It was getting dark. One look at the clock and Rashmi started to hurry. It was mid December, so the days were short. He must be waiting for her in the cold, accross the street. She had to leave at 6 PM, but last moment guests came over and she had to stay to prepare tea and snacks. Smriti didi was very nice to her. She often gave her extra money and fashionable clothes, along with the books and magazines. It was Smriti didi who helped her learn how to write her name and encouraged her to read and write. It was Smriti didi who complained against her father to the police because he used to beat Rashmi and her mother. She would do anything for Smriti didi.
“Didi, I have cleaned the kitchen, do you want me to do anything else or can I go?”
“Oh yes Rashmi, you can go, sorry I forgot you have to go far and its already dark outside. Take an auto. Here, take 50 Rs.”
“Thank you didi. Bye. I will come early tomorrow to help you clean the store room.”
She closed the main door behind her and ran down the stairs. She was 1 hour late. “He will be very angry with me. I am late but I will save these 50 Rs for something more important.”
Raghav, her husband, who was standing across the street, moved towards her, when he saw her rushing out the building. “Do you realise how late you are today? I have asked you so many times to stop working, but you never listen to me.”
“No Raghav, Smriti didi is pregnant and she needs my help. She has always helped me. I can’t leave her at this time.”
“Ok ok fine. Now speed up or we will be late. Did you eat something?”
“Oh I forgot, here, eat these snacks, Smriti didi gave them for you, and yes, I have already eaten.”
They started to walk faster. It was very cold but they had to reach on time. They were already late. It was still 2 kms away and it was a dark stretch, hardly any light. They had a flashlight and they were moving towards their destination as fast as they can.
They could see light in a distance. A bulb hanging from a pole was alight and they both started to move even faster.
Rahim kaka was waiting for both of them. “You both are late today. Quickly get on the boat. I will drop you in 5 minutes.”
The boat was full and there was dense fog. They both got on the boat and Rahim kaka started to row the boat towards their destination. They could see the dim light coming from the bulb hanging from the pole as it got closer and closer.
Soon they reached their destination. It took more than usual due to the fog but they were happy they reached. Swiftly they got off the boat and ran towards to light. Around 30 men and women, mostly domestic helps and security gaurds, were sitting and writing something in their notebooks.
“Rashmi, Raghav you are late today. Come sit quickly and start writing the notes. We are learning about the names of different states and their capital cities tonight.”
Rashmi considered herself very lucky to have a husband like Raghav, who not only took good care of her and loved her, but also motivated her to move ahead in life. They both couldn’t have kids, but Raghav was not effected by it and never changed his behaviour towards her, even after his mother’s continuous efforts to remarry his son to someone else. Instead, he supported Rashmi in everything and helped her achieve her dream to study. Rashmi’s father was against her going to school and he married her off to Raghav very young. But she got lucky to have such a husband who not only supported her but was there with her on every step of life.
Raghav worked as a security gaurd and Rashmi as a cook in day time and they both attended night classes run by Retired Colonel Samiksha Banerjee, who used to teach such people, free of cost.
Rashmi wanted to become a teacher at the primary school in her village, and it was still a long way to go. But she was following her dream and with support of her husband Raghav, she knew she will make it one day.