When I was in college in the 1970s, we had this girl Bavna (named changed) in our batch who was as beautiful as she was rich. She was the cynosure of all eyes. Girls looked at her with envy and longed to be in her shoes. We thought that she had been offered everything on a golden platter.
Then she made a wrong friend and spoilt it forever.
This girl, who was the complete opposite of her, in looks and in family circumstances, befriended Bavna and completely changed her.
Bavna who came from a good traditional family was enamoured with her friend’s wild ways. It gave her a kick to break free from norms and do things that she would not have dreamt of doing otherwise in college and outside.
Among the other crazy escapades they got into, one was to ring up random numbers on the telephone and talk to complete strangers. In those days we had no mobile phones nor did the landlines have the facility to check the number of the incoming calls.
Bavna and her friend would meet at Bavna’s house on holidays and without the knowledge of her parents ring up some number on the telephone and make inane conversation with unknown people at the other end of the line. I think they selected the numbers from the telephone directory.
Once they got a young man on the line who was game for some fun. He chatted with them nicely and impressed them and soon Bavna and her friend were calling up this man more often. They would come to college and repeat everything that the man said and say how funny he was and how smart he was.
We warned Bavna to stop talking to him. But her friend would not let her stop.We completely washed our hands off this affair. But Bavna continued with it.
We moved to the second year of our under-grad. One Monday morning, after the weekend break when we came to college, the whole campus was abuzz with the news.
Bavna had eloped with this man!
We were shocked at first but after a few days we stopped bothering. A month later Bavna’s father came to college and met her classmates. Looking at him we knew how much he had been affected by the rash act of his daughter.
A great man, as old as our fathers, crying before us affected us badly. He asked only one thing of us, that we advice Bavna to complete her studies. Only from him we knew that the man with whom Bavna had gone was a wastrel and a school dropout. Hooking Bavna had been his ticket to better times. We consoled Bavna’s father as best as we could. But there was nothing that we could do.
Now thirty-five years later, when I repeat this story to my children and tell them to make good friends, they say that Bavna was completely to blame.
“She should have known right from wrong,” My daughter insists.
P.S: My children also want to know what happened to Bavna afterwards. I tell them that blood is thicker than water and that her father took Bavna and her husband under his wing and helped them in every possible way, till his dying day.
Story by: Mala. Lancaster, USA………. Written by : Gulsum Basheer @ talkalittledo.