“Don’t come near me, stay away.” Meher almost ran out of the room as Nirmal entered. It’s been a year and half, as Meher started to speak, she grew a strange fear and disliking about her grandfather Nirmal.
Nirmal Tawde, recently retired as an additional police commissioner, he was known for being strict and ruthless officer in his entire career. He terrorized both the anti-socials and common people equally. His methods of interrogation was labelled as both effective and cruel. He hardly had any work ethics or morality in any sense. He understood the game of corruption in police as he joined in. Since then he did everything right, starting from accepting bribes, building false cases to buttering his superiors to even marry the daughter of one of his superior officer. He rose steadily in his career from a mere sub inspector to additional commissioner. His cunning and shrewd nature always helped him win credits of others toil and push the blames on others shoulder.
He is equally strict and manipulative in his personal life. Being a control freak he always enjoyed controlling the lives of his wife and kids. Now as he turned almost 60, his nature didn’t change. When his daughter-in-law Aditi delivered a daughter 4 years ago, he was displeased, he wanted a grandson. But anyhow he accepted it as a fate. He even didn’t like it when his son Bhargav name her Meher. Although he somehow tolerated all these, he now cannot accept what started after Meher turned 3 and ½ and start talking. As soon as she sees her grandfather she screams and run away. The only thing she repeats after seeing him is “Don’t come near me, stay away”. His son and daughter-in-law are also scared seeing their daughter this way, they took her to a doctor but he dismissed it saying it’s just a passing phase of children nature which will be fine as she grows up.
It was a lazy Sunday afternoon, Bhargav and Aditi were out for shopping and his wife went to nearby temple. Nirmal saw Meher is playing near the water well, she is dangerously close to the edge. He shouted at her, “Come back, it’s dangerous there.”, and he advanced towards her. “Don’t come near me, stay away. Don’t touch me.”
Nirmal felt a jolt as he saw Meher’s face, the deep dark eyes are full of hatred, a pint of hair is falling on her face almost hid her left eye, the twisted lips are only reminding him one name, Meherunnisa!! His mind ran back 20 years ago, Nirmal and his team just busted a gang involved in human trafficking. Almost 35 girls of various ages were rescued. The prettiest among them was Meherunnisa, hailed from a rural village, sold to the gang by her own uncle. On the very first look Nirmal developed an unstoppable lustful desire towards her. That night, after finishing half bottle of Whiskey, the predator in Nirmal was out in the full moon night. Her voice still rings in his ear, “Don’t come near me, stay away, don’t touch me.”After he was done with her, he tied her hands and gagged her mouth, carried her half-conscious body and threw her into the sea. He never developed a guilty conscious about it, he went back to his wife and kids in the morning like nothing happened, few days later awarded a medal and promotion for the bust. He was expecting to see it in the news that her body washed off to the shore, but that never happened.
As he woke up in his present he can still see Meher looking at him, mumbling, whispering something. As Nirmal tried to figure it out what she was saying he got a shiver, “Everyone pays for their sins”, 4 years old Meher was repeating those words. Nirmal realized she is still standing at the edge of the water well.
Nirmal was breathing heavily, he could still hear the muffled scream and sound of water splashing in the well, he gave it another 10 minutes till the sound and voice disappeared and then he started to scream, “Help, please help, my granddaughter fell in side well, somebody help!!”