[#6] A Friendly Memory
A tale told by Mohit Mamoria
The story begins at The Haveli.
Saafiya flipped the note to see if there’s anything else written behind. There wasn’t. Raghav took the note from Saafiya’s hand leaving her holding the golden sparkling ball, Shreyansh was inspecting the wooden box that contained the golden ball and Ananya was peeking over Raghav’s shoulder to read the note.
Raghav utters, “This is getting weirder every minute. We came here to see the Haveli for ourselves but all we are doing is… nothing. Yeah, nothing actually. People are getting sucked inside a glowing stick… candle, whatever, a golden sparkling ball is being found in this store… Ananya got hypnotized… did we sign up for this?”
“We didn’t. No one had signed up for this. Saafi has a talk to deliver, which she will deliver tomorrow and as soon as she would be done, we will leave this place”, said Shreyansh. “Isn’t it, Saafi?”
Saafiya still fiddling with the golden ball, said, “I am not sure…”
“Not sure? Not sure about what, Saafi?” Raghav said in a voice as if he was trying to keep his agitation under control.
Saafiya, still inspecting the ball, said “I am not sure why didn’t she tell me directly? Momo. Why didn’t she tell me directly about this ball?”
Before Raghav or Shreyansh could speak, Ananya said, “What do you mean she didn’t tell you directly? Did she tell you at all?”
Raghav and Shreyansh looked at both of the girls talking. Raghav made a gesture to Shreyansh to tell, “Both of them have gone mad.”
Shreyansh hushed Raghav. Saafiya began speaking, “She has told me about the ball indeed. But through her stories. In my childhood. She used to tell me stories every night before going to bed.”
“And…?”, Shreyansh asked. Raghav threw his hands up in the air uttering, “Everyone has gone crazy here. Ramu kaka wasn’t crazy. You all are, for believing him.”
Ananya put a finger on her lips to signal Raghav to shut up. “And then what Saafi? What did she tell in the stories?”
Saafiya looked at Shreyansh and Ananya, “In every story of hers, there used to be a ball. A golden ball. A golden ball that used to be found hidden inside a rose by a little fairy. A little angel, to be precise. And then she would use the ball to do something good in each of her story.”
Shreyansh quickly connected the dots in her head and snapped, “The rose… There’s a wooden rose carved on the box. The ball was hidden inside the box. And you, the little angel… your grandmother used to call you that… you found the golden ball. Just like in her stories.”
Ananya gasped and her jaw dropped. Raghav, still agitated, roared from behind, “THERE’S THIS THING CALLED COINCIDENCE, GUYS! COME ON. DON’T BE CRAZY.”
Everyone ignored him. Saafiya replied to Shreyansh’s statement, “Exactly! She had been telling me about this golden ball all my childhood. I just don’t understand what am I supposed to do with this ball?”
Ananya and Shreyansh took turns to take the golden ball in their hands. Every time the ball changed the hands, Saafiya whispered, “Careful!”
Ananya brought the ball closer to her eyes, “This looks like just another ball, except that it is sparkling.”
“And that it was described to Saafi by her grandmother in her childhood stories”, Shreyansh added.
“I AM TELLING YOU GUYS — THIS IS NOTHING BUT JUST A DETAILED PRANK BY SOMEONE. I WILL KICK THE SHIT OUT OF HIM WHEN HE WOULD REVEAL HIMSELF”, Raghav roared from behind.
Saafiya, unable to control her anger any more, “Will you please shut up, Raghav? We are trying to think here. If this irritates you, you can leave us alone.”
Raghav was astonished to get shouted on by Saafiya, his best friend. She had never done it before. Specially, not in front of everyone else. For some reason unknown, Shreyansh felt a tiny bit of happiness — it was visible in the faint smile that had erupted on his face then.
Ananya looked at Raghav and understood the expression on his face — he was about to explode. She attempted, “Saafi is just intrigued at the moment, Raghav. It is about her grandmother. It is about her childhood. Don’t mind please.”
Raghav roared, “WHO ARE YOU, ANANYA? HER ADVOCATE? DON’T GET BETWEEN US. YOU WERE THE ONE WHO GOT HYPNOTIZED BY THAT GLOWING STICK IN THE BACKYARD… YOU ARE THE REASON FOR ALL THIS. DO NOT SPEAK ANY FURTHER. YOU HAVE ALREADY DONE ENOUGH DAMAGE.”
Ananya was taken aback. So was Shreyansh and Saafiya. Saafiya yelled back, “I SAID, SHUT UP RAGHAV. AND LEAVE US ALONE. DO NOT UTTER A WORD.”
“Oh… so it has come to this now. Has it, Saafi…ya? And for what? This silly ball”, said Raghav mockingly and snatched the ball from Ananya’s hands. “This silly ball has made you shout on me, Saafiya. See what I do to this ball.”
Before Saafiya could say anything or do anything, he held the ball tightly in his hands and then threw it on the floor in an attempt to break it.
It didn’t break. Instead, it seemed to open and a bright light shone from insides of it. And within a blink of an eye, the Haveli was no more a Haveli. All around the Haveli, there were many Raghavs, doing different things, in different situations.
In one corner, a Raghav could be seen walking his dog in a park. In another, a Raghav could be seen playing basketball with his friends. Just outside the storeroom, a Raghav could be seen taking a shower in his bathroom. No one looked at that Raghav the second time.
The original Raghav spoke, “What is this? What just happened? I am so sorry. Can someone please stop this? These are all the things that I usually think about. I cannot look at them. I am embarrassed. I am sorry. I am sorry. Please stop this.”
Only Shreyansh noted that in verandah, a Raghav was strangling a Shreyansh to death.
The story continues:
Saafiya and Raghav decides to keep their own little secret. What secret do they have?medium.com
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