14 September, 2014

Bards of the Blogosphere: Chapter 4 - The Phone Call #CelebrateBlogging

Note: This is the fourth chapter in the "Game of Blogs" by BlogAdda for the team "Bards of the Blogosphere" 

Read the first part here, second part here and the third part here.


Her denim cut-offs drew a few glances as Jennifer made her way through the mass of humanity that was spilling over into this lane from Kinari Bazar. But her eyes were scanning the crowd for a hint of red. By the time she spotted the burkha-clad lady who had called her earlier, her tee was sticking to her back and she had started feeling the weight of the camera slung on her side.

PC: here
The black lace burkha prevented Jen from seeing any part of her contact but her eyes, but the eyes said it all, didn’t they? There were eyes that spoke of the kindness of the soul, some of depravity, some spilled over from carrying the burden of existence for too long while others did little to hide the malice that was mingled in the blood, definite and inseparable. The woman turned around and their eyes met over the milling crowd, Jen knew that she had found the right person.

But she knew better than to approach the woman. She maintained eye contact but poked around casually in the box of chudis in the stall next to the woman, her army of colourful bracelets giving her the perfect cover. After just a while, the mysterious woman started off at a swift pace, not looking over to see if Jen was following. By the time Jen noticed that she was on the move, the woman had almost been swallowed up by the crowd. But not quite.

Jen dropped the tinkling accessory and took off on the trail of the contact who was to lead her to her destination. The woman turned a corner. Jen turned the same corner a few seconds later but to her dismay, the woman had vanished! Her eyes darted from one person to another, she was just about to give up when she saw a wisp of red disappearing into a doorway on the far left.

Wiping a drop of perspiration off her forehead before it could cloud her vision, Jen strode towards the doorway, with a premonition that her destination was very close. She entered the darkness that shrouded the doorway with faith that comes with having walked a hard path in a life riddled with pain and suffering – there is a point in space and time in one’s life when implicit, innocent trust changes to deep mistrust of everyone and everything, which further mutates to a kind of strength that helps one cut through everything that stands in their way between them and their goal – that is true faith, however negative the connotation.

The darkness engulfed her but just until her eyes got used to it; Jen spied a small table on the reception desk – the place looked like a run-down hotel that lost its charm and its customers at the turn of the century. She walked to the table, the soft tiptap of her boots unsettling what looked like at least a decade’s worth of dust – only the swishing trail of her burkha-clad friend that started at the door and ended at the back door, off to the left, told Jen that she was in the right place. 

She spied a single key on the table and picked it up, wondering what it opened. Closer examination revealed a room number, 14. She looked around quickly and made her way to the right where she had spotted room number one. The passageway got darker as the dank smell of disuse filled her senses, she finally came to stop in front of one door, slid the key in and opened it. The door swung open quite noiselessly, surprising for a place like this, one would think. She stepped in and flipped a light switch, hoping against hope. She was rewarded when a single zero-watt bulb switched on right in the middle of the room, illuminating a Nokia 1100 placed precisely at the centre of a table.  

PC: here
From this point, the routine was familiar to her – two strides to the table, she picked up the mobile and switched it on. Her foot tapped impatiently making a click-clack against the wooden floorboard. The instant the light came on, she clicked once on the green call button and then again. The call went through, the urgency of the matter highlighted by the immediacy of reception – less than half a ring later, Jen spoke into the phone, “Is everything ready, has the school perimeter been secured?” After affirmation, she enquired, “When is it going down?” She paused for a long minute, patiently listening to the answer – her general impatience quelled by the gravity of the issue, she took matters of life and death very seriously.

“You realize what the consequences of bungling this up will be, right?”

One minute later, the call disconnected and she set the phone back on the table where she found it. Instinctively, she slid her hand under the table and Jennifer’s fingers came into contact with hard metal. One hard yank later, the Glock came away in her hand and a note slipped down to the floor. She retrieved the note, taking care not to leave marks in the dust – leave photograph with key, it said. She checked the barrel of the gun, it had a full clip left in it.

Everything wrapped up to satisfaction, Jen placed the note on the phone, retrieved a bottle of Absolut from her backpack and doused the phone and the table top with it. Then she held the lighter to the side of the flimsy wooden table till the flames caught on. After making sure that nothing else would burn down, she was very meticulous that way, she backed out of the room, out into the passageway and to the reception once again. 

PC: here
A handkerchief came out of backpack, the key was wiped clean and placed exactly where it had been found. A happy, carefree Roohi smiled at her from the photograph, she was drawn to the childlike innocence, a quality that Jen herself had lost a long time ago – she forced herself to place the photo, face down, next to the key.

Jennifer stepped out the doorway, into the blazing summer sun of Delhi, for once actually she was actually glad for it. A few steps towards the Bazar, she hailed a cab asking to be taken to the airport.

It was 12.47 p.m and it was like she had never been there.   


Chapter five is available here.

The team Bards of the Blogosphere comprises of Divsi, PRB, PeeVee, Arpita, Datta, Neeraj, Nupur, Sulekha, Maria and Roshan.


  1. Wow... simply awesome. Brilliantly written :)

  2. Thanks for a lovely chapter, Priyanka. I particularly enjoyed your illustrations.

    And now I pick up the torch from you.


  3. The story just gets better with every chapter. Very well penned down Priyanka :) Loved the way you've jotted down details. Superbly done! :)


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