“Goodbye Darling, and take care of yourself” said Aarti to her husband before she boarded the train.
Aarti was a beautiful woman. Aarti had long beautiful eyes like that of the deer and her skin was flawless. However, her disheveled black hair urgently needed some oil for upkeep. She had spun her hair into a bun. She wrapped Golu, her son, with a thick black shawl that had little holes in it. She clutched the toddler closer to her breast to protect him from the cold wind of the approaching winter. She was wearing a cheap printed blue cotton sari and her pink woolen cardigan that covered her slim figure. She sat on the train berth and then stooped to adjust her worn out slippers. Then she looked out of the train window for her husband Ramesh.
Ramesh wiped his son’s face with his shawl and placed a chocolate in Golu’s hand. Golu’s face brightened and then he accepted it gladly. Both Ramesh and Aarti appeared to be sad. The prospect of having to spend time apart was terrible, for them. Ramesh then handed over the suitcase to Raghu, the guy who was an acquaintance of their village in Assam. Aarti was going to work in Delhi as a house maid, as promised by Raghu. Abject poverty seemed to have driven Aarti and Ramesh to take this step. The crops had been washed away from their farmland due to incessant rains in the Brahmaputra valley which they had brought last June. They had to feed Golu and when Raghu proposed of finding a job for Aarti, they brooded for a while and then relented. The prospect of a harsh cold winter was looming in the near horizon for them.
“Don’t you worry!” assured Raghu.
However, Ramesh was ill at ease and the doleful moist eyes of his wife was terrible for him to watch. He however, kept mum and reassured Aarti saying, “It is a matter of months and if you have problems there is always Raghu bhai for assistance! You can always come back whenever you want!”
Although, Ramesh knew it would not be possible for her to come back, for at least six months.
Aarti kept mum as she placed her hand on the iron-railing of the train compartment and placed her head on it, as if resigned to fate.
Raghu however, kept on reassuring that everything would be fine.
Suddenly, the train woke with a jerk and the trains whistle was heard as the signalman waved his green flag for the train driver to start the journey.
Ramesh shouted, “Goodbye darling!”
Raghu smiled on hearing this and then he brought down the shutters of the train window and huddled to his seat. It was the starting of a long journey. Thirty-six hours to be precise.
The cold wind thrashed against the train compartments and a thin gap beneath the windows shutters sent shivers of coldness down many spines of the travelling passengers. Aarti clutched Golu closer and wrapped the shawl for protection, as the coldness spread like an epidemic throughout the compartment. Aarti slept little that night. The next morning, Raghu brought some tea from the vendor and she drank it. It kept her nerves alive. Raghu had slept tight that night and he sat next to Aarti and Golu. Now Raghu was smiling wryly sometimes! Aarti was trying to comprehend what was going on back home. However, Golu had been sleeping soundly for the night.
The train pushed through the dense north Indian fog! Around 10 in the morning, Raghu suddenly said, “I find that my mobile is not working!”
Aarti took out Ramesh’s mobile phone and asked Raghu to call up Ramesh. Raghu’s face brightened at this and he said, “Let’s talk to Ramesh for a while!” Then he dialed Ramesh’s number and let Aarti speak with him. Aarti asked Raghu the name of the station where they had arrived and he told her that.
Raghu asked Aarti, “Can I keep Ramesh’s phone since mine is not working.”
Aarti replied, “Yes, why not! But you should give it to me once we reach Delhi!”
Raghu was relieved.
Raghu was contemplating, 'What fools these people are!' But he kept mum!
Raghu bought some food and they shared it among themselves. The rest of the journey was uneventful.
The next morning when the train arrived in at New Delhi, Raghu along with Aarti and Golu alighted from the train.
Raghu made Aarti and Golu sit in one of the benches at the station and excused himself.
Raghu went out of the station as Ragbeer Singh entered. Ragbeer was the kingpin of the gang.
Raghu said, “The woman is here with the child!”
Ragbeer replied, “I will pay only when I see the item!”
Raghu took him and went inside the station and then he discreetly showed Ragbeer. Aarti and Golu were sitting on the bench far at the end of the station. Ragbeer licked his lips when he saw Aarti. His eyes glowed gleefully at the sight of such a beautiful woman. Aarti was sitting on the bench and lost in her own thoughts and playing joyfully with Golu.
Ragbeer thought, 'Where did Raghu get this nymph from? She sure would fetch a hefty price! Raghu is exceeding my expectations!'
He however said, “Well, here is the money! Does she have a mobile?”
Raghu said, “She gave her husband’s only mobile to me, for safe-keeping!”
Ragbeer replied, “Safe-keeping, yeah!”
Then he started laughing viciously.
When he had finished, he handed Raghu a bunch of crisp thousand rupees notes. Raghu’s eyes lit up at the sight of the currency notes.
Raghu grabbed the money and said, “Give me the milk will you!”
Ragbeer then took Raghu outside the station again and met Chotu. Chotu, the henchman, and his wife Geeta, were standing outside the station. Geeta was carrying a flask and a bag.
Ragbeer said, “Geeta, you know what to do, don’t you? But be careful!”
Geeta replied, “I know that!”
Then Geeta and Raghu went inside the station leaving behind Ragbeer and Chotu.
Ravi had not slept the previous night and was still watching over Aarti and Golu, unknown to everyone else. Unfortunately his counterpart Praveen had not turned up, as promised. Ravi was furious but couldn’t do anything. Praveen’s mobile was unreachable for some reason.
Raghu approached Aarti, with Geeta.
Raghu said, “Well, meet your new neighbor Neelam, Aarti!”
Aarti smiled and replied, “I am famished and so is Golu! Have you got something to eat Raghu Bhaiya!”
Geeta smiled and added, “I have some biscuits and milk! I would be glad to share with you!”
Ravi was on the opposite platform and quickly took some snaps of Geeta and Raghu with his mobile camera.
Aarti and Golu quickly had their fill.
Raghu left saying he will be back in a jiffy.
Geeta started chatting with Aarti, asking her of her home and other details. Aarti was feeling a bit uneasy and suddenly she felt dizzy and sleepy at the same time, as the drug-laced milk started to take its effect on them. Aarti realized that this was going to be tough and she didn’t comprehend what was lying in front of her. She kissed Golu, one last time, before passing out on Geeta’s lap.
Geeta knew exactly what to do. She called out Raghu’s name and said “Nirmala has fainted, Raghu!”
Then Raghu arrived along with Ragbeer and Chotu who lifted and carried both the mother and child outside to the car. They tucked unconscious Aarti inside the car. Then they tucked Golu inside a big bag and dumped it at the corner of the station and then Ragbeer shouted at Raghu who alighted from the car saying, “Goodbye Darling!” After which the car sped off.
Ravi boarded a taxi and followed them, leaving behind Golu, since he thought that they had discarded their luggage as excess baggage. Little did he comprehend that the bag had sleeping Golu inside it. Then the two cars sped towards Jaipur. After around ten minutes, the car containing Aarti took a left turn suddenly. As the taxi following it wanted to turn left, it collided with a motor bike. The motor-cyclist started cursing in hindi and then a lot of people gathered around the taxi to ascertain whose fault it was. Ravi, realizing that this would cost him precious time, alighted from the taxi and paid the taxi driver the fare and then tried to hail another taxi. In the resulting mayhem, he lost track of the car carrying Aarti. But he had already noted down the number of the car. He called up Praveen once again. This time the call went through.
Praveen replied, “Sorry Sir, my phone’s battery went dead and took me an hour before I could get it fixed!”
Ravi cursed and replied, “Bloody hell! The bird has flown away! Note down the number of the car will you! We need to track this car immediately!”
Praveen replied, “Will do that immediately! Where are you now, Sirji?”
“Waiting for you on the Jaipur highway!”
By the time Praveen arrived Ravi was sweating like a pig. Ravi had meanwhile informed his seniors about the status of the situation. By now the police surveillance network had woken from slumber. The outposts had been informed by then. It was around five hours later, that the havildar, Rajesh Singh, located the car crossing towards Sawai Madhopur towards Ranthambore National Park.
Rajesh had called up to inform Ravi, and he immediately told him to follow it with his motorbike.
Rajesh followed the car which sped towards Sawai Madhopur. He followed it as it entered into one of the havelis of Sawai Madhopur. He then called Ravi and informed him regarding this.
Meanwhile, Sugna Begam, the childless rag-picker who was going through the rubbish near the Delhi station, located Golu. She didn’t know what to do. So she took the child to the nearest railway police force depot. The officer asked, “Where did you get this child?”
Sugna Begam replied, “In this big bag! The child appears to be alive and is currently sleeping. Someone must have abandoned him there.”
The Officer, Raj Kishore, then said, “It’s a boy, so it appears strange, since usually they abandon girls!”
Sugna Begam then asked, “Can I feed the child, Sir, when it is awake?!”
Raj Kishore then informed the railway authorities about this incident and tried to track the CCTV footage. In no time they had located Aarti and Golu. Then one of the havildars had informed that the lady had fainted and some people had carried her to one of the waiting cars.
Raj Kishore got perturbed and informed the crime branch regarding this issue. He told Sugna Begam, "Feed the child once he wakes up!”
Raj Kishore then called the resident doctor and he came to examine Golu. The Doctor realized that the child had been heavily sedated. Golu was sleeping peacefully.
Meanwhile, at the haveli, they took Aarti to one of the rooms of the haveli and tied her hands and gagged her. Aarti was thinking, 'What would happen now? Were they going to rape her? What had happened to Golu?' Time was still for her as her anxiousness took the upper hand. Aarti knew that Ramesh would come, but why were they taking so long!
Meanwhile outside the haveli, Rajesh was waiting for orders.
It was late in the night when Ramesh, along with Ravi and Praveen arrived in a van. Along with them came two vans of police personnel. Ramesh, who was actually an IPS, was working undercover to nab the women traffickers, then instructed the police personnel to surround the haveli. Then Ramesh and Praveen went and knocked at the gate. Geeta opened the gate and when she found the Police, she begged them to let her go. Ramesh and Praveen brushed past Geeta into the haveli. The two women constables quickly arrested Geeta. Praveen added, “Goodbye Darling!” when the women constables were taking Geeta away!
Ramesh, Ravi and Praveen found Chotu and Ragbeer sitting in the haveli courtyard smoking weed. Ragbeer sensing trouble tried to run away. He tried to jump across the courtyard but was no match to the nimble footed Praveen who yanked him to the floor. Chotu was hefty but was no match for the big constables who handcuffed him in no time. Then police men searched the property and found six women other than Aarti all gagged and tied up in rooms of the haveli. Some of them were hysterical and were trying to relate the atrocities that had been inflicted to them. Ragbeer was now crying like a baby and all his macho masculine image had evaporated into the thin air. They also recovered a lot of cash and guns from the haveli premises. Praveen greeted Ragbeer saying, “Goodbye Darling!” when Ragbeer was about to board the police van, handcuffed as he was!
With evidence to nail Ragbeer and his gang, they returned towards Delhi. They had to nab Raghu. Crime branch personnel from the Delhi Police had found Golu and he was reunited with her mother Aarti. Sugna Begam was rewarded by Ramesh for locating his son. When they were taking away little Golu, Sugna Begam uttered, “Goodbye Darling!” before she handed little Golu to Aarti.
Then they went in search of Raghu. At gun point they made Ragbeer to call up Raghu to ascertain his location. Once they were speaking the radar had ascertained the location of Raghu.
When they arrested Raghu, he was thunder struck at the appearance of the police. He tried to shoot at the policemen and was injured with a bullet that pierced his hand. The police went into an over drive and arrested a couple of other henchmen who might have participated in these notorious activities. A total of sixteen young women were rescued by the police and everyone, including the Inspector General, hailed the braveness of Ramesh, and Aarti. Thus ended “Operation Goodbye Darling!”