at the main door waiting for Saro aunty to get free so that she could speak to her .
Suddenly she felt a hand on her shoulders and she saw Gopal Uncle smiling at her from behind. Mansi was shuddered but managed to hide her feelings and tried to interact normally with her Uncle. She sensed something fishy in his looks but chose to ignore. He was asking about her studies and upcoming examinations. The more she tried to be in control of her feelings, the more she felt vulnerable. Gopal Uncle’s hands were still on her shoulders, he was speaking about worldly matters, making her feel comfortable. Mansi tried to appear calm and composed but she felt his hands moving down gradually through her back, pressing her waist curves. In no time she found herself in Gopal Uncle’s arms, his left hand around her waist and right one moving down her neck. He was feeling her from front as well as back. She was pressed to his bare chest filled with grey hairs and could hardly move. She stood there frozen and blank, looking for ways to escape his clench. Gopal Uncle was in no hurry and he was enjoying the journey his hands travelled, not bothering about Saro aunty’s presence in the house. At some point, Mansi succeeded in pushing the old man and he lost his balance and she ran off, giving a deaf ear to her aunty’s voice behind her.
After reaching the bus stop, she started breathing normally and tears started flooding her beautiful eyes. She thought of her father, her mother and she thought of how difficult it was to survive in this big bad world without support, being an orphan. After that incident Mansi refrained from visiting Saro’s place and never came out of her room when they visited her’s. She decided to make her own mark by looking for a job opportunity so that she could be independent . She had selected Mumbai, for its fast and changing vigour. Fortunately for Mansi, she was offered a job in a Multi-National Company and they had offered accommodation for her along with a Chauffer.
Awake from her lucid thoughts, Mansi checked her luggage and stood up, freshening herself. Next station was Mumbai, her dream City, where she hoped to live and lead a life without fear, head held high, far from those creepy memories. Whistling to herself, she stepped out of the train, to the platform, to a new world, full of hopes and dreams, to a new Life…