Today, 6: 36 p.m.
They were waiting for her signal.It would be given any moment. The position was not comfortable but nobody complained.This was to be their last night.At least, that is what it seemed like.The signal came; it was just a movement of her hand that said ‘move forward’.The four men lurked in a corner adjusted their gun and obeyed her.
27 years ago,
‘Shalu!We have a new neighbour!’, Mrs.Devaki shouted. Shalini was curious but not very happy.A new neighbour would mean more competition, that is, if they had any kid. Her woes were answered. They had a girl of her own age,five years and she was to join her school. Even without seeing her, she already began to loathe the new neighbour girl.
The men moved slowly towards the house. It was very cold. The chillness didn’t bother them but the silence did.They had an eye on their captain.She moved with them.She put her hand on the lips indicating them to be silent.Silence added to already silent ambience.
22 years ago,
‘Don’t compare me with her’,Shalini shouted.”I was not exactly comparing but quoting the facts”, her father exclaimed. Her father was a typical army man and demanded perfection in everything he did. This included meticulous bringing up of his daughter. He wanted the best for his daughter and demanded the best from her. “I could compare you with her father. He has less experience but more grades than you!”, she retorted back and stormed out of the place.She knew her father must have been hurt by her words but didn’t care. He compared her with the neighbour girl. She loathed her day by day.
One of the men looked at the watch. Just few minutes had passed but seemed like hours. The wait was frustrating but they had been anticipating for this moment for three months. The evidence was strong against the suspect but they were not able to do anything till today. Their captain had worked hard for this case. Exceptionally hard. The reason they didn’t want to fail her today.
13 years ago,
Shalini dropped on the bed and began to cry.She cried her heart out. She had never trusted and liked anyone as she did Ravi. She thought he was hers.Until today. She didn’t know of his intentions. They were best friends since school days. Now, went to the same college.She didn’t know why she was crying;was it because he was not hers or because she was rejected. Ravi had told her that he liked her neighbour girl.She loathed her heart out.She cried the whole night.
Today, 6:46 p.m.,
They were not alone. Four more men were on the other side.Every sense was on alert. The final signal would be given any time.They looked at her. Her face concentrated on the door.She gave the final forward signal.They charged.
11 years ago,
“Dad, I want to go to army.Just like you”, Shalini claimed. Father looked at her; perplexed and astonished. “ Why the sudden plan? Just because you failed a couple of MBA exams doesn’t mean that your life has ended”, he explained. “Why do you think of it that way? I did want to do other things but doesn’t mean I didn’t like army. I wish to go to army. You have to help me”, she said. Her father smiled. “Hope you never regret this decision”, he said. She knew she would never regret anything in life again. She tried to forget Ravi but his memories kept coming back. She had to move out of this place. Somehow. She had to stop dreaming about him. She had to forget that he and the neighbour girl were going to get married in a week’s time.
2 years ago
The report lay in front of her. She knew the contents. She knew her past would come before her and people she had known will be involved. She had to make a decision . To take the case or not was in her hands. She had thought a lot. She opened the file.
They followed her. She opened the door and signalled a thumbs up. They moved inside. It was dark all over the place.All that could be heard was the floor creaking. The suspect must be here somewhere. They put on their flashes.The captain signalled them to three different directions and she chose to go alone in one direction. The mere presence of the other was the comfort but the captain was alone. They had to appreciate her. The whole place was silent.Adding to the eerie. They were anticipating something to pounce in them. They moved in circles.
Suddenly,they heard bullet sounds from upstairs. It was the direction their captain had chosen. They ran up hoping nothing had happened to their captain.They found her in a dark corner at the end of the passage. Her face gleamed with victory. They knew she had done it. They moved into the room and saw the face of the culprit. He looked innocent enough.There was another dead body next to it. One that of a female.She must have come to save her husband and ended up as a victim too.They heard someone crying and searched the room with their flash lights. A child was sitting in the corner, frightened of the commotion. Their captain went near the child and hugged . She looked into the child’s eyes. The men didn’t understand what she said but were sure she claimed something like “She has Ravi’s eyes”.