Anisha walked past the same spot she had been walking past for the past 5 years. Most neighbourhood residents tended to avoid that spot claiming spooky sightings and scary noises especially around twilight but Anisha was not superstitious. The walk that cut through the middle of the neighbourhood park ran by a simsupa tree before bending sideways to connect with the main lane 800 meters down. She was in a hurry today, carrying bags of flour and groceries for her mother. Her thoughts drifted past to her cheeky younger brother Kaushik who had broken her favourite tea mug in the morning in a fit of rage when she refused to take him with her, on her grocery shopping trip. Anisha usually loved having him on her walks to various places with her but felt inadequate to manage his hyper activity when laden with arms full of shopping bags.
Anisha suddenly stiffened when she saw Kaushik’s back just ahead of her. Her mother would be angry when she discovered Kaushik playing truant around dusk time when he had to do his share of chores in cleaning the lamps and making a start on his school work. Quickening her pace, she started calling out while he nodded his head in acknowledgement without turning back. She had to stop once she was in the middle of the path, gasping, as one of her grocery shopping bags developed a seam in the middle. Knotting in the bag in the middle, she looked up to see an empty road ahead of her.
Straggling in with the bags, she encountered her mother at the entrance. Worried that her mother would be anxious for the missing Kaushik, she blurted – “Ma, I saw Kaushik on the way, he will be here soon.” Her mother stared at her and replied – “But Ani, he has been here preparing for his tests tomorrow since the afternoon.”