'A Time To Die' Chapter 3, Week 1, Team Blog-o-holics
Read the earlier post from Sudam here...
Alighting from the train after a long arduous journey, weary eyed and rustic body rattled by the journey, Jennifer struggled with her trolley baggage, funky hand bag, Ipod plugged in and the messy wires all over and with a camera dangling around her neck entangled with her scarf, her eyes looked around for a stranger she had just chatted with over the last 30 hours, Shekar.
What she missed noticing was the numerous roving eyes that were ogling at her… the cart vendors, the cleaners, the coolie’s and the numerous passengers on the platform, all looking at the young girl funkily dressed and struggling with her baggage. It then stuck her mind that she was in Mumbai, the city of dreams for thousands who land up there, some to get successful and some lost in the fast paced city unable to cope with its speed.
Just as she started moving rearranging herself…, ‘thud’ she went on the ground getting knocked over by a heavy object. The deafening sounds from the moving trains, noises from the chaotic rush on the platform and the intensity of the fall made her head swivel like a windmill and she stayed so for a few seconds before getting back to her senses. I’m sorry, I’m so sorry… she heard as she tried to get up but failed, till an arm holding her tightly helped her getting up; she somehow felt very comfortable in that strong hold of the person. She turned around angrily to give a mouthful to the person who knocked her down, but instead stammered and stuttered seeing a fair, tall, handsome hunk with lovely curls and an odd over sized specs looking sheepishly at her apologizing for his mistake.
Glancing at her watch (that she so lovingly had picked from over a hundred choices at the flea market in Cochin) that had cracked, Jennifer annoyingly asked the bespectacled guy the time. 9am was the reply from the tall lanky hunk still apologizing for his mistake. Oh gosh! My appointment is at 12 to meet Tara ma’am at the editor’s office and I’m still here and where is Shekar sir…! I’m lost and she went on without a break sobbing softly. Can I help…? Her non stop rants were interrupted from the guy now standing next to her, as tall as the Qutub Minar. Her reaction was interrupted with the ring on the guy’s phone and as she looked on menacingly, he answered the call turning around and Jennifer’s eyes lit up when she heard him mentioning the name of the editorial and Tara’s name where she was also headed.
Anger turned into laughter when she smilingly told him ‘two strangers, one destination and no time’. Ah! He said, so you’re headed to meet Tara ma’am… great! Well, I’m sorry and I’m Cyrus from Delhi and I was in a hurry because I was getting late being here for the first time and meanwhile knocked you over with a slight grin on his face. Jennifer nodded back with a wry smile somewhat smitten by the stranger Cyrus who just knocked her over.
Soon, a middle-aged bald person walked up to them and over hearing their conversations figured out the girl must be Jennifer as she had given him some pointers to identify her and introduced himself as Shekar. Exchanging pleasantaries and introducing Cyrus to Shekar, the trio headed out of the station and meanwhile Shekar got to know both of them were headed towards Tara’s office. Shekar did not reveal to them that Tara was his wife but instead offered them a lift up to Tara’s editorial office giving them a reason that he had to pick his daughter Roohie from school that was close by to where they were headed.
Befoe parting, Shekar offered them to show around Mumbai, the city of dreams, for the next two days incidently being Saturday and Sunday and also offered them assistance in staying at a place closer to where he lived. He added that his wife and daughter would love their company and they should not refuse. Jennifer was more than happy as that would give her camera a chance to capture the life in Mumbai and surrounding places and she readily agreed. Cyrus agreed with a stern face not knowing what to say.
After Shekar dropped them and left, Jennifer started walking ahead with Cyrus next to him in animatic conversations with someone over the phone and going a little ahead she turned around not to see Cyrus behind! Frantically, she looked around for Cyrus but to no avail and she moved ahead in despair as it was already getting late to reach Tara’s office.
Moving ahead a few steps, Jennifer had an eerie feeling of someone closely following her…, she turned around thinking it could be Cyrus but found none. She thought it could just be her mindset after reading the ‘Hooded man’ short story earlier in the train written by Shekar.
Nodding her head in agreement and turning on the music on her ipod, she moved ahead binding her tresses with a band from the bag and flaunting her tattoo on her hand in style… but soon the eerie feeling was back and this time more intense then earlier. She stopped in her tracks and she could now hear her heart pounding aloud and her breath becoming heavy. Sweat drops started appearing on her forehead as her hand shivered and the eerie feeling becoming more intense by the passing second.
Her heart almost skipped beats and she started sweating profusely when a firm hand landed on her shoulders and Jennifer nervously turned around shivering in anxiety to see…
‘The Hooded Man’!!!
Read the next post by Nipath here...
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