The old lady offered a confused smile before inquiring about the reason for their visit.
“Dash it, we never thought what we are going to say when confronted by batty old ladies. How do we inquire about Thor without sounding loony?” thought Hari in confusion.
Perhaps sensing this, Maya took the lead in explaining the reason for their presence.
“Ma’am, we both are doing a school project and we thought we should come and talk to you about the very interesting article you wrote sometime back. The one about Thor and donuts.”
The old lady’s smile turned beatific.
“Come in, come in.”
Once they had been seated comfortably in a rather dingy sitting room, Maya once again started to explain the reason of their visit including a dodgy story of school once again.
The old lady held up her hand.
“Now, now, dearies. Your stories don’t seem very convincing. Besides, I am yet to see another instance of Indian-origin children attending good convent schools in New York and being allowed to roam free like this. You are also wearing strange clothes.”
Maya and Hari stared at each other with dawning knowledge of their stupidity and un-preparedness in getting their stories straight before barging in with the thrill of discovery.
The old lady seemed to know what was passing in their minds.
“Never fear, dearies. You are the first people, ever since I wrote that article who have come in looking for information, as I knew you would. That article was a bait for you to come to me.”
“Because I have a message for you. In case you are wondering, I am the cook mentioned in the article. For years after I wrote that, I was pooh-poohed and made fun off by all my acquaintances and even more by perfect strangers. But it matters not, the story was true.”
“You mean you actually met Thor? And the earth was saved because he liked donut?”
“Of course I met Thor. And the answer to your second question is, of course not. But the point of including such a crazy story was to draw you both, time travellers, in when you arrived to me. You both are looking for Thor’s hammer, are you not?”
“But, but, how could you know this?” stammered Hari.
“Thor told me himself that there would come a day when a boy and girl would come looking for his hammer. And if you did, I should tell you that Thor will make the hammer available to you when you want it and for the reason you want it if you get him Idunn’s apples of immortality.”
“Who is Idunn?”
“The greeks know her as Hebe, the goddess of youth and health. You would know her as Tripura Sundari, the youth goddess.”
“How do we get it and where is it?”
“Choose the version of goddess best known to you and ask for her help. You will succeed.”
Hari unable to contain himself intervened – “Ma’am, I am confused. First off, how do we find Thor even if we did get the apples? Secondly, we were told to bring back Thor’s hammer, not vague promises.”
The old lady smiled and uttered “Good luck!” before walking them out to the door.
Maya and Hari stared at each other in panic.
“THIS CANNOT BE HAPPENING AGAIN. What do we do?”
Maya stared at Hari’s wailing in despair.
Author’s note: This is the fifth chapter of the novella “The God, The Girl and The Gem” I am writing as a part of the Blogchatter #AtoZChallenge.
(2) Yes, the scientific celebrity is still on his way!
(3) You can also read sample chapters of “Maya & the Mind Mystics”, my earlier published work featuring Maya and Hari here.