As the sun rises the cold storm stops all of a sudden. The dark night subsiding and indicating dark days coming up. The place is somewhere in the hills of Tamil Nadu, Ooty. It is located 80 km north of Coimbatore and is the capital of the Nilgiris district. It is a popular hill station located in the Nilgiri Hills. The town is connected by the Nilgiri ghat roads and Nilgiri Mountain Railway. Its natural beauty attracts tourists and it is a popular summer destination.
“Sanskar…” Swara utters in fear and anxiety.
“Swara??..” Sanskar can guess the fear in her voice “Are you fine?” he asks slowly.
“Sanskarr… Ragini..” and she breaks into tears.
“What? What happened to her? What happened to Ragini, Swara?” he asks, worried out of wits.
“Sanskar, Rag…Ragini committed suicide” she speaks and cries. The phone from Sanskar’s hand falls down immediately.
“Don’t joke, Swara” he laughs “You both always make me fool. I’m not fooling this time”
“It’s true, Sanskar” as Swara whispered those last words, he could guess the pain in her voice.
“Sanskar? Sanskar? Are you there?” Swara hangs the call, not receiving any answer.
“What did he say, Swara beta?” Ramu kaka asks Swara.
“Don’t know! He didn’t reply. I am worried for him” she speaks worriedly.
“Swara, Is Sanskar coming?” a depressed Laksh asks.
“I don’t know, he didn’t answer” she wipes her tears and calls him again. “He isn’t picking my calls!” fear rising in her heart.
“Give him some time, Swara” Laksh says, gripping her shoulder while she nodes.
Here, Sanskar lies on the ground half-dead. He couldn’t believe what Swara said. It has been only 12 hours he had spoken to her on phone. How can this be true? His heart says, everything he heard is false, a prank played by Swaragini. But the next time he remembers his last conversation with her what she said to him.
Sanskar had been out of station for some weeks now. He was here in Mumbai for some work. Everything seemed okay till the first two weeks, until Ragini called him all of a sudden yesterday evening.
“Bhai” her voice inferred fear.
“Yes, Gini” he spoke arranging his files for the presentation.
“Bhai, I am sorry”
“Sorry for what?” Sanskar’s hands stopped abruptly as to listen to what she meant by ‘sorry’. Ragini was fun-loving and naughty girl, she wasn’t shy but she was stubborn. When she makes up her mind to complete a task she’ll does it by hook or by crook.
“Sorry for everything bhai” she whispered the last words.
“Am I dreaming, Ms. Ragini Maheshwari sorry…. Mrs. Ragini Laksh Gadodia is sorry? My sister is saying sorry?”
“..For the last time” she completed.
“Hey! What are you saying? What happened, Gini? Any problem?” Sanskar was getting intuitions, something was worrying her but what?
“Nothing! Just going to do something and I am sorry” she said and hanged the phone immediately. Sanskar tried calling her up but she didn’t receive. He called Swara, hoping she would pick up, but even she had switched off her phone. A little later he got busy with his presentation and let it be a prank of hers. Had anyone not mentioned, Ragini loved playing pranks?
“I didn’t know something like this was going in your mind, Gini” Sanskar cried.
At evening in Ooty, Swara had been crying all day and it was dusk now. Laksh sat lifeless there at the steps of the verandah and even Ramu kaka shed tears with them. Sanskar and Ragini were born to a big business man, Durga Prasad Maheshwari and his wife Annapurna Maheshwari. After the sudden death of Durga Prasad, Annapurna also passed away leaving the two. Sanskar was sixteen then and Ragini hardly eleven. Ramu kaka brought them up as his own and shifted to Ooty. It wasn’t hard for him, Sanskar’s parents had left money, and moreover, Ramu kaka was trustworthy. They knew he was loyal and trusted him.
Snuffy, the dog started barking all of a sudden as dusk passed and night hour began. Ramu kaka got alerted. Taking the lamp with him, he marched out to see if anyone had come but he found none. Swara came out of the house.
“Snuffy! What happened? Why are you so aggressive today?” kaka asked patting his head but he continued to bark.
“Snuffy!” Swara came near her and he barked more rapid this time. He was looking onto the forest area and barking, as the train sound increased, he started barking more. Swara was getting scared. She has been with Snuffy for five years now. He was her pet but he was also known for his kind nature. The times he got angry was only when he was hungry or he saw someone entering home or when Ragini teased him. She looked onto the direction Snuffy was staring and barking but saw nothing. She went closer to the place, more closer and the stom started blowing.
“Swara beta, don’t go deeper. It’s night come back” kaka called her but she was lost somewhere. She was lost in those winds. The winds wanted to tell her something, but what? Snuffy barked with higher intensity. He broke the strings that he was tied in and ran behind Swara. Swara didn’t know where she was heading to, until Snuffy broke her thoughts, pulling her by the scarf, she was wearing.
Swara starts to shout all of a sudden. Ramu kaka comes hearing her noise “Swara beta!”
“Swara!” a horrified Laksh pulls her from the marshy area. Swara was half laying there dumped in the swamp “Swara?” Laksh brings her up from there, who was unconscious now.
Getting dumped in a swampy area, I guess no one gets unconscious! What happened to Swara? What did she see that horrified her out of her wits?
Keep guessing ?