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Finale: The story continues…

Some years have passed. Gokul Ashram has grown. It now occupies a new building. As Binodini enters the ashram compound in an auto rickshaw, the watchman salutes her. She has streaks of silver in her hair now. She is also wearing glasses. Walking through the corridor, she is the epitome of grace and elegance. The ashram employs several people now: office bearers, peons and other employees. All of them greet Binodini with folded hands. She responds to everyone with a smile. As she enters her office, her young secretary gets up and greets her. Her name is Ambika.

Ambika informs Binodini that a young widow is waiting to meet her. She wishes to join the ashram. A young girl enters the room. She looks nervous. She has a black eye. Her arms bear cuts and bruises. But her eyes gleam with strength and confidence.

The girl folds her hands and greets Binodini. Binodini reciprocates, inviting her to take a seat. The young girl sits on the chair in front of Binodini. She still looks uncomfortable. Binodini smiles at her reassuringly. The young widow explains that she knows of Binodini from a TV interview. When her husband died, she was being forced into remarrying. She would have nothing of it. So, she ran away. From Nadia zila in Bengal to Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh, she covered the journey all alone.

Binodini looks at her calmly. She recalls her own plight, when she had come to Vrindavan. At least she had had the support of her grandmother and Raghu. This woman has no one. Binodini is impressed by the young woman’s self-reliance. “Naam kya hai tumhara?” Binodini asks for her name. The girl looks straight into Binodini’s eyes and replies, “Mrinalini.”

Photography: Jassi Oberai 

Location: Vrindavan, Mathura, UP, India