The Haunting Melody

2 min


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‘Chalte Chalte…. Yuhi koi mil gaya tha…*’

Tavishi’s lips quivered. In a moment, she was drenched in sweat.

“Stop the music,” she screamed at the auto driver.

The music stopped, but she involuntarily cowered.

******************************************************************************

 

‘Chalte chalte…. Yuhi koi mil gaya tha…’

The melodic song played as usual. However, it was occasionally accompanied by excruciating groans today. 

It wasn’t the first time ten-year-old Tara heard a Mujrah* or watched through the silt of the door, her mother being molested. Customers with varying temperaments came and went, but it was the first time she confronted such a savage with lust meanly dripping from his eyes. 

Tara’s mother begged for some mercy, but the man hushed her, “Shut up, such a beautiful song is playing, and you want to crib?”  He slapped her hard and ruthlessly penetrated her. The poor woman’s death shrieks got trounced by the whistle of a train blowing at the end of the Mujrah.

Greedily accepting the crisp notes, Ganga maushi, the brothel owner, gestured the man to leave. 

Whenever the song reverberated in the air, Tara would cringe.  The horrifying countenance of the evil man and the pale face of her mother kept surfacing in front of her eyes.

If it weren’t for Chameli, a kind-hearted inmate, Tara too would have languished in the nocturnal lanes with the fear following her.

Dodging Ganga Maushi, Chameli somehow arranged for Tara’s escape and left her in an orphanage.

Tara’s life ameliorated when Mr. and Mrs. Sinha adopted her soon. They christened her as Tavishi.

Life could have been a smooth ride under the loving care of the middle-aged couple, but for the passion that Mr. Sinha nurtured of listening to Mujrahs and ghazals*. He would close his eyes and enjoy the music for an hour every evening.

Unfortunately for Tavishi, the song that she most dreaded seemed to be his favorite.

She found herself in a tight spot, unable to confide in her foster parents about her fear factor as the orphanage matron had sincerely advised her never to divulge her upbringing in a brothel.

All Tavishi could do was either go out under some pretext or run to her room and shut her ears whenever her father played the song.

A decade and a half later, the ordeal ended with the death of Mr. Sinha a couple of years ago.  But Tavishi was aware that the day she would listen to the song, the sinister face would haunt her again. 

‘Will this fear ever wane?’ She had asked herself several times.

******************************************************************************

“Looks like an accident; can’t drive further. Please walk past the crowd and take another vehicle.” The driver requested.

Peeping through the crowd, Tavishi caught a glimpse of a man lying in a pool of blood. 

With a serene face, she removed her handset and plugged her earphones. 

‘Chalte Chalte, Yuhi koi mil gaya tha….’ The song indeed sounded melodious. 

 

 

 

Chalte chalte……. A song from 1972 film Pakeezah

Mujrah…………….. Songs sung by courtesans.

Ghazals…………….A song composed by poets; rendered by courtesans occasionally.

 

Disclaimer: The story is a work of fiction, and mentioning a particular song is only to fit the context and not intentional. The writer does not aim to attach any malice to the piece mentioned.

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