I finally succeeded in one of my life-long ambitions- acquiring an i-Pod. And no, it wasn’t through begging my dad, or winning some sort of lucky draw, as I always thought it would be. It was actually the following story, called The Other Half…
After reaching home, I checked the answering machine for any messages. An automated voice said, “You have two new messages.” It had been a hectic day. I sighed and heard them.
The first one, which was from my mom, was long. Pretty long. She was upset that I hadn’t been in touch with her for almost two weeks (!) and threatened me with dire consequences, if I didn’t call her soon. It brought a smile to my face, which promptly vanished when I heard the second.
“Hello, Amrita? Amrita, its me, Shalini. I don’t want to die Amrita, I really don’t want to die… but the brakes of my car have failed…they are not working…God knows how much time I can manage here…But listen to me carefully, Amrita, you have to do what I say, please…I think someone has done this deliberately to me, but who?... and you have to help me find out…I found an earring on my dashboard- its not mine, and I think it belongs to the person who is doing this to me…please rush immediately…I am on the road from my home to the farmhouse. Help me if I am alive…if not…you’ll find the earring in my front pocket… punish the person who did this, Amrita…please, please do this for me…for our friendship…”
For a few seconds, my mind went numb. I just stood there and stared at the machine. Then, abruptly, I swung into action, took the keys, and left.
There were not many people at the accident site yet. The car looked like it had been hit by tornado. And Shalini was almost…unrecognizable. I reached into one of her pockets, found nothing. Then I checked the other pocket, extracted the earring and kept it safely in my bag. Next, I called the police and left the place.
I reached home and dropped into a chair. The half-sobbing, half-shivering voice of Shalini kept echoing in my mind, and I could almost see her turning the steering wheel, desperately trying to stay alive, shocked that someone could try to kill her in cold blood. Then, wiping the sweat off my brow, I took out a tiny jewelry box, and placed the pearl earring next to an identical one- its other half.
Frankly, I hate such spine-chilling stories, and would go for a Wodehouse, or an RK Narayan for reading. But what the heck, writing it won me an iPod, and I’d rather not talk too much about it.