Wednesday 1 April 2015

Post # 1. At the Aquarium #atozchallenge

The aquarium was deserted; the usual on working days. The air was silent, except for the occasional murmurs that arose from the few visitors who posed for photographs, or the kids who ran about the corridors .

The small fish , the eels , the turtles, and the fiery sharks were a delight , behind the huge glass enclosures. They swam around in happy abandon, and didn’t seem to be bothered by the visitors.

As she stood there, watching the life under water, she felt a strange sense of peace descend on her.

Peace. She hadn’t known peace for a long time now.

“Chalo, let’s go and have an ice cream now. Then we’ll head home.  Or else it’ll be too late and we’ll be caught  in the traffic ,” Roshni said. She nodded and walked towards the  exit sign that glowed green a little ahead.

Just outside the exit door was a small cafeteria. There were a few chairs, and a door on the other side of that corridor opened to the terrace with more tables and chairs.

“ I’ll get the icecream. Chocolate, right, Shreya ?”, Roshni asked and moved to the counter, without waiting for an answer.

She smiled faintly as she walked to the door and out into the terrace .  Her quirky friend always left out the ‘si’ at the end of her name.


A cool wind was blowing, and  she wrapped the shawl tight around her body, scanning the terrace with a quick glance around.

Most of the chairs were empty, as there were less customers. One of the tables was occupied by four people, who seemed to be family. The men were clad in Kandura, and the women ,in Aba`ya , the monotony of the black colour broken by the golden designs interwoven on the fabric. The men were busy on their phones, and one of the women was applying lipstick, the other fiddling with her handbag.

On a single chair at the other end, a man sat, reading a book. He held the book up with his right hand, his face hidden behind, with his left hand on the ankle of his right leg which rested on his left knee.

She smiled to herself and turned to look at the sky. The sun, getting ready to bid goodbye to the day , was slowly painting the horizon in a delightful shade of orange.

Down below on the ground was a small pond, with five fountains, arranged like a star. One of the main attractions was the Musical Fountain, which would begin once it was dark enough for the lights to glow.

She’d been in the UAE for one month now.  With help from Roshni, her best friend from college , she had found a job with  Watsons’ Healthcare Group, as a physiotherapist. Dr Mathew, her superior, a nice, kind man in his late forties, was the best boss anyone could ask for. She’d begun to love the job, for the comfort and peace she got when she helped people with their sessions. And on Dr Mathew’s insistence, she also worked as a trainer and counselor at the kids’ home, another  venture of the Group. This was her day off. It was Roshni, who was also her room mate, who suggested the aquarium to hang out.

“Oye, what’re you thinking ? Don’t think too much. The icecream will melt before you say ‘go’”, Roshni said, bringing her the ice cream in a cone.

They sat down to have the icecream. That was when Roshni’s phone rang.

“ Amma, how are you?"  she spoke, as she got up from her seat and walked away to one corner of the terrace, gesturing something to Shreyasi about the connectivity.

Shreyasi continued to have the ice cream in silence. She wanted to go home soon. She had to read something for tomorrow’s session with the kids.

A loud noise made her turn.

The man who’d been reading was up on his feet, trying to pick his book up from ground.

He straightened, dusted the book and opened his bag to put it in.

And she saw his face clearly this time.

A chill ran through her spine, and she turned her face, fiddling with her dupatta to hide it.

She kept still, waiting for the sound of his receding footsteps. She looked at the corner where Roshni stood, still speaking into the phone while signaling with her fingers on her watch and pointing at the stairs that went down.

Carefully, she got up and walked to her and together they took the stairs down.

As they hailed a cab home,  she couldn’t decide whether she was happy or frightened.

She was sure she’d made no mistake in identifying him. She could never go wrong ; not with him.

The man she’d sought to avoid, yet, the one she had wanted so badly to meet, was here.


At a surprising proximity.

She smiled, as she composed a poem in her mind, like she usually did.

All these days, life’s been tough,
Just when I think, ‘I’ve had enough’,

Ah,  my fate, you’re so kind
You bring me the man I sought to find

As this day gives way to the dark,
I find happiness in as much a spark….

And even if I have to put up a fight,
I’ll surely win the armoured knight !

She smiled again.

Her mission had begun to see light. 

To be contd....

This post has been written for the A to Z Challenge 2015.


  1. Now wondering what's next with the mystery man Aagney :) Liked the first post, and the setting too.

  2. Ok. You have me hooked. I can't wait to know what happens next! Loved the poem too :)
    *Shantala @ ShanayaTales*

  3. You are back and how! Who's the mystery man? Did he break her heart? Okay, I shall stop and come back tomorrow to read the rest. This was beautiful, Sreeja.

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  5. Oh I did not read the To be Continued part!

    I shall be back tomorrow for the next part. This one has left me hooked :)

  6. Ah! the first part... delivered just as it should be..I'm all set for the other parts you'll having rolling from tomorrow!! has me hooked...unleash it baby!!

  7. സസ്പെന്‍സിലാണല്ലോ കഥ കൊണ്ടുവന്ന് നിര്‍ത്തിയിരിക്കുന്നത്.
    തുടരൂ, ആശംസകള്‍

  8. A great start, Sreeja! Am wondering about this mysterious man now!

  9. That's a nice plan for A to Z Challenge I think :D
    Good start and I guess I'll have to keep coming back for more everyday :D

  10. Thanks for this teaser to the rest of your A to Z Challenge! I'll definitely be back!

  11. I'm hooked. Going to read B now. :)


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