The village, that had never seen a daughter before, the village that did not know what a woman looked like in ages, the village that didn't seem to agree that there is a world outside where man and women live a life alike.
Santram - Gulab's father is at the hostel gate, and Sarita ben has packed Gulab's luggage and she's is just coming out of the room to be sent back to the village once again.
"Now that I have made peace with what you wanted me to do, now that I was feeling like a woman, now that I started dreaming, you are here again". Dare she say these words to her father, but she murmured with a dead silence in her eyes, staring towards the flower vase with no flowers on the old wrecked centre piece in the waiting room.
"Beta, lets go home my child, I have missed you so much" said Santram with all the compassion and love he had that poured down his eyes.
"Father, I have missed you too, but..."
"what my dear, I promise I won't send you anywhere else..."
"Father, you know I am happy here" she went close to her father and held his hand and looked into his eyes with the hope that her smile will send him back
"But I thought, you were struggling here, been away from home, in this alien world, how come you are so happy"? Santram asked as he looked so surprised
"Father, you don't know that this world is just so beautiful, I feel so at peace here, this is where I belong, I can be myself, I don't have to hide from anyone ...no one will rape me here because I am not a new thing for them, men and women live as equals"..her pitch raised and suddenly she felt more confident..she went on...
"see these women, they can dress up like they want to, they can be beautiful, they can do whatever they want, I want to be one of them Father, please let me be here".
Santram was not really surprised, somewhere deep down, he knew that Gulab would love this freedom. She would be happier here. He approached Sarita Ben who was standing outside the waiting room and listening to everything that father and daughter had to say to each other.
"Sarita Ben, come inside please, no need to hide, I know you are standing outside, your plat is too long and its just hanging below your knees, next time, when you want to hide behind a curtain, please tie your long hair in a bun.."
Sarita Ben comes inside with a smile on her face and a little guilt of being caught eves dropping.
As she steps inside the room, Gulab rushes towards her and tries to hide behind her as if a little kitten has found a new box to hide inside. Feeling safe, secure and hoping that Sarita Ben will save her from her father taking her back home.
Santram watches his daughter rushing to Sarita Ben in front of his eyes. He was shocked, confused and a little in awe of what this place has done to his little daughter. He knew the freedom can change Gulab, but he did not have an idea that he is going to have to deal with this situation. A situation where he could see someone else taking his place in his daughter's life.
Santram almost cried...clearing his throat and his eyes assuming no one saw him, he said "was..well done my love...you have become so brave and independent that you are not even caring about how your father feels, I have been thinking that I have done no good by uprooting you from the village and throwing you into a new environment, but you seem happy". He pauses and looks around the waiting room, the unpainted walls, the cob webs, the age old furniture and the cemented floor with uneven surface that could challenge astronauts to walk over...
This place is not as good as I thought..our little home is much better and cleaner than this shit hole. I will not stop you from chasing a better life, but you will not stay here, I will shift you to a better hostel.
Gulab and Sarita Ben look at each other and some wordless communication happens where they both seemed to have thought of something common..."How do we convince this man"?