An article about this novel in an international journal - The Criterion
‘How are you?’, Vijay enquired for her.
‘How are you keeping?’, Priya stared straight in his eyes.
Perhaps she was searching for her own reflection in his eyes.
‘I am fine’, Vijay too was staring at her eyes only.
Some moments passed off in silence. Vijay carefully looked around and after confirming that nobody was attentive about him, he said,
‘I wanted to tell you something’.
Priya didn’t utter a word, and started looking down. Once again few moments passed in complete silence. Perhaps he was trying to compose his words. Once again Vijay looked around carefully. This time he noticed his mother approaching him.
‘It doesn’t seem possible here at this place’, he depressingly said. ‘Anyway, do one thing. Tomorrow evening at 6 pm……where can we meet? Where?’.
‘At our usual place’, Priya suggested.
‘That’s right! Our usual place! Ashok Park!’.
Noticing that his mother is coming closer, Vijay escaped from there by saying, ‘I will wait for you there’.
When Vijay’s mother arrived there Priya was still looking down. She had not got a single opportunity to talk. She glanced in the direction where Vijay had gone. He was going toward his friend’s group. Suddenly he stopped and even he glanced at Priya.
By this time, Vijay’s sister, Shalini, had reached up to the first floor, walking behind that young boy. There, she looked around everywhere in the balcony. Nobody was being seen around there. Only the noise of laughter and talk of the people gathered below on the lawn were being heard.
Once again Shalini’s mind developed some doubts.
‘Nobody seems to be here. ‘Where is my mother?’, Shalini gathered some courage to ask.
That young boy stopped and said, ‘She is there. Inside the room’.
She glanced at that boy and tried to grasp what was going on his mind. Both of them stared at each other. But she could not sense anything of his mind. Neither did she feel anything malicious or objectionable in his eyes.
‘What a doubt-prone my mind is’, she thought and warned herself.
That young boy turned and started walking ahead. She also followed him. After walking for some distance, he stopped in front of a room. Even Shalini also stopped behind him.
‘Your mother is sitting inside’, he pointed at the door of the room.
Shalini went in front and pushed open the door. It was already open. She once again turned and looked at that young boy.
‘Go inside’, he ordered while standing outside there.
She looked at him with questioning face.
‘Go inside. I will continue to remain watchful and alert here only’, he ordered.
‘Watchful and alert?’, Shalini felt surprised.
‘Yes. Watchful and alert! The times are like that!’, he said mysteriously.
Shalini could not decipher anything from that mysterious voice.
‘Whatever it is…….’, she thought and ignored him.
When she started going inside, that young boy said once again,
‘And yes! Do not forget to lock the door from inside after entering there’.
Shalini once again paused and asked, ‘Why?’.
‘Do whatever that is told to you. Don’t ask too many questions’; the voice of that boy had suddenly turned harsh.
Shalini went inside the room mechanically and locked the door from inside.
Original Novel by Sunil Doiphode
English Version by Girish Katre (GirishKatre@gmail.com)