Chapter 4

Written by: mansi.shah07

Salim walked slowly, every step weighing heavily on him. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to do this or if this was right. But he had some fight left in him and he wasn’t going to give her up so easily.

He entered the main ballroom, side-stepping the guests. They were all talking and smiling, their clothes shimmering under the luminous lights. Salim looked down; the tears could wait.

A hand suddenly gripped his shoulder. He turned. Aditya.


Shweta willed herself to get up. The tears were coming thick and fast. Her delicate gold and red saree was bearing the brunt of this and a massive tear stain appeared on her lap. Her makeup artist, Nandini, looked alarmed. She was used to brides crying, but with her many years of dealing with brides, she knew that this bride wasn’t just emotional. This one was heart-broken.


When the first bullets went off, there was shocked silence and exchange of nervous glances. An unsettling stillness pervaded all around. 30 seconds later, blood-curdling screams ripped through the innards of The Oberoi.


“Why are you here?” Aditya was glowering into Salim’s eyes.

“Look…look, can we just talk?” Salim’s bloodshot eyes were pleading with Aditya.

A couple of people looked in their direction. Aditya’s grip on Salim’s shoulder loosened.

“Come with me,” Aditya grunted and stormed towards the door, pulling Salim along.


Nandini and Shweta shared a look of terror. There was an ominous silence, then eerily, it was punctured by the sound of explosions. What seemed like regular wedding commotion a few minutes ago, wasn’t just that, they knew now. The girls huddled together.

Shweta pulled out her phone.

‘What’s going on? I am at the hotel and something’s not right.’

She hit ‘Send.’


Aditya and Salim were hurled to the ground. The air was thick with smoke and debris, and in seconds, people descended in the corridor in droves. Men and women were running, panic stricken. The shouts were deafening. Suddenly the place plunged into darkness.

Aditya was covered in thick layer of dust. And in that moment he sat there, his back propped against a wall, unknowing, scared and terrified. He hoped to hear a familiar voice. Maybe his father, for whom he had worked so hard to please, be perfect for, would come looking for him.

A memory vividly appeared.

His father, towering over him, unimpressed with that 99 on his mark sheet.

“You’re never going to be an engineer if you slack like this!” His father’s eyes were bulging, the veins on his upper arm throbbing. Aditya cowered but the slap landed. Aditya crumpled to the floor.

His mother gathered the 8-year-old Aditya in her arms.

“You can be anything you want, even a pianist like you said the other day,” she lied to him, soothing his reddened cheek.

Aditya was jolted from this memory as the acrid smell of burning flesh hit his nostrils. Seconds later, he saw him and the pieces fell into place.


Welcome to The Story Mint Mansi! What a great chapter to start your journey as a writer. You have not only carried the story forward but also maintained the style and tone used by the previous writers. The description of the mental and physical states of the characters involved against the backdrop of the terror attack is very well portrayed. Congratulations on a job well done. Looking forward to reading more of your work.
This is an amazing chapter Mansi! I echo Hemali's comments. You've carried the story forward in the same style and the device of retreating to a childhood memory is something that most people do when they are hugely stressed out. This story is really developing well and I am looking forward to the next chapter already!
Congratulations Mansi. This is a wonderful chapter with vivid description and characterisation.
I echo Hemali's and Sameer's feedback. Beautifully crafted.