Trilochan stood still for a moment and then realizing his defeat, slumped back into his chair. “Similarly, I too had no clue of the directions after residing in London for so long” Bondita concluded with an adorable smile. She, then turned and looked straight into Anirudh’s eyes.
“Finally, we come to Barrister Anirudh Roy Chowdhary’s unspoken accusations. First, the attack on Tulsipur competitors night before the sword fight of which he believes I was a part of and second, coming into Tulsipur as a spy and hiding my identity.” Bondita commenced with determination. “The night when sword participants were ambushed, my bracelet was found near them making him believe I had a hand in this. Well, I need you to answer me, Barrister Anirudh, would I have purposefully worn that bracelet knowing fully well that you would recognize that to a secret attack where my identity is supposed to hidden??” Anirudh remained silent, yet again. Why had he not thought of this before? Was he that blind in this enmity that he failed to make even the most basic assumption?
“I lost that bracelet around a week ago before the incident. Since it was my personal favorite one, I wanted to get another one made after being unable to find it. For which I contacted Mr Raja Banerjee, a popular jeweler in Calcutta. This is letter I received a few days ago, in confirmation of my order of getting a replica made of my previous one.” Bondita explained. “But I am sure, you must have been present there that night. Otherwise, why was only your bangle and not someone else??” An elder from Tulsipur shouted from the back. “Sorry, to disappoint you but I was not, yet to prove my point could you send your daughter sitting beside you up here?” Bondita requested politely. The teen ran to Bondita before her father could stop her and asked what was to be done. With a smile, Bondita slid off one of her bangles and asked the girl to walk a few steps and then drop it in front of the Panch. The crowd watching them was just as confused as the girl, and with a bewildered expression followed her movement of dropping the bangle in front. “Everybody present here saw that it was the girl who dropped my bangle there. I had not even moved from my spot, yet my bangle is lying there. This proves that the bracelet was stolen and tenaciously dropped there to deceive every one of my presence on the scene.”
Bondita’s eyes found their way back to Anirudh’s guilt ridden face. She let out soft sigh before conveying her final point, “In my stay of 8 years in London, I was kept completely in the dark about this arch rivalry between two villages which I had once believed to be my homes. When I returned, my hopes of seeing my entire family together shattered before my eyes. Times had changed and so had the people. Lost and unable to grasp anything, I turned to the only person whom I gave the position equivalent to God in my life. Only to find that my savior, my teacher, my friend and my motivation hated even the mention of my name let alone see my face or talk to me. Desperation got the better of me and in attempt to end the enmity and get answers to all my fears, I put everything on line by going to Tulsipur disguised as Vayjanti.” Bondita’s voice broke a little. The silence in the crowd was deafening. The wind blowed as gentle as a lamb as if it was in an attempt to console her. Bondita shut her eyes tightly, gathered herself together and drew the conclusion by saying, “Thereby, I find myself acquitted of all charges except deceiving Tulsipur people by going there as Vayjanti. The days which I spent in Tulsipur was like a living hell which I accepted with my head hung low as a punishment for my lie. Other than that, even Durga maa is a witness of my innocence.”
The Panch began their discussion amongst themselves. With all their eyes stuck on the Panch for the judgement, not a single soul dared to say a word. Bondita, though feeling stuck in a turmoil within her, had put up a calm facade. In that deadly silence, nobody noticed the unfathomable barrister of Tulsipur, gently lowering his head to wipe the few rebelling tears which had made their way down to his cheeks, despite of his trembling control over his emotions. The Sarpanch stood straight, looked at Bondita gently, before declaring “After considering all the evidences and proves, The Panchayat now declares Bondita innocent and with all due respect, clears her of all the charges and punishment implemented on her.”
Just like that, though Bondita had won her first case on her motherland, she felt the burden of losing the most important battle of her life.
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