COUNTRYSIDE

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Life's Journey
Its a Story about Faith in your Love and and to wait for your love without being tired of waiting

Submitted: August 08, 2016

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Submitted: August 08, 2016

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COUNTRYSIDE

Countryside, always on demand for its peacefulness, calmness and scattered settlements, an environment becomes peaceful if the settlement is not clumsy, haphazard or confined. Similarly, an environment becomes even more peaceful if people somehow accept everything that comes on its way without questioning or thinking just like a dumb terminal.

In the eyes of town, countryside is a place where tiredness meets refreshment, where staying at the weekend is a luxury having no or minimum contact with the outer world.

However, from the eyes of countryside, a town is a place of opportunity, growth, development, contacts, fastness and dazzling lights.

 Therefore, every time when the representatives of a town visits countryside, it creates a buzz among the scattered population, and somehow they tries to retain the visitor for more additional days to feel the essence of the town culture.

“There are various ways to retain Mr. Thomas for few more days in our village”. An unemployed graduate of the village spoke out.

“Yes, I know, but the retention should be constructive one”. A primary school teacher uttered.

 “What constructive one?” Pinto questioned (Owner of the village Cold-storage building and a moneylender).

Pinto continued saying, “Dear teacher, this is not a standard two classroom that it has to be constructive or ethical, we mean business. Mr. Thomas could be held back only through entertainment. The rest I am sure, you all are quite intelligent enough to understand what I am trying to say?”

The Village headman ended up the discussion saying, “let me think, what best can be done.”

By this time, Mr. Thomas, who went for an evening walk, reached the meeting place and observed the discussion of these people from a distance.

Taking his high-resolution camera, he started capturing the moments of the surroundings.

The village headman noticed the presence of Mr. Thomas, the Irishman, who was wearing a ‘fedora’, a white T-shirt, blue jeans and black sports shoe, shouted,

“Hello Sir, please do join us, do come, crossing the road.”

Returning the complement by waving his hand Mr. Thomas, did the same as instructed after taking a deep energy breath.

He was about to cross the road when a cycle collided with him. Both the individual fell into the ground, the boy was riding the cycle in one hand since he was carrying a cricket bat on the other.

The boy who was sole responsible for this collision shouted in anger after standing up while cleaning his wounds,

“Cannot you see? Are you blind? Now mother will scale me for getting late. Who will save me?” 

Mr. Thomas instead of answering the question or instead of scolding the boy, softly said,

“Sorry dear, very sorry, come let me heal your wound, I have an ointment in my kitty.”

“No thank you very much,” the boy said, adding, “You are a bad man and I hate bad man. Mom told me not to talk with a bad man.”

Mr. Thomas was about to say something, when the boy took his bicycle went away by taking his ‘fedora’ as punishment.

Sitting on the middle of the road the Irish man smiled and spoke to himself “I have not seen such an innocent boy ever before.”

The Village headman and Pinto both rushed into the place, to rescue Mr. Thomas from his hardship.

“We are very sorry for this sir.” Pinto spoke out.

“This boy is a trouble for this village from the day one” A passing-by village women commented after looking at the situation of the visitor.

By this time the primary school teacher entered into the conversation by saying “let us not be too critical to this helpless family and the boy, we all know there situation.”

The Irishman ignoring all this answers and counters continued to live into the eyes and into the spontaneous nature of the boy.

“Sir, Sir,” Pinto Shouted, by pushing Mr. Thomas from back.

Getting all his sense back, the Irishman stood up and saying thank you to everybody retires to his cottage.

It was six p.m. and darkness started to engulf the environment. He refreshed himself, took a cup of coffee with some snacks and came outside of his cottage to view or rather to feel the charm of this evening.

His mind still caught into the innocent eyes of the boy.

“The eyes were so familiar to me”. He spoke to himself softly, adding, “Usually I do not listen to anybody. However, this boy made me speechless. I must meet with this boy tomorrow again.”

“What tomorrow sir? I believe you remember that we are leaving this village tomorrow by ten a.m.?” Sundaram questioned with an answer.

“I think I will have to stay here for few more days dear” Mr. Thomas replied.

“I knew it Sir” Sundaram, the caretaker replied, adding

“May I have the permission to know the reason of this decision?”

Ignoring the question Mr. Thomas continued to speak out, saying, “I must find out the origin of those eyes, since it has started haunting me.”

“What eyes? Which eyes?” Sundaram questioned.

 “Eyes of a boy and you will have to find out the address of this boy, since the local will not understand my language, nor will I be able to explain them the reason for this search.” Mr. Thomas replied.

“I myself do not able to understand your activity, Sir,” Sundaram uttered softly.

“Just do as I have instructed” The master spoke out boldly.

A silent wind passed among the two, as Sundaram quietly retires to his room requesting his master to take rest.

On the other side, the mother of Guddu (the name of the boy) continued to shout after her son, asking her child to stay at the door steeps without food and water for hours as punishment.

“What wrong have I done mother?” The boy questioned.

“You have done nothing wrong, it was my mistake to give you birth” mother replied being angry, adding, “I told you several times, not to disturb the villagers, but you do not listen to a single word of mine.”

“I am sorry mother; promise that it will not be repeated. I am feeling very hungry, may I entered the house?” the son answered with a question.

His mother hugged him tightly and started crying. The boy with his soft hand wiped off the tears and both entered into the kitchen for dinner.

Next day morning, Sundaram, after preparing the breakfast left the cottage in search of that boy as per the instruction of his master.

He started his search from the very beginning of the village road that is, from where the highway runs leaving behind the village on the side.

“I must not loiter in the field like a vagabond.” He spoke to himself, adding, “The search has to be of constructive one and also have to be on the point.”

Suddenly Pinto who was in his morning exercise called him up from the behind saying “good morning”

Sundaram turned back and returned the same compliment with a smile.

“So, today is the last day of Mr. Thomas in the village?” Pinto questioned.

Being familiar with the village politics and the nature of the villagers, Sundaram ignoring the question, ask in return, “what was the audit report of your cold storage?”

Hearing the question in no time the face of Mr. Pinto turned pale. However, keeping his nerve cool, he replied, “feels good to see the out knowledge of a servant whose only job is to satisfy his master. By the way I must leave now, lots of work left to be done for the day.”

“Bye, best of luck” Sundaram also smiled and continued his journey.

Back home Mr. Thomas after having the breakfast also left the cottage wearing white trouser and white T-shirt. For the first time he forgot to take his camera with him. For the first time he was un-mindful. Generally, he is a man of full confidence and passion. However, today he has the passion but somehow his confidence is missing. He is also confused for the first time.

Without knowing on what to do and how to do, he keeps on walking and searching for the boy along the paddy field that was about to get harvested.

Mr. Thomas, who was earlier, amazed by the peacefulness and beauty of the countryside, now feeling very irritated with the same environment as time passes by.

“Where is the boy? How come this is possible?” the master asked to himself, adding, “I must get hold of the boy, he is the missing link.”

The search continued throughout the day, but both of them were unable to found the boy, rather unable to get the address of the boy also.

By one p.m. Sundaram returned to the cottage being tired and exhausted but was unable to entered

Into the room since the key was with the master who was also engaged in this same search.

 

Taking a deep breath Sundaram took his seat into the floor of the door and looks straight towards the village roads, from where his master is going to arrive.

 

Wearing the traditional South Indian dress, Sundaram continued to wait for his master who returned after an hour or so.

 

After entering the cottage he smiled by watching Sundaram who felt asleep on the door steps while waiting and waiting for his master.

 

He gently put his hand above his head and starts brushing. Sundaram opened his eyes in a flash and stood up being ashamed.

 

“Please do be ashamed, dear” Mr. Thomas replied, adding, “ we have got lot more work left to do, come lets have our lunch, here is the key”.

 

Sundaram opened the door after taking the key from his master and requested him to entre first.

 

However, Mr. Thomas returned the gesture by asking him to step inside since Sundaram by age and by experience (of life’s journey) is senior by few years.

 

After taking, the delayed lunch (A traditional south Indian lunch) both sat on the drawing room facing each other.  

 

Sundaram broke the silence by asking, “Sir, have you found the boy”?

 

“No,” Master replied.

 

“May I have the permission to ask why are you searching for this boy?  And secondly, why are you so tensed?” Sundaram questioned rather uttered.

 

Mr. Thomas, took a deep breath, looked side wise, and then looked straight into the eyes of Sundaram and said, “It is a long story, will narrate the entire in leisure time.”

 

The seriousness of the reply made Sundaram nervous and terminated his curiosity to probe further.

“In the morning, I meet with Pinto, Sir.” Sundaram softly uttered.

 

 “Yes I know, already got the news” Mr. Thomas replied, adding, “I appreciate your reply to contain his interest. He is a very clever man. He only understand money and at any cost.” Master replied.

 

A few seconds of silence and then Mr. Thomas got busy in reading the English daily, when someone knocked the door of the cottage.

 

Keeping the newspaper aside, Mr. Thomas was about to move up from the chair when Sundaram stood up from the tired sleep and rushed to open the door. The master smiled and stood back to welcome the unknown guest arrived at the unusual time.

 

“The voice is very familiar to me” Mr. Thomas spoke to himself, saying, “But the voice tone seems to not in relaxed state, something is not good.”

 

“But why the voice is not reaching clearly to my ears? Rather, why the person is not coming in front of me? He asked to himself, as he turned his head to enquire about this delay.

 

“Come Sir, please step in,” Sundaram uttered to the village headman who personally came this evening to have a direct one to one talk with the visitor.

 

Mr. Thomas stood up, and gave a warm welcome to the guest and requested him to take his seat.

The Village headman named Mr. Swaminathan after taking his seat started moving his head in back and forth motion instead of relaxing.

 

Mr. Thomas, who was following the body language of the village headman closely, understood the requirement of the visitor and requested Sundaram to bring a glass of water at the earliest.

 

After drinking the glass of water, the village headman just closed his eyes for few seconds to express his relief from the thirst.

 

Outside then the daylight turned dusk. The birds started returning to the nest, the students of the locality started to open up their books and copies to complete the daily home task, the few play ground that were left from being taken off by the land owners for construction, started getting empty. The female members of the families started to enter into the kitchen to prepare evening snacks with a cup of tea for their near and dear ones.

 

Holding the cup of tea the village headman spoke out after breaking the long silence.

 

“As a well-wisher I will request you to leave the village as early as possible, as your identity is at stake.” Adding, “However, as a professional I will request you stay in our village since your capital will inspire others to invest as it will increase the job opportunity for the educated as well as for the un-educated population of the village and the surroundings.”

 

“So, are you asking me to leave the village? Mr. Thomas questioned. Adding, “After what you said, I can feel that my presence will make the surrounding hopeful and optimistic.”

 

“As of now your presence was based upon your wish and wills. However, after this night you will have to stay in the village as a puppet losing all of your dignity and identity.” The Village uttered.

 

Sundaram, who was sitting at the corner of the door, stood up straight and rushed in front of the visitor demanding an answer for this scary statement.

 

“Are you in sense?” Sundaram questioned.

 

“Yes I am” Answered the visitor, adding “I was asked not to share this secret with other and specially to you, but I cannot resist myself from sharing the same with you, since you are our guest rather my guest, and it is my responsibility to protect you”.

 

“I appreciate your concern, but please let me know the entire story” Mr. Thomas spoke out.

 

“Pinto is trying to get hold of your neck by entertaining you with women, wine with snacks” the village headman replied, being excited.

 

Mr. Thomas after hearing this started laughing loudly. Sundaram and the visitor both stared at him with wide opened eyes.

 

“What make you laugh, that too in this crisis situation?” Sundaram, questioned.

 

He was about to question for the third time when Mr. Thomas by waving his hand stopped him and requested everybody to take seat.

 

Being extremely tensed and excited both of them took their seat as instructed.

 

Drinking a glass of boiled water ad after taking a deep breath Mr. Thomas took his seat into the easy chair made of wood, and looked straight into the eyes of the two individuals.

 

“Sir, will you please disclose the details?” Sundaram, enquired.

 

“O yes, definitely I will, the time has arrived.” The master replied

 

“Mr. Swaminathan, do you have enough time in your hand to listen to the entire story? As it will take some time,” Mr. Thomas questioned adding, “It is almost, half past five p.m.”

 

‘Yes I have all the time in the hand Sir. However, to me, you do not have the time” the village headman replied.

 

“Well then let’s get started” Mr. Thomas uttered ignoring the last statement of the village headman and asking Sundaram to bring a cup of hot coffee for all with some snacks.

 

Initially, Sundaram was disappointed after hearing this demand of his master but soon recovered from this dissatisfaction after receiving an assurance from his master that the narration of the story will only start post drinking the coffee and after giving a bite to  a piece of snacks.

 

“How come this man is so relaxed?”  The Village headman questioned to himself, adding, “Dear lord please save him from all ill effects and also please forgive me, since I have tried my level best to keep this up-coming storm away from Thomas.”

 

The Cottage comprises of two rooms, a kitchen and a washroom. All of them are of eight hundred square-feet in length and breath.

 

Starting with the kitchen, it is well equipped and furnished along with an oven, a gas cylinder, and an exhaust fan attached to the wall.

 

Just beside the kitchen on the eastern side lies the washroom which is clean and of adequate water supply.

On the western side of the kitchen, there is a mud wall, which is the fourth wall of the bedroom of the cottage.

 

Inside the bedroom there kept a double bed made of wood, a small size wooden study table, a dressing table, few wall paintings of Picasso and Vangaugh. The wall and the floor made of mud. The floor covered with a big black carpet, a pedestal fan, an electric switchboard.

 

Moving ahead is the sitting room adjacent to the bedroom. The sitting room consists of a wooden easy chair, a wooden tea table, and a pendulum clock.

 

The entire structure is linear in nature just like a compartment of a train.

 

“Here I come” Sundaram shouted, adding, “I believe I am not late?”

 

“No absolutely not dear” the master replied.

 

Each of them took their respective position. The narrator is on the easy chair, the village headman on the right hand side of the chair facing him while sitting on a small wooden ply and Sundaram is on the left hand side of the easy chair while sitting on the carpet facing his master.

 

“To start off with, let me introduce myself to you and to the environment, my name is not Thomas.” With a pause, “My name is Andrew Gomes, a professor of History in Cambridge University.”

 

The other two looked straight into the eyes of the narrator being un-moved after hearing this.

 

Drinking the remaining cup of black coffee, Mr. Andrew started again.

 

“I was attracted to Indian History, especially with south Indian History, starting from the days of Sangam Literature before the Christ until the time of Aurangzeb invading the southern part of India in the fifteenth century.

 

“Sorry to interrupt you sir, but I have a question”. Sundaram Uttered.

 

“Yes please go ahead and ask.” The speaker replied.

 

“Please do tell me the exact date or the period of Sangam Literature.” Sundaram questioned.

 

“Is this the right time to discuss history?” The village headman questioned being irritated.

 

“Sundaram felt embarrassed and what about to express his apology for this unwanted interruption, when the speaker replied with a smile.

 

“Tamil new the art of writing before the beginning of the Christian era, that is, since the second century B.C. The earliest script that the Tamils used was the Brahmi Script.”

 

Sundaram was very curious to learn and to know but the other person broke the momentum by asking questions.

 

“So, how did you reach India, Air or water?”

 

“By water and reached the Malabar Coast and from there travelled by road and reached the Tamil land.” Andrew replied, adding, “There I was greeted by a renowned professor of Indian history, Named Mr. Krishnan. He offered me his residence to stay as long as possible; however, my Visa restricted me to stay for only one hundred and fifty days.

 

Giving a pause he continued, “These One hundred and fifty days changed the momentum and the vision of my life.”

 

The wall clock banged for seven times. Mr. Andrew and the village headman both looked up, but Sundaram kept his head down as if he was trying to recollect something painful.

 

“Sundaram, are you in focus?” Andrew questioned.

 

No reply received from Sundaram.

 

“Sundaram, hello” this time it was actually a roar from the master, still Sundaram was reluctant enough to pull his head up.

 

After much deliberation Sundaram raised his head up, looked straight into the eyes of his master and said, “What happened next?”

 

Mr. Andrew understanding the depth of the situation did not feel comfortable to ask for another cup of coffee and continued his story from where he has left.

 

“It was a pretty big house, having six bed room, one guest room and a big drawining room, a kitchen two wash room, a big library and a separate study room.

 

“Wow, pretty big” the village headman uttered.

 

“Sundaram continued to listen without speaking a single word.”

 

The narrator continued, “The family of Mr. Krishnan was small, with his wife and only daughter”.

 

“And there were six maids who used to works in rotation shift” Sundaram uttered being unmindful.

 

Mr. Andrew gave a sudden break to his description after hearing the statement of Sundaram, and immediately questioned, “How did you know?”

 

Sundaram being surprised by this direct question and replied that too with a question, “what did I know?” getting all his sense back on track.

 

Mr. Andrew also got bit surprised by this response and was about to probe further when the village headman roared,

 

“Shall we continue with the story?” being extremely irritated by this continuous interruption.

 

“Yes sure” the speaker replied.

 

 “His daughter was extremely beautiful and tall and sober in nature. I was given a warm reception by all of them.”

 

Giving a pause, the speaker continued, “My guest room was well furnished and decorated. The house was immaculate all throughout; it was truly feels like a house of a professor.”

 

“Soft, humble, polite, simple, yet firm kind of attitude was of the professor.” Sundaram whispered.

 

“Yes absolutely” Andrew replied.

 

“After that?” the village headman questioned.

 

“Are you getting impatient?” the speaker questioned to the village headman adding, “I told you beforehand that it will be time taking.”

 

“No, no certainly not” the village headman replied being bit ashamed of his deeds, “actually I am getting bit excited to here the next incident, Sir”.

 

“Understood” Andrew replied, after drinking a glass of water to relax his nerve and after taking a deep breath he continued, “That day I was too tired to talk so after having the dinner I went on to the bed and in no time closed my eyes.”

 

“I guess a cup of coffee will energise the environment, what do you say Sir?” Sundaram questioned.

 

“A fantastic idea” the speaker replied, adding, “we must take the permission from the other member also since he is getting late and we must respect his time.”

 

“Absolutely, I am ready for a coffee break. I have decided to stay here with you all till the end of the story” The village headman answered with a big smile in his face, adding “I guess Mr. Andrew do not have any problem with this staying?”

 

“Certainly not, it will make me more comfortable to narrate the story without any external rush.”

 

“Fair enough, so, it’s time for a coffee break, with some snacks” Sundaram uttered with a smile as he moved into the kitchen singing an old Tamil classical number.

 

“You have got an adventurous life, I must say” the village headman uttered.

 

Looking through the window by sitting on the chair Mr. Andrew replied “yes”, adding, “This calmness of the village always attracts me. Actually, this country always attracted me from the beginning”.

 

“Here I come” as Sundaram entered with a trey full of snacks and coffee.

 

“This time you are not late Sundaram” the master exclaimed.

 

“No Sir, I promised to myself that this time I won’t be late.” A firm reply from Sundaram.

 

The master smiled and spoke to himself, “something s wrong with Sundaram, truly something is going to happen today. I must not release the village headman this night. For the first time I am feeling very uncomfortable while staying with my maid.”

 

“Hello Sir, what are you thinking? Where are you lost? Sundaram questioned saying, “let’s start with the story once again, the other person is getting late”.

 

Looking into the eyes of both the individual Andrew softly replied, “I guess you remember what he has said few minutes ago that he will be staying with us this evening, so no need to rush through, dear.”

 

Sundaram, honestly from his heart was not happy with this rely and decision. Rather he was very irritated, but hiding his emotion, he replied saying, “Yes, yes, true, I just forgot that, it’s great. It will be a party to night” giving a bite to a piece of cookies.

 

“So, Sir what happened next day when you wake up?” Did Sristi, gave you a cup of coffee.

 

“Who is she?” the village headman questioned.

 

“She is the only daughter of the professor,” Andrew answered, by looking straight into the face of the Sundaram, who was then busy playing with the cookies.

 

“You know everything of that family Sundaram?” Andrew questioned.

 

For a second Sundaram gave a pause to his bite and distracted his master saying “He was a renowned professor, everybody knows him by his name, every now and then so many interviews of him get published in the dailies that to both in English and in vernacular languages.

 

Giving a pause, he added, “I guess you also have gone through those interviews, Sir?” he questioned.

 

He speaker ignoring the question started narrating the story from where he has left before the break.

 

“Next day morning as always I wake up early refresh myself and was about to  open the door when I found Sristi, ‘as already said who is she’, was standing in front of the door with coffee and snacks.”

 

Giving a pause, the speaker continued, “She was looking very beautiful that time, wearing a white salwar suit and a smile on his lips, she greeted me saying, “good morning Sir.” The best greetings I have ever received.

 

Again giving a pause, he continued by looking outside the window while turning his head and after taking a deep breath,

 

“Those two eyes of the girl from that moment onwards started inspiring me and also started to attract me towards her, she never spoke much with me, neither did she spend loads of time with me, however we communicated with each other every single time with our eyes”.

 

“That means you fallen in love with an Indian girl at first sight?” Sundaram questioned.

 

“I will not say in that way rather I will say that post our first meeting, I have started admiring her. In addition, after so many years of admiration, now I can say that I love her. However, she is not present toady to listen to my expression.” Andrew softly replied, being tired of continuous search for years.

 

“Is she dead?” The village headman questioned.

 

“As on date, I have got no news of her being dead. Moreover, if that would have been the case, I would have rested in peace in my coffin.” The narrator replied firmly.

“I cannot hold my excitement, please continue” the village headman uttered.

 

 While all this interaction was taking place, Sundaram who was sitting on the left hand side of the easy chair stood dead still with folded arms and leg together.

 

 Andrew once again started, “days went by, and my knowledge of ancient Tamil land, went on increasing steadily. Forgetting everything, I took shelter into the magnificent history of South India that includes the trade with the Roman Empire, how the South Indian kingdom flourished, when the trade relation was at his peak.

 

“With due permission and also being sorry for interruption, I want to say something rather ask something” the village headman uttered.

 

“Yes, please do ask” Andrew replied softly.

 

“Is the trade was only with the Roman Empire?” He asked.

 

“Good question”, Andrew replied as he stood up, and went inside in a flash without saying anything.

 

Both of them got surprised by this sudden unusual response of the foreigner, the village headman was about to call him after waiting for few minutes , when Andrew came out side of his bedroom with a sheet of paper, saying, “This notes sheet contains  the answer of your question, Mr. Swami.”

 

“Mr. Swami was surprised to observe the nature of his preservation in keeping the note sheet as it is for so many years.

 

The foreigner then started reading while taking his seat,

 

“External trade was carried on between South India and Hellenistic (Greek) kingdom of Egypt, Arab and Malay Archipelago. After the fall of the Greek and the conquest of Egypt by the Romans that is in the first century A.D. Roman trade became very important.”

 

 He uttered this entire stanza in a single breath and then he looked straight into the eyes of both who was also in return giving the same response.

 

“Understood Sir,” the village headman replied adding, “You are a true history loving scholar. Do really appreciate your passion.”

 

“Honoured, by your words, let us again continue with my story,” the narrator answered with a smile.

 

“Absolutely” both of them replied jointly.

 

“As days went by, my involvement went on increasing. At times I got so involved that could not even recognise the date of a particular day.” Giving a pause, “Until that day”, again he gave a pause.

 

Mr. Swami was about to ask something when Sundaram by changing his sitting style questioned, being curious, “what happened that day?”

 

This tone of Sundaram took Andrew by surprise. He answered, “Relax dear, I am saying” feeling a bit uncomfortable.

 

Drinking a glass of water, the foreigner continued,

 

“Usually, my class starts from 5pm and ends up by 8pm in the evening. Since during the daytime Sir used to spend most of his time by giving lectures in various universities and NGO’s and in the weekends Sir used to spend time by participating in various social service activities. However, during the daytime I got the permission to use the big library of him without disturbing the sequence of the books in the selves.”

 

“What happened that day?” Swami questioned.

 

“Yes yes, I am telling” Andrew replied being irritated from inside.

 

“No need to say everything. Neither they will understand nor will they give respect to your emotion. Just brief the incident and ask them to leave.” Someone from inside of Andrew uttered, adding, “Your job is not to sit back and narrate the stories of your life, rather your job is to continue the search for that boy and the origin of his eyes”.

 

The foreigner endorsed the statement and again took a glass of water, took a deep breath, refreshed himself and started,

 

“That day I went early to my room, as I was not feeling well. I was about to stretch my legs while sitting in the bed when I heard some unusual sound, a sound of someone crying, a girl crying.”

 

“What was the time?”  Swami questioned.

 

“It was 9p.m., I guess” Andrew answered.

 

“Initially I thought someone might be watching kids show in television , so I did not gave much importance, but as hours went by I discovered that the crying sound turned into quarrel.

 

“Then?” Sundaram questioned.

 

“Then, I stood up from the bed and put on the bed switch, trying to figure out the direction of the sound I roam around the length and breadth of the room, but alas, found nothing.”

 

“Have you heard the conversation or some words that were being exchange, if any?” the village headman questioned.

 

“As I was not well so I did not took much pain in further search operation. I went to bed by switching off the light and tried hard to listen to the conversation.”

 

“What have you heard?” the village headman repeated the question.

 

“It’s a long time ago, let me recollect” As he closed his eyes and uttered, “What will I do now? I loved you so much; please do not leave me alone. There were few more but unable to recollect now.” Andrew spoke out.

 

Sundaram was about to question further when Mr. Swami stepped in saying, “after that?”

 

“I do not know when my eyes got closed but when opened; I found its eight a.m. in the morning. Instead of sun bathing down the weather changed to moist and dark, gloomy type.

“You were late by two hours” Swami Uttered.

 

“Yes off-course, but as said, I was not feeling well, rather feeling sick on account of sudden weather change from dry to moist.” Andrew replied.

 

“I feel like sleeping for few more hours, but the environment was not friendly like what I used to receive for the past ninety days.”

 

A silent wind passed among the three members, as Andrew spoke out,

 

“I feel the same un-comfortableness and calmness this evening” Giving a pause, “A calmness of an upcoming storm. Sundaram, please bring my torch and also do bring yours,” Andrew said, adding, “Mr. Swami I guess you have yours?”

 

“Yes Sir, I do have mine, but what happened?” the village headman questioned.

 

“Nothing has happened as of now, but something is going to happen, I can smell the change.” Andrew replied firmly.

 

Sundaram did the same as ordered by his master and after taking back his seat requested the speaker to continue with the story.

 

“My whole body was in full pain, but I still wake up and wearing the leather jacket, stood outside my room. I was very surprised to observe that a lively family suddenly turned into a mute mode. Generally, I used to speak with no one. However, that day I could not resist my curiosity and question to one of the maid.”

 

“What type of question?” Sundaram asked.

 

“Regarding the health of the professor and his wife, I was about to ask some more questions about Shristi when professor called me up in his study room.” Andrew replied.

 

“Strange!” The village headman spoke out saying, “Professor was there in the house? On a week day morning?”

 

“This was also the question of mine when I heard the voice of my professor from behind.” Andrew replied.

 

Then what happened?” the village headman asked with wide opened eyes.

 

“I entered into the library room, took my seat and was about to open my note book when Sir spoke out.”

 

Giving a pause,

 

“Dear, I think I will not be able to continue to take your class further, since my health and my concentration is not giving me the permission, I know only sixty more day’s left to finish it off, but trust me,

 

He was about to complete the sentence when I interrupted him by saying, “Sir, I do understand, please do not be so sorry, I will be signing off within few days.”

“Have not you asked about the last night incident?” Swami questioned.

 

“Nope, since the situation was far more critical than my curiosity” Andrew replied.

 

“Ok, what happened next?” Sundaram questioned being excited.

 

“I stepped out from the library room being de-motivated, stood still for few seconds on the door step and then turned back and found that Sir was sitting on his chair with wide opened eyes. I got confused first and scared at the same time. I rushed inside to check what has happened.”

 

Giving a pause and taking a deep breath, Andrew continued,

 

“I was about to touch his body when the doctor who has just arrived, stopped me from doing so. I turned back and found that along with the doctor his wife and his lawyer were also present.”

 

“Is he dead?” The village headman questioned.

 

Ignoring the question of the village headman, Andrew continued to speak,

 

“I just stepped back and made the way for the doctor who after few minutes of initial check-ups declared that our professor is no more with was by closing the eyes of the body.

 

The matter became more complicated for me when the doctored uttered the approximate time of death.”

 

“And the time was?” both the listener questioned.

 

“Forty-five minutes earlier that means at about half past eight a.m.” Andrew replied, drinking a glass of water.

 

“O my god” the village headman whispered.

 

After giving a silent look for few seconds Andrew continued,

 

“I was in deep shock, volley of questions started to disturb my grey matter. My hands and legs started trembling, the first question that came to my mind was, who spoke with me, few minutes ago, while standing in front of the book selves, facing the mirror in all white dress?”

 

“The spirit of the professor spoken with you, that means you have seen ghost”. The village headman questioned the foreigner.

 

“May be,” Andrew, replied adding, “That and few more days since that incident were the toughest days of my life that I have ever spent. It was not that for the first time I have seen or rather felt the presence of spirit but this particular incident blew away sense and just ripped me apart from inside.”

 

“You stayed there, or left for your land?” Sundaram questioned being un-moved by this situation.

 

“Packing all my books and belongings, I left the house for a near-by three star hotel to spend few nights boarding up for my land.” Andrew replied.

 

“Sir, have not you spoken with the family member’s before signing off?” Mr. Swami questioned.

“The girl was not present that day” Sundaram gave an instant reply.

 

“Yes you are right Sundaram; the girl was not present that day rather that morning” Andrew replied.

 

‘I guess you cannot sleep for the rest of the days, Sir?” Swami questioned.

 

“Sleep! I could not even close my eyes for a second, his appearance and voice haunted me throughout. I felt as he was calling me constantly. After reaching to England, I took shelter in a rehabilitation camp to re-group my sense. It took almost one hundred and eighty days for me to come out of that trauma.”

 

Swami was about to ask something when the speaker again continued giving a pause,

 

“One night in December just before the Christmas probably Saturday, I was studying the notes received from the professor in my study room. For a second my eyes were closed and I clearly heard the voice of Shristi who was calling me from a far distance. I quickly opened the window, hoping that she might have arrived in England but alas! Found only snowflakes dropping from the sky.

 

I then put on a cigar, took my sit on the easy chair and closed my eyes with a hope to be able to hear the voice once again holding the cross tightly.

 

“Once again?” Swami questioned with wide opened eyes.

 

“After few seconds, I could clearly hear the voice asking me to come back to India and to search for the girl. I jumped up from the easy chair and took a glass of water by putting off the cigar.”

 

Again, the same silent wind passed between all three of them.

 

“After that you came back?” Swami questioned.

 

“On that very moment I took the decision of coming back and to start of the search operation for the girl.”

 

“Wait a minute! Search operation for the girl, I did not understand the meaning.” The village headman questioned.

 

 

“The girl left her father’s house forever, probably that night only when I have heard the sound.”

 

Andrew replied adding,

 

“For the last twelve years I am coming down to India during our summer vacation in search of the girl. However, every time till date I have returned with empty hand.”

 

“Have you contacted with mother of the girl?” Swami questioned.

 

“I tried to get in touch with madam but none could give me the exact address of her present resident. Since, after few months of professor death she handed over the house to a charitable institution, which now became a district library.” Andrew replied being tired.

 

“Have you gone inside the library now?” Swami questioned.

“No. I will definitely step inside but not alone, rather will move inside with his daughter. As I am sure his soul is still loitering in the floor and in the balcony waiting for me to return with empty hand,” Andrew replied, being charge up again.

 

“Surprisingly after so many years of continues search, I found the same pair of eyes while looking at the boy who collided with me last evening while I was crossing the road. In addition, if I am not wrong his mother is ‘The daughter’ of the professor.” Andrew uttered after giving a pause.

 

“I am getting totally confused, Sir. Let me clear my doubts one by one.” Swami spoke out being excited, adding,

 

“My first question is that why you choose countryside for your search?”

 

“Once I have heard Sristi saying to one of her friends that she loves the calmness of the countryside and also she loves the simplicity of these people. So, I roam around every side of South India in search of her” Andrew replied.

 

 “My next question is that Sir”

 

Andrew stopped him from asking further question and turns his head towards Sundaram with a question,

 

 “Sundaram, how would you know that Sristi was not there present on that day when the professor’s body was lying on the floor?

 

“I have read in an article Sir,” Sundaram smartly replied and stood up, as everybody stood up.

 

“It’s so dark outside” the village headman spoke out, as he looked straight into the dark world through the window.

 

“Now, the question is” Sundaram started, “If the mother of the boy is the daughter that you are looking for then where is her husband?

 

“As per my knowledge goes, she came to our village saying that her husband left her dying alone.”

 

“I am not saying firmly that the mother of this boy is ‘The daughter’ I am searching for. What I am saying is that the eye of the boy is forcing me to believe in my intuition.” Andrew replied.

 

 “Enough of my story, It’s time for Sundaram to speak up about his life details, since I know little of you and Mr. Swami knows nothing” Andrew spoke out.

 

Taking the initial blow of this sudden curiosity Sundaram opened his mouth, saying,

 

“My story is plain and simple”

 

Suddenly the electricity went off.

 

“Steady friends, hold on to your torch and stay together” Andrew spoke softly.

 

“Power failure this time? Very surprising” Swami questioned.

 

“Be quite, and stretch all your senses to the maximum level,” Andrew whispered.

 

In the meantime, rain has started falling but not heavily. However, enough to make the situation complicated.

 

“Shall I put on the candle?” Sundaram asked.

 

“It’s surprising to see that power failure in our village?” Swami questioned to himself with frowning eyes.

 

“Many more surprising things will happen, just be steady” Andrew quoted, adding,

 

“We will all move to the kitchen together to bring the match box and the candle.”

 

Quietly all three of them went inside the kitchen and as Sundaram was on the verge of lighting the candle; they heard a mild knock at the door.

 

In the mean time, they felt as if someone watching them from the window of the kitchen.

 

“Put on the torch by pointing towards the kitchen window,” Andrew shouted.

 

The other did the same with a roar “Who’s there? Speak up, or else we will take severe action”

 

“It’s me sir,” A sweet voice replied being scared, adding, “I am deep trouble, please do help me.”

 

Taking the torch and a candle in his both hand the village headman came outside, keeping Andrew in the drawing room and Sundaram inside the kitchen for an surprise attack in case of wrong happenings.

 

“Who are you?” Swami asked, by keeping the torch and the candle in front of her face.

 

“I am in deep trouble, I need to speak to the foreigner, please open the door I beg of you.” The women replied.

 

By this time, Andrew came out along with Sundaram and uttered, “Here I am madam, speak up your trouble now.”

 

“This time the women uncovered her face by raising her head.”

 

 “In this candle light and also the torch, they both saw each other along with Sundaram who was standing at the back of the foreigner.

 

“I am sorry to bother you Sir, however, I must leave this place now.” The women uttered.

 

“No wait, I need to talk, it’s urgent, Sundaram please unlock the door” Andrew replied being impatient.

 

Sundaram did the same as instructed without wasting any time.

 

The women by now have started walking back, rather started to run back towards the village taking the road.

Andrew and Swami started running, after few seconds of run, Andrew shouted, “Sristi wait, I came here to take you”.

 

Swami was surprised to hear that name and questioned while running with the foreigner in slow and tired speed “Is she, the women you are searching for so long? O my god, she is the mother of that boy and her village name is Shree.”

 

By this time both of them covered a fare distance from his cottage finally, Andrew got hold of her left hand and pulled her back in his chest.

 

“It was pretty dark and also raining heavily, no living creatures were present except them. A kind of jungle environment with lines of trees and shrubs along with snakes and other poisonous creatures.

 

“This time I will not leave you” Andrew replied saying, “It took twelve years for me to get in touch with you. Have got so many things to discuss” by putting on the torch light in her face.

 

Sristi immediately turn her head and again said, “I beg of you, please let me go”

 

 “Why are you running? In addition, why you did come outside your house in this climatic condition?” Swami questioned.


“No time to say all this, please do let me go” the women again begged as tears rolled down from her eyes.

 

“Why are you crying, I cannot understand” Andrew questioned being confused.

 

“My son, the only source of my living in this earth is kept hidden after being kidnapped and somehow I came to know that he is lying in the village primary school. My son is scared of darkness.” The women uttered in broken tone. Adding,

 

“I was forced to come to your cottage and use all my beauty and physical skills to seduce you for your money. However, after seeing you, I changed my mind and now I am running to save my child.”

 

“I knew it that something wrong is going to happen this evening so I came to your cottage to warn you Sir” Swami uttered, adding,

 

“Do not worry sister, just stay with him and do have faith in god and in us. I promise you that I will bring your child back to your lap safely.”

 

“What are you going to do?” Andrew questioned.

 

“No time to describe the plan, just do one thing, walk along this jungle road and at the end you will find the highway, wait for us, we will return just before the dawn, from there we will take the morning bus for the town. And do remember that this is a long road plenty of ups and downs be careful.” After saying, Swami left them and went back.

 

Swami started running towards the cottage for Sundaram as fast as possible, and on the other side after taking some extra breath the women and Andrew started walking along the road as instructed.

 

Taking her by his right side, Andrew continued to walk by holding her hand tightly without speaking a single word.

This side, Swami reached the cottage and narrated the entire incident to Sundaram.

 

“I will help you Sir,” Sundaram uttered.

 

“Yes you will have to. Now, let’s move without wasting time and without making noise, towards the primary school” Swami uttered.

 

Pinto who was sleeping with his wife, put on the torch to see the time and spoke to himself, “It’s eleven p.m. I am sure by now the girl is above the flesh of the foreigner in pleasure, however, by two a.m. I will have to visit the school to apply the second phase of chloroform to the kid.”

 

“I will not allow you to move to the bed of any other women my love, you are mine.” Wife of Pinto uttered to herself while she is in deep sleep by holding her husband tightly with arms above his chest.

 

By reaching in front of the school gate both Swami and Sundaram gave a pause, took a deep breath, relax their nerve and quietly jumped inside the campus.

 

It was an absolute dark environment with continuous rain with various sounds of the creature surrounding the length and breadth of the school building.

 

“It is a ten room school, from where we will start searching Sir?” Sundaram questioned.

 

“We will start searching straight from the newly developed wash room of the school. Since last time Pinto sponsored for the renovation of this building with a back door.” Swami whispered.

 

Sundaram was about to move towards the right hand side of the building for the washroom when the village headman interrupted saying, “It is on the left hand side of the building dear.”

 

In no time, they rushed in front of the gate of the washroom, which is locked from outside and was tied with an iron chain.

 

“We will have to break it,” Sundaram uttered.

 

 “Do it, but smartly.” Swami replied adding, “Remember the house of Pinto is not very far away from this building.”

 

Sundaram, from his bag took out an Iron knife and a hammer to start the operation.

 

“Kindly show me the light,” Sundaram requested as he started to hit the iron chain slowly but firmly.

 

“As it says that fortune favours the brave, so this sound of rainfall is actually stopping the intense spread of the sound of this hammer.” The village headman spoke out after being, completely drained in rainwater by now.

 

After few minutes of hard hitting, they finally managed to break the shackle and stepped inside the washroom.

 

On the other hand, Pinto who was in deep sleep suddenly woke up after hearing an unusual sound.  By this time, the rain also checked his flow and gave a break from continuous service.

 

 Pinto tried to listen carefully the origin of this unusual sound in this darkness. Without wasting any more time he stood-up, took his torch, saw the time, which was half past twelve a.m. and spoke to himself, “Something is wrong, I must leave now”.

 

Pinto was very careful in putting on the torchlight while locking his door from outside, before leaving.

 

 However, the village headman was even more sharp and vigilant and in that fraction of second, he observed a movement of light from a distance from the direction where Pinto resides.

 

“Hurry up, Pinto is coming I have seen the torch light, coming towards us.”

 

“There are six washrooms in total, three for male on the right hand side and three for female on the left hand side, tell me now which door to break?” Sundaram asked to Swami.

 

“You start from the right hand side, let me break the door of the left.” Swami replied

 

After few minutes of continues breaking finally Sundaram found the kid lying on the floor on the third female washroom being senseless.

 

“I found him Swami.” Sundaram shouted as he rushed inside and took the boy in his lap and started crying and kissing.

 

“No need to cry, let us move on a long way to go” Swami speak out.

 

“Yes you are right let us move on” Sundaram replied.

 

Taking the boy in his lap, both of them came out and started running from the backend part of the building.

 

Pinto, by now has reached the building, it game over for him. The boy has gone out of his reach. However, he gave a valiant effort by running in all possible direction to get hold of the proceedings but in this darkness and drizzle all his effort went in vain.

 

“The darkness which was planned by him, with the help of few corrupt member’s of the electricity board by putting off the transformer for the entire evening, did not work in his favour.

 

On the other side, Sristi and Andrew almost reached the highway but the finishing line is yet to arrive.

 

“I need some water” the women spoke out being tired and tensed. Andrew giving a pause to their journey released the hand of the women and asked her to sit upon a stone while he tries to arrange few drops of water for her.

 

“No, do not leave me, I do not want to get lost in this journey of life once again Andrew” The women spoke out, adding, “You want to know why I was not present when my father’s body was taken off from the house?”

 

“Absolutely, I do want to know.” Andrew replied.

 

Taking a deep breath and after blocking her with folded arms the women started,

 

“The evening before my father was expired; I went outside to meet my love life. We were very happy that evening, since the day after was his birthday, and throughout the day we shared our plan of celebration while walking along the road side keeping hand in hand. Everything was picture perfect, even the weather was also romantic, but suddenly his face turned pale and then into anger.”

 

“What was the reason behind this change of mood?” Andrew questioned.

 

“I do not know, even today after so many years I could not figure out the exact cause for that change.” The women replied.

 

“Did you say something that was not of his likings?” Andrew questioned.

 

“He was a very open minded person and in this belief I have spoken few satisfactory statements regarding you and also expressed my parent’s faith in you.”

 

“There you went wrong, very wrong,” Andrew replied by sitting in front of him on the wet ground.

 

The women continued, saying, “He then requested me to move to his house with a request to prepare some delicious food stuff for him for the next day celebration,”

 

“Why you? What about his parent’s?” Andrew questioned.

 

“He is an orphan and he also he does not know how to cook” the women replied with a continuation, “By five p.m. in the evening we went to his room.”

 

“Stop, I have understood the rest. And if I am not wrong it was you who were crying that night in your room.” Andrew questioned and gave a tricky answer.

 

“Yes, you are right. However, trust me I have not spoken a single word to my father reading our relationship.

 

By nine p.m. I entered into the house being tired and exhausted was unable to stand in pain. Father open the gate, it was for the first time I came home so late. He did not spoke a single word. He just looked at me, and closed the gate and went back to his room by putting off the light.”

 

“Your body language that day spoke everything.” Andrew answered as both stood up in fear, after watching some movement along the bushes at a far distance.

 

Andrew, put on the torch light in the direction of the disturbance and was about to through a big stone when the two men got closure to their visibility.

 

 Sristi for the first time hold the hand of the foreigner so tightly.

 

“Relax, they are coming. And if I am not wrong your son is also with them.” Andrew replied.

 

After minutes of continuous running, Sundaram and Swami reached the same place, where the other two were waiting eagerly for their safe return.

 

It was an absolute darkness, Sristi was about to put on the torch light to see his son, when Sundaram spoke out while taking long and deep breath to relax his nerve,

 

“Your son is safe madam, however, a kind request please does not put on the light, and else we will all might get caught.”

 

The boy by now got his sense back and was about to cry out in fear and in hunger when Sundaram put his hand upon his mouth and softly spoke in his ears,

 

“My dear son nothing to worry, please do not cry or else the bad man will again take us back.”

 

 “May I get my son back?” Sristi questioned.

 

“Yes off-curse” as Sundaram put him down from his lap.

 

“The highway is not very far away” Swami uttered, with a continuation, “we must wait here under this tree till the dawn which is about to come.

 

The women and her child sat on the rock. Sundaram stood at her back, while Andrew and Swami took his seat in front of the women, protecting her from both the side.

 

After sometime, apart from Sundaram who continued to look into the eyes of the boy who took shelter in her mother’s lap, everybody felt asleep.

 

“Wake up all” Sundaram Shouted, adding, “The dawn has arrived.”

 

Everybody stood-up and energised him or herself for the final push.

 

“Our journey ends over here Andrew Sir,” Sundaram spoke softly, with a continuation,

 

“I and swami will now return back to our respective villages. Just walk along this half mud road for few more minutes and then you will get and from there by bus to the town.”

 

The women quickly started walking holding the hand of her son. Andrew gave a pause to his journey, turned back towards Sundaram who was also started walking being tired and exhausted.

 

“Sundaram listen,” Andrew shouted, saying, “Will you not come with us?”

 

Giving a pause to his journey he turned back and came close to his master and softly replied,

 

“Take care of my son and wife. He is not a bustard child and my name is not Sundaram. I am Krish Iyar. For the last twelve years along with you, I was also in search of my wife and son. I took the shelter of Mr. Thomas because of free food, lodging and travelling. I was not aware that the search would end up in this road, where I will have to handover my heart to that man I hated the most in my life without knowing him.”

 

“Andrew, please come we are getting late” The women shouted.

 

“Sundaram, please come as we are getting late too.” The village headman shouted.

 

“Goodbye Sir, look at the sky, the dawn has arrived.” As Sundaram turned back and started to walk by hiding his face forever.

 

Andrew stood still in between these two and looked straight up into the sky.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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