A Day in The Life of Bah Henri
He could hear a noise. He went further. It was getting dark and Bah Henri walked briskly. He thought he heard a whimper, a cry. Then a shriek. He wondered from which direction the sound emanated. The locality was a quiet one, and this should have attracted the attention of someone at least. It was the winter season in Shillong and everything was quiet. People were indoors. As he moved forward he thought that the noise came from a particular direction. Then it suddenly stopped.
He moved forward intuitively. He didn't know what it was, but it sounded very much human. Moved by pity and even curiosity he surged ahead. Then again, and again.
Bah Henri was perplexed. It was someone crying, a thin wail. It stopped. The locality had neat winding roads and on one side was a forest. Could it be someone there he thought.
Then again a shriek. Must be a child he thought, in the forest. He delved deep inside the forest and started walking straight and briskly. He thought he heard hushed talk. This time a kind of fear gripped him, fear of the unknown, the perverse, fear of human beings doing strange things. Was it murder he thought.
He hid behind a tree and heard distinct voices. He edged further towards the bark of a tree, a huge thing with gnarled branches and took refuge there. Listen he thought.
One said to the other: '' Kidnap'' we will raise the theory of kidnapping. '' Then we will ask for a ransom...''
Henri ran for his life- his life. In his sixty five years of existence, with a sedentary life, especially after retirement he had not experienced such a thing. It was a child he presumed, they had kidnapped.
When he reached the Police Station he was out of breath. Two or three times he almost stumbled and fell. He was not used to running- at this age!
'' Inspector'' he blurted out. The man looked at him grumpily, even warily.
'' There is someone kidnapped'' he spluttered.
'' Who?'' the Inspector asked laconically.
'' A child, a baby''. He stuttered, he was sweating.
Just then the telephone rang. The Inspector sounded ingratiating.
'' Yes Sir''.
'' Yes Sir''.
'' Yes Sir''.
'' Stop that yes sir'' he shouted. '' Can't you see some dangerous crime is being committed? They are threatening''.
'' Where? '' the Inspector asked disinteresedly. '' In the locality of Wahmukrah'' he said. '' Can we go?''.
''Alright'' he said reluctantly. '' But if it is nothing, damn you...'' he stopped short.
The police vehicle came close to the forest. There seemed to be activity. '' Shut up'' a voice said. Then he started to talk on the mobile.
'' Rs one crore'' he said.
'' See'' Henri whispered. The Inspector by then seemed to have lost all interest.
His mobile rang. '' Yes Sir''. '' Yes Sir''. '' No Sir. Fine Sir''.
'' Come with me the policeman said. Stict orders from THE BOSS , not to tamper with this case''.
Henri wept like never before. he felt powerless, redundant and unable to act. '' Oh God, my God'' he wept.
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Ananya S Guha
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