Genre: Suspense/Thriller Fiction
“There lies a creation poles apart from our endemic ; a creation contrived alone by prognostication, augury and prognosis. For us, its uncelebrated ; for them, its confiscated! Come, let’s swallow the credibility the universe ushers on us . . let’s conceive a creation unnamed to us!”
“Kaia, wake up!! We’re getting late, the movie will start in another half an hour. Why aren’t you ready?”, yelled my over enthusiastic best friend, Riya.
It was Saturday morning and like every weekend, we had our own plans to go shopping and freaking out with one another. This Saturday we had planned to watch the most-awaited hyped-up bollywood glitz movie. As usual, I slept late the previous night, which was why I was sleeping when Riya arrived – I relentlessly had ignored all my phone’s alarms and was hoping to ignore Riya’s shrilling voice too!
Without wasting any moment, I decked myself up and hurriedly grabbed an apple to eat on our way to the destination. The movie, as expected was hyped and we ended cursing them for wasting our precious two hours where I could have slept more – Alas! Still in a state of conundrum, we first decided to stuff our empty stomachs at Subway. Later, we settled to take a quick look through the local market to purchase some stylish accessories and chic materials we were afraid we weren’t missing out on. After spending two appallingly laborious hours buying barely a handful of things, we decided to head towards my home. As we were walking, we both saw a woman sitting on the pavement with a parrot and a few cards, I guess those were tarot cards. The board lying in front of her read, “Know your future to counterpole the predestine”.
Observing that, Riya grabbed my hand and right away started marching towards the direction of the board. Being the intrusive kind that she was, she started asking kinky questions to the lady in one single gasp. “Can you predict my future?”, “Will I get a promotion soon?”, “Do you think Aman will propose me?”, “Will this parrot pick any random card?”, “How much do you charge?”. Waiting for her to shush, I perceived that the lady was looking at me with a rather unwonted look, as if she was trying to reminisce something. She was old, quite elderly in fact. With rumples on her face, she had drooping eyes and ratherish thick brows ; wearing a tattered looking dress accompanied with as many as ten black thread-like cords tied on her wrist, I was convinced that I didn’t want to indulge in any of this mess.
I whispered to Riya, “Are you really getting into this? Can we please leave? I’m feeling exhausted”. Visibly, she overpassed my averment and requested the lady to predict her future. To which, the old-dame shuffled her cards, spread them in front of Riya, took the parrot out from his cell and commanded him to pick three cards (I was wondering on what basis). The poor bird had no idea what nitwittedness he was performing on a daily basis, when he could just fly-off and live peacefully!
Anyways, the lady then commenced by notifying Riya on how her coming week would be full of surprises and that she would encounter a revelation exactly after 13 days, saying so, she went on and on and on . . these so-called fortune-tellers know exactly how to fool their clients with enticing and ornamented words to run their business. Has any fortune-teller ever told someone something that was utterly a despair to think of? No, because they know people will visit more if they linger on delivering jubilant predictions on a loop. Well, who cares? Riya with her wide-eyes learned what she wanted to hear and gladly decided to pay a little extra money for those rather inane guesses. All the while, I sensed that the lady was staring at me, yet again, but before I could say anything she phonated, “You resemble my great grand-daughter, she had the same face with those familiar set of eyes”. Striking a chord of sympathy, her words resonated with me as I never got a chance to feel the love of a grandmother – great-grandmother was a far-fetched term in this regard!
I hesitatingly asked her, “How old is she?”. She scanned my face for a good five to seven seconds before answering, “She was of your age ; expired a year back whilst travelling to the city. It was 23rd of August when the bus met with an accident. Everyone survived, only she left us. She was . .”, seeing the ghastly expression on my face, Riya abruptly chopped her statement by thanking her for reading her future. We then went and sat in my car ; Riya started playing music and talked about random topics – obviously, to change my mood. Later, she inquired if I was fine, and I confessed that I felt really sorry for the lady. To capitulate at a young age, that too a woeful one must’ve been such an agony to bear for her kinsfolk!
Mounting us out of our melancholic mood, my phone started ringing, it was Alina – my twin sister, she was pursuing her diploma course in fashion from a high-tech embellished university in Jaipur. Without even saying a courteous hello she started grumbling, “Where is mom? I’ve been calling her since afternoon. Has she tossed her phone in a wastebin or are you using her phone to ignore my calls?”. “If I wanted to ignore your calls, I wouldn’t have picked this one too. It’s mom who is ignoring you”, I replied wittily. “Oh, well . . I can’t waste my time talking to you, give the phone to mom!”, she retorted. To avoid any further clash, I told her to wait for another twenty minutes till I reach home as I was out with Riya.
“Arrghhh, okay then just inform her that I’ll be coming to Delhi tomorrow with my friends, in their car. It’s an impromptu plan so I wanted to ask if I should cease it or not ; I hardly have any lectures and can manage to take a leave till Wednesday”.
Ecstatically, I screamed, “You dimwit, why are you even asking? Just come. Let’s give them a surprise”.
“We can. Actually yes, let’s do that. I’ll show up by morning!”.
“Okay then, mum’s the word. See you tomorrow.”
“Yea, see you when I see you. Sayonara!”. Hanging up the call, I was overjoyed that finally, I had something to await for tomorrow!
Reaching home, I saw mom standing outside, having a garrulous chat-session with our neighbors – now I know why she wasn’t receiving Alina’s calls! Me and Riya switched the AC on and launched ourselves on my bed – it was indeed a tiring day! Ten minutes later mom entered my room and we started showing her stuff we had bought from the market. Overreacting on seeing seven missed calls by Alina, my mom sprung from the couch, calling her back within a split-second. Alina aced in covering the entire situation by saying she was out with her friends and wanted to buy something for me ; since I was also out watching movie she knew I wouldn’t receive her call and that is how she landed on calling mom instead. (Quite an excuse huh, putting all the blame on us, when actually she was relaxing in her hostel!)
Gossiping and giggling on our left-out secrets, Riya left late that evening. After which, mom, dad and I decided to go for a brief post-dinner walk to have ice-cream. Having spent a fun-filled Saturday, I dozed off to sleep and woke up fairly early by a sound that was pitching louder and louder. Half-asleep, I lurched from my bed to realize my dad was talking to someone on phone, with mom standing next to him – staring in a dazed way, wondering why and on whom he was yelling.
“I’m coming!”, my dad shouted in a rather trembling voice. At that moment, observing my dad’s face, I knew my pulse rate was going high. Dad looked at both of us – me and mom, and instructed us to go sit in the car. Avoiding responding to any of our questions, we three shared some forty minutes of silence in the car after which we stopped in front of a hospital. I and mom had sensed by then that something had went gravely wrong, but what? I had never seen dad like this, he was looking so uneasy and troubled.
Invading the hospital, a doctor came up to dad and introduced himself as the person who had called him. Still clueless of our ambience, I was wishing and praying that everything was okay. The doctor busted our muteness by announcing to us that Alina had succumbed to death – the car in which she was travelling had met with an accident early in the morning, after which all of them were rushed to the hospital. Alina and another friend were the one’s who were critically wounded in the whole incident. While all her other friends survived, Alina never regained consciousness and expired because of excessive blood loss. The doctor walked away infusing us with the fatal, toxicant news. I didn’t know how to react, or weep, or go check and console my mother and father. I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t know where to go, the speeches around me were fading – the only voice whirling in my mind was the one reminding me that it was twenty third – 23rd of August.
Its been four month’s since Alina left them. Her father had become quiet, her mother suffered constant pangs of migraine, and her sister – her sister Kaia was in a different zone altogether.
“. . these so-called fortune-tellers know exactly how to fool their clients with enticing and ornamented words to run their business. Has any fortune-teller ever told someone something that was utterly a despair to think of?”, Kaia’s own words screeched in her head. If only she could wipe out that day, if only she could eat her words, if only she hadn’t faced that lady, if only she knew the reason behind why the whole incident happened, ‘if only’ . . .