Welcome back, everyone! If you missed the Introduction to Disconnect: A Novel , the Prologue, Chapter 1, and Chapter 2, do check them out before reading Chapter 3. Disconnect is fiction, comprised of a prologue, an epilogue, and 13 chapters. Every week, on every Thursday, a chapter will be posted on the blog, non-stop, until the entire book is up. Chapter 3 of Disconnect, my second novel, begins right below! Let me know how you’re liking the story so far in the comments below! Thank you! Love you all! And Happy Reading!

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CHAPTER 3 – 12 P.M.

ADIL descends the steps to the basement, taking off his Ravana mask. Slinking toward one corner of the room, he crouches there, folding up his enfeebled body to take up the least space it can, and waits for his guardian to call on him for when the time is right. That is how it works, he thinks. Ever since a year ago when Adil’s parents were incarcerated for religiously motivated hate-crimes they may or may not have committed–the case-file not being public information–Ismaeel bhai’s word has been law. He orders, Adil obeys. Unquestioningly. Until then, Adil waits nearby on stand-by. It is all he knows how to do now. But he is still his own person, and turning eighteen a week ago has suddenly opened his eyes to that. Doubts of what is right and wrong are cornering him from all sides, and he is gradually caving in against all odds. What he did earlier, trying to confront his guardian and questioning their ways, is proof of that.

“The boy?” Ismaeel bhai asks over his shoulder, without taking his attention off what he is doing. He is sitting on a chair now, at the large table cluttered with all the technology he knows how to use. Where he acquired this knowledge Adil does not know, but wants to, and he knows better than to ask that question. The test-runs sent back successful pings, judging from Ismaeel bhai’s satisfaction for the past hour. And all just in time to put the system to the use it was intended for.

“He’s w-woken up. I b-b-brought him the f-food like you said.”

“Good.” He sits up straight. “We can begin.”

Adil nods, though his guardian cannot see him, and rises to assume his lowly role on the chair beside Ismaeel bhai’s, who makes final adjustments to dials and buttons on the communication equipment.

Ismaeel bhai warns strictly, “Not a word from you.”

Adil’s wince is a reflex.

Some software on the computers springs to life and a dial tone buzzes from the speakers. His guardian punches in numbers and soon they hear the ringing sound of a connection echoing around the basement. Just when it seems like it will be left neglected, there comes a click.

An unstable voice quakes through the speakers. “He-hello?”

Ismaeel bhai’s leans in to speak into a modulator that absorbs his baritone voice, changes it, and a gravelly, distorted variation is the result. It sounds nothing like him. “Gautam Shah.”

“Yes, sp-speaking…. are you who took m-my son?

To see him again you will do exactly as you are told.

“Yes, yes, anything whatever you want. Please don’t do anything to my boy.” Gautam Shah’s manic tone chills Adil to his very marrow.

Ten crore rupees.”

“Ten cro-”

In an uncompromised and secured black duffle bag. No trackers, recording devices, ink triggers. Tell the police tracking this call that they are wasting their time. You will not find us.”

Expectedly, after a scuffling noise, a brusque voice comes through next. “This is ACP Omkar speaking. We need proof of Shaan’s well-being before we can agree to meet any of your terms. We must know he is still in your possession and well. As a sign of good faith.”

“Please.” Gautam Shah’s single desperate word has a world of emotion that contrasts Omkar’s impassive voice. “I need to hear him. Put him on the phone, please.”

Ismaeel bhai looks to Adil, and then sneers, loud enough to be heard. “I’ll do you one better.”

After playing the mouse around the computer screen for a moment, he gives Adil the go ahead. Adil flips the switch on a console box he doesn’t know the use for, but understands that Ismaeel bhai would not have acquired it if he didn’t have need of it. Then the blank screen in front of them gets spooled, pixel by pixel, with a hazy green image. In less than a second, Adil realizes what he is looking at.

Through night-vision, a tiny room with an imprisoned boy in it.

With this image returns the parasitic headache that comes racing back every time he deceives himself into thinking he is finally rid of it; like his brain has been scooped out and replaced with liquid fire that threatens to incinerate him from the inside out. It comes as a rude awakening and forces him to jerk back from the table, knocking over his chair in the process. He stumbles as he attempts to stand, almost falling completely before righting himself, when his legs snag a few cables that slither across the floor. Ismaeel bhai throws him a dirty look for the disruption, with it ordering him to bring himself under control. Adil’s head has already set off in a boom boom boom frenzy to make things worse. He knows not to waste time before removing two Crocin tablets from his pocket that need to be swallowed right away. Before They return.

Quickly. Quickly. Not again not again not again.

He has just about ingested them when is startled by the next shriek that comes blasting through the speakers. It is a woman’s voice this time.

“Shaan!”

*

SR. INSPECTOR KAPADIA whips around as the double-doors of the study burst open and Shakuntala comes flying in, Mrs. Shah right on her heels. The housemaid had to bring her memsahib from the master bedroom that is situated on the other end of the mansion. They really had to run in case Mrs. Shah missed it, but they are just in time to see the video of the prisoner son. His grainy image has somehow impregnanted the police force’s network and flooded all the screens and subscreens of the Technical Team. It doesn’t look like anyone in the study, not the ACP or Junior Inspectors, or any analyst or the parents can make sense of it.

This shouldn’t be possible, Kapadia thinks.

But he is thankful for it. The boy seems well and his abductors seem to have tended to his head injury and fed him as well. But there is something sinister about the whole image. The boy has backed up against the door of that small room. And he is visibly frightened, whimpering uncontrollably and peering into the darkness like he is trapped with an evil presence no one else can see.

“Shaan!” Mrs. Shah joins her husband’s side, where she puts her fingers up to one of the screens.

The boy on the screens looks up. “Mummy?” he whispers in evident surprise.

“Shaan, are you okay? Are you hurt, baby?”

“I’m scared, mummy, I’m scared.” Shaan blindly paces the dark room in search for her, as though trying to communicate with an invisible entity. “Papa I want to come home, papa, please. I don’t like this place.”

“We’re here champ,” Dr. Shah manages to say. “You’re coming home soon.”

Inspector Kapadia, who gets more sensitized with every case he handles, can’t stop his gaze from getting drawn towards the parents. The doctor looks like he can breathe for the first time today, while Mrs. Shah cups her mouth in equal degrees of relief, joy and maternal satisfaction, emotions that, for the briefest moment, give Kapadia a glimpse of the woman she must have been before today. Suddenly, Kapadia feels a twinge somewhere in his mind; that phantom feeling which haunted him last night is returning to distract him again. He can’t let that bother him at a time like this. Thinking like a soldier, he doesn’t let his mind wander to it, but instead pushes it out of his mind and concentrates on the job at hand. His gaze still on the mother, he watches and notices how her expressin of pure relief gives way to utter and complete shock in a split second.

Kapadia looks to the screens. All of them have blipped out and returned to displaying numbers and aerial maps.

Shaan! Where did he go? Shaan!”

You’ve seen him,” the unearthly voice that called them returns. “You will be contacted again.”

There comes a click. The line goes dead.

ACP Omkar takes off his headphones, and so does Kapadia and every other analyst who has been listening in on the call. The ACP looks at his subordinate expectantly. Kapadia is already studying the computer screens and consulting a few analysts. But he has no choice than to look up empty-handed. What they are trying to do is a waste of time.

“The call was too short to get a fix on the location,” he says regretfully. ”And it looks like the signal was being bounced off endless proxies all over the country. He was right. We can’t find them.”

“What do they want?” Mrs. Shah asks, looking like she may faint for a second time if she is not given an answer.

“Money…” Dr. Shah says, guiding her out of the study, updating her of what transpired while she was asleep.

The Technical Team scatters about the study from station to station to deeper decipher each aspect of the anticipated ransom call which they have recorded. Kapadia’s ACP begins to step away from him, too. But there is so much more to be discussed and Kapadia wonders where he could he possibly have to go at a time like this.

Kapadia pursues him. “He said ‘us’. It confirms one or more accessories. The voice was inflected but trying to pick out the original frequencies and finding a matching voiceprint is a long-shot if this is their first time. They also invaded our network and controlled our screens. They are smarter than we anticipated.”

“I gathered as much.”

What the hell? It is not the response Kapadia is looking for. “Sir!” he demands, his voice rising. The ACP stops walking. Kapadia questions himself for a second, hesitant, and decides to lower his tone a bit. “All I am doing is here is trying a bow on the findings of this Team. I am overqualified for this work.”

ACP Omkar turns to faces him. The look on his face is one of disinterest, like he doesn’t believe in the Inspector; like he is not convinced. This is Kapadia’s chance.

     I will show you what I can do.

“I have worked other kidnappings before, in case you aren’t aware, and gang-related activities, and high-profile murder cases. I have been undercover a dozen times. My experience leads me to believe that we need to get more aggressive with our search for the perpetrators and the white van. I strongly believe they have not left the city, and are possibly hiding out within a three-kilometer radius of Inox theatre, the kidnapping site. It may be their first time, but clearly, by what we saw now, they are not stupid. They know what they are doing.”

Either ACP Omkar has lost all interest or he may be realizing Kapadia has a point, because he turns his back on the Inspector to peruse the map of the city that has been pinned to the wall. Kapadia must drive his point home, so he keeps going. He has to get the job done, and done right.

“See here, we need to start searching unlikely places like residential buildings and private garages. There are some abandoned warehouses too, here, in the east docks area. Many criminals use them to hide out and stash loot, and I wouldn’t rule out that possibility. It may seem obvious, but that’s what they are using to their advantage so far, because nobody looks in the most obvious places. Put me out there.” He says it forcefully, roughly, but still keeping his tone controlled, knowing full well that he is in no position to be making any demands.

The ACP had to have heard him, but he doesn’t speak or move for some time. Kapadia waits while the ACP must be trying to analyze all that he has been told. As the seconds pass, it seems like the man is deliberately ignoring Kapadia, and it begins to irritate him.

Then, at long last, the ACP speaks, but the last thing Kapadia expected was to be mocked for wasting his breath. “You’re not the first of your kind: think you have all the answers, want things you cannot have, eager to prove yourself and then you go behind backs to do it your way.” He turns around now finally, as if only to show Kapadia the contempt he harbours for him. He is wearing a scowl, a look of disgust mingled with scorn. “Back to work.”

Kapadia does away with formality. Now he doesn’t stop himself from firing back. “What work! We are wasting time here! You haven’t even let me visit the crime scene. And now it is twelve hours too late even if I do. All traces of evidence, if I could have found any, have been compromised by now. How long will you keep me here?”

“As long as it takes.”

With that said, the ACP takes his leave of the study, Inspector Kapadia looking after him, and other analysts and Junior Inspectors taking furtive looks at Kapadia. He notes them out of the corner of his eye. The issue is not over between them, but Kapadia won’t run after the ACP and make a fool of himself again.

The man may be an Assistant Commissioner of Police but it doesn’t look like he knows the first damn thing about handling such cases. Kapadia tries to understand the basis for the man’s generalizations and conclusions about him, and wonders whether he has replaced an Inspector who must have quit because of the same straits. But he doesn’t have the luxury of choosing to quit now. He knows he is needed. He can’t waste any time getting back to executing his orders.

He is under a kind of house arrest and all he can do is thoroughly exploit every means of investigation that are within his limited reach. He knows there aren’t very many left. And he knows he will exhaust them all before the hour is up.

*

BAHAR thinks it will help, so she flips to her stomach, then to her back, then to her stomach again. On second thought, it doesn’t help. Instead of chasing away the queasiness that she woke up to, floundering around like a fish out of water is only making it worse. She now knows what it really means to be sick to one’s stomach.

The clock tells her it is a quarter past noon.

You slept in, she thinks miserably.

Her head swims. She feels drained. All she can manage is to slide out bed like a slug. Crawling on all fours to cross her room, she reaches her bathroom ten minutes later. The first thing she does is snuggle the toilet bowl. It is her new best friend until her nausea wanes.

As her stomach churns, a greasy curd-like fluid rises in her throat and shoots out of her mouth. She unfortunately picks up on the taste of the mush, and it burns her tongue.

She should have listened to Jashan when he warned her about this. She curses the deli down the road. In hindsight, spicy stuffed capsicum does not make for an ideal snack in the middle of the night. She remembers it was loaded with cheese, chillies and mushrooms and potatoes, and how it was practically calling out to her in her sleep. The vegetables or cheese must have been of low quality or at least past their shelf life when the dish was prepared. It’s a good thing Sahil didn’t have any when she brought the doggy-bag home from the restaurant yesterday, otherwise he would have been too sick to get to work.

A second coming of vomit sprays out of her mouth. She ends up gagging on it and throwing up even more.

She granted the deli with 3.0 stars out of 5.0, for the food and the semi fine-dining experience. Now she’d give it -5.0 stars, gladly defying her editor who only lets her go as low as 0.5. What is happening is every food critic’s worst nightmare. The downside of the job. Though it is virtually unlikely, that doesn’t make it impossible, and she gives implied consent to the risk every time she reviews a new place. Even so, she can’t remember agreeing to have a hole burn through her stomach. Maybe she should have known better. After all, something must be seriously amiss if a place called Chez Nous has Indian on the menu.

Again Bahar feels like throwing up more vomit, but this time it sneaks up on her. Catching her off guard, it misses the toilet bowl and sprays all over her bathroom floor.

*

YASHWANT has a vague memory of mumbling a prayer last night, but he isn’t too sure whether he did offer one or not. He must have, because he has got what he wanted. That is why since that probable prayer was granted his whistling has been nothing short of jubilant and why he will not rest his lips and lungs anytime soon. However, he can also see in the rear-view mirror that it annoys his long-ride taker. The man has rolled down the window since he got in, clearly to drown out Yashwant’s tunes with the blaring decibels of traffic. Yashwant is glad to have a taker and so he doesn’t mind what slight offense that must have meant. This is his third taker of the day and nothing can ruin the mood he is in.

He stops at the red light in front the Indian Oil Complex and decides that there is no harm in giving his lips a break since too much whistling is making them cramp up. Driver and passenger sit in silence, until Yashwant can’t hold it in any longer and asks the man in his backseat, “Returning to India after a very long time, saab?”

Looking reluctant, the passanger says, “Yes.” He uses Hindi, but his thick foreign accent very noticeable.

“You know, I too had a chance to go overseas once, when I was younger. But I turned it down, saab. All those strange tasting foods they make you eat. I hear they eat snakes and frogs and cockroaches. How could I complain with where I was? Lassi and chole bathure are unbeatable!”

In response to that, a vague smile curls the lips of his taker, and disappears as soon as it came. His gaze still fixed outside the window, he doesn’t seem interested in how Yahswant is a Mera Bharat Mahan type of guy. As if not acknowledging Yashwant will somehow make him disappear. It makes Yashwant sigh heavily and take his eyes off the rear-view mirror. He’ll have to keep his small talk to himself.

Suddenly, without warning, the passenger-side door gets yanked open and a portly middle-aged woman plops in next to Yashwant.

Oh no, Yashwant thinks.

“What in the world!” his passange yells.

“Worli,” the woman orders Yashwant coolly.

Yashwant has done frequent double-takers before but they often knew each other. Now, today, he needs all the fare he can get, and it is also the prime rule of cabbies that you must never refuse a reasonable taker–whether this woman is being reasonable is a matter to be judged at another time–so he will have to calm the foreigner who has started throwing a wild fit.

“What are you playing at? Can’t you see this taxi is already taken? GET OUT!”

Yashwant, thanks to his limited English vocabulary, only understands that last two words, since his taker is throwing a fit in his foreign accent. “It’s ok, saab. It is very common here as you must be knowing. I will make sure you get to Four Seasons Hotel like promised. No need to worry. Please understand.”

“Bollocks!” the foreigner curses, but now the red signal light melts to green and Yashwant acts quickly, not giving his first taker a choice over the matter. He guns it, and the taxi lurches forward, jolting them all out of their seats. “Is this a wind-up, you tosser? You’re damn well out of order! Do you know this nutter?”

When Yashwant doesn’t respond, the question is put to him again, this time in Hindi. Yashwant says he doesn’t know this behenji, but doesn’t say that she is now his taker and he intends to keep her that way. They gain speed quickly. “Only fifteen minutes, saab. You relax back there. Do araam, saab. Put your legs up, the whole seat is yours. I will take you to your hotel like promised. Please understand, saab. Okay? Many thanks, saab. Many thanks!”

OKAY?! This country is absolutely mental! Something is wrong with you people. I left at the right time…”

He blabbers on with more of those hi-fi words in his posh accent. The behenji, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to mind the altercation she created. She appears amused at some of the words the foreigner is spewing and Yashwant thinks of inquiring about a possible translation. On the other hand, he is getting two for the price of one. He doesn’t really need to know the nature of the insults he is incurring, no matter how much he deserves them. From the foreigner’s madness, he is sure they can’t be pleasant.

As they drive into Reclamation, Yashwant makes one final effort to appease the man who is still having a hard time wrapping his mind around what is happening to him. “It is actually good behenji came along, saab. You know, now you can split the cost of the Sea-Link bridge toll.” He flashes a broad smile in the rear-view mirror.

“Oh, what luck! I could never have afforded it alone!”

Yashwant’s smile falters. The words are in English and he is in the dark again, though by his tone, the taker was probably mocking him.

The silence in the taxi creates a nervous tension, and it eats away at him. Now, he couldn’t possibly resume whistling again even if he tried.

“Waheguru,” he sighs under his breath. “I asked for this.”

*

NAZNIN’s fascination with the restaurant knows no bounds.

Where she thought GoodGuy187 would take her was a small-time café like Moshes or Downtown Grill. This place, aptly named Eleventh Heaven, is nestled on the rooftop of a twenty storey tower. It commands its own little empyreal pocket suspended among dreamy clouds. Everything on the menu here is for a value of Rs. 500 or more. Naznin didn’t know how to bring up the fact that she had just about that in her purse, all of it being her left-over pocket money of year so far. Having to foot her share of the bill triggered irregular palpitations, until GoodGuy187 finally put her out of her misery by informing her that he wouldn’t like for them to go Dutch.

She gleaned from his choice of dishes that he was vegetarian and so adjusted her order accordingly. She didn’t want to be insensitive.

Everything having to do with bread, cheese, olive oil, pasta, fresh tomato sauce and sour cream now clutters the table between them and so far two rounds of fruity and fizzy mocktails have come and gone. They’re both stuffed. Naznin feels like can burst into pieces if she inhaled too much air.

They are sitting in a circular booth, facing each other, and words between them have been few and far between, limited to single word sentences to praise the food. Every time they relapse into silence, Naznin can actually feel how painful the absence of words is. Her eyes, too, are constantly flitting around the room, noticing other diners and their immaculate sense of style that is making her feel underdressed. She feels guilty for not making an effort to try and make a connection, being so guarded. She can’t bring herself to meet the boy’s gaze. Eyes are supposed to be the windows to the soul. She has never believed the notion, but now she is clinging on it for dear life.

Suddenly, GoodGuy187 grunts, like he likes what is happening so far. “Ok, this has gone on long enough,” he says, laying down his knife and fork with a clang. She has been expecting something like this to happen. “I thought some good food would break the ice. But I guess not. So we’re going to have to force it. Know how to play Truth or Dare?”

“No,” she says.

“Well, it’s really simple. We take turns choos-”

“No, I mean I know it, but I’m not playing. I don’t like dares.”

“Well then, we’ll call it Truth and Only The Truth?” he says, without taking a moment to even think, desperate to just get her talking. “A question for a question, and we have to answer truthfully. No sense in lying since we’re practically strangers. Deal?”

She considers. There’s no harm in it. “Fine,” she says as her arms cross. Defensive already, you silly girl. She can’t help it.

“Ready? I’ll go first. Let’s see…” He chews his lip, and says, “What’s your biggest fear?”

“The future,” she answers without missing a beat.

Your future?” he inquired.

“I mean the uncertainty of it. We should have some way to see

into it so that we could be prepared, you know? I hate how fast it comes and how little we can do about it.”

“I’m not sure it would necessarily be a good thing.”

His point is valid. “It may not be,” she acquiesces. “My turn; what’s your pet peeve?”

“Slow people.” GoodGuy187’s eyebrows draw so high up that they touch to his perfectly straight hairline. “I hate how sluggish some people can get on the street. It’s annoying to have to go around them all the time. And they aren’t old people or anything. Sometimes they are just so busy on their phones that it bugs the hell out of me. My turn, what do you love the most in this world?”

God, Naznin thinks instantly. If the words ‘in this world’ did not feature in his question, she would have said she loves God the most. Still, she doesn’t have to think about her answer once again. His questions are almost too easy. “My parents. Can’t imagine my life without them. What’s your favourite book?”

“Ender’s Game. There’s something about–”

She pulls a face. “The aliens and the destructive action?”

“Not exactly. I mean there’s something too real to that story. What we are capable of doing to survive, to outlive. I don’t think Card knew how right he was. It’s not just another intergalactic adventure. It’s a story about the struggle to exist and what makes humans…”

“…human.”

“Yeah,” he says, smiling a little. “Exactly.”

This moment of agreement between them feels good, and it reminds her of the reason that they hit it off so well last night, over the internet. It reminds her how she found him so easy to talk to, almost like she was talking to someone cut from the same cloth. But at the same time, the moment unsettles her. She can’t figure out why. “Your turn,” she suggests.

“What’s your favourite book, TeenGirl1242?”

“That would be The Catcher In The Rye.”

“Care to elaborate?” He makes a gesture that indicates he is giving her the floor.

She cocks her head in thought. “I guess I just relate to it, you know. I don’t know why some people call it this dark, morbid piece of work. To me it’s anything but that. Sounds a bit clichéd but since Holden and I are the same age it sort of makes sense to me. I only read it a year ago. If I were in his shoes I wouldn’t have done anything different. I’d be as lost and restless as him.”

“Interesting.” His observation doesn’t really sound strange, but it tells her that perhaps she is revealing too much. “Read anything else by Salinger?”

“No, just the one.”

“Why?” He leans forwards in his seat, peering at her with his penetrating eyes.

She leans back in hers, but feels a iressitble strong pull from him. Before she can wonder how he is doing that, she is giving him what he wants. “I guess… I just enjoyed it so much that I don’t want anything to affect how I feel about him. I already think of him as this awesome writer. I don’t want something to alter that perception, for better or for worse. If that makes sense.”

“It does.” GoodGuy187 squints and he nods slowly, like he has hit gold. “If I didn’t know any better, TeenGirl1242, I’d say you’re afraid of change.”

It is not like he has called her out on a terrible secret she’s been trying to hide all her life, and she doesn’t know if she is indeed afraid of change, but what he said frightens her half to death. Her heart thuds madly in her chest. All she wants to do is cut and run, out of this rendezvous. Her bag is right next to her, and they are fairly close to the door, so she could be a blur in the distance by the time he can react. But she is panicking for no real reason, and she isn’t sure of a single red flag that should make her fear for her safety and flee. There is nothing absolutely threatening about this boy–unless looks can kill. So instead, almost absent-mindedly, she merely pulls her bag closer her lap, doubly-defensive.

“Why did you wanna meet?” he says after settling back in his seat. “You have to agree, it was a bit strange. Have you met other strangers off the internet? Indianteencommunity isn’t exactly pervert-free. You know, I could have been an axe murderer or a rapist or a pedophile.”

She can’t tell if she is hearing judgment in his voice or not. But there must be. There has to be. “Yeah… but you’re not. You’re you,” she says defensively.

“Yes, I am.”

GoodGuy187 summons one of the white-gloved waiters for the desert menu. Naznin couldn’t possibly cram down anything more, nor does she wish to increase his bill amount, but she’s really eager to treat her taste buds to something new. A smorgasbord of fresh cream, caramel, fresh fruits, gelato and biscuits is ordered, and after that neither of them speaks. It seems that the Truth game has been put to rest. Thank God.  Naznin feels relieved, until it begins to look more appealing than this awkward silence that stretches between them. It feels just like before, bearing down on her, like it is the only thing in the entire room apart from them. But there is absolutely no way that she’d say something to him first. She can’t bring herself to make that effort, and so hopes he will do it for the both of them.

Except that he remains quiet, too.

The waiters clear the table, and Naznin is quietly chewing the last morsel of her pumpkin and sage ravioli when from her peripheral vision she notices how GoodGuy187 is trying to wink at her. Her heart skips a beat. He can’t be serious. Then he does it again, and the awkwardness has just reached the ultimate level. Oh my god. Pretending not to notice what he is doing, she gazes around the restaurant again, looking anywhere but at him. Then he starts rubbing one of his eyes, which soon reddens and starts watering.

When it looks like he is in pain, she finally gets herself to ask, “What’s wrong?”

“Something’s… gone in… hurts… badly…”

She now understands, and feels stupid for thinking he was trying to flirt with her. “Here, let me.” She scoots over a seat and without hesitation holds his chin to tilt up his head. She parts the eyelids and blows into his eye. He stops fidgeting and soon begins to relax, his tense shoulders slumping. “How about now?”

“Yup, that does it.” He smirks widely, their faces inches apart, and for a reason that is not clear the expression looks good on him. “Problem solved, because I was just beginning to think you were never gonna look me in the eye.”

And Naznin was just beginning to think how things could possibly get more awkward.

*

END OF CHAPTER 3

© Amaan Khan, July 19, 2018.

To continue reading Disconnect, head on over to Chapter 4 !

———

Glossary:

  1. bhai: meaning “brother”, a term of endearment/respect for a gentleman older to you.
  2. Crocin: like aspirin, for headaches, pain etc.
  3. memsahib: ma’am.
  4. saab: a variation of ‘sahib’, meaning Sir.
  5. lassi/chole bhature: Indian food items, can be googled for a better understanding.
  6. behenji: meaning sister, the opposite of bhai (see point 1 above)
  7. Waheguru: how Sikhs address their Lord.

 

 

 

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