My head ached badly. I felt as if someone had hurt it with a heavy weapon. My face was roughly bandaged for several cuts and wounds. I couldn’t move. My numb hands were unable to clutch a single thing lying in front of me. A mixed aroma of several medicines was pestering my nostrils tremendously. I didn’t understand where I actually was until I opened my blurry eyes. God damn! I was lying in a hospital bed. A noise of other patients, nurses, and on-duty doctors was truly annoying. My wrist-veins were pricked with several injections for the circulation of saline. I had no strength to utter a single world. My bed was placed beside a window. I efforted enough to reach the window sills, opened them for the fresh air to brush my face directly but a swarm of questions stung on my brain instead of the freshness.
“Who am I? What do I do? Where do I belong to?” I had no answers to these questions. I felt like I was lost in an ocean of nothingness. I never felt so worthless in my life. I wanted to shriek like an insane beggar but nothing came into my rescue.
Suddenly I saw a sister approaching towards me with her hands crammed with medicines, needles, and medicinal stuff. She smiled, came and asked, “How are you feeling now?”
I was clueless about what I should say. I said, “I don’t know how I am feeling. My head is paining heavily. I am not able to think properly.”
She gestured with her hand for me to calm down and said, “You don’t have to pressurize your brain, Mister. We are here to take care of you. Let’s just get a little better first.”
I couldn’t resist my urge to know my details and asked, “Sister, can you please tell me who I am? And how am I here? Because I forgot everything. I am feeling so unworthy now.”
She prevented me from breaking down and said, “Don’t worry Everything will be fine. We are trying to work on your identification. We are even in touch with the nearby police station to help us out. Two days ago, we found you outside our hospital. You were badly wounded and there were several cuts in your whole body. We took you here in an emergency condition and went through an operation. That’s it.”
I promptly said, “Please tell me the name of this hospital and the area.”
She replied, “Apollo Centre of Medicine, St. Lewis Road, Park Street.”
I was just going to thank her when she said, “Well, there is one more thing we need to tell you about. We got a small note from your pocket. Thought of handing over it to you. Please take this.”
She handed a small note to me and went for the next patient. I was bombarded with surprises one after another. I opened the crumpled note, the message written there was: “Do not try to mess with me. Otherwise, you will be doomed again. Hahaha.”
This gave me several goosebumps; I could feel my heavy breath and I was sweating like hell. I never felt such fear in my life ever. I felt my presence was a tug of war where I was dangling in an existential crisis.
For the next seven days, I laid in the bed like a still object. I was under the serious observation of doctors. The food felt tasteless, and even the water didn’t give satisfaction.
After seven days, I tried to get up from the bed and walk a little. I was strolling through the corridor on the second floor of the hospital. Just in a few days, the hospital staff became so cordial that they gave me a warm smile when I passed by. I was standing beside the railing, resting my elbows on them and enjoying the charm of the nature, when suddenly something hit my arm. I was startled. I noticed that a piece of note wrapped around a small stone was thrown at me. I picked it up and what I read, blanked my head: “Don’t try to be smart. Else you will be killed. If you want to know who you are, meet me tomorrow exactly at 12p.m at Atlas Building, Subidhi Street. Bye. Hahaha.”
A stroke of wild wind slushed me with turbulence in my mind. I was scared and curious to know everything at the same time. I fixed my mind on the fact that I needed to head there tomorrow in order to reveal all the mysteries. As per my plan, I asked the hospital authority to grant me a leave for tomorrow.
Apocalypse wasn’t far, just the next day. As per my preparation, I borrowed a dress and some money from a ward-boy and got out of the hospital at 11a.m sharp. I’d forgotten everything of this city, so I booked a taxi and told him to take me towards Atlas Building, Subidhi Street. As the taxi-driver drove towards the location, my heart beat increased. And finally I reached the location.
Subidhi Street was a long hushed street. There were a lot of abandoned buildings on the both sides of the road. Getting out of the taxi, I searched for Atlas Building here and there. I kept walking straight and then paused. I was feeling terrible, and that was when a crumpled note collided with my shoulder. Again I opened it and it said: “Walk straight and then you will find the building at the end of the street. Catch the stairs and get up. A lot more is awaiting!”
I followed the instruction, walked and finally found the horrendous looking building at the end. My hands trembled, sweated and turned numb. I entered the almost-collapsed building. I took the stairs and went up. A screeching darkness prevailed here and there. I couldn’t see anything properly. I might have entered a room. A sudden push knocked me down to the floor followed by a kick on my knee.
Terror trickled down my spine, I shouted, “Who the hell are you? Answer me right now!”
A loud roll of laughter ringed the whole room. The other voice answered, “I am someone who brought nightmare to your life, Mister Deviprasad. Do not forget I am the hunter and you are the prey. Hahahaha.”
I was unable to lift up my frail body, I lay on the ground and the name from his mouth sounded so familiar. My head was burning in confusion. I replied, “For God’s sake, do not play with me like this, you bastard. Just tell me the truth and everything.”
Suddenly he flicked the light of a lighter and came very close to me. Bald head, fair complexion, deep eyebrows, intense round eyes, a cut that ran from the corner of his left eye to the the middle of his flat nose, grown moustache, and a tricky smile from the corner of his thick lips were visible to me. I was raging in anger. Rapidly I tried to slap him but he caught my hand in the blink of an eye.
Taking me on a roll, he moved across the ground. We were jostling with each other. A round of wrestling was on. I punched him and he reverted back with two on my face. Blood splashed from my lips. I had no strength to face him in such a condition. He punched my belly one more time. I was gasping. I was frantically looking for a way to save myself.
Amidst all these, he laughed like a demon, saying, “Deviprasad, I wanted to kill you that day but couldn’t accomplish my plan. Your bloody wife and son came to your rescue. I killed them too. But you, lucky fellow, were saved from my trap. No matter what, I will fulfill my desire today, right now.”
His words went through my body like an electric shock. I was shattered by the news that I had a wife and a son and they were dead too. I cursed myself for more than ever. I shrieked, “You, the son of a bitch, you killed my family too! How dare you? Oh God, kill me too. I do not wish to live anymore.”
I howled like a helpless beast when his loud laughter destroyed my ears. He said, “I am so happy to see you shattered. Now you deserve to know my name. I am Mr. Michael Gonsalves, the one whom you put behind the bars for seven years. You bloody lawyer, you took my seven years from my life. Now, this Michael will snatch your life. Hahaha.”
He was just running towards me with a sharp knife when the door of the room swung open. A group of five cops, pointing their guns shouted, “Hands up! Nobody will move. Or else, we will open fire!”
Michael’s attention shattered, his hands quivered and the knife from his hand fell to the ground. Two cops caught him from behind and he was trying his best to escape from their grip.
The inspector came towards me, helped me get up, held me and said, “Sir, Deviprasad Thakur, we got to know everything from Apollo Centre of Medicine. We are investigating your case for the past one week. We went to the hospital to meet you and tell you everything about your identification and your accident. When we reached there, we heard that you were out for an hour. We got surprised, and with the information from the ward-boy Ajit, we came here. Sir, we are really sorry that we got really late and you faced such assault from this rogue.”
He turned away and slapped restless Michael. He commanded other cops to take him to the police jeep. For the last time Michael gave me a horrendous look and left the place saying, “I shall see you, Mr. Deviprasad. I shall see you soon…”
He again moved towards me, smiled a little and said, “Come, we shall leave you in the hospital.”
I asked, “Can you please explain me those things I forgot? I need to know everything as soon as possible. I am losing my mind. It hurts my heart severely.”
He paused and said, “Sir, you need rest. We shall let you know everything when you’re fine physically. Let’s go from this place.”
He tucked my hand carefully and took me along with him. We left the place in his jeep. As we were on the road, some thoughts showed their faces on my mind. Just half an hour ago, I was in the strong grip of my worst enemy and now was saved.
“Will I ever be able to find my true identity? Will I ever be able to trace my scars and get back my life?” such questions dabbed my soul.
My name ‘Deviprasad Thakur’ felt like the first clue to solve all the riddles of my life. The inspector looked at me and smiled. I smiled too. I was not happy. I smiled because I appreciated the whole scenario that dragged me towards a solution. The jeep stopped as we reached the hospital. The staff were waiting outside anxiously to see me. They took a long breath seeing me alive. I bade goodbye to the Inspector and he waved a goodbye too. I looked at the sky, maybe in search of a ray of hope.
Everything has a solution, so have the life. Troubled now. Solved tomorrow.