I am writing fiction after a long, long break and ‘Love in Times of Terror’ is a short story that I have decided to publish in 4 parts over the next few days. I hope you’ll like it and do leave comments and feedback J
It was 7 AM in the police control room located in Bangalore. Geetha, who was manning the calls during the morning shift sat back in her seat with a cup of hot tea that had been bought from the neighboring tea stall. She had asked Ramu, the boy who supplied the tea, to add an extra spoon of sugar in her tea. She liked her tea to be hot and sweet and the extra sugar had begun to show in her expanding waistline.
No longer had she taken a sip of tea, the phone line started to ring. With a sigh she picked the receiver and said in a disgruntled voice, ‘Police Control room, Bangalore’.
“Listen carefully, today around 3 in the afternoon a bomb is going to explode in the IT Park located in Springfield. The bomb is so powerful that it can wipe off the whole IT Park from the map of Bangalore. It can kill thousands of men and women who work there."
“Who is this? And how do you know this?” Geetha had been receiving such hoax calls ever since the terror attack in Mumbai, so she did not feel the need to panic.
As if sensing her lack of trust in the authenticity, the caller immediately said, “Do not think that it’s a hoax call. If you ignore my warning, thousands of innocents may die. The bomb has already been planted in the parking area. I don’t know any other details.”
Now Geetha was a little worried. It did sound like the caller was scared and telling the truth. The voice was muffled to an extent that she had difficulty in identifying the gender of the caller.
“Why can’t you come to the police station and tell us in person”, probed Geetha hoping to get more details.
“I can’t. Listen I have got to go now. But please don’t take this lightly." The call was cut abruptly, leaving Geetha staring at the phone.
The audio equipment had recorded the entire conversation and Geetha replayed the conversation multiple times until she was convinced that the call required the senior office to look into the matter.
She went in search of the inspector in charge. She even forgot to gulp down her now tepid cup of tea.
As Rakesh came out of the shower, he saw Shirin already dressed for work. She was applying kohl carefully to her eyes. Rakesh came and stood beside her. Her eyes looked hypnotic and entrancing as she looked at his reflection in the mirror. He took her in his arms and kissed the nape of her neck.
“You look so beautiful”, Rakesh said admiring her beauty. She had worn the light blue kurta that he had gifted her on her last birthday.
“Stop it or we will be late for work”, reproached Shirin lightly with a slight smile on her lips. But the smile did not extend to her eyes. It never did. Cocooned in her own grief and busy in fighting her inner demons, she failed to recognize the pall of gloom that hung heavy on their relationship.
Shirin sat behind Rakesh on his bike and they headed off to their office located in the Springfield IT Park. It was a cold, wintry morning and Shirin hugged Rakesh tightly, holding him more for warmth than for safety.
She felt blessed and lucky to have him in her life. Had it not been for Rakesh, she would have been a lost soul in this world, without parents, family or friends. Ever since her parents’ death, she had isolated herself from the rest of the world, shutting down her contacts with her family and friends. It was only Rakesh who had been able to break down her barrier and invade her heart by his charming and loving persona.
He had provided her comfort and peace in a storm and for that she would be ever grateful. She couldn’t think of living without him, she loved him so much that it sometimes hurt her and terrified her. To place so much trust and to love someone unconditionally made her anxious but she was slowly learning to enjoy her life again.
Rakesh turned back slightly and asked her “Hey, can you take off from work at 2 PM today? There’s this new movie and I thought we could watch it together. What say?”
“I was about to suggest the same. You know me very well” Shirin replied.
You can read the next chapter here- Part 2