The Right Time
The Right Time25 mins 16.1K 25 mins 16.1K
Fourteen long years of separation. It is the first reunion of my tenth-grade batch mates. It is one of a kind, one of the most unforgettable moments that everybody waited for.
“When will you reach buddy?” asked Daiwik over the phone.
“As I said before, my flight will depart in an hour and it's about a five-hour flight from here. I'm at the airport, I'll call up once I reach the destination” I replied.
When I initiated this event, I had a strange feeling that it's going to be a miserable failure. But the responses from my pals were amazing. More than me, they badly wanted a reunion. I collected the contact details of my classmates from my school - although I couldn't collect everybody's contact, the news spread from ear to ear and almost everybody was ready to attend the reunion.
This reunion was a different one, unlike the traditional reunion wherein you call upon the successful people onto the Dias and greet them with a memento and send everyone back after the supper. We planned a five day trip to Kasol, Himachal Pradesh - a place where we all would be free from our everyday lives which is stressful and boring. The main agenda of this trip was just to meet and re-socialise the good old memories of our childhood days.
I was waiting for the boarding process in the waiting room. Soon, I saw the only love of my life, Suhana. I had always yearned for her from years. In fact, I did propose her during my college days only for a direct rejection. Since then, there had hardly been any talk between us and I decided not to converse with her and keep my mouth shut. In my heart of hearts, I wished she had been travelling to attend the reunion too as I thought of a possibility that she might be travelling elsewhere and she has arrived before time and waiting for her flight. I never really knew who all had agreed for the reunion - it was Daiwik who contacted most people and my job was only to take care of the bookings and allotments of the hotel and travel services.
It was now time for boarding. I took my bag, showed my boarding pass at the gates, found my seat and took it. I took into reading the ‘Bleak House’, a story by Charles Dickens. I was busy reading and then suddenly I saw Suhana enter the cabin. I tried to avoid eye contact and stove hard to hide my face. She walked to the row just ahead of me and told a gentleman sitting there that he had been sitting in the seat allocated to her. I sought a sigh of relief. “Thank God,” I told to myself. The gentleman replied that he was sitting in the right seat. The air hostess passing by noticed the confusion and took to solve the issue.
“Is there any confusion ma'am ?” asked the air hostess.
“It seems like we both have been allocated the same seat number.” Replied Suhana.
“Let me check it, ma'am. Can I see your boarding pass?” Suhana then hands her boarding pass to the air hostess and she explains Suhana that she was supposed to be sitting in the same seat but the row behind, which was technically the one beside me.
“Holy Shit,” I told to myself again. I was still covering my face and Suhana sat beside me without noticing anything at all. She suddenly turned towards the window (I was sitting on the window seat) and was taken aback.
“Hey! Aaru… Aarush, Is this really you? Oh, my God, I can't believe it's you.” said Suhana
“Hello! How do you do? You've changed a lot too” we took a warm handshake.
“Hmm. Yeah. So how's life?”
“As usual, traffic, work, stress, you know how life at this place is. Just wanna chill out and release all the stress. How is yours?”
“As usual as well” and we both giggled while we talked.
The flight took off and Suhana dozed off. She didn't wake up even when the passengers were served with refreshments. I collected her refreshment and told the staff that I'll give it to her once she wakes up. She woke up after some time, had food and slept back again. This time she took my shoulders to the pillows and I was never as happy as I was at this time.
“Wake up Suhana, wake up, we're about to land,” I said. She woke up and was still in a dozed off mode. As soon as we landed and reached the terminal, I told her to freshen up so she could awaken herself and collect her baggage. As soon as we stepped out of the terminal, I saw my first love - The Rolls Royce Sweptail along with a few other escort vehicles.
I asked Suhana if I should drop her somewhere. Surprised by the guest who came to receive me, she was lost. I asked her again.
“By the way, I forgot to ask, what makes you fly here? Business or something?”
Turning towards me, she said “The Reunion. I thought you were here for the same, weren't you?”
“Oh yes, I am.” She didn't know that I was the one organised and implemented this idea as Daiwik was the person who talked to everyone.
“Okay, let's go then. You would wanna join me, don't you?” said I.
I told my chauffeur to give me the keys and asked him to join one of the escort vehicles. We both got into the car and started driving. I was so happy to drive The Sweptail in the curves and curls of the hilly areas and that too with Suhana in my co-driver’s seat. This was the happiest moment of my life. I loved it.
“So, what do you do back at Singapore?” asked Suhana.
“CEO, Karlenko Industries. What have you been doing there?”
“Moved over with my family.”
We then drove along the snowy mountains. Suhana started feeling cold and asked me to stop the car so she could get to the boot of the car and wear thermals. I was feeling a little cold too and I decided to stop for a quick tea break and we grabbed our winter clothing.
I met Daiwik in the same motel Suhana and I had stopped for a tea break. It's been a long time since I had seen him so we ran into each other and hugged each other tightly.
“Bro, where have you been? Missed you so much pal!” said Daiwik.
“Me too bro. Come on let's have a cup of tea and continue the conversation” said I.
Suhana told me to get her a hot chocolate and Daiwik and I decided to get to the counter to order our coffees. While I could've ordered my escorts to do this work, I stuck to do it myself as I wanted to enjoy some time with my friends and also I don't like to crow in front of people, that was the reason I took to travel like a common man in the flight. But I cannot help it when it comes to cars. It's always been my dream to buy posh and expensive cars and be driven around in them.
While in the queue, Daiwik asked “So what up man? You got some girlfriends?”
“There's only one woman whom I loved and yearned for in my entire life. I couldn't find anyone better than her after she rejected me on my face, until now.”
“What! Who's that? And why didn't you tell it to me all these days?”
“Ummmm. It's an untold story. Anyways, let's not talk about it now”
“No. I insist. Who's it??”
“Well, the person who came with me in my car today”
“What? Man come on man. You ought to be kidding me. This is a joke, ain't it? I mean who wouldn't wanna be a life partner of someone like you. I mean look at you. You're featured as one of the top 50 billionaires in the Forbes list and you started it all from a scratch…. I think I should try sorting this out for you, I'll go talk to her right away”
“No,” said I holding his hand and stopping him from going to Suhana, “it's all went and gone, I don’t wanna recreate everything. Forget it!”
After this, I enquired Daiwik about his love life. He told he had already married and had a year old kid. He also told that they'd be joining this trip along with him the next day. He apologised for not inviting his friends to his marriage and told that it was in a strange situation that the marriage happened, which he took not to explain.
We then headed towards the motel we had booked to stay for the night, which was apparently our actual destination. I asked Daiwik to drop from the bus he was travelling in and join me from here on. He agreed hesitantly but chose to travel in one of my escort vehicles later. Maybe he thought I should spend time with Suhana alone without any interference.
I was very excited from now on - I was about to meet all my childhood friends after a long time. In life, we always tend to prioritise those things which we feel will make us happy, but hardly we do realise that real happiness is something that we've never added to our priority list.
We arrived at our destination and were happy to see a few of our friends already reported at THE VANILLA SNOW HOTEL. After meeting everyone, I told them all that since everyone would've been exhausted, let's rest for tonight and start our plans coolly from tomorrow.
“NO” shouted everyone.
“We've met each other after a very long time. We've lots and lots to talk. Let's just enjoy the night. We're here to enjoy right? So let's start it right away” said Dimple.
“Okay. Let the party begin. No one is sleeping tonight” said I. I don't know what happened next but someone arranged for a DJ night. When the music started playing, everyone had the energy of Usain Bolt. I started dancing to the music too. It was so amazing - enjoying a DJ party with people whom I missed for years.
After a while, half my fellow mates were furiously drunk and were out of their minds. It was about 2 am and nobody felt exhausted considering that most of them have arrived only a few hours ago. And not to mention the biting midnight cold of Kasol.
A few people came out of the dance floor to re-energise themselves by taking some shots. Hardik and Sathyananda stood at the bar and ordered their drink. They asked what would my drink be. Oh, God! They never knew I don't drink. All thanks to the years of separation between us. It was fun back then when Hardik used to sit beside me every day in the class and we both had hardly missed any classes. He remembered the tiniest details about me back then. Anyways, time and tide never remain the same. And so, I denied the drink while Daiwik broke through the conversation.
“What up boys? Is something going on” he was one among those who were furiously drunk. He almost fell while he walked to us and then stood back on his own. He then spoke.
“Guys this guy here is an asshole. He is a very kindhearted man… ugghh” and he almost fell again. We helped him get up. “This guy was in love with only one woman in his life and she rejected him on his face” he was almost shouting now grabbing everyone’s attention.
“I think you’re too drunk. You better go to your room and rest” said I.
“No pal. Let me do this. You asked me about my marriage a while ago right? I was as furiously drunk one night as I’m today and I happened to wake up tied a knot with Kia…..” and he fell down on the floor with a thud.
A few of us picked him up and took him to the room. When I came back, everybody looked very distorted and upset. Hardik told everyone to rest for tonight as it was getting too cold and nobody was in a good state of mind to continue with the party. Accordingly, most of them just left. I had a strange feeling in my mind that Suhana would have understood who Daiwik was talking about and I wanted to go talk to her to set everything right.
I turned around to find her and coincidentally, she was already walking towards me. “I need to talk to you,” she said.
“Sure,” said I. I thought I should be the one who must go and talk to her about things that were fucked up.
“You know back then, it was about my future goals in life. I wanted to focus on my career and my ambitions. Also, it was my family. They would not be so fine with me being with someone back then. But I always hoped that one day I would definitely get the right one and it would mostly be you. Like you, even I have just waited for that perfect day and it feels like that today is the day we both have been waiting for.”
“Hmmm” I was confused and didn’t know what to say. Instead of giving into her, I became a little pragmatic. “So you mean you love me now?”
“Yes,” she said.
“So why were you quite from so many years?. I mean you never ever tried to contact me at all. It could just be that you are impressed by my post at the Karleko Industries or even just my Sweptail for that matter. Oh, by the way, you know what, I actually have decided to give up all my earnings and drop the job at Karlenko Industries. In fact actually, they’re kicking me out of the company because I’m so lost in doing other things in life and contribute very little to the job at hand. It will mostly happen right after the trip when I get back to Singapore.”
“Aarush, I thought that you knew me well and that is why you chose me over millions of people in this world and waited for me all these years” she almost made a sombre and a melancholic face “It’s ok. I will still come with you and marry you after this trip. You can find a better job in a better place. The Sweptail - well, I think we could make a lot of memories in my small Honda than you ever made with your Sweptail all these years”
She wiped her tears and bent down on one knee. “So, I’m ready to live with you no matter what happens and want to enjoy the rest of my life with you” I was totally taken aback and did not know what to do “Do you also wanna enjoy the rest of your life with me and ……. Will you marry me?”
I fell for her completely now and realised that she is not a gold digger. I wanted to lift her up and hug her tight and then suddenly something strange happened. The lights at the hotel started flickering and a distant sound of a woman’s shriek became evident. Looked like it came somewhere from in between the lofty snowy mountains. The hotel employees talked among that it was the voice of the wolfs.
‘Forget this’ I said to myself and looked back at Suhana.
“Yes, Suha… What’s wrong with you” she looked a little drowsy and she closed her eyes but was still standing. Her eyes suddenly started turning blue just when the lights of the hotel completely went off. “Oh, God!” I rushed towards her and held her. It was dark. Nothing visible. The clouds just started setting in and looked like it was going to snow or at least downpour that night. The dark clouds completely blocked the moonlight and now it was very difficult to see what was happening around.
To help, My Sweptail drove towards where Suhana and shone brilliantly. I didn’t know if I was supposed to be happy that I got some help or should I be worried as to when did Rolls Royce Start manufacturing self-driven cars in India. Oh, and the strange turn of events didn’t stop there. She drove towards me and I was thrown a few feet away from Suhana, and Suhana started levitating and she slowly got into the car. While all this happened, I lay there on the ground and it felt like someone or something firmly held me on the ground preventing me from saving Suhana.
I just knew what was happening. I am a horror story writer and I spent most of my free time writing stories. The reason for Karlenko Industries to kick me out of their company is because they think I mostly spend time on my stories and not on my work. Never did I ever wonder that I would soon encounter a horror incident myself. My stories were fiction but I did not know there exist spirits in reality too.
After Suhana got into the car, the car drove itself, God wonder where to, throwing away her collar chain which had a religious pendant. By now the force that held me loosened and I ran towards the car but to no avail. The car along with Suhana went away and soon situations at the hotel resumed back to normal. When the power was supplied back, I was the only one who stood outside and nobody was to be seen. I picked up the chain that fell off her neck thinking that is the power that the spirit is scared of. Soon, my escorts came to me inquiring if I was safe.
“Idiots. The car. Where did it go? Why didn’t anyone stop it?” said I.
“It broke through the gates sir but I know where it went. Would like us to follow your car?” said one of my trusted escorts.
At the same time, Hardik came to me and asked what happened. I told him that Suhana was taken away by an evil spirit in my car and we are following its direction. He expressed that even he would join in case I need help with anything. I didn’t know Hardik really believed in ghosts.
We got into the black monster SUV and followed the Swpetail. It was around 2:30 am now and the temperature was at its peak. To prevent us from following the Sweptail, the spirit controlled the weather and added thick suffocating fumes on our way which made driving an impossible task. The chauffeur almost fell unconscious and expressed that he could not drive anymore. He stopped the car and got out of it. Almost immediately I took the wheel and Hardik continued with me. The fumes became very thick and we heard the voice of a lady giggling. The volume of her giggle slowly started increasing and at one point the giggle turned into a shrill cry which almost burst out our eardrums. For a few seconds after this, we could not even hear anything nor could we see anything ahead. In this nausea, I turned the wheel randomly and the monster hit a huge tree and we came to a halt.
We got out of the car and looked around. Hardik instantly found the Sweptail and we ran towards her. Suhana lay just outside the car and when I ran towards her, a strong force pulled me back - a force similar to the one that held me while the spirit was taking Suhana away from me.
“Ughhh!! I am not going to leave you” said I “who are you? Tell me. Who are you?”
I took out the chain I had picked up and suddenly, Suhana spoke in a strange voice - a voice that is a lot distorted and not like normal human’s voice - “Don’t throw it into this trap. You break the trap I have put for her and you’ll make way for me to execute her in front of your own eyes.” I was now sure that Suhana was possessed by some other evil spirit and it was the spirit that was speaking through her. Also, I was right about the chain too. “That chain fell off of her while she went on one knee and hence I could rescue her from such brats like you” she added.
“Brat? What do you mean?” I replied.
“Yes, all you men. You all are the same. Get drunk, take the girl home, sleep with her and then murder her when you don’t want her anymore” said the spirit.
“Listen. I don’t know what you are talking about. I don’t even know who you are. Just let my Suhana go. Please I beg you”
“Nah. Nah. Nah. Mr. Writer. If I let her go, you’ll only make sure your pleasures are satisfied and you won’t care an inch for her after that. You go away from her, I’ll take her to my place which is free and devoid of brats like you”
I wonder what this spirit is up to. Whose spirit is it? Why is she so anti - Aarush? Why is she talking like this? To clear the confusion, Hardik who had been a silent spectator of all the things happening broke into the conversation snatching the chain I held in my hand.
“Who are you? You evil spirit! You have to bow before this powerful chain which has been blessed by the Almighty.” There was no response “ Who are you?” Hardik shouted at Suhana.
“KIARA,” the spirit told this and started crying through Suhana’s body. “Suhana” I shouted and I tried approaching the barrier but to no avail. Blood started oozing out of Suhana’s eyes and her veins became thick and shown evidently on her skin. Her body contorted and suddenly Dishita’s spirit stopped crying and Suhana tried calling out my name - “Aaru” - and she fell on the ground with a thud.
I was disheartened at this sight while Hardik tried to console me.
“Listen. It’s not the time to cry. Let’s go and find out why did Daiwik kill his wife. Maybe he can lead us to a solution to save things from getting worse.” said Hardik.
“Okay. Let’s go” said I. We walked towards the monster SUV and suddenly a Fakir approached us. He was dressed very shabbily. His trousers covered him only up to a point just below the knee. He wore a jacket which was a bit too long for him - it was mostly given to him by someone as he was homeless.
“I saw everything that happened there and I know just what you must do,” said he. “Going to your friend will not lead you to any solution.” Pointing to Hardik’s hand, “This chain here is your only solution to all that is happening”
We asked how and what should be our course of action. “This chain has capabilities to kill or keep away anything that is bad for that young lady (he meant Suhana) and no wonder all these years it had kept her away from all the philanderers until you came. When you came back in her life, the chain got relieved itself of protecting her because you were the perfect one for her. That’s why the chain fell off of her neck while she went on one knee so that you could take her. But unfortunately, the spirit was wandering right there when the young lady proposed to you and she thought that you would be one of the womanisers too.”
“Oh We get it,” said Hardik and I simultaneously. “But how do you know all this? You weren’t at the motel, were you?” asked I.
“Son,” he said “It’s not the time to find out about me. All I can tell you is that I have lived all my life in this snowy mountains and I have gained powers - powers that no ordinary human usually possesses. Now forget about this and listen to what you must do to save the young lady.”
He then grabbed the chain from Hardik’s hand and started explaining the course of action.
“As said before, this chain has the capability to destroy the evil spirit. You just have to put it through the trap. By doing that, you will definitely kill the spirit but you will also end up killing the young lady you love. So listen carefully, this chain had destruction capabilities but it doesn’t have the capabilities to save the young lady. All you need to do is put in life-saving capabilities too into this so that only the spirit gets destroyed and the young lady is saved.”
We asked how do we do that because neither I nor Hardik possesses any supernatural power like the Fakir.
“There is an old Mosque nearby. Drive along the same road and continue for a few more kilometres, you will find it. You have to get the blessings of the Almighty Allah from this mosque and then there is a well right outside the Mosque. You need to dip this chain in that well. It is believed that Allah’s powers are bestowed upon this well. You then need to bring it back here and break the trap which will kill the spirit and save your lover.”
We agreed and decided to follow the fakir’s instruction although we had decided to meet Daiwik to find a solution.
“One last thing,” the fakir said “- you must do this all before sunrise and relax. Since it is a mountain and it’s winter, the sun rises a little late. Also, this spirit will not let you reach the Mosque easily. She will try to distract you and stop you from reaching the Mosque. Be careful”
We then thanked the fakir and left to the Mosque. As he said the spirit didn’t let us reach our destination easily. The fog thickened by every inch we drove and there was some kind of an irritating sensation in our nose and ears. We somehow managed to drive till the Mosque and entered the premises of the Mosque. It was strange how the spirit’s tricks stopped working on us as soon as we enter the Mosque.
We then hurried to invoke the blessings of the Almighty Allah and after invoking the blessings, we went to the well and for our bad luck, the water level in the well was completely low and one of us had to enter the well to dip it in the holy water. Immediately, Hardik brought a rope from somewhere. I tied one end of the rope to my waist and Hardik held the other end in his hand. I quickly lowered myself slowly into the well and dipped the chain in the water and shouted for Hardik to pull me back up.
“We did it,” said Hardik and hugged me “Let’s go”.
Then, we walked towards the gates of the Mosque we had entered in and they closed suddenly almost smashing us into pieces. The gates then locked themselves and our efforts to open it up were all in vain. We decided to climb the gates and walk out of the Mosque. It was almost dawn and we had to get back to Suhana before sunrise.
When we jumped the gates, Hardik fell hard on the ground injuring his head. He started bleeding and I ran up to him checking if he was fine.
“Hardik. Hardik. Wake up” said I.
He didn’t seem to reply. I felt disappointed and almost burst out while he suddenly opened his eyes and shouted “I won’t let you reach Suhana” and held my hand very firmly.
“Leave it. Whoever it is. Just leave it. Leave my hand.” I realised that Hardik was also now possessed by an evil spirit and tried to take my hand off of him and after struggling a lot, he let me off.
I then ran to the SUV and started driving back to Suhana. I drove a little and the fuel in the car was over and the car stopped in the middle of the road. I got out of the car and realised the sunrise was nearing and I took to my legs from here on. I ran like a cheetah chasing its prey. After a while, the suffocating effect of the smoke started kicking in again and I couldn't run anymore. I stopped for a second or two and continued to run because I had to save Suhana at any cost.
Finally, I did arrive at the place where Suhana was there and stood there. The fakir who guided us to the Mosque was still there and told me that he tried controlling the spirit’s power for making our journey to the Mosque and back to the place a breezy affair. He then informed that if he hadn’t used his power, I wouldn’t even have returned back although I had to face so many difficulties.
He enquired me about Hardik and I told what had happened. He expressed a disappointment and told me to throw the chain into the trap. We then ran to the trap and I threw it into the trap. The chain went through the trap and fell to the ground.
Suhana then stood upright and started shouting a shrill cry of a woman and her head was facing the sky and she acted as though something was going out of her. The fakir then told me to go hold Suhana. I did so and went closer to her. The spirit of Kiara vanished from Suhana’s body and she fell into my arms. I held her tight and hugged her and thanked God for saving her life. I even thanked Hardik for sacrificing his life to save Suhana. A few minutes later, the sun rose and the fakir told me that I can now leave and take Suhana home safely. He then took the chain that lay on the ground and told me that it’d be unsafe for either of us to keep it with us so he would it take it with him and throw it in a holy place and he left blessing us both all well.
Suhana was still unconscious and I put her in my Sweptail and drove back to the motel. I put her in her room and came out allowing her to rest. By now Daiwik was out and asked where was I all night and what was wrong with him. He was so furiously drunk, he didn’t even remember what happened last night.
Before I explained him anything, he took out his phone and read the headlines for today and realised that the cab his wife was travelling was met with an accident. I looked at him with suspicion and asked why did he get his wife killed.
“What? I’m sorry. I killed my wife?” he replied.
“Yes, you did. Why did you kill her?”
“Maybe there is some confusion. Listen. I know our marriage happened in a strange situation and we had not been on good terms all these days but I really started loving her a lot from a few days. In fact, I wanted her to join this reunion with me so I could wait for the right moment and propose her to start a new beginning. I thought these snowy mountains would be a wonderful place to propose to her. But Oh God! Why should he had to do this.”
I could see a sense of truth and honesty in his face while he talked this. Also, I knew from quite a long time and I knew he would never opt to kill anyone whatever be the issue. I then apologised to him, hugged him and told that the headline read only about a dead lady but nothing mentioned about the kid.
“If you drive right now. You could save your baby girl at least. Here take my keys” I handed him the Sweptail’s keys. He wiped his tears and took my car keys and drove away.
I then talked to myself. “A key misunderstanding in life can lead to multiple catastrophes. I think we need to sort out everything on time so we don’t end up causing greater harm. All in all, no matter whatever Daiwik did - I think he did it right but he only had to do it a little early. But thank God Suhana is safe now and I would soon be marrying her to spend the rest of valuable life with her.”