JUST ANOTHER COLLEGE GIRL..!
Was walking outside a college in Mumbai, and saw the youngsters, in their jeans and T-Shirts, some chatting animatedly with friends, others on their mobiles, probably telling somebody they were free now, and could visit the coffeehouse next door. A few made beelines to their motorbikes, where they sat on their machines, with the girls casually leaning on the bikes suggesting they had also spent pleasant moments on same mean machines.
And suddenly I saw her. "Ishrat!," I whispered, but she did not look at me as she walked through the students to another group. I watched her stand casually near them. But they had not seen her. "Ishrat!," I said again, "You're dead!"
"Why?," she asked, as a tear trickled down her cheek, "Why should I be dead, when I should be here with my friends?"
I looked at her and saw the hole where bullet had entered. It spoilt her pretty head, and though the blood was dried, red spot looked accusingly at me, "What did you do, Bob, when bullet was fired?"
"Nothing!," I said. "Like the rest of the country I thought you were a terrorist!"
"I was just another college girl, Bob!," said the pretty girl. "Just another college girl, couldn't you have thought of me as such?"
"We believed Modi and his police!," I said simply.
"Would you believe it if one of these youngsters here was shot dead now, and they claimed next day, she was a terrorist?"
"No!" I said, "Never!"
"Then couldn't you see I was just another college girl?"
I looked away as one of the students stared at me wondering what I was doing whispering to no one in particular.
"They can't see me!," said Ishrat sadly.
"You are dead," I said. "Killed by Modi's bullets!"
"No," said the pretty girl as she turned to look at me, "Not by Modi's bullets!"
"A fake encounter!," I told her loudly, "A fake encounter, that's what the SIT team have found out. You are innocent!"
"I know," she said, "I know I am, but I was not killed by Modi's bullets! I was killed by the indifference of people. What did you do, Bob? You who go to church and believe in justice, did you raise your voice? Have you ever raised your voice in protest seeing innocents threatened, poor beaten, women molested? Did you even write a letter to the newspapers when your own Christians were killed in Orissa? Or are you a part of the silent majority who slink to their places of worship, and pray that the problem will go away?"
"Ishrat Jahan!," I wept with shame, "I am sorry!" And watched with sorrow, the pretty college child, killed in a fake encounter, trying again to talk to her friends who could see her no more..!