Priya is woken up by the early sun passing through her windows. She smiles and gets out of the bed rather excited thinking about the following day. A new place with a lot of new things to see, understand and experience.
She was a student doing a program in journalism at ‘The School of Journalism, Indiana university’ which obviously was one of the best in the United States. Smart and talented she is, her beautiful looks set her resume apart from the rest of the crowd. She was born and raised there, though her parents were of Indian origin. They both were Chartered Accountants by profession and moved to the US after early days of their marriage, from when they pretty much preferred staying in US.
Priya always wanted to visit India, a place which she had not visited more than a couple of times that too in her childhood. Now that she had got the perfect chance for a visit excited her much. Her university demands an internship, and they would rather favor more for any foreign internship than ones done in the country as journalism demands a lot of travel and coping up. Priya soon pulled some strings and got in touch with a university professor named Mr. Vinod Mathur in Symbiosis Institute of Media & Communication, Pune, India through her friend who was Mr. Mathur’s relative too. Mr. Mathur was very experienced in the field and a very loving person too. He had arranged her a furnished studio apartment for cheaper rate and made other arrangements. A 42 days trip, internship and wish fulfilling.
She landed on Wednesday evening, got settled by the nightfall. That same night, she went out and grabbed some fast food to eat also had a good walk. The crowd and dirt of the place sure was irritating but she readily ignored all of those for the better things ahead in the next 42 days of her stay.
On Thursday morning, she finds herself a cab that lands her directly in the Symbiosis campus. The campus looked amazing to her, very much different than the world outside. This surely gave the University campus she studied a steady competition. She walked inside to see many gaze at her as if she was an alien from a distant planet. She went on and with some help from the people around she met Mr. Vinod Mathur, her guide in the internship. A very welcoming man, Mr. Mathur was in his early 40’s. She felt really comfortable around him.
‘Beta, how was your journey and stay? I hope you had a sound sleep.’ Mr.Mathur enquires.
‘Of course, I am really excited to be here sir!’ she replied in a pleasant tone.
After briefing on what the requisites were and what they will be covering in those 40 days, Mr. Mathur introduces her to another student who will be doing the same internship with her. She was from India and they get introduced to each other.
Before leaving Mr. Mathur asks Priya to drop by for dinner at his place, so that she gets more acquainted with his family also, a thing which she readily accepted. Mr. Mathur told her how to reach his place, just a 20 min walk from her current residence.
At 8:00, she was already walking towards the place that Mr. Mathur had mentioned. Soon with some inputs from the people around, she is there. A cheerful woman opens the door and it’s obviously Mrs.Mathur. Their daughter comes down to meet Priya and they have a pleasant chat. Dinner is served; there are rare bursts of laughter when Mrs. Mathur comments on her husband, who in turn takes it in sporty way. After dinner, Mrs. Mathur asks Priya quite a few things about life getting to know her and finally she is ready to leave. Mrs. Mathur touches on her forehead and asks her if she needs a company to walk back and mentions,
‘Careful, the place is not good for night travel.’
She assures that she will be fine and she slowly makes her move.
On her way back, she finds the whole city asleep. Lack of streetlights on the way back made her walk in the dark. She is a bit scared and cautious now. As she expected, she encounters a group of three men in a smoke filled alley. As she walks towards them to get to her place, they re-group themselves. One of them gets out a knife and swings it as she passes by them. The knife slightly touches her butter smooth skin, and she can feel blood urging to come out from the small cut. The other guy holds her mouth tightly shut. She looks back as the men were groping her.
There is a manly figure afar, jogging towards them. The men were unaware but soon take notice of the person. As he comes nearby he slows down, she can see a silhouette figure of a proper built V shaped figure approaching them. As he is nearby, he walks slowly and when he is nearby she can see his face. Manly face with stubble, and he approaches the group of men panic and they go against him leaving Priya. Before Priya could adjust herself and look at the happenings, one of the three was down shuddering with pain. She watches him as sticks his fist on the forehead of the next goon and his whole body rattles due to power of his fist. The third guy gets so tightly slapped that he is bleeding from his nose and mouth.
After making sure, that they stay on the ground and are not in a position to attack from the back, the guy comes closer to her and in a low voice tells her to walk. She, with her eyes red and tears flowing through her cheeks hears him but stays still. He walks a bit just to find that she not keeping up with him comes back and says,
‘I am sent by Mr.Mathur to reach you home safely. I am his nephew.’ says the young man in a husky voice.
She walks in a slow pace with him and when they reach her place he asks her,
‘Do you have any first aid kit with you in your room?’
She nods thinking that he is hurt in the tussle and then they both walk into her room. She switches on the light and brings the small packet which she had.
With cotton in one hand, he holds her hand with the other and takes her to the wash basin. Then holding the cotton ball with the scissors, he cleans her wound which by now she had forgotten and then applies the anti-septic disinfectant and gives her small wound a dressing. All she is able to do this while is look at him helplessly.
‘Get this wound checked by a doctor and if necessary get yourself vaccinated for tetanus. I am writing down my mobile number here, if at all you want to go somewhere especially at the night give me a call.’
He notes down his mobile number on the calendar hanging nearby and walks to the door, and then walks past the door shutting the door.
She gazes at his writing which reads Anand with his mobile number……
(To be continued)