July 5, 2012 at 9:32 pm #13491gomathijiParticipant
Shama went on looking at the man; she was behind the mango tree, well hidden. She pulled her frock around her knees tightly to be more sure that it was not seen from his angle. That man looked frightening! HE was big, yes bigger than her father, Vicky uncle, Jose uncle and even Micky, the driver uncle. A terrible mustache that twitched when he turned here and there. His big protruding eyeballs were the most fearsome of all his physical attributes.
She had been watching him for about a week now, when she came to play in the park. The park was just around the corner and her mother did not object to her playing there. She took sweety also with her. Sweety was her close friend. They studied in the same school and were neighbours. But now Sweety has gone to her grandma’s place and Shama felt lonely without her. Though Shama’s mother came back from work around five, she had such a lot to do after coming back. Dad was working in Dubai. She saw Vicky uncle, her Mom’s brother and also the driver uncle daily. She had two granmas and one grandpa but both lived far away. She felt jealous of Sweety whose grandparents lived in the same city. Every week end she went to visit them, and they too came. They even brought Shama gifts. Sweety told her that she had strictly told them that Shama was her close friend and they should bring her gifts too. Shama’s mother told Shama that they could visit her grandparents only once in a year! Shama heaved a sigh. Suddenly she remembered the man and took a stealthy peek. He was not there. She remembered what Jose uncle had told her. ” He must be a bad man.”
She was startled when a hand touched her back. “Oh, uncle , it’s you. When did you come?” “Just now. Where is your ruffian?” Jose uncle laughed loudly. Shama managed a smile. “You don’t know what happened that day. Sweety and I were playing hide and seek and I came too close to him. He looks more ugly if you look at him that close.” “OK baby, we have not come here to talk about a stranger’s bad looks, right? How’s Mom? You did your home work today? Come, sit here.” He sat in his usual place, the metal chair, at the end of the park. Shama sat near him. She looked at Jose uncle. In a way he resembled her grandfather who was in the village. Yes. Now she could see that it was his smile that looked just like her granfather’s. “Where is your friend? Is she still in her grandmamma’s place?” Shama sighed”Yes, enjoying, I’m sure.” Shama looked far away at the clouds. It was getting dark faster. Mom will scold her for being late. No today she won’t miss her. It was cleaning day and the maid would have come. Anyway she wanted to go home. Jose uncle held her hand. “Hey, you are going now? It is not yet closing time for the park.” “No, uncle. I want to go.” Shama pulled her hand and moved a few steps.
When she opened her eyes, she could not help screaming. The frightful face was very close to her’s and she could not understand why. Not able to look at him she turned her eyes away and saw her Mom and Vicky uncle. “Mom!” she screamed again. Her mother was wiping her eyes and immediately rushed near her. “What is this? Has this man kidnapped allof us? Where is Jose uncle?” demanded Shama. She tried getting up from the bed but feeling a dull pain inside her head, fell back. The man laughed a wicked laughter. “Jose uncle? He has been caught long back.” “Caught? What do you mean?” Shama could not understand. The fearsome fellow came nearer. Mom was sobbing. Shama wanted to kick him hard on the face; but she felt too weak to lift her leg.
“Lady! Thank your stars that I happened to be there on a smuggler’s trail. Little did I know that I would be closing in on Jose a.k.a Kala, a.k.a, Babu etc, etc. I found all on a sudden that he was there and he was targetting your daughter, his modus operandi being getting friendly with girls of your daughter’s age, drugging them and carrying them away; he must have got friendly with your kid some time back. He must have also targetted other kids of this locality. He is wanted by the police for long. Unfortunately, we could not stop him doping her. The doctor here says she’ll be alright in a couple of hours. In a way your daughter has helped the department. But be on the alert hereafter. Create some awareness in children, people,” he addressed the neighbours gathered there and whom Shama saw only now. Shama turned her head slowly to see him. She could see only his profile now. Still it looked ugly, fearsome. He turned suddenly and lifted his hand at her with a smile which was horrible. ‘Thank the police officer,” said Mom. “Thank you,” said Shama weakly.
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