The Mystery5 mins 344 5 mins 344
Something inside her was awakened. Charu racks her brain to think what it was.
And suddenly she wonders, “Oh, why does this ‘home’ seem so familiar? Where have I seen it before?”
She glares at the picture and tries to figure it out. The colours, the gate, the garden…. Everything seemed to tug at her.
The day could hardly pass by simply for Charu. The whole time she was agitated and she seemed to be sitting at an edge.
In the midst of the confused mental state, Charu didn’t forget the purpose of her visit home. After having a break, she sat with her grandmother. She held her hand and spoke to her lovingly.
Though hometown wasn’t really dear for her, her connection with her grandmother was deep-rooted.
Charu couldn’t forget the care and love with which she was brought up by her grandmother. The huge loss of her mother was more than ably filled by her dearest grandmother.
Strange was the way of life. It had brought her strong grandmother to this state, completely covered with machines requiring additional support for simply living. Something we all take so much for granted.
The doctor had visited this morning and suggested that to keep her alive, she needed a stimulant. Yes, a stimulant. Charu decided that she would be the stimulant and evoke fond memories that would help her grandmother revive.
Charu spent the whole day with her. In the evening, some of her neighbours came home to see her. Some of them were her childhood friends. They sat and reminisced about their innocent days together. They remembered how they used to climb the trees in the garden and pluck fresh mangoes and gauvas to eat. The summers were a complete treat.
Poorni recalled, "the most exciting time was us playing dark room in the outhouse of your home Charu. Do you remember?"
Raas replied, "Ya...and you remember the old trunk in the room which was always locked."
Charu, " Yes, my grandma's. It was so big, we could easily hide behind it and no one could find us."
"Those were fun days," said Poorni.
After having some tea and snacks, her left for home and Charu got busy feeding gruel to her grandma. She told her all that she and friends had spoken. She believed that her grandmother could hear all she spoke though she never responded. "Grandma, you remember how we girls used to play dark room in that outhouse. We used to love hiding behind that special trunk of yours. You never used to open it. I have never known what it was."
Later, at night Charu went to bed.
As she was dozing off, she wondered why her grandma never let her see inside the trunk. She alway told her that it was special one.
And where was it today?
“I should ask grandma about it. But how will she answer. She’s in no position to reply. Or maybe I should explore the outhouse by myself. Good that Appa is not here else I would have had a take he’s permission”, thought Charu.
The next morning Charu got up fresh with no jetlag. She had her early morning tea and breakfast enjoying the fresh weather. Then she spent time with her grandma. She was glad to know from the nurse that the night had been peaceful.
Charu decided to visit the outhouse. She asked the maid for the key to the same. The maid was skeptical to give it to her and said, “I’m not sure your father would approve of this.”
Charu had to pester her enough to get a hold on the key.
Charu wondered on her behaviour.
Anyway, she went ahead and walked towards the outhouse.
The walk through the garden, the coconut trees reminded her of her wonderful childhood. She became nostalgic.
Slowly, she out the key into the door of the outhouse and opened it. Charu was flooded with memories.
Inside the room, Charu found that everything was as she remembered from her childhood. The same trunk was place in the same corner of the room, with the same lock on it. The furniture was also the same there. There was the old wooden creaking rocking chair which her grandma had never been ready to dispose off. There was the old world charm in the things of the bygone era. The hookah from olden times that were a treasure today. There were also many pictures hung around the room. Pictures of men and women belonging to the old royalty.
Charu went about the room when suddenly something tugged her towards it. Yes, it was the special trunk. There on the top of the trunk, she found the picture of the same villa engraved beautifully.
But, the beauty of the work was that, one couldn’t view it from the normal angle. If you looked at it straight, it was just a name, ‘Jeffer’. But when viewed from the back of the trunk, from a low angle, one could easily know that it was the same villa engraved. What an amazing craft!!!
Charu could remember it as it was something she had so many times while playing dark room with her friends. The place behind this trunk was one of her favourite hideouts. Unconsciously, the picture fo the villa has been etched in her mind.
Shocked and surprised is what Charu felt today!!
“Oh my!! No wonder I felt I had the seen the villa picture!!”
Now, Charu was utterly confused.
“What, if any is the connection between my grandmother and the villa?”
Today, Charu felt that there was more to her family that what she reckoned and that she hardly knew them.
She knew she needed answers but unfortunately, he grandmother was in no position to enlighten her.
Charu had to find someone who would unravel the mystery to her.
“What was the code at the back of the picture all about? Where was the villa situated?”
Charu had so many questions.
Confused, she locked the outhouse and walked back to her room.
She picked up the Polaroid picture and looked at the map given.
“Maybe I should follow the map and look out for the villa. But what could code mean?”