Skip to main content

The Captive.

Then she was roughly pushed into a dark room. The door slammed shut as her head hit the floor. She lay there stunned, eyes smarting with tears.

The floor was cold, hard stone. Lying still for a few minutes she got her wind back. Her forehead throbbed as she sat up and a drop trickled down the side of her face. She wiped it recognizing the smell of blood.

Pushing herself forward, half crawling in the pitch dark room, she reached the wall and sat with her back against it, waiting for eyes to adjust to the darkness. She looked around, trying to see a pattern, a break in the shadows. There was nothing. No up, no down. Wondering if the knock on the head had blinded her she shut her eyes tightly and opened them again. The only difference was the swirl of colour when they were shut.

She took a deep breath and almost gagged. The putrid stench of the room was suffocating. It was the smell of rats, urinals and dark nights. It touched her like unknown fingers, making her flesh crawl. The bile rising in the throat almost choked her and she pushed it down with an effort. It left a foul taste in her mouth. Water… she wanted water. Gallons and gallons of Ice cold water, to drink, to wash and to splash in. She licked the dust on her lips and rubbed her face in an attempt to clean it. Legs buckled under her as she tried to stand. So for a long time, in the tomb like silence, she sat listening to her heart beats. Slowly they came back to normal, well..... almost normal. She tried to stand, seeking support from the wall, and this time she managed. Inching sideways along the wall like a crab she thought, she has to be a crab from now on, hiding in the crevices and under the moldy rocks.

The damp and rotting wall kept flaking at her touch. She kept rubbing her fingers on her jeans to keep them clean and moved on again, feeling her way along the wall. The ground felt uneven in a few places with stone slabs missing. She stumbled a few times but didn’t fall. She pretended she was a cat as she tried to see through the inky night. Her shoes touched something. She gingerly pushed it around, trying to figure out what it was. It rolled away with a metallic clang. She sat down and reached out, feeling with outstretched hand, fingers seeking in the direction of the sound. It had rolled a little farther than she had thought. Hating to leave the security of the wall, with her back still against the wall she reached out and groped around. Her fingers found coolness of metal. It was a light weight and dented metal cup. She searched for sharp edges. Sharp edges are useful, if used properly.

Her eyes kept scanning the darkness. That little patch to her right looked a little less opaque. Could be a boarded up window, she thought hopefully. Little by little she moved along the wall towards it.

She stared hard at it and noticed the lighter patch of darkness high above her. She decided to make a mark on the wall to find the place again later. The cup was still in her grip. With its edge she started to carve a long notch on the wall. The cup kept slipping from her fingers making loud clanging sounds. First time that happened, the sound paralyzed her, but soon she realized that there was no reaction from outside.

She had to keep finding the cup every time it fell. The darkness felt less threatening, now that she was learning to move around. It took her some time to make that notch deep enough to be found easily with the finger tips. The effort had completely drained her. Once again she rested against the wall.

A faint sound outside drove the sleep away from her eyes. A thin shimmer of light shone in the darkness. Crouched like a cat, gripping the cup like a weapon …she waited. The door opened a little more, and two people entered the room. One of them put something on the ground while the other one stood guard. His flash light searched around the room and pinned her down, blinding her. The light beam flashed on the objects on the ground. A cup and a few pieces of bread on a plate. The light beam arced around the room once again, briefly illuminating a grimy commode in a far corner and was switched off. The door slammed shut and once again the room was plunged in darkness.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A credit card for free.

“ This is for you ma’am, compliments of the store”. The attendant at the cash counter handed me a credit card. I pushed it away as if it was on fire.
“ No thanks. I don’t use them much. And I have one already.”
The attendant looked at me pityingly. I always have this horrid suspicion that attendant kids always pity me.
Next twenty minutes were spent explaining to me, how , with the shop’s own ‘Privileged customer’ card and the additional credit card I was going to save thousands of rupees, not to mention earn brownie points and win free gifts like diamond earrings, DVD players, and a free trip to Goa.
“ And ma’am, it’s free!” That clinched the matter. A free card can’t hurt me much, can it?

After reaching home I pushed the unwanted card at the back of my desk drawer, and forgot about it. One year was over. And I started receiving bills for the never used card. I questioned the shop, and reminded them that they had said – Free card, no service charges.
“ Only for one year ma’am! Now you w…

Kala Ghoda- Sonal Mansingh

I went to Kala Ghoda in severe conflict about what to see and what to do. This was one of the time when you feel like having a few clones and catch the whole show.But friend Ajita won, and we headed for Horniman Circle gardens to attend Sonal Mansingh’s Odissi performance.The evening was cool and breezy, the gardens were filling up fast. We could see the patron Goddesses of the event, Brinda Miller, Devika Bhojwani and Sarayu Doshi flitting around, getting show started.The ceremonial Lamp refused to stay lit. Finally the lamp was announced as “lit” behind the shelter of a file, and the show started. And what a show it was!I was all prepared to give a nod to Culture and then rush over to watch Soparkar’s Troup “Dancing in the streets “. But that was only till Sonal started her first piece, devoted to Goddess Maatangi, the patron goddess of all arts. From now on “Bhavani Dayani” will always look like Sonal.There was something of a sybil in her whole persona. Her goddess was not an eth…

Let's start at the very beginning...

My impressions of Dubai airport are blurred thanks to a fast moving airport cart with me sitting backwards. I am uncomfortable sitting facing backwards in any vehicle. One always likes to see where one is going. Sitting with our back to the driver is kind of heading into the unknown and we see things only in retrospect - if you get the meaning. I saw high ceiling, lights all over, arches galore ( I think ) people everywhere and a vastness of proportion which was not unpleasant. It was the " Topi Ud Gayi " kind of place that interests and overwhelms you at the same time.  If airports can be thought to be masculine or feminine, then Dubai airport struck me as a feminine airport, in soft colors, decked up and scintillating. What ever my other impressions, my most fixed memory will be the driver singing ' dani dani dani daaaani '! He was a handsome guy with a high energy even at 2.30. I wish he had sung the next line. Maybe the next time I visit Dubai...

The 17 hr fligh…