A hectic night lay ahead .. Dia sat exhausted on the bench of a nearby park. Five years had passed by since the untimely death of her father. She had lost all hope of getting the pension of her late father for her helpless mother and a sister 10 years younger than her. The government officers were ruthless in this regard and always left dumb ears to her plea. Initially unaware of the predicament; gradually she understood their hidden demand; which was a hefty sum as a bribe.

As time passed by, Dia realized that there was very little hope that she would ever get her father’s pension though it rightfully belonged to her family. Dia could not understand why she was expected to pay a huge amount as the bribe for the pension money which was rightfully hers. There was no source of income for them, as her mother is an arthritis patient since few years otherwise she would have been contributed something by doing her earlier job as a sweeper at the nearest school. And, her sister was a prodigy. She had been quite popular in her school as she had won laurels for various activities such as Debate, Singing, and Basketball. She was equally good in studies and always notched high marks. Now, she was in her 10th grade. So, Dia felt it would be an injustice if she becomes the reason for her sister discontinuing further studies.

Her dark lipstick glittered in the darkness and her red saree draped around her slim figure made her look distinct in the crowd. Many guys at the park were looking at her. They were helpless; such was her beauty. She used to love the attention she got. But not now; as she has come to terms with her life. The beauty she once revered was probably one of the main reason for her present condition. During her time of studying, she was always indulged in relationships with many guys, one after another. She was a spoilt kid she knew but she felt she didn’t deserve such a cruel punishment. She looked lively yet she was lifeless, she was alive yet she was not better than the dead.

Life had never been supportive to her, yet the smile on her mother’s face when she would return home the next day was enough to keep her going. Initially shocked to hear from Dia about taking about ‘THAT JOB’; even she had to give in. As sometimes hunger makes you blind. Good seems to be a luxury then. Dia too wanted her sister to achieve all the happiness in this world which she was denied. She wanted her sister to study hard for the exams and be a topper and she could go to any extent to fulfill her father’s dream. The thought of a prince charming riding towards her in a black horse out of sheer darkness was only a dream which she still cherished in her lonely moments. At times she was full of remorse that she had so recklessly decided to quit school out of sheer boredom. Her father had tried his best to make her understand the importance of education, but she hardly cared. Today life would have been quite different if she was educated, maybe she could get a decent job to support her family.

A car screeched to a halt near Dia. A bulky guy jumped out and walked fast towards Dia. She woke up from her thoughts and adjusted her hair and saw her reflection in her purse mirror. Two soulless eyes stared back at her which were definitely not her own. She had ceased to be herself and totally lost herself in the fast life of the big city. Dia was very well aware that there was no turning back. The men spoke to her for few minutes and offered her some money. One of them opened the door for her rather roughly and she entered the car. Her client, an old man was waiting for her in the car. Seeing her, he became excited. The bulky guy was given the order to drive the car swiftly to the nearest hotel.

Something fell from her purse and lay on the road. The car pulled up and sped away in the darkness. A small girl in rags came and picked up the glittering thing from the road. It was a small replica of Goddess Durga, which Dia’s father had gifted her on her birthday.