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Click on the below links to read my previous stories..

Bus#126W       My Family and I       Games we play       All Roads Lead Home       As Good As It Gets       Whodunit?      

The Reunion       A Dog's World      My Sister's Daughter

Sunday, August 29, 2010

All Roads Lead Home - 19

The next morning, I woke up relaxed and calm. As I rubbed my eyes slowly, I became aware of a looming shadow behind me. Surprised, I sat up in the bed. It was Prachi.
“What are you doing up so early?” I asked stifling a yawn.
“Oh, you’re up finally!” She came around, in front of the bed and placed her hands on her waist. “Do you mind telling me why you told mom we’ll are coming back?”
I stared at her. There was something about her tone, the way she was standing, I had to smile, “Prachi! You sound exactly like mom!”
“Don’t change the topic.” She said, but her tone softened and her hands slid off her waist.
“I don’t know..” I pushed off the covers and started to get up.
“Oh no,” Prachi pushed me back on the bed and sat down next to me. “You are going to tell me what’s going on! We have so many leads to follow up on now and you want to go home? Why?”
“Prachi, let it be, you won’t get it.” I shrugged.
“Try me.” Prachi said quietly.
I looked up into her eyes and then sighed. There was no point in trying to keep things from Prachi. It drove her nuts. I had learnt from experience that it was better to tell her everything she wanted to know than to incur her wrath.
“I didn’t come here to create a scene.” I said simply.
“I don’t understand.” She frowned, like she always did when she didn’t follow anything.
“Its just that, what am I going to say to her when I find her?” I said, “Hi I’m the daughter you abandoned?” I shook my head. “She’s probably living a very happy life somewhere, I don’t want to ruin her life.” Even though she tried her best to ruin mine.  The unsaid words hung heavy in the air.
“Come on Ira, we came all the way. We are going to finish this search.” Prachi got up briskly, “Come on, get dressed!”
I shook my head slowly, “I’m not going Prachi, I’ve had it.”
“Fine!” Prachi turned around and started walking out of the room.
“Where are you going?” I called out after her.
“I don’t know about you, but I want to know what happened.” She slammed the door behind her.
A few seconds later, she opened the door suddenly, “And don’t worry, when I find something, I won’t tell you anything.” She added sarcastically before slamming the door shut again.

After Prachi left, I packed up our belongings, Prachi’s and mine. Despite her protests, I wasn’t going to let her stay on here. As I was finishing up, the phone rang. It was the front desk.
“Madam, there is someone here to see you.”
“Send him back.” I didn’t want any more information. There was no point meeting Om now.
“Yes Madam.” I hung up. Before I could turn around, the phone rang again.
“Yes?” I asked brusquely.
“Is this Ira?” I couldn’t place the voice.
“Yes, Who is this?” I asked cautiously.
“I don’t know if you remember me, but I offered you a lift, a couple of days back.”
“Of course, I remember!” why had he come?
“You left something in my car.”
“Oh. Funny, I never realized that I had.”
“Its just some bunch of papers.”
“I’ll be right down.” As I locked the room behind me, I tried to remember what papers I could have left in Vishal’s car.

He saw me, before I saw him. He was watching me intently. As I came closer, I felt a little uncomfortable.
“Hi.” I said awkwardly.
My voice seemed to shake him out of a trance and he noticed my outstretched arm.
“Hi, how’ve you been?” He asked formally, taking my hand.
“Not getting lost,” I smiled at my little joke.
We stood there for some time in silence.
“Umm, the papers?” I asked.
“Oh yeah.” He rummaged around in his pockets, pulled out some notes and handed them to me.
I glanced through them.
“These are not mine,” I said handing them back to him, “Except this one.” The sheet of paper that had the address I was trying to locate.
He looked at the sheet and then looked at me, “Why were you looking for the Sinhas’ house?”

All Roads Lead Home - 18

Once in the room, Prachi crashed on the bed and was fast asleep before I could bat an eyelid. For me, sleep was elusive. I tossed and turned, trying to find a comfortable spot on the bed.  After ten minutes, I realized how futile my attempts were. I groped around in the darkness, trying to find Prachi’s phone.
I tiptoed around, trying not to make any sound, but the unfamiliar surroundings befuddled my sense of direction and I kept bumping against the arbitrary pieces of furniture which seemed to be scattered all over the room.
“What!” I heard an exasperated Prachi say, “In the world, are you trying to do?”
“Sorry, looking for your phone.” I apologized.
“Uff!” She tossed her phone at me, “Here you go! Now hush!” With a glare, that made me smile, she turned her back to me and went into a deep slumber before her head hit the pillow.
I settled in the chair next to the window. This was turning out to be my favorite place in the room. I scanned Prachi’s phone for Mili’s picture. I couldn’t get myself to call her anything other than that. The word “Mother” did not associate with the picture of the lady I was looking at. I thought of my mom, who had raised me. ever since I had come to this place, I hadn’t called her. I knew she would have been sick with worry, but to her credit, she hadn’t called either. She realized I needed my space to adjust. Suddenly, I longed for her and before I knew it, I was calling her. It was late, I knew she would be sleeping, but I had to hear her voice.
“Hello..”  A sleepy voice drawled over the phone.
“Dad, it’s me. Is mom around?”
“Ira? Are you alright? What time is it?” Concern was apparent in his voice.
“I’m okay dad, can I talk to mom please?” I shut my eyes tightly to stop the tears from flowing down my cheeks. Why was I crying? I had no idea.
“She’s sleeping Ira, tell me. What happened?” My dad whispered into the phone.
“Is that Ira?” I heard my mum’s voice and then she came on line. “Ira.?”
“Hi Ma..” I smiled through the tears.
“Are you alright?” I sensed the underlying restraint in her question. I knew she wanted to ask me a million questions.
“Ya.. Sort of, I think..” Was I alright? What was I doing in this strange town. I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to know about this Mili woman. It was obvious she had left me, not because she had to, but because she wanted to.
“What’s wrong Ira?” My vagueness didn’t fool her for a minute. She knew right away that something was bothering me.
I sighed deeply. “I want to come back home mom. I don’t want to know more about her.” There was a stunned silence.
“What?!” Prachi exclaimed. She had been eavesdropping.
“I think I want to go home.” It sounded better than it had the first time. I let the thought swirl around in my head. Yeah, it felt all right. There was nothing for me here. Why should I go looking for a woman who never wanted me?