When you move around in circles.
It takes us around eight hours to reach Mumbai. We reach in the morning and I don’t feel sleepy at all.
Naira just got a call from her office and she is not in the best of moods. They are missing her at work and it is affecting their project. I think it’s a ploy to get her back in the office. She is so attractive, after all.
“Should we call her yet ?!!” Naira asks us.
Naksh and I shake our heads. It’s not yet ten and that’s too early to call anyone.
“Should we go to Mulund ?!!” Naksh asks.
From Virat’s contact details which Keerti had noted down at the asylum the number did not work but the address was there. Mulund, Mumbai. Naira and I nod our heads at Naksh’s suggestion.
It’s better than lying sleeplessly in our beds in the hotel. Anyway, I have deep hatred for the hotel where we’ve checked in. The per-night charges of the hotel go through the roof.
Road trip rule no. 2: Never pick Mumbai, it’s too expensive.
Keerti stays back at the hotel, while we take the morning local to Mulund. I have been to Mumbai before and the Mumbai local trains never cease to amaze me. I mean, there are just so many people.
Osama could have hidden on the Bandra platform for decades and no one would have noticed him. Anyway, Mumbaiites are too busy to notice anyone. The city either has
no eye for beauty or it has had too much of it.
One thing is for sure, though. If you can live with travelling by Mumbai locals, you will love the city for its sheer energy and honesty. But if you’re a spoilt one from Delhi and love your spacious houses — with gardens and balconies, probably a couple of dogs — and long drives, you won’t find Mumbai exciting.
We get down at the station and take an auto towards his parents’ house. Somehow, we can’t find the place. We let the auto driver go and ask around. Nobody recognizes the address. We assume that the name might have changed.
A little later, Naksh asks directions from a watchman of a nearby building. He points out to a broken-down building. It’s nothing but big stones and rubble. Naksh barks at him, and the watchman says that it’s been a year since the building was taken down because it was an illegal construction.
We look at each other, exasperated. It could’ve been a sure-shot way of getting to Anushka. But it’s not written in the diary whether Virat’s parents knew about Anushka.
Our shot in the dark gets us nowhere. It’s like those notes are taunting us. They bring us that close and then throw us off. It’s irritating and it’s bugging. Somewhere in the back of the mind, we also know that there is a life at stake — Alia’s. Time is running out for her.
Our shoulders droop. We don’t know what to do. Hungry and tired from the train journey, we enter a food joint nearby. We still have Sakshi’s number, but we are too disheartened to call her right now.
Plus, there is no Keerti around and we feel depressed. Usually, with her perky and effervescent nature, she keeps us occupied. Irritated but busy.
“Who’s calling her ?!!” Naksh asks.
“You.” he answers his own question, pointing at Naira. I do the same.
Naira has to call. Guys calling up and telling girls about their ex-boyfriends might be creepy. Dead ex-boyfriends — nightmare. Naksh and I really don’t want to get into conversations like that. We look at Naira with eager eyes as she dials the number.
She gets self-conscious, gets up and walks away. At a distance, she starts to talk. We get restless. The call lasts barely a minute. She walks back to us with a bewildered expression on her face.
“What ?!!” I ask.
“She’s at our hotel !!” she exclaims.
“What ?!! How ?!! Oh” I start to say but then it suddenly strikes me.
Keerti !! That girl is crazy !!
“Keerti asked us to reach the hotel. Sakshi is there.” Naira says. Naksh smiles wickedly.
His girlfriend is turning out to be quite a girl.
But why would Keerti call her ?!! She was least bothered.
Anyway, my heart starts to pump like a f**king generator as we squeeze into an auto to rush back to our hotel. Mumbai seems to have more autos and taxis than there are people on the streets. And one can hardly tell if those millions of cars and autos are parked for eternity or stuck in traffic.
No one says a word through the entire journey back. We jump out of the auto as soon as we get to our hotel. For a moment, we forget to pay the auto driver.
We rush to the lift and reach our room in a flash.
Words will again materialize into a face, into a person, the written word will be spoken, and our dead guy will be alive again through the words of someone close to him.
The door creaks open and she is sitting there —Sakshi — on the bed, with a tissue box in hand. Keerti is sitting at the television table, chewing her gum and is saying something.
She notices us and stops speaking, points to her and introduces her to us. ‘Sakshi.’
Precap : Sakshi’s Perception.
Second update for the day. So even Sakshi is involved now, but her character will only last till next chapter. She is there only for a short cameo. The next chapter will have her side of the story.
I have a new idea in my mind so I am thinking of starting a new FF. Should I ?!!
Do comment. Keep smiling. Keep watching Yrkkh !!