Barkha packed Kabir’s and her stuff at night and told her in laws that she would be staying at her parents’ for four days. As long as the days of her stay were short and numbered, they had not much trouble in accepting. Besides, Samay was away due to his flight schedules and there was thus less of an ‘interrogation’ expected.
Kalpana was suspicious of some development, since it was the first time that neither Raghaven nor Shamit had come to take Barkha, like every time, as a part of their tradition. But owing to the restrained conversation, due to the unrest at home, she left the topic untouched.
Watching Barkha at the gate with Kabir and her luggage sent alarm bells ringing in Anjum’s mind. She felt a sudden wave of tension and disquiet engulf her. She left everything and ran to hug her daughter and grandson, as if she read her daughter’s dejection, they cried their heart out.
Raghaven came rushing from the living room and took Kabir in his lap. Shamit took his sister inside. They sat quietly for some time, letting the moment take its time to settle. Shamit took Kabir to his room so that Barkha could talk to Raghaven and Anjum.
Barkha narrated everything that had happened since they got married until the night her world fell apart. Raghaven got up in a fit of rage and walked towards the door, anger knowing no bounds, he exclaimed,
“Those bastards, they have no right to touch my daughter, that man slapped you! I will not spare him! What useless scumbag have you gotten yourself tied to, I will not forgive that cheat!”
Anjum and Barkha ran to stop Raghaven from leaving the house. Calming him down was next to impossible at that moment. Some how they managed to convince him to sit for few minutes and hear out Barkha.
Barkha : Papa, I visited Advocate Sahoo yesterday with Priyanka. She was supposed to come to you and narrate the entire matter yesterday evening itself. But then I decided to come here today, since the advocate will be sending the notice tomorrow. So, I told her not to visit you. I am sorry that I did not tell you everything before. But Papa, this was my decision, I took this step going over your denials, you three were not meant to suffer because of me.
Raghaven : How can you think like that Barkha! You are our daughter. We are connected and are meant to stand alongside in whatever situation we might land up in. Would you start judging my decisions if I land up in a critical situation because of my own accord? Or would you rather stand by my side? We are your parents. Four long years of suffering! And we have absolutely no knowledge of it!
Anjum : Calm down Raghaven. We have to think about the situation that will arise once Razdaans will receive the legal notice. Barkha, has Samay called you ever since he has left for his flight schedule or whatever that is, that he left for?
Barkha : No ma.
Anjum : In a way, it’s good. Barkha wouldn’t have been able to keep things from him. I know her emotional attachment with Samay.
Shamit came barging in and told something refreshing, which was more than welcome at that moment. He had appeared for various entrance exams, within India as well as in the states and had apparently cleared the eligibility criteria for the University of Florida as well as the University of Illinois.
There was a sudden worrisome look on Raghaven’s face.
Barkha : (Sensing her father’s reasons of tension) Papa, please don’t worry about my legal financial requirements. I have thought of taking up a teaching job with the University here. My degrees should come to some use now.
Raghaven : Never talk such rubbish again. I am alive and very much capable of looking after my family, which includes you and Kabir.
Anjum : We will use our plot of sector 80 against student loan for Shamit. And we have enough to take care of Barkha’s legal requirements. As far as Barkha’s job is concerned, I think she must go ahead with that so as to prove her financial stability in the court when it comes to the custodial battle.
All settled between the Gautams, they awaited the Razdaans’ obvious jittered reaction the coming day.
The legal divorce notice was sent to Samay Razdaan on Wednesday morning and was received by Bhaskar. Samay was due to return in the evening. Bhaskar and Kalpana had not thought even in their worst nightmares, that Barkha had the guts to take such a drastic step against them. They called up Samay but his phone was switched off. When he returned in the evening, they didn’t wait another moment and drove in a rage to the Gautams’.
Samay banged at their door, disregarding the furor he was creating among the neighbors. Raghaven opened the door and before he could say anything, Samay stormed in towards Barkha.
Samay : Pack your bags and come home right now.
Barkha : I think you have received my written answer already Samay.
Samay : Don’t make it uglier than it already is Barkha. Don’t force me to turn into the man that I don’t want to be. (his voice raised with every word he uttered)
Shamit was on the first floor with Kabir and sensing the increasing danger to his sister, he quickly dialed the women’s cell number. In ten minutes, the police van was outside Gautams’.
Raghaven and Anjum stood like a wall in between Barkha and Samay. While Samay held Barkha’s hand with full strength trying to pull her aside.
On-duty Officer Raghuveer Chaudhary stormed in and caught hold of Samay. Bhaskar and Kalpana stood frozen in fear, watching all that unfurled unexpectedly. They had come like kings but stood like scared cats.
The police officer asked Barkha about the entire situation. She was taken aside, in the presence of a lady officer, and was told that a case can be registered under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA) 2005, which includes physical, emotional, sexual, verbal, and economic abuse as domestic violence.
Barkha thought for a moment and requested them to leave her in-laws and Samay by giving a warning. Raghaven and Anjum were unable to understand her decision of letting them go.
The Razdaans left at that moment to get rid of what they had created.
Barkha stood blankly and looking at her mother, with tears falling unstoppably, said “Ma, I don’t know how to unlove Samay.”