Rekha went home to her parents. For weeks, she kept herself isolated, staying mostly in her room, coming out only for infrequent meals or going to the temple. Her parents were worried, and had several fearsome thoughts, each worse than the others. Her mother tried talking to her when she first returned, "What happened my baby? Did someone hurt you? Don't be afraid to tell us, we will support you in every way possible. We are here for you, your whole family is with you." Hearing the worry, love and gentleness in her mother's voice broke the dam of tears and she wept at her mother's shoulder. In the end, all she said was, "I wasn't the one who was hurt. I wasn't the victim." Beyond this, she didn't speak a word despite repeated questioning.
She had started praying quite a lot, begging to be forgiven for what she had done. She contemplated suicide on several occassions but held back when she saw her worried parents. Meditation helped her set her thoughts in order. One night, she asked her mother if God forgave even the basest of humans. Her mother replied, "You are forgiven the moment you accept your faults and are willing to do something about them." Slowly, Rekha began feeling better, the heaviness in her heart dispelled by the growing conviction that she could set things right. She knew what she had to do.
Her mission was clear - to help young, unwed women like her answer that most difficult question "Do you want to abort?" and support them in whichever course they chose to take. She put her years of corporate wisdom into setting up an organization to provide cheap medical care both for abortion and in case the mother decided to deliver the baby, assist with adoptions, child care, social awareness and acceptance. But most of all, each of those women would be given love, confidence, faith and the unshakable assurance that their path was the right one to take. To heal the scars on their soul more than those on their body.
Two years on, Rekha's venture Aasha had helped hundreds of girls take a decision and stand by it rather than take their lives. Every time she held a baby that the mother had decided to carry through with help from Aasha, Rekha was reborn. Every time she saw a girl go through an abortion and emerge whole in body and soul, she was reborn.
Satish - Reborn
After the break-up, Satish immersed himself in his work. He was the first to come to office, the last to leave. His co-workers were overwhelmed by the intensity of his work and ferocity of his demeanour. His boss herself suggested he take a break, and even offered to send him to Goa on company expense for a conference. He declined all offers to ease up. He dreaded going back to an empty house full of memories of love and togetherness. He started drinking to get some sleep. Soon he was drinking incessantly, passing out instead of sleeping. He lost sense of time, days blurred into weeks, weeks turned to months. He tried contacting Rekha millions of times, but always hit a dead end. None of her friends knew her contact number or address, her brother in London refused to take his calls. He stopped speaking to his family, shunned his friends. He wanted to drown in his own misery.
It was two years since she had left. He had tried flushing out every last vestige of the love that flowed through his veins like blood, and had failed miserably. He was now ready to stop living.
Satish stood swaying on the bridge. The dark, deep waters of the ocean seemed to call out to him. He laughed out loud, feeling freer today than ever. As he stood savouring the weightlessness he was already feeling, he saw a young girl standing a few feet away. She looked forlorn, lost and hopeless. She peeped apprehensively over the edge of the bridge and stepped back shuddering. She closed her eyes and extended one bare foot over the edge. At the last minute, she pulled back, and then slid to the ground shivering and weeping inconsolably. Satish's heart melted as he saw the sobs racking her body. He approached her cautiously, "Why don't we step back just a little bit more and talk". She allowed herself to be led a safe distance away from the edge. He looked at her face in the yellow illumination of the street light. She was barely in her teens, 14 or 15 at most. Her tear streaked face held limpid red-rimmed eyes full of sorrow and fear. Satish put on his most fatherly fashion although he hadn't spoken to anyone in weeks, "Tell me all about it."
Her story came pouring out amidst wheezing sobs and dry hiccups. A teenage cousin "brother", suggestions of an experiment, fondling quickly turning out of control, innocence betrayed at the hands of the trusted. And there she was, herself a child, bearing a child. Satish felt closer to this bedraggled girl than anyone since... Her. He pushed all thoughts of Rekha out of his mind for the time being. He gave the girl his hand. "There are ways of solving this. Let's get some help. You have your whole life ahead of you. You don't need to do this". The poor shivering child hugged him tight, weeping copiously, "Bhaiya, please help me. I want to live, want to go back home, back to school."
Satish watched in wonder as competent hands took the child into their care at the shelter. He had seen the address in the newspaper, and for some reason he recalled it today. Aasha. He needed some hope himself. Today not one, but two lives had been recalled from Death. Helping the girl had been like balm to his wounds. He sat in the waiting room to make sure the girl was taken care of. He thought of how scared she had been, and began to understand how Rekha must have felt and how he hadn't had the patience to listen.
Then he heard her voice. He was sure his near-death experience had made her more real in his heart and mind. He could hardly believe it when he saw her before his eyes. She was entering the shelter, talking to a couple of women, discussing a new case. She hadn't seen him yet, but at that instant Satish was reborn.
Rekha and Satish got married two months after their reunion. They picked up where they had left off. True to his promise, Satish raised three babies with Rekha. Together, they helped raise over a hundred babies born at Aasha.