Swara was searching for her subject book in which she had to submit an assignment. She couldn’t find it. She thought of a possibility of leaving her book in her college locker. “Aish!! I have to go to college now, to take my book” moaning to herself. That meant she had to get ready!
Ragini was also getting ready to go to hospital with Eddie. A lot of things were going on in her mind. She didn’t know how she would handle the situation if the stalker would approach her today. She was trying to be brave but couldn’t. So she was avoiding swara in the face. Swara was in her own confusion to notice her sister’s expressions. Ragini decided to think only about Eddie. She took the pepper spray with her. Swara also got ready and advised ragini to be careful and asked her to give her a call if she needed any help. Ragini nodded and smiled at her. Swara left the home before ragini. After 30 mins, ragini also left the home in an auto.
1 hour later.
Even though it was Saturday, the college was bustling busy with the students mainly sports players. She went to her block and rushed to her locker. She found her book in the locker. She thought that it would be better if she collected the necessary materials for the assignment in the college library. At the moment she ran into karthik, her senior. She wished him and moved ahead. But he stopped her. He enquired about how she found the college and asked if she had any problems. He even knew her name. This friendliness puzzled her. They had met only once, during the meeting yesterday evening. He said he would be meeting her and laksh on Monday regarding the dance performance, and he moved on smiling at her. She was genuinely confused. “How come he knows a lot about me??” she dismissed the thought thinking “may be mam would have told him! And he is a union council member”. She decided to go to the college library. On her way, she walked past the grounds, saw laksh in his football team jersey practicing. “Hmmm, I guess this is the only proper thing he knows to do” thought to herself. There were many girls cheering for him. It felt stupid to her. “It’s just a practice match and why are these girls behaving this way? Tchchchch… how could they have such a bad taste in boys. It’s sickening!!!” she shrugged her shoulders and made her way towards library. Before she could go into the library, she decided to call ragini.
Ragini was standing in the bus stop waiting for an auto, with Eddie in her hands. He was quiet. In the bus stop, there was a girl sitting beside her, not more than 25 years, with a kid of almost 3 years. The kid was too cute. The kid was trying to touch Eddie but was afraid to do so. The mother of the kid was too engrossed in a phone conversation that she did not mind it. Ragini was also playing with the kid. There was a butterfly hovering above them. She heard her phone ring. It was swara. She came aside to speak on the phone.
R: “hello, swara”
S: “di, did everything go well?”
R: “yup. No problem”
S: “I meant the stalker thing. Did u find someone at the back of you today? Or did he come and talk to u?
R: “swara, nothing as such happened. I felt normal today. I didn’t get the feel that someone was following me today. May be I had just overreacted.”
Someone sitting in the car was observing ragini. He was talking to someone on phone. “i did not arouse any suspicion today and she is standing in the bus stop. Don’t u think it’s time that you talked to her in person?” the person on the other side replied. “Okay then, I will leave today. I guess she will go home from here.” And he left.
R: “okay swara see u at home”.
When she turned she saw the kid running towards the middle of the road trying to catch the butterfly. There was a car speeding towards. It seemed like the car driver had not noticed the kid. The mother of the kid was still on the phone. She was too busy to notice what her child was doing. Ragini had to act fast. She put down Eddie, and rushed towards the kid. The driver had noticed what was happening and tried to stop the car from hitting them both. Ragini scooped the kid just in time that she saved the kid from the accident. The car screeched to the halt. She had by then moved to the other side of the road. The kid was terrified and had started crying. She was trying to console him.
Sanskaar was on his way to meet his friends after a long time. He was sure that he would reach home only by midnight that day. He smiled to himself. The guys he was going to meet today are his college friends. Actually they had been studying together from 11th std. They were a group of 4. They were so close to each other. They were fondly called as in college as “notorious foursome”. So he was going to meet his gang mates. When he turned around a corner, he found the road was empty. He turned back to take the water bottle from the rear seat. When he turned front, he saw a kid in the middle of the road. Everything was happening very fast. A girl flashed from the side and ran towards the kid. He put on the brakes so hard. He didn’t even know whether he would hit them or not. His car screeched to a halt and he saw that the girl was with the kid away from the road. She seemed to consoling the kid. He thanked the god; actually the girl had saved him. He couldn’t even imagine what would have happened if he had hit the child. He rushed out of his car and ran towards them.
Sa (sanskaar): “am really sorry. I didn’t see the kid when I had turned around the corner. I am really sorry.”
He was talking in the regional language Tamil. She couldn’t understand completely what he was saying.
So she was blinking at him. Before she could say anything, the so called mother of the kid had running towards them. She was in a near shock state. She thanked ragini. Ragini told her to be a little more attentive to her kid and handed over the kid to his mother.
Sanskaar observed that the girl spoke in English. Then he carefully examined her. She looked like a north Indian to him.
Sa: “do u speak Hindi?”
R: “yes! How did u know?”
Sa: “cauz you were blinking at me when I was apologizing to you. And to the mother of the kid you were speaking in English, so I guessed it.”
R: “hmmm, but please be careful the next time when you are going to drive. If anything had gone the otherwise, it would have been devastating. I don’t know the regional language; otherwise I would have reprimanded the mother of the kid for her careless behaviour.”
Sa: “am really sorry. Thanks for saving the kid and also me.”
R: “hmmm” and at that time she was reminded of Eddie. She looked towards the bus stop but he was not there. She turned frantic. She ran helplessly towards the bus stop.
[Actually what happened was: the screeching halt of the car had made the street dogs go crazy. They started barking and spotted a new dog without an owner in their place. They had thought of him to be a street dog. So they had started barked at him. They started chasing him. So Eddie had ran away to save himself.]
Ragini started enquiring in the shop nearby. The shopkeeper told may be it was her dog which was being chased. Tears were already leaking out of eyes in desperation.
Sanskaar was noticing all of this. He did not know why she crying. He wanted to help her. he felt gratitude towards her. so he went and enquired her, about what had happened. She was full of tears. He dreaded something really bad.
Sa: “excuse me, have u lost something precious of yours.”
R: “hmmm my pet. He was here when I left him to save the child but now…” and was crying uncontrollably.
Sa: “please don’t cry. May be I will be able to help. Get in my car. I will help you find him.”
Ragini was surprised when he offered to help. He was a complete stranger to her. But all she could think was if she would be able to find Eddie and agreed after a hesitation. She got into his car. Ragini could not believe that she was getting into a stranger’s car. But it was not the time to see all this logic.
She couldn’t stop crying. She was hell worried about Eddie. How could she be so irresponsible? She had helped the kid but lost her dear Eddie. The thought made her cry more.
After helping the girl into his car, he too got into the car. He saw her crying. He felt very bad.
Sa: “here, have some water.”
R: “no thanks. Let’s find him first.”
Sa: “have some water. If you are going to cry continuously, you are going to have a headache.”
Ragini accepted the water. She didn’t know why she trusted him. She drank the water.
Sanskaar was surprised at his own gesture. He had to go meet his friends, but he had agreed to help the girl who had helped him. He didn’t know why he felt very bad whenever he saw her crying. He wanted to console her. This was a strange feeling to him. May be seeing a girl in a vulnerable state made him feel protective. He thought to himself.
Sa: “hmmm, what does ur eddie looks like?”
R: “he is a 1year old Labrador puppy.” And took out her phone to show his photo.
In the photo, ragini was holding him.
R: “he even has a band around his neck with his name on it. The band is a leather one and is red in colour.”
Sanskaar was looking at the ragini in the photo than the dog. She was smiling whole heartedly in the photo. She was looking even more beautiful when she was smiling happily like that. He couldn’t help but stare at her. The dog was looking cute.
Sa: “okay let’s go around this whole area. He might be around here only.”
They were going in his car and searching for the past 30 mins. They couldn’t find him.
R: “I don’t think we will be able to find him” in a shaken voice. Her grief was getting to him. He could feel how dear that dog must have been to her.
Sa: “don’t worry, we will find him” assured her. He, in an attempt to console her, placed his hand over hers and patted it. He didn’t know what made him do it. Ragini felt the genuine care in his voice. Their eyes met.
(Bgm: jeene laga hoon).
After what seemed like a minute,
Sanskaar’s phone rang at the maximum sound making them both look away and retrieve their respective hands.
Sa: “buddy, I will be late. You guys go ahead without me.”
Ragini felt it must be because of her, he was postponing his plans.
After a minute, sanskaar ended his conversation.
Sa: “let’s once again search this road”
But ragini stopped him.
R: “no thanks. I think I will search on my own. Please go ahead.” And was unbuckling the seat belt.
Sa: “no no please wait. Am in no hurry. i too want to search with you.”
R: “that’s okay. You don’t have to feel guilty about this whole matter. Losing eddie was solely my mistake. So you don’t have to be with me to search him. Anyways thanks for all this time.” There was finality in her note. She didn’t want to drag him into this anymore.
To sanskaar, more than the guilty feeling he felt that he was doing this for this girl. But he didn’t voice it out. He didn’t want to come across as a creepy person. He couldn’t compel her.
Sa: “I will drop you at your home or at least in your neighborhood, if you feel uncomfortable.”
Ragini nodded her head in protest.
Sa: “I can’t leave you in this state. “
It was ragini’s phone this time. It was her mother.
Sm: “ragu, where are you? What is taking you so much time beta?”
R: “ma” and started crying.
Sm: “ragu, what happened? Why are crying? Tell me, you are scaring me”
Ragini told her what had happened.
R: “ma, sorry ma. I didn’t know this would happen. I don’t know what to do”.
Sm: “you come home right now dear. Don’t be so heartbroken. We will find eddie for sure. Now get an auto right now and come home.”
Ragini replied in affirmative and cut the call.
R: “okay, I am going home. I will get an auto from here.”
Sa: “see, instead of you getting an auto, I can drop you in the neighborhood. Please let me do it.”
Ragini also agreed after some time and gave him the directions. She chose to get down from the car, one street away from her house. She wanted to walk.
R: “thank u so much for being considerate”
Sa: “I must be the one thanking you. And really sorry for whatever has happened. And my name is sanskaar.” He said expecting her name in return. But she smiled at him courteously.
R: “bye sanskaar.”
She started walking. He couldn’t be at peace until he saw her reach home. But following her would be indecent. So he parked his car in the distance and watched her walk. His heart was in a kind of turmoil watching her go away like that, it made his heart ache. It felt new to him. She entered her home. He then started his car and drove to his friend’s place.
IN THE EVENING:
Ragini didn’t come out of her room. She didn’t even have lunch. Shekhar had come home earlier and went in search of Eddie. Everyone was distraught. They felt empty without Eddie at home. Ragini was very much affected by this incident. How much ever swara tried to console her, she kept blaming herself. She locked herself up in the room and didn’t come out till night. She came out only when she heard shekhar’s car horn. She ran downstairs in hope of seeing Eddie. But her father was standing in the hallway empty handed. He had searched the whole area as much he could but couldn’t find him. They didn’t know what to do. It was like they had lost him forever.
Sanskaar couldn’t shake off ragini from his mind. He was constantly thinking about her. He couldn’t even concentrate in the film they were watching. Her tears were all he could worry about. She might be even crying now. The thought itself made his heart go out to her.
Viki (vignesh) was observing sanskaar. He could feel that something else was going on his mind. He had come late. He didn’t even explain it properly. He was close to him more than the others. He had to talk to him. He motioned him to come alone in the middle of the film. They were watching the film at viki’s home. They grabbed a beer tin each and sat in the couch.
V: “what happened sans? You seem to be a bit lost.”
Sa: “ahh! It’s all about what happened in the afternoon. I can’t stop thinking abt it.”
V: “is this all really about a dog? Or ??” he didn’t have to complete the sentence for sanskaar to understand.
Sanskaar remained silent sensing that viki had got it right. He was more worried abt that girl.
V: “sans, may be they would have found the dog by now. Stop worrying.”
Sa: “if they hadn’t, she would be still crying.”
Viki gave him an quizzed look at this statement.
Sa: “okay viki. I am worried abt her. I can’t stop thinking about her. I don’t know why.”
V: “okay but what can you do now?”
Sa: “I want to go and search eddie once again”
V: “sans are u mad, how could you find the dog in this dark, which u couldn’t find in the broad daylight?”
Viki was right, but he wanted to give it a try.
Sa: “hmmm, I want to viki. I am going.” And completed his tin.
V: “then we will also come with you. May be this might speed up the search process”
They dragged rahul and aadhi with them. They went in bikes rather than cars.
At ragini’s home:
Sm: “shona, ask ragu to come down to have dinner” [shona – swara’s nick name. ragu – ragini’s nick name at home].
S: “ma, I don’t think she will”
Sk: “but not having food is not going to help in any way. Make her come down”
S: “okay papa, I will try to cheer her up and bring her down.”
Swara went upstairs.
S: “di, please come na, if you are going to be like this how are you going to play with eddie when he returns home?”
R: “please swara, don’t force me. I can’t eat. Am not hungry.”
She wanted to do something. She struck upon an idea. She knew ragini always loved to see her dance. She didn’t know whether this would help or not but still she wanted to try.
S: “di, open the door, or else I am not going to talk to you. I will just keep banging.”
After few minutes, ragini couldn’t take it anymore, so opened the door. Swara took the moment and hugged her tight. Ragini cried and after some time calmed down.
S: “di, come on cheer up. We will definitely find our Eddie. But for that you have to have hope. He too can’t stay away from us for a long time. Okay I have decided to grant ur long time wish of cam recording my dance. But if really want me to dance, u have to smile. Let’s video tape this and show this to Eddie when he comes home, okay. Just give me five minutes.”
Ragini was happy to hear swara speaking like this. So she also agreed. It was a long time that swara allowed them to record her dance. She also wanted to cheer up and have hope that everything would be alright. She brought her laptop and turned on the music. It was the song “johny johny” from the movie “entertainment”. Ragini videotaped the dance in swara’s phone. It had a pixel quality of 8mp. The moment she started dancing it was a delight to watch her. That too this song made her give a wide variety of expressions which made ragini forget everything and laugh. Especially the head roll and expression which swara gave for the lyric “Maine pi nahi hai” was hilarious. She loved it. In the end, the mission was accomplished. Swara made ragini laugh and took her down for dinner. Ragini ate some and others also had some.
It was 11:30 in the night. Sanskaar and his friends were still searching. There was no luck. His friends also were with him because they knew well about him that he would not leave until he gave up hope. He suddenly had an urge to go to bus stop to check once more.
In the morning:
The door bell rang early in the morning at 6. On a normal Sunday they all would have been sleeping. But on this day they weren’t. Ragini opened the door as she was sitting on the couch. She was nearest to door. It was a pleasant surprise to her that sanskaar was standing before her. It was totally unexpected.
R: “hmmm how did u find my house?”
S: “I came to give you something.” And went towards his car.
She gave him a puzzled look.
Sm: “ragu, who is it?” and she also came out.
Then they saw eddie running towards them. ragini couldn’t control her excitement. She squealed in delight. Eddie came to her and started licking her face all over. She couldn’t control her tears. She was crying in delight.
Hearing her sound, shekhar and swara also came out only to be licked by Eddie. They were so much happy that they forgot sanskaar standing over there. He was so happy that he found eddie under the wraps at the bus stand last night or else he wouldn’t have been able to see her smile. To him, seeing her smile was the most beautiful thing. He thought that leaving only would be right thing to do. He desperately wanted to talk to her but restrained himself and remained decent.
Sa: “hmmm okay then, I will leave now” and cleared his throat.
They all looked at him.
Sm: “oh! Sorry, we totally forgot you. thank u so much. but how did you find him?”
Sa: “I was also there with your daughter when eddie went missing. So I went again yesterday night and found him hiding in the wraps in the bus stop.”
Sk: “we are so grateful to you. We don’t know what we would have done to find him. He is like a son to us.”
Ragini was so happy that she couldn’t express it in words. She was looking at sanskaar admiringly. He had brought home her Eddie. There can’t be anything greater than this. but she didn’t show it on her face.
Sm: “please come in and have a cup of coffee.”
Sa: “no aunty. That’s okay. I have to go home now.”
Sm: “no way, u have to come in. you have found our Eddie and we cannot let you go like this.” And he had no other go but to go in.
He had coffee. They were very much hospitable to him. He had to go home because he had not gone home last night. He had stayed at viki’s place with Eddie. So he excused himself.
Ragini came out to send him off.
Sa: “he is such a sweet dog. Take care of him”
R: “thank u so much sanskaar. And my name is ragini” with a smile.
He was so happy that she said it herself. It meant a hint that this could blossom into a beautiful relationship.