“Then what about Vayjanti?” Sampoorna questioned on, even more confused than before. “I love her, Sampoorna Maa. And I have loved her for a really long time. I knew it was Bondita, the moment she got off that train.” “Knowing that, you still allowed her to stay, regardless of all daggers that were hanging on her neck at that moment. And if you loved her that much, why did you think of her a spy?” Sampoorna blurted in disbelief. Anirudh sighed, “I was selfish, Sampoorna Maa. I did not want to part with her after finally being able to gain her by my side after so long. I instinctively convinced myself, that she will be able to fix everything, just like she always has. This enmity, decade old hatred and all these other issues, we could solve it, if we were together just like we always have. But then, I saw that bracelet at the night of attack and a seed of suspicion got planted in my head. I always knew the importance of family in Bondita’s life and I thought that after reuniting with them after so long, maybe she changed. My baseless assumption found its ground on the sword competition incident and I just started second guessing everything. Her, her place in my life, my decision to accept her here and my blind trust on her. I got so caught up in that whirlwind of emotions, that I almost ruined her life. Thank God, she managed to fight back. Otherwise, I would have been the first to lose my life with a beating heart. I can’t seem to look myself in the eye. Sampoorna Maa. I just feel too disgusted with myself.” Anirudh broke down, with a heavy heart.
Sampoorna knew telling him anything now would be useless. She had no words other than “Everything will be ok” to sympathize with Anirudh’s grieving heart before asking him to retire for the night.
Anirudh woke up the next day with heavy eyes and a splitting headache. He looked at the clock which showed 9 am. ‘Bondita reaches court by 11, that means I have to be there latest by 10:45 to give myself a chance to apologize’ Anirudh calculated while trying to retrieve his slippers from under the bed, in a hurry to get ready. “Anirudh!” his kaka’s voice boomed across the dining room, as Anirudh tied his shoes to leave for court. “At least have breakfast before leaving.” his kaka complained. “I am late for work, I will have it on the way there.” He replied in a rush to leave. “Listen, a few Zamindaar relative of ours are facing some trouble with the farmers on their land. Those low-class people are protesting there and not allowing our relatives to get people to work there. I already gave them my word that you will help them out. So, make sure to visit them on your way home.” Anirudh shut his eyes tight in frustration with his Kaka’s mention of low class, but he, very well knew that now wasn’t the time to argue. He needed to see his Bondita. “Ok, I will” was the safest option and he used it to run out of the house.
Bondita was feeling a bit better today. She almost felt crying tears of joy, when a peon called her to inform that 12 people had taken appointment to seek her legal advice that day. “At least, something good came out of the mental exhaustion of yesterday” she had thought while walking towards court. “What is he doing there, in front of my cabin?” was her first reaction seeing her once beloved man, just above a fleet of stairs. “I will just avoid him” She decided climbing in a hurry. Fate clearly wasn’t on her side to comply her wish.
“Oh look, now even an ex-convict is giving out legal advice.” A voice shouted, followed by a sneer.
“Oh god, here we go again.” Bondita sighed in exasperation as she turned to face some of her ignorant co-workers. These men never left an opportunity to make her life more difficult. The initial unwelcoming nature had now turned into straight up bullying. Presently, they were just shouting there inconvenience out to the world. Almost sub consciously she casted a side glance at Anirudh, and mentally facepalmed herself, seeing him rush near her, angry and ready to knock some sense into the heads of these thick brained people. ‘I don’t need his help anymore; I don’t need him anymore’ Bondita decided as she rose her hand to stop Anirudh before he could utter a word. The crowd gathered around by the loud accusation and joined in Anirudh’s look of bewilderment seeing Bondita’s action.
“Oh God, since when did we have Barristers believing in rumors rather than facts? Are you sure, you did not bunk your classes in Law school?” Bondita began menacingly, with the same sneer on her face. “No, I mean the most basic knowledge, every lawyer receives is that a person is considered innocent until proven otherwise. As a matter of fact,my innocence was proved in front of entire population of two villages and the panchayat itself. So, who gave you the right to call me an ex-convict? Or do you guys consider your stupid judgments above the panchayat and the law.” The color drained from their faces as they heard a few snickering at them. “You, you” was all they could say before taking to their heels shamefaced.
Bondita’s face adorned a victorious smile as the crowd began dispersing, satisfied after the morning telecast of Fierce Barrister Babu Bondita Das. She turned and saw Anirudh still standing there frozen. “My mom says that people who have houses of glass, shouldn’t throw stones at others. You should thank me for stopping you today otherwise people would have said that how hypocritical it was of Barrister Anirudh Roy Chowdhary to defend a person he had himself convicted.” She whispered to a stupefied Anirudh before walking to her cabin, with her head held high.
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