The mom who handled a “bomb” scare!
#Storyname: The mom who handled a ‘bomb’ scare!
#Disclaimer: This is an original work of fiction. Any relation to any person or animal or organism, living or dead is purely coincidental. This story cannot be copied, reproduced, published or sold elsewhere without the permission of the author Rhituparna Chakraborty
The mom who handled a “bomb” scare!
Reeti was travelling with her mom. Well, she enjoyed her mom’s company a lot. Usually Reeti always travels with the entire family which includes her sibling, dad, mom and herself. This time, her sibling had his board exams and Reeti had an inter school competition. Reeti’s dad Rajesh decided to stay back with Reeti’s sibling Rohit, while Reeti’s mom Rohini decided to accompany Reeti for the competition.
A student of grade 7th, Reeti was an epitome of mirth, amusement and charm. With blunt cut shoulder length hairstyle, tiny eyes covered with glasses, round face and a sharp short nose, Reeti resembled a typical assiduous, studious student who loved studying. However, that was not the case. Reeti studied only before exams and all she loved was to watch movies, listen to music, sing songs, crack jokes and laugh like a hyena. Her parents knew that very well and hence her mom and dad barely put pressure on her. Ofcourse, her sibling was just her opposite. Diligent to the core, her sibling always had an ambition and was always reflective about his academics. There were times when teachers used to tell Reeti, ‘Reeti, you are a good student. However, don’t you think if you follow your brother’s footsteps it will be more wonderful?’ Reeti loved her brother. Hence, for her, these type of sentences were always compliments. Nonetheless, she never tried to follow her brother’s footsteps because that way she will be burdened with studies, which she hated. There was one thing about Reeti because of which her parents were never worried about her safety. When it comes to safety, Reeti was mature. Well, her mom always ensured that Reeti knew how to keep herself safe. Reeti never talked to strangers, never wandered away alone, always came home on time and always ensured that her parents knew where she was. Beyond 5:30 p.m. in the evening, she never stayed back to play with her friends. Apart from that, she was a paranoid. Paranoid, specifically, because she gets scared and worried of all the news about abuse of women which she read in the newspapers. She was scared of abduction and rape. Hence, she always stayed away from unknown people, specifically, men of any kind. Even as a 7th grader, she was way mature when it comes to taking care of herself.
Today in the train, Reeti sat beside her mother. Just when the train was about to move, a man came and sat right in front of Reeti. The man was sturdy. He had a bald spot and he must be in his mid 40s. Reeti’s mom Rohini was adept in observation. Whosoever comes and goes, she has the habit of staring at people top to toe, which was sometimes embarrassing for Reeti. Today also, the same scenario happened. Rohini looked at the man top to toe. The man smiled at Rohini. Rohini fixed her glasses and then smiled back at the man. Rohini’s smile was certainly not warm. It was just a mere formality. Rohini then went about looking at other passengers. Rohini hated talking, hence she always kept betel nut and betel leaves in her mouth so that she could chew those and refrain other people from talking to her and that way, she also did not have to talk to anyone.
It seemed that the man sitting in front of Reeti wanted to talk to someone. Reeti was a paranoid and on top of that she was a patient of migraine attacks. The man smiled at Reeti. Reeti was too polite unlike her mom. Hence she smiled back at the man. All the same, something about the man bothered her. He was not rude, neither did he have lecherous eyes, yet Reeti felt somewhat uneasy. But then, that’s how Reeti’s nature was. Eventually because of this uneasiness, Reeti’s head started to ache. Reeti realised that it was a migraine attack. She recalled that she had not got her migraine medicines. She looked at her mom and her mom understood. As always, her mom without talking, looked for the medicines in her handbag. Unfortunately it was not there. Reeti told her mom, ‘That’s fine maa. We will buy medicines once we reach. Till then I will manage.’ Rohini patted Reeti’s head and offered to massage her head. Reeti said, ‘No maa, I will be fine. Matter of just one hour.’
Reeti then started looking out of the window. While doing so, she saw the man in front of her steadily checking his backpack. Reeti heard him murmuring to himself. It was loud enough for Rohini and Reeti to hear. Reeti heard the word ‘Bomb’. Reeti’s head started throbbing. She knew from start something was wrong. Damn! This man was carrying a bomb with him. Reeti knew that criminals often seem friendly and they smile all the time. Eventually they detonate the ‘Bomb’. Reeti started shivering. She kept on pressing her forehead because her head seemed to explode because of the pain. Rohini was busy observing some other passengers sitting on the adjacent berth. Reeti knew that Rohini could not have missed hearing what the man had said. He had clearly said, ‘Bomb’. Reeti started sweating. She could not talk to her mother right in front of this man regarding what she heard. The man kept on searching his bag. He then murmured to himself, ‘I am gone if I don’t find the Bomb. How small could it be? Damn? Where did I keep it.’ Reeti nudged Rohini. Rohini, with betel leaves and betel nuts in the mouth used gestures with her eyes and forehead to ask Reeti, ‘What was it?’. Reeti whispered , ‘Maa, this man is looking for a “bomb”. I think we should inform the authorities.’ Without saying anything Rohini gave a water bottle to Reeti. She then gulped the betel leaf and betel nuts in her mouth and told Reeti, ‘Don’t worry. Have some water.’ Reeti shivered. ‘Mom, we cannot neglect a bomb scare. This man has been muttering the word “bomb” throughout.’ Rohini replied coolly, ‘Baby, that “bomb” is just for you. The man is not bad. He is a nice person.’ Reeti was shocked. She said, ‘What garbage are you talking mom? Are you in your senses.’ Rohini replied, ‘See, this gentleman is done searching the “bomb”. Now he will offer it to you.’ Reeti was speechless at the nonsense her mom was talking. She looked at the man. The man bent forward and told Reeti, ‘Take this bomb. You will feel better.’ Reeti sat there wondering whether to laugh and cry. Rohini thanked the gentleman profusely. Reeti was unable to hide her emotions. After 5 minutes the gentleman walked out of the bay to use the washroom. Reeti immediately asked her mom, ‘How did you know??? Mom, answer me. How did you know?’. Rohini replied nonchalantly, ‘ I have been an english teacher for the past 12 years. I knew he was talking about the headache balm. The way he muttered the word “bomb”, I realised he too must be a sufferer of headache and hence he carries the balm with him all the time. That’s the reason he took pity on you and gave you the “bomb” which is nothing but the headache “balm”. Pronunciations can be wrong but my gut feelings about people cannot be wrong. This man is a gentleman.’ Reeti laughed like a hyena while her mom chewed more betel leaves and betel nuts till they reached their destination.