Chapter 5

Written by: Hemali Ajmera

She returned to the welcome coolness of her hotel room, completely drained by Delhi’s sweltering heat. She slumped on the bed and stared at the crumpled note in her hand. She didn’t want to risk going to the Hanuman temple alone. One thing she was pretty sure of, someone was definitely keeping a watch on her every move. Her feminine intuition prompted her to believe that Lucky Singh had something to do with Chaudhri’s sudden disappearance. What she did not understand was whether the person who had penned this note wanted to help her, harm her or just threaten her. And threatening her encompassed many possibilities under the present circumstances.   

Cody felt that her head would burst. The situation was getting far more complicated than she had anticipated. The determination and resolve she had felt just a few hours ago had all but dissipated. She was alone in this alien land with no one she could trust. She felt trapped in a maze with no exit in sight. An ominous feeling of dread began to envelop her being and she buried her head in the pillow sobbing uncontrollably.

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The furious knocking on the door roused her. Sheer mental exhaustion coupled with immense grief and fear had claimed her fragile body, engulfing her into a dreamless slumber.  

Sluggishly she glanced at her watch. It was past 7 pm in the evening. Cody leapt out of bed and cautiously opened her room door. She peered outside the narrow slit in the door and stood frozen in utter disbelief.    

Daisy Singh pushed past, looking over her shoulder in fright. She hurriedly entered the room and sank into the sofa next to the bed. Her petite sari clad frame seemed to blend into the chestnut furniture in the dimly lit room. She seemed extremely relieved to have made it this far without incident. 

“Codyji, why you not coming to the Hanuman temple?” asked Mrs. Singh irritably in her broken English without preamble. 

“Shankar waiting for you but you not come. So I come here to meet you, hiding from everyone. If my husband will know, he will kill me, kill you and kill Shankar,” Mrs. Singh further elaborated in a single breath as she wiped the sweat and grime off her face and neck with her expensive handkerchief. It was evident that she had travelled by public transport to get here. 

“Who is Shankar?” asked Cody once Daisy seemed settled enough. 

“My best servant, that man pretending to be a sadhu (hermit) with long hair,” Daisy explained.

“You mean with dreadlocks and ash on his body?” enquired Cody, gesturing with her hands.

“Yes. He helping me and you. I’m wanting to tell you everything about Jessica,” Daisy declared earnestly.

Cody felt a sense of kinship with this brave woman. She could understand how difficult it must have been for Daisy to break the shackles of her oppressive life and muster the courage to help her.

Comments

I am reading this serial in preparation to write chapter 9. It's a terrific serial. I had no idea this was unfolding with such wonderful storytelling. I love that the women are getting together. But I also love the way you capture Daisy's life and her character in her dialogue. Yes very good indeed!