The new branch manager was going through the defaulters list. He found a loan that was given eight years back and not even a single rupee was repaid. He took an old file to which a black and white photo of a beautiful girl was attached. It read: Loan for self-employment, Name: Vijaya, Age: 19, Amount: Rs One Lakh. He called his car driver and asked about this customer. Drivers have better knowledge of the bank customer, as he is the only person who is not changed his position from the inspection to recovery in the time span of 10 years. ‘Sir, this girl was given loan for setting up a small shop. Soon she got married and now settled in her husband’s house 150 km away.’ The manager told him to make the car ready by early morning next day.
Unwillingly the driver started moving the car. Manager started chatting with the driver, “Who is this girl who started shop at the age of 19?” The driver began the story. “Sir, I know Vijaya from her childhood. She was an intelligent and innocent girl in her childhood. She finished her 12th with good marks. Her brother who was working in the port was the only breadwinner of her family. He dreamt to make her an officer.” Manager interrupted “then why she took a business loan, we could have given an education loan.” The driver replied “Sir, her bad fate was seemed to be endless. Her brother died in an accident in the port. The port trust gave his family some money. But it could not wipe the tears of her family. She could not continue her education. For her bad luck, a person from a rich family saw her and put a proposal to marry her.”
“Oh come on, I am not getting why she took the loan in between all these”.
“Sir, that greedy people wanted dowry. Vijaya’s parents were not willing to lose an opportunity to build a relationship with the rich family. They thought if they successfully make her daughter, a daughter-in-law of the wealthy family, their responsibility would be over. The amount which they got from the death of their son was not enough for it.”
The manager became uncomfortable and said “So, they took loan for business and made her marriage?”
“Yes sir, her parents already had a small shop and they took this loan in her name. They also promised to repay…. We are near to her house; we have to move few hundred meters in this estate”
An old person of about 60 was sitting in the warrandah of a big old house on old wooden chair. There are around five workers working around him. The manager told ‘Namaskar’. The old man did not even have courtesy to ask him to be seated. The manager himself started, he introduced himself and told the reason why he has come. The old man got angry and called his son. The way his son ran to him, the manager understood he is a slave of his father. He scolded his daughter in law. And called her out using all the bad words he can. Vijaya appeared and stood nervously.
It was not tough to make it out the tortures he was withstanding by looking at her face. Her innocent face in the photo attached to documents has now filled with helplessness. When asked, she told to her father in law “I never took any loan. I went to the bank only once to take Rs 1 lakh that was kept by my brother in bank for my marriage. That time I gave this photo” She did not even know that she had taken loan. Her parents had fooled her. To answer why, her parents are no more. Then manager tried to convince the old man that it was taken for marriage and requested him to repay the loan on behalf of her daughter-in-law. The old man was not even ready to listen.
The old man shouted at the manager “You have given loan to her. You can take it back from her. Even if you want to take her with you, I have no objection. But I won’t pay you even a single Rupee. You can take whatever the legal action you would like to. If you don’t have money to put a case on her, I will donate that much to your bank. File a suit in the court and publish in newspapers. Let her face this alone or else commit suicide. If she commits suicide because of you bankers I am glad and ready to bring another rich wife to my son. You can leave now.”
There was not a single word spoken in the car while returning. The manager was thinking there was wonder if the old man kills her and projects it as a suicide.
Next day local newspaper reported: ‘Woman Commits Suicide Due to Heavy Debt’