The village was nondescript and all communities lived in reasonable harmony. Muslims participated in Diwali celebrations and the Hindus visited their Muslim neighbours and had vermicelli sweet dishes during the Eid celebrations. There lived in the village Sarita, a Hindu girl and Sohail, a Muslim boy who loved each other.
Sarita’s eyes were distraught. Her secret romance with Sohail, living in the other end of the village was exposed. She did not quite know as to who had whispered it in the ears of her elders. She was confined to her home, with severe reprimand and threats to her boyfriend, in the event of any adventurous plot like in Bollywood movies, eloping or otherwise. There was a round the clock vigil.
“He was good and saved me from Romeos, not once but thrice,” the above average looking girl wept silently. Her going to the college stopped. Her mobile phone was seized. The food arrived and with it arrived a small bit of paper, thanks to the kind maid, under the watchful eye of her uncle. ‘Be ready to leave the tomorrow at 4 am,’ it read.
‘You shall do no such thing to take the girl and go without the blessings of the elders,” the near and dears warned. It can lead to serious and severe repercussions for all of us. “I cannot live without her, and so can she not,” the tone of Sohail was firm. A diminutive figure slipped out of their household, and well away from feverishly dialed a number. “They are planning to elope tomorrow, in the early hours.” The line was disconnected.
The old couple was taking rest under the tree. The moo of the bovine beat the noise of the downpour, as they stretched to see the source of the noise. The vigorous shake of the legs of the mother announced the entry of a calf into this world. The cow lay still, and did not eat the placenta as was habitually seen. The elderly lady took a closer look at the cow, which had stopped breathing.
The old man cautioned the lady. ‘Let us leave the place and walk to the village and tell them to send help and save the calf.” The lady would have nothing of it. “Leaving the just born would make it an ideal prey for the many dogs that abound the area.” The debated for a while and finally the old man carried the wet calf and the couple slowly made their way to the village.
“Ishaq has smuggled in a calf and their family would eat it,” yelled a man with a trident. Soon the crowd gathered. Sarita’s brothers and their friends were there too. Said one from his group fondling his sharp weapon, “God is great, there cannot be a better reason.”
“The calf was stolen for eating. Kill the killers.” The frenzied crowds charged towards the Old man’s house, as the old lady washed and cleaned and was feeding the still dazed calf from a milk bottle. Sarita’s brother and his friends rushed to Sohail’s and accomplished their goal in the melee.
Next day the TV channels announced that a Muslim elder and a Muslim youth had accidentally died in village Kandi, under unknown circumstances. Sarita was later married off to Sudhir, son of the leader of the Khap Panchayat of the village.