Sunday, 8 December 2013

The parcel



Image courtesy of stockimages
at FreeDigitalPhotos.net



The sky was muddy red. “A storm brewing,” I thought. I quickly picked up my coffee mug and book and rushed indoors. These dust storms got on my nerves. Oh! I thought my day’s labour will all go waste. I knew that the storm would bring with it a flood of dust right into my house.


Cursing the storm I settled down in the settee and started to read ‘Nine lives’ by William Dalrymple. So engrossed was I in the ‘Theyam of Kannur’ that I did not hear the storm pass by. The constant ring of the calling bell woke me to the present. I realized that the coffee had gone cold and that someone was impatient. The sound of the calling bell told me so. Gathering my wits I moved to the door treading carefully over the dust that had already laid a carpet on the floor.


“Ma’am, a parcel for you. Please sign here,” so saying the man at the door handed me a box covered in brown and a delivery sheet. I took them as though in a trance. My eyes were glued to the man in front. He looked as though sculpted in dust. The cough brought me back to the present. I realized I was being rude. I quickly took the pen from him and signed.


Door closed I kept the parcel on the table and set about cleaning the house and attending to my other chores. All the while the parcel lay there unattended.  Dinner over I got ready to retire for the night. Locking the front door I turned to find the parcel right there in front of me.  I picked it and read the name of the addressee. I was surprised to see my name on it.


“Now who can it be?” I thought and searched for the name of the sender. Ms. Nausheen from Lucknow. 


“Hey, now who is this Nausheen?” I asked myself. I racked my brain. No answer. Finally giving up on the name I turned to the parcel.  It was small and compact.


“What is there in it?” I wondered. “Anthrax? Oh no.” The papers are full of it these days.


“Should I call the police and hand over the parcel?”


“What if the powder has already come into contact with my skin?” I feared. I felt my pressure rising. My throat went dry. A little voice inside me said, “No, come on don’t panic. It can’t be that. Come on breath in and out and try and relax.”


Obeying the voice I did some breathing exercise, something my Dad had taught me when I was a kid. Within five minutes I felt calmed and relaxed. I told myself, “No, it can’t be Anthrax. After all as per media reports all those who have received the deadly powder till now are big shots, people at the helm of affairs, people with clout. They received it via mail. Not one commoner has received it.”  The word “mail” rang a bell. All those who had received it had come across it in the letters and envelopes. No one had received it by way of a parcel. The discovery gave me some solace.  


“Then what,” I asked myself. No answer. I don’t know how long I sat there like that deep in thought.


“What’s the matter? Why are you sitting there like a statue? Seen anything scari?’ That was my husband.


“Oh! Nothing,” I replied.


“In that case why don’t you go off to sleep?”


I got up. It was then that he noticed the box in my hand. “Now, what’s that?” he asked. I shrugged and replied that I did not know. He opened it. There lay wrapped in silk, a book with pages yellowed on account of age. A book I had treasured since I was five, a book that brought live memories of fairies and fantasy.


Tears of joy filed my eyes. Here at last was that treasure I had thought I had lost forever. I took the note that lay above the book. It said,

 “Dear Geeta,

I don’t know whether you still remember me. I am Nausheen your childhood buddy of five years. I apologize for having kept you waiting so long for this book of yours. But then as you know we shifted to Lucknow in the middle of the academic session when I was in the third standard and this book came along with me. I found it among my books on reaching Lucknow. I was scared Dad would scold me if he knew about it, so I hid it from everyone. Only the other day I was clearing the store room when I came across a chest containing my toys and books. Going through the same I chanced upon this book of yours. I knew I had to return it to you even though its’ years since it left you and you may have already forgotten about it. It is a priceless treasure.

Well then, I contacted Richa your High School buddy who stays near my place and got your address. Hope this book reaches you intact. Once again sorry for the delay.

Yours
Nausheen”

Caressing the book I kept it among my other treasures. Then sat down at my desk to pen a note of thanks to Nausheen.

The storm had swept in with it a treasure. My very own copy of “Andersons Fairy Tales.


This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for 
Indian Bloggers
 by BlogAdda

 

This time we had to write a post containing- :"I was surprised to see a parcel with my name on it."



Inviting you to visit my blog  Fabric of Life too, to read the latest