That day I reached the centre a bit later. I was not filling quite well from the morning, but very weak and nauseated. There was an agitated gathering in front of the main gate when I finally went there.
“What is the problem here?” I thought as I paved through the crowd and slipped through the gate.
H.O.I, Mrs. Shinha was looking very angry and tense. Everyone was agitated.
“What is the Problem Nikita?” I stole behind Nikita who was standing there making a long face.
“Aatri! Why are you so late today? Everyone is searching for you?”
I smelled something wrong.
“Aatri, Moni is missing.”
“Yes, from Saturday night.”
My throat became dry in intense fear and apprehension. Everyone was looking at me in a weird way that I could not dissect then.
“Oh, Aatri! You have come at last. Moni was under your charge last day and now she is missing. It was you who persuaded me to keep her with you at the time of our visit to Sofie Church.” Mrs. Shinha spilt the venom of her heart.
My head was whirling. I couldn’t think properly. It was true that day Moni was with me. For her defected leg she could not walk speedily and keep pace with others when we planned to visit an old church near Santagar. As everyone was getting irritated with her low and small steps I requested them not to rebuke her and go ahead leaving her in my custody. I had to walk at a slow pace with her but I did not mind it. But after sundown when we came back I accompanied her to her room and bid goodbye to everyone. Satyenda was there as was Mrs.Shinha. Then what happened? Why were they accusing me? Ok I knew that no one was accusing me but Mrs. Shinha but why the others were not protesting?
Mrs. Shinha stared around and finally fixing her loathful gaze on me declared in a style of announcement, “That’s why I did not like these silly sentimental young fools to be permitted as voluntary workers. They take themselves as Mother Teresa and the whole responsibility of any mishap falls upon us and now our so long reputation is at stake.”
Moni was missing that was enough for me to be shocked and distressed. Now the words of H.O.I blurred my vision. I felt I was unable to stand. Burning fever was tossing my head and the whole world hurled before me. I felt someone caught me as I was about to collapse. I could not remember how Nikita hired a car and took me home and how I got to my room in my bed.
Moni was found that night. Local Thana rescued her. She tried to escape Samayita. I came to know about this later as turbulent fever kept me unconscious for three days. It took a long 15 days to recover completely. And my first urge was to meet Moni, to ask her why she left Samayita. But I was still a such weakling to move away.
Nitika called me several times. She was going to resign from Samayita and wanted to know my plan. But I was not thinking about it. I’ve not joined Samayita for Mrs.Shinha. I did not work for her interest, I work for my interest, my passion. I would think about it later.
Hey, I am Munmun, the phoenix fabulist who wants to tell you stories. I love to read stories and I love to weave stories. I feel life is an amalgamation of multiple stories, colourful threads, and threads of pain, pleasure, hope, and hopelessness. We just need to pick those hues and arrange them, knitting them with our own emotions and perception. So let’s celebrate the stories of life.