Disclaimer – This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. Reader discretion is advised.
The real beauty of a destination lies in its secrets! The tales told by the locals, folklore, bedtime stories, legends or fables whatever you call them. The myths filled with exaggeration and loads of drama perfected over generations of hearsays.
That’s exactly what Meena thought when she was told about the love story of ‘Rohu and Banu’ during her solo adventure trip in the central highlands of India.
Her week-long solo trip across central highlands across Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh were smoothly executed, thanks to the months of planning and research. She loves exploring unmarked territories, meeting locals, listening to midwife’s tales and going off the beaten path during her solo trips, once in a year. This year, it’s ‘Indian Central Highlands’.
Apart from being an adventurous traveler, Meena is a tech geek who is glued to PC from morning 9:00 to evening 6:00, gawking shining bright screen with zeros and ones.
Last year she traveled to the North-East and have decided to wander in the central highlands next. To journal her travel escapades, she has maintained a travel-blog which features all the beautiful memories of her solo-woman travel journeys.
Her stay at the Narmada river valley was rather exciting, she got a chance of bird watching, the most exquisite birds and other local species. Along with bird sanctuary, the Tiger project caught her attention, she decided to stay with locals in their village instead of the camp provided by the touring company.
There is nothing better than listening to age-old folk tales and mysteries from the villagers themselves. The village seniors gathered near campfire post-dinner to share their experiences in the jungle and hardships faced every day due to the curse of Rohu and Banu. It was then she was told about the legend of a young couple madly in love sacrificed for greed and lust.
A long time ago, when India wasn’t independent and under the rule of East India Company, this region has seen many great warriors and bloody battles. They say the soil is turned red due to the blood of their brave warriors.
It was during their last reign, when every nook and corner of India was rebelling against British Empire. The cantonment in this area was rather untouched from the outside world due to its dense forests and impeachable terrain.
The second-in-command was a young general too eager to overthrow every rebel voice coming from the poor Indians. He was told about a village boy named Banu, who has learned the art of war from Vidarbha and has returned to train other villagers now.
The general got infuriated by the audacity of Banu and asked his soldiers to capture him. When they imprisoned him for treachery and was presented in front of the court, everyone was rather impressed by this young man’s intelligence and witty replies. This made young general very furious and he took it as an insult on himself.
He started plotting to discredit this educated young man among his own people. Now a few men from his army were spying Banu 24/7, his each and every movement was recorded and reported to the general back at the army camp.
One fateful day, the spy saw Banu talking to a beautiful village girl named Rohu. She was extremely beautiful and soft-spoken when spies told the general about this girl, he decided to see her by himself and rode towards the village. Hidden under the canopy of trees and shrubs, he saw Rohu taking bath at the river banks. A crime as per the villagers and agreed by the Britishers.
Seeing a half-naked girl, in her prime youth ignited a pang of desire in the general and he wanted to have this girl for himself. When the village seniors learned about the incident, they complained to the high-rank officials. But nothing really happens when the lawmakers themselves commit a crime!!
The village was given a warning to either hand over the girl or face the consequences, Rohu was targeted from every side. Her parents called her a whore, and villagers a witch. Banu was the only man who stood by her and proposed to marry to save everyone from this twisted situation. Once married, she will be Banu’s Hindu bride and English general will be violating the rules by their own rule-books.
They were married within a few hours, but Rohu was convinced that Banu has sacrificed his freedom to save her pride. She decided to kill herself and finish the matter at once.
To be continued …
The post is written as part of #A2ZChallenge & #BlogchatterA2Z. To read the previous post, please click here. My theme this year is Short Love Stories.
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